Spoiler alert. There are LOADS of bloggers out there. In fact, more and more appear every day as we move into a time where blogging is seen as a full-time job.
What does this mean for you? Well you might be thinking, “what’s the point in blogging if there’s already so many people doing it?” That’s not the way to think. The right way to think is: “so how can I make myself stand out from everyone else?”
It’s hard when you’re just starting out, but learning from bloggers who've been around for a while can be the best way to grow your personal brand and improve your blogging skills. And ultimately, become a pro blogger yourself.
When I first started blogging, I was pretty much playing a guessing game. I didn't have a plan. I just wrote blog posts, published them and chatted a bit on social media.
Then my eyes opened and I realised that I couldn't go on this way. If I did, my personal brand and blog wouldn't grow, and I'd wonder in five years why nothing had changed. Was this what I wanted? I bet you can guess the answer.
So what did I do? I researched bloggers who were the best at what they were doing and payed close attention to them, to see what their process was and what made them different to all the other bloggers out there. What I found were some huge lessons and I wanted to share them with you today.
The Best Bloggers…
#1 | Know who their audience is
Having your audience in mind all the time is so important both for you, your content and streamlining your whole blogging process. I mean, how will you write amazing blog posts when you don’t know who you’re writing to?
The very best bloggers listen to their audience and do everything with them in mind. Their content speaks directly to them, they’re always interacting with them on social media, their words and images relate to them and their marketing efforts are spot on.
It also makes it easier to come up with great ideas.
When I first started out, I literally wrote about anything and everything, regardless of who it was for. Fashion, beauty, lifestyle, music – you name it, I wrote about it. But it wasn't focused. These categories didn't relate to each other. Then I narrowed down the focus on my blog to aim towards targeting people who were motivated, driven and inspired. This meant that I could pretty much write about anything, as long as it related to my overall theme.
Once I figured this out, it made it so much easier to run my blog. This will immediately make you stronger as a blogger, because you have a solid audience that you can create content for, and who (hopefully), will share your content onto their friends who they think will be interested in it too.
#2 | Have goals and remember their why
If your goal is “I want to blog full-time” then that’s fab. But what happens then? Where do you go when you've got there?
Remembering your why and having goals is so important as a blogger, otherwise you forget why you’re actually doing it in the first place. But it’s no good setting yourself a goal if you don’t know how you’re going to get there. You know the saying: a dream without a goal is just a wish, right?
The very best bloggers have a plan in place to achieve their goals and keep improving. Whether you want to collaborate with a big brand or get your foot in the door for an online publication, having a plan to get there will not only make it doable, but will also make it a lot less scary than just trying everything and wondering why it’s not working.
#3 | Know what value they can offer
I know you’ll see the word ’value’ everywhere. Whenever I read a post about blogging, I’m pretty sure it crops up in all of them. But there’s good reason why. The very best bloggers know their value and they put this value into their writing to answer questions and solve problems.
Sure, you might be a great photographer or vlogger, but how will that help your audience? Will it help them grow their personal brand, expand their reach and get their content in front of more people? Will it help them improve?
As soon as you start showing your value to people, the sooner your audience will start to grow. We want answers to problems we don’t know we have and we don’t know where to look first. That’s what you’re here for.
#4 | Understand their weaknesses and what they need to learn
When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to do what everyone else is doing, even if you’ve got no idea how to actually do some of these things.
Obviously it’s great to set yourself a challenge and try new things, but if you don’t know how to do something, there’s a good chance there could be negative effects for your blog.
The best bloggers know what they can and can’t do and demonstrate this well through their blog. They have no shame in saying they don’t know how to make YouTube videos or their photography skills aren’t great – but I bet they’d be willing to give it a go too.
This works the same for content. The best bloggers know what they’re skilled in writing about and they don’t go around writing about things they don’t have interest or knowledge in.
They know what they want to write about, they know what their readers want and they don’t deviate from this.
But even though the best bloggers are aware of their weaknesses, they’re always willing to learn more to grow their skill set and be able to do more for their blogs. Our industry is always changing and constant attention is needed to keep up to date with what’s going on and stay ahead of the game.
#5 | Have a brand
If you have a blog, you have a brand. Even if you don’t know it yet or want to believe it. And it’s not just about having a cool logo or header and matching colours. There’s a lot more to it than that. Branding is the image you’re projecting for others through all the platforms you are on. You as an individual are your brand, and these, what we call brand extensions – so your website, Twitter, your newsletter, your LinkedIn page - all work together to project your brand values to your community and audience.
This ties in with knowing your target audience, what they want to know and how to solve their problems. Developing your brand is about knowing your message and why you’re even blogging in the first place.
It also includes your beliefs as a blogger and the types of topics you choose to blog about – and the ones you don’t.
There are so many different things that matter when it comes to branding. You want to be remembered, right? Your brand is how you do that. When you’re out there building your tribe on social media, or through your writing in a blog post, you want people to recognise your brand and know that this is you – a fantastic blogger.
Becoming a brilliant blogger isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s definitely doable if you a strong idea of who you are, what your blog is about and who you want to help.
It’s worth taking time to go through these points and have a think about your own action steps for each one, just so you can get more of an idea of what you want to get out of blogging and how to actually do it. Because once you do that, you’ll definitely be on your way.
Let's chat in the comments - what do you think makes the very best bloggers stand out?