We all know how saturated certain blog niches are, especially when you’re talking about technology, entertainment, and sports. Having a lot of competitors though doesn’t mean you can take the following steps to stand out and differentiate yourself from the rest of the field.
Focus on Geography
Everyone knows about Gizmodo and Engadget, but how many people realize that both blogs are mainly for US readers? I’ve found some degree of success with Technograph, a tech blog I created that’s all about Technology in the Philippines, where I’m currently based.
The US is still king when it comes to come to potential traffic and thus potential income. But concentrating on your region and provide updates more suited to your home audience is a great way to be unique.
Some blogs become mainstream because they consistently broke news first, scooping your so-called mainstream media and online competitors. The irony is that as they become more mainstream, these blogs show less and less initiative, becoming part of the establishment that independent operators can trump.
This is a method that’s as old as news itself: be the first to break it, and you automatically stand out from the rest in your niche.
Granted, it’s very hard to be first always, but it’s also possible to survey the entire situation once everyone has published their fast—and sometimes inaccurate or shallow—coverage.
In other words, by concentrating on providing quality content, thoughtfully reporting on an issue or an event and covering all perspectives, it’s possible to become an authoritative source. Being an authority in your niche is a powerful differentiator, as it establishes your blog as the site to visit for a topic.
A lot of blog authors are content to just post the content and wait for it to bring in the traffic, not even bothering to reply to comments. This creates another opportunity to stand out, in the sense that you can interact with your readers, making them feel that they’re a real part of the (cliched) “conversation”. Readers feel more valued, and thus are more willing to return. Some of the more successful sites are those that get visitors talking with the author and others.
This approach does require a lot of time, as your formulate responses designed not only to address the reader’s questions or opinions, but to encourage further discussion as well. But experience has taught me that bloggers can derive a lot of useful content from what their readers say. It could be a perspective that no one else has thought of, or the lowest price you’ve ever seen for that gadget you were reporting on; sometimes those comments provide enough material for that next post.
Stop Looking Like a Blog
Many mainstream blogs have decidedly dropped the traditional blog format, so you’re probably wondering: how does this help my blog stand out? The answer is that, by going beyond the typical blog format—which limits what visitors can see on their first visit to your site—you’re paying attention to your readers’ experience.
Expert blog theme coders are surprisingly very affordable (take a look at wedomarkup.com) and you’ll see what I mean, so it’s relatively easy to convert your blog into something that—while not following the traditional blog format—creates more appeal for a potentially wider readership.
So how do you stand out in your niche? Feel free to hit the comments below.