It’s not easy for a blog to stand out.
In any industry.
Well, maybe you’re in some kind of unique industry where people completely ignore blogs. That’s not very common anymore. And blogging overall is reaching a sort of maturity in the online world.
So just having a blog is often not enough. If you’re looking for people that come directly to your blog and share your content with those they know, you need to stand out. You need to be more interesting.
Here are a few tips for making that happen…
1. Personal Stories
Stories are one of the oldest forms of human communication. Biographies are one of the most popular forms of books because people love reading and hearing stories. Documentaries continue to be popular. Even fiction stories are wonderful. They’re often based on some form of truth and if not, the best ones are still entertaining.
A story doesn’t need to have a lesson in mind. Readers can read and pull out their own lessons. It’s true with all forms of storytelling, including blogging.
If you’re looking for a more interesting blog, even a business blog, focus more on storytelling. Try to include a story in every post. Both those from your own life or those you make up. Think like a comedian, observing the world around you and sharing the stories with your blogging audience.
2. More Words
Look around at competitive blogs. Odds are good they publish posts that are about the same word count. I would guess they are about 600 words per posts. That’s a general standard for many industries.
It’s a risk to change word counts from the norm in an industry. But if it’s really competitive and you need a way to stand out, experimenting with word counts can be a way to be different and provide a different kind of value.
More words in a blog post would be like releasing a 3-hour movie. Or it would be like releasing a 30-episode season of a sitcom instead of today’s standard of 10-15.
Don’t just add words to add words. Focus on questions that require longer answers. Brainstorm the kinds of titles that will lead to more words.
3. Fewer Words
You can focus on fewer words. Instead of going for the standard 600 words in your industry, aim for 300. I would say this is a greater risk than going with more words. I would also focus on doing a higher frequency. Maybe triple your frequency. This way, in the long run you’re actually producing more words than the competition. But with different types of blog posts.
Try to identify questions that require shorter answers. Provide as many of the best answers as possible.
4. Unique Voice
Schedule time to analyze yourself. Contemplate your past. Think about what people have said about you. Think about what you feel about yourself. Your values. Your personal rules.
Embrace what is unique about you. To you, it may seem boring. But we’re all unique in our way. We’ve all lived unique lives with unique experiences.
The more you, you can be in your blogging, the more unique and interesting the posts will be.
5. Opposite Views
In most industries you’ll find that people follow the lead of others. If there is a popular opinion, it will likely continue to be popular.
But this is an opportunity. Especially in established industries.
Focus only on topics where you can “discover” opposing views. You don’t even have to take it extremely over the top. The great thing about life is that there are endless numbers of “right” answers for just about anything. This means you can be different, stand out, and still be “right” in the eyes of many people.
By doing this, you’ll likely find a lot of readers that agree with you and that were searching for your type of content.
Blogging could be one example. The generally accepted word count is 600 words. Others say for the best SEO results it’s 1,800 words. You could say that you believe you can create a winning strategy with 300-word posts.
Nobody is “wrong” if they’re reaching people.
Podcasting has taken a different route than blogging. In most podcasts you’ll have a host and a guest. There are a lot of interview-style podcasts. The reason is that people find them interesting.
Not all podcasts follow this method. You have to be pretty unique to stand out if you’re not doing interviews. But that’s an opportunity.
In blogging, there are few interviews. That’s an opportunity. If you’re looking to revamp your blogging, focus on interviews. It’s a proven form of content that people want and it’s not very common.
Is it easy? Definitely not. It can be difficult to find efficiencies, but it can certainly be worth the investment.
7. Meshed Ideas
The concept of meshing or blending ideas, styles, concepts, etc., isn’t new. It occurs all the time and has for generations. You’ll see it often in the music world. A single artist blends two genres to create a “new” sound and it takes off with a large audience. Or two artists come together to blend their styles and that takes off with a larger audience.
It can work in blogging…
You could take Seth Godin’s style of short blog posts and blend it with data. Just short, 100-200 word posts that share a new finding in a study in your industry. No analysis. Very short and to the point. You just share information.
Or you could blend the interview form with the longform content idea. You post 5,000 word post interviews.
Nostalgia is something people seem to really seek out especially as they reach midlife. When people are around 40-60 years old, they enjoy looking back on their childhood and coming-of-age years. I, as many do, remember when Forrest Gump came out in 1994. It was basically a nostalgia movie for baby boomers who were all entering midlife at the time. They were longing for a story that related back to their formative years. Forrest was a baby boomer that grew up in The South, went to war, lived through the hippie years and formed a successful small business, as many boomers did.
If you’re entering midlife, it’s a great opportunity to focus on nostalgia of others that fit your age bracket.
9. New Data
People love data. I’ve seen many blogs over the years make a living out of focusing on new data. It’s definitely not an easy route to take. That’s probably why it’s such a big opportunity. You have to spend time sifting through all kinds of new studies and share the ones that stand out the most for you and your audience. And you often have to interpret the results.
You can also create your own data. That’s also not easy to build, but can be well worth it in the long run.
When in doubt, make it simple.
Most blogs, as with most forms of content, are complex. People have the attitude that complex equals better. It makes us feel smart to make things difficult for others to understand. But the most successful people in any industry often are those that make thing simple and easy to understand for everyone.
This could mean shorter posts. Maybe you see that your industry is full of 600-word posts that really only need to be 300 words. But short doesn’t always mean better. But it’s a good place to start. You can get really good at editing and figure out exactly the minimum amount needed to satisfy readers.
It’s common to struggle to stand out in the blogging world today. There are lots of blogs. It’s not like the formative days of blogging when just having a blog made you unique. But hopefully the ideas here will help get you started on a path that sets you apart from the rest.