So you want to make money blogging – but how can you make your blog stand out from the crowd? It can seem a daunting and impossible task. With so many great blogs out there, what’s going to make yours different from the rest?
Your blog may be one of millions, but it’s the only one written by you – and you’re unique. No-one else has lived your life, dreamed your dreams or made your mistakes. No-one else has seen the world through your eyes.
But how can you do that? Putting yourself into your blog can seem a bit scary – a bit risky. Aren’t you making yourself vulnerable? And isn’t there a risk it’ll turn into a self-indulgent rant?
To be honest, there are some risks – and you do need to know what you’re doing. To help guide you, the brief video below has some great blogging tips on this subject from Darren Rowse:
9 ways to put your personal stamp on a blog:
- SPEAK IN THE FIRST PERSON: This might go against the grain if you’re used to writing academic papers or business reports, which usually require an impersonal style. But your blog’s not an essay or research paper. So it’s fine to use the word “I”. Just as, at the beginning of this post, I talked about “blogs I admire”. But it’s important not to over-do this – you don’t want to gettoopersonal or self-absorbed. Because the main focus of your blog should always be your reader – on addressingtheir problems and concerns. This brings me onto the next point…..
- TALK DIRECTLY TO YOUR READER: One of the most frequently occurring words in your blog posts should be the word ‘YOU’. Address yourself personally to the reader, making it clear you’re genuinely interested in their issues and needs – their hopes, fears, aspirations and dreams. For example, you might say something like “this is how you can overcome this problem”.
- WRITE IN A CONVERSATIONAL STYLE:Write as if you’re writing a letter to a friend. Try to write informally, pretty much as you’d speak if you were chatting to someone over a coffee. When you proof-read your posts, check for any unnaturally stilted or formal language or phrasing – and get rid of it! Remember – this is a blog post, not an essay!
- ASK YOUR READERS QUESTIONS: A blog is a conversation – in other words, a two-way street. And one of the best ways to get your readers engaged and involved in that conversation is to ask them things. Ask for their opinions – invite them to share their own thoughts, experiences, tips and ideas. For example, I try to remember always to ask my readers for comments at the end of every post. You’ll find some old posts on this site when I failed to do this, but I’m learning!
- WRITE WITH FEELING: Now I’m not suggesting you come over all hearts and flowers, but it really makes a difference if you can put some feeling into your blog. So if something’s made you angry, annoyed, upset, happy or excited – don’t be afraid to share it with your readers. If you’re passionate about a subject, let it show! Infusing your writing with some emotion will make it easier for your readers to relate to you – because they’ll know there’s a living, breathing human being behind the words on the screen. So it’s much more likely they’ll take notice of you and respond.
- TELL STORIES FROM YOUR LIFE: Again, you have to be a bit careful here. You don’t want to bore your readers to death by revealing every detail of your life. But it can be very powerful to share some of your own experience if it sheds light on the topic in hand. For example, your readers may be interested to hear about your failures and mistakes, as well as your successes.
- SHOW A SENSE OF HUMOUR: Speaking personally (which seems only right, given the topic of this post!) I love it when a blog post makes me smile. It’s something that’s almost guaranteed to grab my attention and keep me reading. And I know I’m not alone – just think about the stuff that’s shared on Facebook and other social media sites. The main appeal of a lot of the popular videos and pictures doing the rounds is that they’re funny!You do have to be a bit cautious, because humour doesn’t always travel well across international borders. And it’s obviously important not to be insensitive, offensive or cruel. But your readers will love it if, as well as keeping them informed, you occasionally give them a bit of entertainment and bring a smile to their face.
- USE PICTURES AND VIDEO:Don’t be afraid to show your reader the real ‘you’. It can really help to use pictures of yourself on your blog – if nothing else, at least a photograph on your ‘About’ page. Videos are even better, because people can both see and hear you. As I write this post, I have yet to venture into making videos, but I certainly aim to do so in future. It’s a powerful way of introducing yourself to your readers and letting them get to know you.
- ALWAYS RESPOND PERSONALLY TO GENUINE COMMENTS:When your readers take the trouble to respond to your blog posts by leaving thoughtful and insightful comments, make sure that you reply in kind. This will reassure them that you are personally taking a real interest in their concerns and listening to what they have to say.
As you develop your blog, have a think about whether your posts are helping your readers get to know you better as a person. Check – are you putting a little bit of ‘you’ into the mix?
You do have to take care – just like adding chilli powder to a curry. If you don’t get it right it can ruin the dish – especially if you add too much! But if you leave it out altogether, the food will be a bit bland – disappointingly tasteless. In which case, people might not want to eat it at all – and they’re unlikely to come back for more.
Offering something of yourself on your blog is a powerful way to connect with your readers – to engage with them in a deeper and more meaningful way. So you see – the secret of your blog’s success is, at least to some extent – YOU!
So – have you ever bared your soul on your blog? Or do you find all this ‘personal’ stuff a bit tricky? If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.