With over 152 million bloggers worldwide circa 2017, making your blog stand out from the crowd can seem like an impossible task. After all no matter how ‘original’ you may think your blog is, chances are another blogger has an identical site to yours, so the question is how on earth can you create an ‘authentic, creatively original’ enterprise when there are so many other bloggers with the ‘exact same ideas’? The truth is, even after two years in the blogging industry and a month full time, I am still learning how I too can make my blog gain more traction and despite ‘ a unique aesthetic’ and personable approach to blogging, there is more to ‘branding’ than meets the eye. As bloggers get better at marketing their content and hone their streamlined aesthetic, we struggle to get our voices heard and learn how we too can gain recognition for our work, but never fear for Faded Spring is here to show you how you too can stop your blog from falling into the cracks. After all you might get 20,000 visitors but traffic is not everything, neither is the awards that you might win; instead there are eight valuable components that will allow your blog to gain visibility in the deep web of bloggers…
- Allow Your Personality To Shine Through
I can’t stress this enough; a blog without personality is like a child without toys. You invest all your time and energy on the blog of your dreams, influenced by blogs around you that you have admired for some time. Yet because you have become fixated on how the admired blogs ‘write’ and present themselves you find yourself adopting their tone of speech, until you morph into someone that is clearly not you. While ‘imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery’, there is a fine line between ‘inspiration via imitation’ and ‘imitation equaling loss of sense of self’. Therefore, if you are influenced by blogs around you, whether that be fashion or social media tips, how do you allow your personality to shine through?
Well its easier than you think; think about what makes you, well YOU? Do you have a USP i.e. a poetic style of writing or is your tone of voice chatty? What about your images, do they reflect your personality i.e. how do you present yourself through the images? For example are you more of a serious or comic writer, using a series of expressions that reflect how you brand your business or want to come across to your audience is so integral to making your site stand out from the crowd. It might seem like I am throwing random questions at you but the reality is injecting personality into your blog starts with thinking about who you are as a person.
Below I have included key components you need to think about when showing your personality through your business:
- Engaging with your comments on both your site and social channels is a great way of showing your personality. For example say a readers writes ‘ I really identified with your story about how you decided to travel the world because I too left my job to follow my dreams. I am proud of you for taking this step and cannot wait to see where your journey may take you’, instead of reading and moving on, reply.It does not matter if they do not read your reply, but demonstrating that you engage with your readers shows good personality traits like ‘kindness’, ‘friendliness’ and gratitude. After all I make sure I reply to every tweet and most of my Instagram comments too.
- Have A Unique About Page– while you might think that noone reads your about page, the truth is that many people do. After all when it comes to brands, they look at your about page to see how you come across, what your interests are and whether your about page comes across as authentic enough for their brand.For example I have mentioned that I am a huge advocate for the LGBTQ community and love drag queens; as a result I have had many brands, including First Class Watches: Fossil mention their own love for drag queens and how it drew them to my blog. Think about who you are and what you want to say.
- Write How You Talk: Whether you are a conversational speaker or are facts orientated, learning what your unique point of view is can help attract more visitors to your blog. For example my own writing style tends to be ‘dense and informative’ but equally, depending on the post I also can be quite ‘rude, crude and sassy’, especially if it is about dating. Learning to adopt personable voices for different niches is key to maintaining your sites visibility.
2. Create Consistent Branding On Both Your Website And Your Social Media Channels
When it comes to marketing your blog, there is more to promotion than just sharing across social and interacting with your readers. A key component of branding is how you present your blog aesthetically and how it correlates with the rest of your social media channels. For example if you have a Twitter Account that does not have the same name as your IG account, chances are it might confuse brands and readers. After all if I called my Twitter account Ana De-Jesus instead of my blog name, people would see it as a personal rather than business, brand orientated account. But then if my Instagram remained as faded_spring, VS the use of my actual name on my Twitter, chances are people would be more likely to follow the Instagram account, as it is consistent branding that relates to my site name.
How To Create Consistent Branding For Your Website
- Choose A Blog Name That Reflects Your Interests, Personality Or Blog Niche and use it throughout your social channels. For example my Instagram and Twitter handles are faded_spring, my blog is Faded Spring as is my Facebook page. I chose Faded Spring because it refers to A. my favourite time of year, B. My approach to transitional fashion and C. because it sounded poetic, relating to my ‘writing style’.
- Create A Unique Aesthetic: My Instagram is a good example of this. As stated in How To Grow Your Following On Instagram, creating a ‘grid’ that shows your blogs branding is so ‘key’. For example my Instagram uses a colour scheme which alternates between blue and pink – my two favourite colours- and features a mixture of ‘close ups’ and mid-shots, as that is how I want my Instagram to be known for. With Instagram my feed is predominantly fashion oriented using personable, thought provoking captions, with Twitter my genres are more varied as it is the best platform to drive traffic to my blog, thus reflecting my blogs genres:fashion, lifestyle, dating, food and travel.
