In my experience I’ve been lucky to work with some really smart business executives. I think these folks in general are some of the smartest out there. They have an incredibly difficult job of figuring out what the fickle consumer wants.
Today, more business executives are considering a business blog. They see what other business executives are saying about content marketing and they wonder if it’s the right move for their own companies.
One of the questions that comes up during blog strategy discussions is how to make a business blog different.
After all, there are tons of business blogs out there. One piece of the puzzle to making a blog success (one that brings in new customers) is to stand out, be different and attract attention.
Here are some of the ways I’ve found that work to make a blog stand out.
1. Voice and Personality
The voice and personality of a blog is usually the number one reason a blog will stand out. It’s one of the challenges we face at GBW. We know each blog needs its own voice and we work hard to make sure the blog voice fits the brand’s personality.
When I think about some of my favorite blogs out there I realize they almost always have a unique voice and personality.
Brian of Copyblogger is kind of snarky, but that honesty on life and business is what makes his blog different and unique.
Rand of SEOmoz has a sincere personality and he’s very open and transparent.
Jeremy Dean of PsyBlog is to the point and incredibly insightful about improving life.
These are all blogs with strong voices.
One thing to remember is that the voice and personality of the blog doesn’t have to be tied to one person. The overall brand of the blog can have a voice. Each of the blogs these people write for has a voice and it’s a big reason people read them all the time. It’s not about one writer. It’s about the voice of the blog.
2. Format and Writing Style
Next comes the format and writing style of the blog. This builds on the style of the blog that you get with a voice and personality.
You’ve probably read a lot of advice about blogging and that reading has probably included a ton of best practices. I’ve written about blogging formats and things you should do with your writing style, but the truth is that it’s usually best to skip best practices and find your own style that connects with your target reader.
Best practices will get you started, but from there you have to go beyond those and develop new best practices.
It’s like the best athletes in the world. They hone the fundamentals of the game, but in order to go beyond good and become great they develop their own style. One that nobody has seen before.
Consistency is important in so many aspects of life. Chain restaurants are a great example. Even when we travel we tend to go to chain restaurants. The reason we do this is because we know what we’re going to get. People like consistency.
Being a blog your audience can count on is important. This might include posting consistent content on a regular schedule, whatever that schedule may be. It means having a high quality of posts or posts that are of the same quality all the time.
We go to nice restaurants because we know we’ll get great food all the time, but we also go to McDonald’s all the time. Even though the food is crap we still know it will be the same crap when we go. We know it won’t be worse.
If people can count on your blog for the same quality on a regular schedule they will keep coming back.
One thing you can do to go beyond the ordinary with a blog is to use numbers. Neil Patel, mentioned above, does a really good job with this. In fact, so does Rand from SEOmoz. They use numbers in their posts all the time and people love it.
I’ve been trying, although not all that well, to use numbers in posts more often. I think a good one that came out of this strategy was the post on how a blog really impacts the traffic on a website.
I need to do more of this…
Finally, stories are something no one can really copy. When you tell your personal story, whatever it may be, you give something really unique to your audience.
Rand talks all the time about his life. It’s something that makes his blog different.
Even doing things like interviews or feature stories on other people and other brands are forms of storytelling. People go nuts for this kind of stuff.
You can copy the format of storytelling from other blogs, but by telling your own stories you’re making yourself different because you have your own stories to tell. It’s a great blogging strategy.
There are some of the big ways I’ve found that make blogs stand out. This comes from years of reading and writing blogs. Of all the ones I’ve seen over the years these are the reasons I seem to continue to read particular blogs.
There is not magical “it” factor when it comes to making your blog different. It takes a lot of work over years to become something special. It’s like building your brand.
I like to compare blogging with music because country music is one of my passions.
Building a blog is like building a music career. We often hear about successful business blogs, but only after the blog owners have spent years gaining experience and honing their style. It’s just like those “overnight sensation” music artists. We never get to see the work they’ve done their entire lives to develop their style.
So that’s your goal for being different. Start working on your style right now using these few tips to make your blog different.