Many of us, myself included, blog on a particular topic that has thousands or even millions of other blogs. When readers have that many choices, it’s difficult to stand out and be noticed. By taking a look at some of the most successful bloggers you can see a number of different strategies that allow them to stand out, even when there are plenty of others to compete with.
In this article we’ll take a look at ten different strategies that can help you to differentiate yourself, and we’ll present an example for each. These examples are not intended to imply that these bloggers have used only this one approach. Every blogger on this list could be mentioned in a few different places.
Hopefully you can take an objective look at the success of those listed and get some ideas about how you can improve your blog so it will stand out to visitors.
1. Create a Unique Identity
If you’re able to create an identity that people will associate with you, they are likely to remember you instead of all of the other bloggers in your market. A good example is John Chow. John stands out because he’s created the image of himself being an “evil” money-making genius, and it works very well for him. He’s got a proven track record and his unique ideas and approach clearly allow him to separate himself from the pack.
The whole banned-from-Google situation has only helped John to further develop his reputation and it’s provided him with an opportunity to show his ability by turning what could be a disaster into a money-making opportunity. In order to create your own identity, you’ll need to recognize what is most unique about you (in comparison with other bloggers in your niche) and let your personality show through in your writing.
2. Provide Quality, Original Content
Every successful blog must produce quality content, or the success won’t last. However, certain bloggers still seem to be able to write articles that are more effective and original than even those of other A-List bloggers. Standing out by creating great content is difficult because of the quality information that’s already out there. But those who are able to pull it off develop large, loyal followings.
Maki of Dosh Dosh consistently produces very high-quality content that you can’t find anywhere else. While Dosh Dosh covers topics that millions of other blogs are covering, the content is very original and thought-provoking.
3. Break News
Being the first to report a big, new story will always help to bring readers your way. Everyone wants to know the most current information, and those who are able to cover the stories can easily draw large audiences.
Tech Crunch is currently the 4th ranked blog on Technorati. If you’re looking of tech news, you’re probably already subscribed to Tech Crunch. Breaking news is great for getting links from all over the blogosphere.
The problem with trying to be a news breaker is that it’s just not possible for most of us. No one-man blog will ever be able to compete with the resources available to large blogs like Tech Crunch. It takes a lot of resources to be successful with this approach.
4. Develop Reader Loyalty
Readers ultimately determine which blogs are successful and which ones are not. Readers are loyal to particular bloggers for any number of reasons, but usually because of the bloggers approach to his or her readers. Those who develop the most loyal followers typically place a great deal of emphasis on satisfying the readers with content and respecting and appreciating them. Everyone likes to be appreciated and bloggers who effectively demonstrate their appreciation will find a greater connection with their readers.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has built a huge following of loyal readers. Darren’s readers know that he will provide the best content possible and they trust his opinions and recommendations. Darren never promotes anything that he doesn’t stand behind, and the long-term effects of his approach include the remarkable loyalty of his readers.
Loyal readers are priceless to bloggers as they mean repeat traffic, increased comments and participation, referrals of friends, links, and a greater response to product recommendations.
5. Create a Strong Community
Blogging is by nature very community-oriented. A small number of blogs have been able to develop uncharacteristically strong communities. These readers become extremely involved in the daily happenings of the blog and they’ll always read any post that is published. They view the blogger as being the premier source of information on the topic.
SEOmoz has benefited from building a fanatical group of readers. As one of the leading providers of search engine optimization services SEOmoz has a staff that consistently produces unique and timely content. SEOmoz blog readers look to their blog first for information on SEO, and the content continues to satisfy readers.
SEOmoz has been able to convert this community into huge amounts of inbound links, more traffic, higher prices for the services, and sales of premium content on the website. Part of their strategy for building the community includes a separate blog, YOUmoz, where readers can submit their own articles.
6 – Build Your Brand/Identity
In order to stand out from a large number of competitors you should present a consistent message that will help your readers to become familiar with exactly what you do and what you provide. Successful branding will help your chances of being the first place your readers look when they are looking for something related to your topic.
In order to successfully build your identity you will need to be focused and unique. It helps to concentrate on a particular aspect of a larger topic. The result of effective branding is that you become an authority on the subject.
Copyblogger is an example of effective branding. It has become the go-to source of information related to copywriting, headline writing, and related topics. By focusing in on that particular aspect of internet marketing, Copyblogger has been able to capitalize by building its brand.
7. Feature a Unique Design
With millions of blogs out there it is easier to stand out if you have a unique blog design that does not resemble the free themes that most people are using. With a standout blog design people will have a much more positive first impression and they’ll remember you instantly when they return.
To see some examples of exceptional blog design, Smashing Magazine compiled a list of 45 Excellent Blog Designs. Another advantage to having a top-notch design is the added publicity you’ll get from being on lists like this one (as well as the thousands of galleries).
If you’re a designer, creating a unique design may be one of the easier ways for you to stand out. If you’re not, you may have to pay for this one to work.
8. Give Away a Valuable Info Product
For years giveaways have been used to build email lists, and they’re still effective for gaining blog subscribers. People are interested in getting something of value for free. The key to this strategy though is that your product truly does need to be valuable.
E-books are a popular giveaway as they are relatively easy to create and distribute, and they don’t cost a lot of money to create. With a little bit of effort and knowledge of a particular subject, any blogger can create an info product to help market their blog.
Yaro Starak has used his e-book Blog Profits Blueprint to market his blog, and he has quickly become one of the leaders on the subject.
Chris Garrett is another example of a blogger who has used a free giveaway to grow a blog. His e-book, Killer Flagship Content, is available in his RSS feed to subscribers.
A free bonus that has real quality can provide a great deal of free publicity as other bloggers tend to link to these giveaways. Press releases are also effective for marketing a giveaway.
9. Become a Fresh Voice
In crowded markets readers are probably seeing the same things over and over again. It’s difficult, almost impossible, to stand out when so many people are all saying almost exactly the same things.
If you can distinguish yourself be utilizing creative ideas and out-of-the box thinking, your opinions and thoughts will be appreciated for their fresh outlook.
Bluehat SEO is an example of a fresh voice in a crowded market. There are so many SEO blogs out there that original and unique content is hard to come by. Blue Hat SEO provides readers with different ideas rather than rehashing the same old information in a different way.
This strategy is difficult and you need to know your subject very well, but if you are successful with it you will develop a large reader base pretty quickly.
10. Maximize Social Media and Buzz Marketing
There is not a more powerful way to quickly drive huge amounts of traffic to a website or blog than social media. And best of all, it can be done for free. Sure, social media traffic comes in spurts and tends to be short-lived, but it can be a great way to draw new visitors. The quality of your content is what will need to keep them coming back.
Pronet Advertising has become one of the top blogs largely by taking advantage of social media and buzz marketing. Neil Patel, Muhammad Saleem and the rest of the Pronet writers are experts in using social media of all kinds. Not surprisingly, the focus of the blog is social media marketing.
Blogs of all kinds can benefit from social media marketing, especially those in technical related fields. Many social media users are also bloggers, so it is a great way to get your content in front of people and draw inbound links. If you’re looking for information and guidance on using social media effectively, Pronet Advertising is a great place to start.