- Create A Logo To Represent Your Blog and Channels. While I don’t have a logo per say, I do however have a simple blog header, which reflects my minimalist approach to blog layout. It is ironic to say that someone who is such a maven of colour, used simple fonts and an italicized header to amplify and demonstrate her blogs brand, but I wanted the attention to be focused on the content as opposed to the home page. A simple branding aesthetic does well to promote your point of view and helps your site stand out from the crowd but for some, a logo is more beneficial. Meet Logojoy, a site that uses artificial intelligence to create logos based on your inspirations. For example my blog header is ‘black, italicized and sketched’ which suits the colour street art aesthetic because it too is a form of art.If I was to create a logo using Logojoy, I would cite blue and pink as my ‘colour inspirations’ and thus it might generate a ‘baby blue background’ with pink italicized or bold font, without imagery. Not to mention that ‘logo branding’ is also key for business cards and helps get your ‘brand out there’ in a professional and well thought out manner
Whether you create branding through a logo or personalized blog header, ensure that you choose an aesthetic that you can effectively market.
Oh and one more ‘logo branding bonus’. If you want to create a logo to effectively market your brand, Logojay has shared a 15% discount code for you lucky readers to use at the checkout. Simply type FadedSpring15 and you are ready to go!
3. Utilize Two To Three Social Media Networks That Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog
The key to social media is unlocking which two or three platforms would generate the most traffic to your blog and in my experience that is all down to your niche. For example say I wanted to promote my ‘travel content’ my highest streams of traffic would come from Twitter and Stumbleupon, for dating ‘Twitter and Instagram’, food and blog tips ‘Pinterest and Facebook’ and for Lifestyle ‘Facebook’. Learning what platforms are key to helping your blog gain traction will help you A. get more traffic, B. focus on niches that you are most passionate and C. find out which community is most important for you. For example the three platforms I focus on are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter because they help drive the most traffic to my blog and is where most people find my content.
Even by looking at my analytics it shows that my three platforms drive the most traffic to my website and goes Facebook, Google Search (Organic), Twitter, Instagram and Stumbleupon, with readers in the US, UK and the Philippines being the most audience centric market for my blog to target. While my ‘social reach’ (excluding my blog following and stats) is only 16.7 K (Twitter 2. 1 K, IG 8.9 K, Linked In 1.5 K, FB 2.2 K, Pinterest 518, Bloglovin 538, my small social followings still help make my website stand out because they are highly engaged and focused communities.
Despite what brands might tell you, following is not everything as my Instagram demonstrates. I get an average of 1.8 K likes per photo, with an average of 180 comments , which demonstrates a 23.8 % engagement rate, while my Twitter got 108 K impressions, with a 3.5 engagement ratio, proving that a micro-influencer can still effectively market her blog and get ‘high quality collaborations’. After all even in the early days I worked with big brands like River Island, Debenhams and House of Fraser, because they were more focused on my authenticity as a brand and high level of engagement as opposed to following.
4. Create Attention Grabbing Content With Value: No Click Bait Allowed Please!
We all know that ‘epic content’ is key to making your blog stand out but what on earth is ‘classified’as attention grabbing content. Again it depends on your blog niche; if your blog post is on how to generate more ‘blog traffic’ which of these titles do you think would be more ‘attention grabbing’? ‘How To Triple Your Blog Traffic In A Week’ or ‘How I got 40,000 Views In A Year’? While both titles would generate traffic, readers seek ‘quick gratification’ that generates results thus the ‘triple your blog traffic in a week’ would be more helpful to your target audience. One thing to keep in mind though is to get rid of the ‘fluff’ and not fixate on ‘click bait’. In other words don’t create filler content because you think more posts will help you stand out, instead focus on content that offers value to your readers.
For example in my posts, like the one you are reading, my titles always correlate with the content i.e. if I wrote a post claiming I was getting 40,000 views but it was essentially a copy-paste of affiliate links and courses, readers would get disgruntled because I am not offering any value to them. Sure they may join the courses and shell out for blog branding training but ultimately their cycle of ‘self-satisfaction’ will remain incomplete because they are reading articles that are only written to generate traffic/money/fame as opposed to helping and engaging with the target demographic!
Of course the definition of epic content is not just relegated to ‘blog tips’ but evergreen content i.e. how to make a custard pie, creates cornerstone content which your blog will be associated with and will still generate hits for years to come, whereas content that is more ‘personal’ i.e. Faded Spring buys a dog would gain hits but probably not provide value to my readers but that’s ok. After all epic content is about remaining authentic, distinctive and creating a mixture of content that is for both YOU- i.e. Faded Springs Dating Disaster Series– and rewarding your readers ‘how to turn your blog into a money making business’.
