How can you stand out online?
That’s one question that so many bloggers want to know the answer to.
So now, let me ask you this:
Are you pushing yourself to come up with new ideas? Are you finding different ways to tell people about your blog and personal brand? Are you experimenting with creating different types of content?
If you answered no to those questions, you could be missing out on a lot. And I’d love to help you make a difference.
You see, running a blog is about way more than writing blog posts. Way more.
If you stay the same, you’re not going to see different results. But if you start trying new ways to create content, I really predict you’ll notice a change. More engagement, more views, and more followers.
Creating an idea doesn’t mean it has to turn into a blog post. It doesn’t have to look like everything else. Once you’ve got the idea, it’s up to you to decide how you want it to look.
I believe that testing and experimenting are key things when it comes to developing a strong presence online and being successful. So if you’re plucking up the courage to experiment with different types of content, here’s everything you need to know.
#1 Video is the Way Forward
I'm starting off with this one because it’s the biggest. Video is the form of content for bloggers this year. More and more brands will create videos, use live streaming apps like Periscope and really embrace video within their content. If you combine video within your content strategy, you’re going to be miles ahead of everyone else.
A company called Cisco have predicted that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. That means that whether we like it or not, video is going to be a major part of the blogging industry. And if we don’t start using it, we could really be missing out.
Think about it in terms of social media. We know Facebook is the most popular channel and we know more people use Instagram than Twitter. But do you know how many users YouTube rakes in every month?
More than a billion.
Basically, video can open up your blog and personal brand to an entire new audience.
People spend longer watching videos than they do reading blog posts. Think about how popular Snapchat has become. When someone from your audience is tuning into one of your snaps, they’re completely engaged. You don’t get that with anything else.
Plus, probably the biggest benefit of video is that it’s easy to consume. We’re likely to consume video more than any other piece of content.
All you need to remember is to be creative and be you. That way, video won’t just be the future of the blogging industry – it’ll be the future for you as a blogger.
#2 Long Form Content Works
On the flip side, there’s still huge potential for longer pieces of content. Whether you create these on a regular basis, or just have them as foundations for your blog, posts that are over the 1000 word mark perform really really well.
Think about it – if you’re a beauty blogger and every beauty blogger you know posts 500 word blog posts, how much are you going to stand out by creating one that’s double the length of that?
That’s called experimenting, my friend.
Buffer, the amazing social media scheduling tool also runs a blog. On this blog, they shared some research that the average time someone takes to read a blog post is 7 minutes. This actually equates to 1,500 words.
When people search, they’re looking for in depth answers to their questions. What do you think they’d prefer – a how-to guide that’s 300 words and covers the basics? Or an epic 2000 word post that gives them everything they need to know?
Long form content will get you more views, a bigger audience and more shares. Since I upped my posting schedule (and continued to write 1000 word posts) my traffic has doubled.
I do understand that some people just don’t like long posts, and that’s fine. But like the title of this blog post says, it’s worth experimenting with. You don’t have to do it with every post, only some. If you can create a great in depth resource for something, create it – in the form of really long content!
#3 Your Headline is Still the Thing that Draws People In
If you only take one of these things to experiment with, let it be your headline. It’s important to remember that this is one of the things that does most of the work.
I’ve said this before in a blog post, and I say it in every workshop too when I talk about headlines:
8 out of 10 people will read your headline. But only two of those people will go onto read the rest of your post.
Your content could be amazing. Like seriously, kick-ass amazing. But if your headline doesn’t actually do its job? Then it’ll just sit there, forever unread. And you’re left wondering why.
It’s pretty sad when you think about it, right? That someone deciding to read your blog post can come down to about 11 words.
That’s why it’s mega important to make your headline work as hard as your content. You want to make it as clickable as possible, whilst still being able to deliver value with your content.
It’s a hard balance – but you figure out the best way to do it through experimenting.
I use a tool called the Headline Analyser from CoSchedule which tests all my headlines. And I’ve just started using a resource from Erika, who has created over 100 fantastic headline templates for you. Those are your two best places to start. Then it’s up to you to experiment.
#4 There are so Many Different Ways to Create Content
If you look through a magazine, you’ll be sure to notice something – every piece of content is different. From case studies, to graphics to lists, it just goes to show how many endless ways there are to create content. That could be the same for your blog.
Who says that blog posts have to be a few paragraphs, starting with an image at the top and that’s it? There’s no rulebook that says that – it’s just something new bloggers pick up from looking at other blogs. But what if we’re offering video, infographics, lists, podcasts, eBooks and more? New bloggers are going to want to create all of that too, and that’s only a good thing.
Your readers keep coming back to your blog for a reason. But if you give them variety and surprise them, then they’ll want to come back even more. They’ll also be more likely to share your content and subscribe to your mailing list too.
Why not try it for a month? Add in a new form of content for each idea. When you’re planning your editorial calendar, instead of just writing down the initial idea, write down the content type too. Write whether you’re going to present it as a post, a case study, an interview, a video, an infographic – anything. Then you can keep track of which ones are proving to be most popular and go ahead and create some more.
#5 You’ll be Challenged to Try New Things
Experimenting comes with some sort of fear. When you try out new things, you obviously don’t know if they’re going to work – but then that’s really the same with everything. Many of the things in this list might be new to you, but unless you try them, you won’t see the big results they can get you.
Worst case scenario is that they don’t work. But then are you really losing anything? Nothing negative will happen and if anything, you’ll have developed some great new skills.
So yes, there’s fear when it comes to experimenting, but it’s also crucial and extremely valuable for your blog. If we strive to be perfect, we’ll never know what we need to learn from. Making mistakes and recognising how we can move forward is strong ability to have. That’s what you need to help you reach your full potential.
#6 Your Results will be Bigger
Honestly, they will be. If you’re the type of blogger who questions analytics every day and wonder why your efforts aren’t working, you need to try at least one thing from this list. I tried doing something different – as of January I upped my posting schedule to seven days a week and everything grew. Now, posting that often might not seem that different to you. But it was definitely an experiment and now I can see that it’s paying off.
If you experiment with something and it works, think about how your passion will grow for your blog. Think about how if you create one video and it works, how much better the second one will be and the third. Passion and determination come before strategies and tactics – if you’ve got that then you’re already halfway there.
#7 You’ll be Different from Everyone Else
Remember the beauty blogging example I used before? That’s why you want to experiment. Your job is to take an idea and make it as comprehensive as possible. And if it’s already been done before, do some research and ask yourself how you can make what you’re seeing even better.
That’s how you be different. You put your own spin on it. Everyone “blogs” these days – I’ve even been told that by professionals in the publishing industry. People want to know what makes your blog stand out? What makes you different from all the average blog posts out there? Experimenting with content like this.
Those that see big results and go far with their blog have two things in common – they stay true to themselves and they experiment.
The only question is – what are you going to experiment with first?
To give you some inspiration, here’s some types of content you can start experimenting with right now!
- Ultimate Guides (How To)
- Personal Post
- Case Study
- Resources Round Up
- Beginners Guide
Let's chat in the comments - have you thought about experimenting with your content? Which one of these ideas would you try first?