You probably would have started your blog because there was something you wanted to express in writing. And the best place to do this was online.
However, you will soon have become aware of the rude truth – there are over a billion blogs out there!
That’s a heck of a lot of competition! So how do you make your blog posts stand out above the rest? Read on for some ideas…
1. Find out what your readers want to read
There are plenty of bloggers who are happily writing away about their chosen subject, but are suffering from a distinct lack of readers. For some this may not be a problem, but for those who care it can be disheartening and soul destroying.
Successful bloggers write about subjects that are interesting to their readers. They are either lucky to find a topic that instantly resonates, or they may have extensively researched their readers’ preferences, tastes and aspirations.
However this popular topic manages to attract the attention of their readers. It answers their questions or solves their problems, or simply clicks or connects with what’s happening in their lives at that moment.
Never mind how much you want to write about your chosen niche. Try and adapt your subject to match what your readers want, expect and are searching for. This will make your posts stand out, they are more likely to get read and your readers will return for more.
2. Write in a conversational style
Take a look at the other successful blogs. Note their style of writing. You probably will soon realise these bloggers seem to ‘talk’ to their readers. Similar to having a conversation with their friends in a coffee bar or having tea and cakes before school collection time.
We all love a good gossip. We all respond better to conversation rather than a boring, stifling talk or presentation you get at work. It’s not just the topics that are used and the way they are delivered, it’s the words that are used.
Conversation uses words in a totally different way to make your posts stand out. Words are repeated, sometimes often, and sentences start with ‘but’, and ‘and’ and the dreaded ‘so’. The style is animated, simple and connected, without jargon or too many syllables.
Sometimes you have to forget what your English teacher taught you at school. Think how you would respond to someone in your head, and merely transcribe it into your post. Learn to talk through your fingers through the keyboard into your post.
3. Vary your posts with alternative media
Words can only go so far in attracting readers. There are so many words written in the blogosphere, it is easy to gloss over them and not absorb their proper meaning. Skim-reading has become the norm for time-poor readers constantly gleaning for information.
So you need to grab your readers’ attention in another way. Ever considered videos? It’s really easy to do Facebook Live videos, which can be gathered and placed in your posts to reach a different audience. Make them no longer than 5 minutes, focus on one point at a time, and remember to be animated and enthusiastic.
Have you got the gift of the gab? Certainly if you come from Irish stock or herald from Liverpool! If talking to your readers is easier than writing, think how a regular podcast would go down in your blog. Some people prefer to listen rather than read to gather material from blogs.
And think how images can make your posts stand out. Maybe interspersed to break up a wall of writing (along with subheadings). And sometimes they can explain a point more succinctly or pertinently than words ever can.
4. Go for quality over quantity
Many bloggers ask me how long should they write their posts. There is two sides to think about here: a) to not write too much so that you keep the attention of your readers, and b) to write enough to keep the search engines happy by giving them enough to index.
In both cases the concept of quantity over quality is paramount. You could write reams of rubbish, but that wouldn’t satisfy your readers. Remember #1 above, if you want to make your posts stand out, you have to write what your readers want to read. Therefore you need to focus on creating the best content ever, every time.
I would focus on a minimum of 500 words per post. If you are able to fit everything within these restrictions, you will certainly get known as an expert in writing short posts. Gurus like Seth Godin manage this every day, but then he is writing for his followers and not for the search engines.
However, if you want your posts to be successful in search requests, the search engine spiders will need a reasonable amount of content to effectively crawl over. Some experts say between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Actually this isn’t as difficult as it may seem, especially if you do enough research to find suitable fodder for your post.
5. Back up your opinions or arguments
There is no need to always write positive and upbeat posts every time. A controversial post that opposes a subject, or disagrees with a popular concept, makes your writing far more entertaining and interesting.
Anyone can take an opposite view to another’s opinion. In fact this is very healthy. It shows you have really thought about the subject, and are prepared to take another side than the general consensus.
However, to stop being seen as cranky, a troublemaker, a troll or a pain in the neck, hell bent on causing trouble, it’s a good idea to have to hand evidence for your argument, or information that backs up your point of view.
Viewing the scenario from all sides, and discussing the pros and cons effectively from everyone’s point of view, will certainly ensure what you write about more readable, which therefore makes your posts stand out.
6. Write consistently rather than frequently
In the beginning of your blog, you may be bursting at the seams to write all that you want to say. Alternatively you could be sitting looking at a blank screen, desperately trying to think of something suitable to write about.
We all know that the more we write, the more likely we will get readers and followers coming to our blogs. But think carefully if you are able to keep this momentum up for the long term.
Avoid stating you will blog every day. This may not be practical. My suggestion is to decide realistically how many days a week you can write a new post, and then stick to that goal by scheduling your writing days into your diary.
If you can consistently produce two posts a week, and publish them on the same day (eg Mondays and Thursdays), your readers will start to recognise this and expect new content at this time. And this also extends to the search engine spiders, who also be lying in wait to index your new posts as soon as they are published.
7. Remember to edit extensively
Good quality not also means writing well, but paying due attention to your spelling, grammar and sentence construction. You will make your posts stand out if they provide more excellence than their contemporaries or competition.
It’s not difficult to edit your posts. Quickly draft a structure and then fill in the gaps. This will help you to create a suitable beginning, middle and end. The introduction and summary paragraphs are just as important as the middle content.
After your initial draft, go away and leave it for a while. You will find plenty to correct later once you’ve given your brain a chance to subconsciously work on it in its absence. You will probably find you will be improving it quite considerably as well.
A well constructed post certainly stands out above the others. Quality of writing and subject also play their part. It is worth paying attention to the points above if you want to focus on making your posts stand out above the general noise within the blogosphere.