To be totally honest, when we started blogging back in 2015 the landscape was different. Everything was fresh and new, anybody could become a successful blogger with the right mindset and exciting content. Fancy photos, consistent content, and a cool theme were all it really took to stick out. But times have changed, I almost think blogging has changed so much in the past few years that it’s hard to recognise what it’s actually become. Blogging is harder in many ways, because of Instagram and YouTube. Everyone who’s made it with blogging has already been doing it for years, but there are still ways to stand out.
Blogging is back, it’s just different now, the same advice that applied in blogging’s heyday does not apply anymore, if you want to start creating content on the internet when everyone and their mother is doing it, here are a few tips to help you stand out.
1. Start with a plan
These days, a blog doesn’t really stand alone. Back in the day, you used to start a blog and post every week and the same people would keep coming back. Now, successful blogs supplement other business ventures. They might be the creative outlet for your fashion business, the way you sell your skills to freelancers or the depth you add to your Instagram posts.
Your blog needs to have a purpose because a place to share your thoughts isn’t going to cut it in 2018. There are too many voices on the internet these days. You need to take a notebook and a pen and make this solely for your blog plan. It’s not even really called ‘blogging’ anymore, it’s content creation, and it requires you to do some lateral thinking. What will the content you create actually give you? Something simple, like the Make It Happen notebook will help you write down all your plans, dreams, and ideas. Make it strong, what are you creating content for? What’s the purpose behind your ‘blog’?
2. Stop comparing yourself to success stories
The top bloggers of 2018 started early. Like, really early. The Nicole Warne’s, Amy Song’s, and Chiara Ferragni’s of the world have been doing this for a really long time. Of course, there are some success stories of the last few years. People like Lydia Millen worked their butt off to build a personality that brands want to work for. Her personal brand is what sells, this is the same for the other successful bloggers who have been doing it for a long time, they’re ‘icons’. But if they stayed doing what they’d always done, they’d have been left behind.
If you look at how The Blonde Salad started out, compared to what it is now, it’s a huge difference. Don’t compare yourself to those bloggers and influencers now, because they’ve already got the secret to their success, you need to find yours by doing something new.
3. Research your butt off
Before you even start, research your but off. Find out what the current trends are for content creation, what content do people save? What images do they like? You need to be really data-minded now because there is so much content out there you’ll need to stand out.
Set yourself up with BuzzSumo and have a look at the most popular content of the moment, make notes on the things you see that get a lot of comments and a lot of interest. This will help you find your ‘niche’. Doing the same thing as a thousand other content creators is not going to cut it anymore, so you need to be really focused and critical with your research. Try to spot trends and be smart, is there a gap in the market that you can fill?
4. Create a calendar
You’ll need to decide how much and how often you’re going to post and stick to it. Consistency is key in the digital age if reader’s don’t have a reason to keep coming back, they won’t. If the content isn’t fresh, they won’t engage with it. Keep that in mind. It’s always helpful to create a digital calendar, but in 2018 you really need a content calendar that can go where you go. Whether you’re shooting an outfit post in the center of town or sitting in a cafe writing.
The Goals 2019 Diary is perfect for this, you can create a content calendar in the monthly overview, give yourself monthly and weekly goals for your content and stay on track with important dates and deadlines.
5. Be unique
A quick search for the top ‘blogs’ of 2018 will show you one thing, they’re all news outlets and websites. They’re not really online diaries anymore, and a lot of them are primarily through Instagram. There are thousands of hopeful people trying to make their Instagram into their primary source of traffic, treating it like a ‘blog’ and redirecting to other channels like a website or a YouTube channel.
What can you bring to the table that’s unique? What is your motivation? If you’re only in it to get wildly rich, popular, and successful, start again. You need to breathe and feel this, it needs to be your passion and you need to want it. Because it’s going to be the thing that you wake up with in the morning and go to bed with at night if you want to make it work you need to work. Bring the very essence of yourself to your content and focus on being unique.
6. Brush up your knowledge
Content creation in 2018 is a job in itself. While blogging used to be an everybody’s game, nowadays you need to brush up your knowledge if you want to get ahead. You need to know as a basis, about SEO, email marketing, growing your readers, attracting comments, promoting your content throughout the various social media channels. It can seem like a lot, but if you brush up your knowledge of all of these things you’ll be in the best position to create content and promote it.
You need to optimize everything you promote for search engines, based on what readers are looking for, you can use Answer The Public to find out what people want, type in a general search query related to something you’re thinking of writing and you’ll get handy questions that people are searching for on search engines. These questions need to be answered – can you answer them with your content?
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