Professional bloggers are a mysterious breed. They seem to lead an awesome lifestyle – the ones in travel are always having an adventure at the far side of the world, the tech bloggers have the newest toys and fashion bloggers are always reporting from the most exclusive events. Some even do all three simultaneously! At the same time you’re thinking, I’d like to do that too, I can write decently, at least as well as so-and-so blogger, if only I were given the same opportunities. And then the sponsors will come in droves.
Well, the good news you do have that opportunity. It has never been easier to start a blog and get your voice heard. It used to be the domain of only the most respected journalists, now the internet has leveled the playing field so that anyone now is able to do so as well, given the right conditions.
But aren’t there already thousands of blogs in [insert passion point] already? True, there might be a lot of competition by virtue of sheer numbers, but if you look closely, the quality of most blogs could be better, to put mildly. After all, isn’t that what you thought when looking at so-and-so?
There still remains the question of how you stand out and build an audience. That’s what we’re here to discuss today.
1. Motivation to be in for the long haul
Successful bloggers always seem to come out of nowhere into the limelight, but the truth is there is a lot more you don’t see. Often, it takes time to build trust and authority. When they first started even successful bloggers had long stretches where their audience was limited. This is why you need to be ready to not throw in the towel the moment things get hard – and your motivation should not be based on traffic numbers.
2. Get started!
Of course, you would want your blog to be perfect and you would want to put the requisite planning time behind it. Which you should, but the problem many people face is that they get to a point where they are waiting for all the lights to be green before they set off on their journey.
In the startup world, there is a saying to ‘fail fast, fail often’ which comes as great guidance when it comes to blogging as well. By jumping in early, you are able to quickly see what is and is not working. That way, instead of planning for various contingencies that may or may not happen, you are able to work on the things that matter. This lowers the stakes when you inevitably make missteps as well.
3. Tell authentic stories
It has been proven that humans are hardwired to listen to stories, so what better way to stand out than to tell authentic stories that are unique to you? That way, no one can copy what you’ve written. Better yet, make it relevant to your audience by sharing the lessons you learned and how they can apply the same ones or how the experience had shaped you.
Even if it is not a personal story, your writing can still take the form of a story. When we recently looked at the bloggers that people follow over the long term, it was remarkable that most of these (even business blogs) were in the form of a story with a definite beginning and progression to the end. Sure, lists might get you the early clicks but balancing it with stories help to build longer term loyalty too!
4. Pay attention to feedback and then iterate
More than what people say, observing how the early users interact with your blog gives great insight on where to focus your attention. Do people like your video updates? Maybe you can consider investing more time and resource into creating more/better videos.
5. Creating different streams of traffic
Having put in hard work to create your content, promoting your content is the easy part. With lots of people discovering your content through various online communities and social media, these places give you a great opportunity not only to drive traffic but also to interact with people with the same passions as you. As your name gets familiar and you build your expertise in the area, people are more likely to frequent your blog and become evangelists for your writing as well.
6. Most of all, don’t forget to have fun!
You know how people often say that ultimately not about the destination but the journey? There certainly is a lot of truth in that. Facing the dreaded writer’s block or dealing with negative comments can be stressful at times, but when you take a step back and see that you are slowly but surely building your way to a successful blog it really is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. After all, blogging from an exclusive event in a far away country on the latest gadget is a lot sweeter when you had to fight for it.