If you’ve ever read digital marketing tips that fall into the category of “things we’ve all heard a million times before,” then chances favor that you’ve heard, ad nauseam, that your brand or business should have a blog.
What these generic marketing advisors typically fail to specify, however, is just how your blog can stand out and be an effective tool in marketing your company. Anyone can throw up a few articles and merely have a presence on the blogosphere. It takes a little something extra to stand out.
Your goal as a digital marketer shouldn’t be to just check off the steps on some list of how you can advertise your business online. Instead, it should be to excel in your marketing attempts and create a campaign that is successful. Here’s how to set your blog apart from the rest in a saturated and crowded market.
Whether you’re using WordPress hosting or any other simplified platform, odds are that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ready-made templates for you to choose from. While beginning with one of these templates is fine, you should be tweaking code and adjusting things to make your blog look distinctly unique and completely your own.
When it comes down to it, design matters. You can provide the world’s greatest content to your readers, but if the blog itself is visually unappealing or otherwise uneasy on the eyes, they won’t want to stick around to read your words.
If you have zero design skills, then it might be time to recruit the professionals. No matter how you do it, you must create something that appeals to viewers at first glance. That’s the first step in creating something that will stand out.
Content Is Key
A tried and true failing method of amateur online marketers is to create a blog that looks decent and contains a lot of keywords but isn’t really saying anything. If people search for “the best Christmas baking tips” and are led to a blog that contains that exact phrase but no actual holiday dessert recipes, they get annoyed and navigate away from that site pretty quickly.
In the industry, this practice is known as “keyword stuffing,” and it’s quite the blight on the blogosphere. Many novice bloggers put so much time and energy into trying to attract readers to their blog that they don’t put enough effort into creating content that will make them actually want to stay.
No one is saying that you shouldn’t put energy and effort into attracting readers. In fact, this would be abysmal advice; there’s not much point in having a blog in the first place if no one is reading it. However, attracting readers should be secondary to creating content that people actually want to read. In fact, you should create a blog that has worthwhile and engaging content before you begin your SEO and social media efforts. Three months worth of regular posting is a good place to begin.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each and every day. Some days will be about posting simple and sweet blog posts that engage your reader but aren’t Pulitzer-worthy. However, those long and deeply researched pieces that you post once or twice a month will be the ones that have the most viral potential. They’re the ones that can take flight and cause your blog to double its readership in the matter of a few hours.
When it comes down to it, this key piece of advice is relatively boring, because it comes down to just putting energy, heart and effort into the content you post. However, if you can master this, then you are light years ahead of the bloggers who work themselves into a frenzy trying to attract readers to a site that has little to nothing to say in the first place.
Engage and Engage Sincerely
First and foremost, if you have the comment section turned off on your blog, go and turn it back on immediately. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been the victim of Internet trolls or spammers. Block those people as they come and keep your comment section open.
Comment sections on the Internet can be rife for memes and downright imbecilic. No one is denying that. However, comment sections can also be downright magical places where communities are born and brands connect with their consumers. A blog post isn’t like a newspaper article. It isn’t simply published and forgotten. Rather, it’s a living, breathing entity. It’s not a statement with a hard stop at the end, but rather the opening remarks in an ongoing and unending dialogue.
Engage with anyone who takes the time to leave a comment on your blog. If commenters begin talking between themselves, jump into the conversation and be ready to answer questions. People genuinely like feeling as if their comment was heard. No one is saying you have to feed the trolls, but the majority of the people who take the time to comment will be people who sincerely want to join in on the conversation. Even if a comment seems to be critical, reply. This is how you build an audience that comes back to your site time and time again.
Building a Successful Blog Isn’t Easy
Building a blog that will widen your brand’s audience and become popular isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. While sleazy “marketing gurus” might promulgate the idea that building a blog is simply a matter of paying for WordPress hosting, following an easy formula and then watching the money roll in, this simply isn’t true. Building a great blog isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but rather an ongoing task that requires dedication and an earnest desire to say something worthwhile to people.
When it comes down to it, there’s no “secret” that will set your blog apart. Rather, the way to stand out in a saturated market is to create quality content that will stand the test of time and to make your readers feel appreciated and informed. It won’t happen overnight, but if you stick with it, you can create one of these successful blogs.