5. Spotlight Customers/ Readers On Your Blog and Social Media Channels
I am very grateful to my readers and clients for choosing my blog, so why shouldn’t I reward them for their loyalty? It pays to be nice and creating shout-outs, sharing readers and fellow bloggers posts and tagging them in posts like ‘10 Colourful Bloggers You Should Follow On Instagram‘ shows you care. Go out of your way to be nice to readers; I see bloggers who do not engage with their audience at all and while I know it is hard to reply to every comment, even replying to a minimum of 5 comments a day shows that you appreciate your audience for stopping by.In fact I don’t just reply to comments, DM’s and Tweets/ Social Shares but in some cases I will also return a comment on their blogs or send them an email thanking them for stopping by and personalize it to their interests and needs.
I do this about 3 times or more a week and it does help me get more followers, increase my engagement and bring more, new readers to my group. For example say that you write a post on 10 fashion bloggers you should follow on Instagram and tag them on social when promoting your content, their readers will in turn visit your blog and engage with your content, with a good percentage returning as ‘return visitors’.
6. Identify A Gap In The Market And Solve A Problem In The Process
Finding that ‘missing something’ can be difficult to pin point, after all there are millions of bloggers like yourself, offering the same perspective. So what can you do to ensure that your content is fresh? Say for example you identified a gap in the market for ‘street art bloggers’ you would hop on that bus to market central and chances are over time you will stand apart from the rest of the websites who employ the same monochromatic aesthetic. But how then do you solve an issue and what exactly is the issue? In cases like these when you employ a niche aesthetic like myself, you would have to predict an ‘issue that would arise’ i.e. the problem I would be solving would be finding an aesthetic that people would be searching for i.e. street art. If you typed street art spring in Google, chances are you would find my blog comes up as the first result because that is what my blog is known for. Equally if you typed in foster care or dating, my blog archives would also come up, because they are common search results derived from my blog, as these are ‘issues I have solved’ or spoken about extensively.
Because of the way you have ‘branded your content’ through niches and have been able to identify a gap in the market where you can help solve an issue, Google would then call upon you as an expert in your field. I.e. when you think of Fashion you think of Chiara from ‘The Blonde Salad’ or a Vlogger you would turn to Zoella, not because they are the ‘best’ but because they have the most recognition as an expert in their field.
7. Raise Awareness Of Controversial Or Taboo Topics And Be Honest!
Honesty is so important, especially when you are a new blogger and still testing the waters. After all increasing your credibility takes time , so choosing your content and being honest will allow your readers and subscribers to trust you. After all it would be like me talking about dog food when I don’t have a dog or writing a fake review on how much I loved a phone case when in actual fact I have never used it and gave it away to my cousin. Whereas if I only promoted clothing that I actually liked from retailers I trusted but at the same time, wrote a food review that demonstrated the pros and cons of the restaurant I ate at, readers would be more likely to stick around because I am true to myself.
Equally writing about ‘social issues’ or taboo topics like mental health, being cruelty free or abuse (depending on your genre) will tie into the ‘honesty feature’ that I spoke about above. For example lets say you are a vegetarian food blogger and you wrote an article featuring vegetarian food recipes while highlighting how animals are treated when being breeded for the ‘meat industry’ will be more likely to get clicks-whether it be positive or negative- because it touches on a controversial topic that not everyone will agree on. Equally I have written on being abused as a child and my second most viewed post Dear Aunty Valentine (5,000 views) touches on foster care, abuse, cancer, bullying and depression. While it was not written to be ‘controversial’ and was instead written as an ‘online journal’ or ‘diary’ it did attract both negative and positive comments because its a sensitive topic to talk about i.e. someone commented that I ‘deserved to be abused because I made myself a victim’, although the majority of the comments were positive.
The internet can be vile but it can be beautiful too; raising awareness of taboo topics can help others as well as yourself and can be something you and your readers can look at fondly in time.
8. Research Your Blog Audience And Create Content They Will Read
It goes without saying that writing content that is much for you as it is for your blog audience is an integral way of maintaining a ‘readership’. For example writing a post about luxury handbags that cost £600 when you only wear clothing from high street retailers and your target demographic and readers are made up of 16-24 year olds, chances are they will switch off because a regular student is unable to afford handbags that would cost them half of their tuition fee! Whereas if you wrote a post that spotlighted 10 High Street Handbags On Sale This Week’ they would be more likely to read your post, as it is well within your budget. Equally if your niche is luxury travel then make sure you target readers and brands that fit into this ‘luxury travel niche’, by researching your audience demographics, where they are based and even their interests. For example the average demographic is 72 % women aged 21-34 who are either students, mothers or start-up entrepreneurs.
So if I was to create content for the 22 year old student, it might be highlighting ways to save money at university, the 27 year old mother might appreciate my ‘personal family orientated posts’ like ‘A Letter To My Dad On Father’s Day‘ whereas the start up entrepreneur might appreciate 35 groups that pay you to blog or how to turn your blog into a money making business, because they too want to ‘utilize’ their brand. Of course this is just generic circumstances but the basic gist is that it pays to do some research into who is reading your content, so you can create value laden content for them in return!
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Please note that this post was sponsored by Logojoy but all thoughts, opinions and research are my own.