In 10 Key Ingredients of a Great Blog I mentioned how important it was for your blog to be unique. In this post I will expand on how you can use the marketing principal of positioning to make your blog really stand out.
First to market
More and more blogs are competing for attention. Most are instantly forgettable, simply echos of every other blog in their niche. One or two stand out and stick in your mind. Great content is one reason, necessary as great content is it might still be not enough. People have only so much time and attention to share, if they already have three excellent gadget blogs on their OPML why should they add yours?
The first to market has the advantage here. Being first means you stand out simply because you are all alone. Think about PVRs, shoes, bespoke suits. I don’t know about you but I only think of one blog for each.
First in mind
Sometimes the first you think of is not the first, it is just the first in your mind. Many times people will announce something on their blog that they think is new only to have a comment come back “old news” or even “so and so did this last year”. If the first is not particularly well known or good you can be first in mind by having a better launch or better product.
You can also be first in mind by being first in a brand new category that you create. It is very difficult to compete with an entrenched leader. In products (and I have no reason to believe it is any different with blogs) the top three usually share all but a tiny amount of the audience. The number one usually has double the share of number two who has double the share of number three. Poor number four has the crumbs that are left, the rest pretty much starve for mainstream attention (thank God for the long-tail!). If you are sufficiently different you become the leader in a whole new category. There were already blogs discussing professional blogging issues, Performancing is the first multiblog only focusing on professional blogging. It is usually easier to find an unoccupied position and fill it with something good than trying to compete with a leader even with something great.
How can you make your blog different?
If you can’t think of a new category you can create, here are some ideas for how you can be different
- Size/Scale – you might post more often or just have one killer post per day. Obviously your audience would need to know how often you are going to post otherwise they might not work out your difference.
- Focus – this is a good way of being different. I am not going to blog about “computer games” I am going to be the XBOX360 blogger, or even “first person shooter blog”. By sacrificing you gain clarity in the audiences mind.
- Gender/Age/Sexuality – there might be a bunch of blogs in your niche but are there any written by someone from your demographic? A gadget site for girls, a linux blog for over-50s, a gay auto blog?
- Location/Geography – lots of blogs are USA-centric, you can be different just by writing about your niche in your home town/country/continent.
- Market/Platform – take a winning formula and switch the market. Business blogs can choose to write only about small to medium sized companies, techies can choose to only write about Mac, Wndows, LAMP.
- Target Audience – similar to market, choose a winning formula and switch the audience. You can be different by aiming at experts or beginners, professionals or hobbyists.
- Celebrity – get a celebrity on board, create a celebrity. I am not necessarily talking about Brad Pitt. In every niche there are names that pop up all the time, cozy up to them, interview them and get them talking about you.
- Medium – alter the medium slightly and you have a whole new ball game. Think blog to podcast, podcast to video. Mix up the medium, Slashdot is both blog and forum.
Is your blog unique?
Once you have settled on your own differentiated niche you need to articulate this difference. Your blog needs to project and exude this difference in the content, the design, the tone of voice, your marketing, everything. The visitor needs to always be aware that yours is the _____ blog and take away your unique properties.
So now you have some ideas of how you can think different, is your blog unique? Can you make it unique?
Tell us what you’ve done to create your niche…