A lot of WordPress users are bloggers. We love WordPress. And we love a great blog. But the harsh truth is that your blog is probably never going to be seen unless you push it out there. To say that it’s an uphill battle to get noticed, followed, and read on a regular basis is a bit of an understatement. These days everyone is doing it. So how do you stand out?
Back in 1968 Andy Warhol made his now-famous declaration that everyone in the future would be famous for fifteen minutes. Conceptually, he predicted the internet and the kind of power it would bring; the power of publishing put in the hands of everyone on the planet. If you’re driven and know what you’re doing, you can get your content in front of thousands, even millions of people, often without spending too much money.
The tricky part comes into play as you wonder how to get noticed without being an obnoxious twit. It’s a balancing act, but much of it will be solved by common sense. Don’t be an arrogant bonehead and call yourself a “professional sayer of truths” or something like that. But get established as an authority. Be confident in what you write and the content you present.
This is where brand comes in. “Brand” is a word traditionally associated with big companies and expensive marketing campaigns. But now that everyone has access to the kind of publicity tools that used to be reserved for such organizations, brand has become more personal. Do you wanna survive in the wasteland of the blogpocalypse where there are no rules and websites are eaten alive by roaming users? Then establish your personal brand and make it shine.
Think of big companies and their competition. Each industry has top players who duke it out and squabble over the majority of the pie while everyone else takes what’s left. You can probably think of a few. Pepsi vs. Coke. Pizza Hut vs. Domino’s. Apple vs. Microsoft/Google/Samsung. Relative to everyone in the world, that’s a mere handful. You have 7 billion personal brands to compete with. The floodgates are open.
When a new blog is created, your audience gets yet another option for their attention added to the mountain of choices they already have. One of the best ways for a blog – whether it’s corporate or personal – to gain relevance and stand out is for it to have a voice. Don’t write what everyone else is writing in the same way they’re writing it. Write about what you’re interested in and let us know how you really feel about it. Think of a recognizable brand. What does it mean to you? That’s what you want to establish for yourself. When people say your name, they know why they like or don’t like you. They think of a certain tone and style.
But your voice is just one part of your brand. The other part is staying relevant in a digital landscape that’s constantly evolving. The idea of a blog will always be relevant. We might call it something different in the future, but the concept is here to stay. You can weather the storm of change by establishing what your brand is and using every tool that comes down the pipeline by keeping up with changing social media trends. This is crucial, especially as your brand grows. If the structure of your blog is rigid and set because you refuse to change it from time to time, it’ll implode on you. Buildings are engineered to sway in the wind so they don’t snap in half. Your brand, whether personal or professional, should be built in the same way. Your blog doesn’t start and end with your domain name. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other social networks that you can use to your advantage.
While they might be thriving now, within the decade, those familiar networks will be gone or radically changed. You’ll have to adapt – and be willing to bury the dead ones. There will be things you don’t like about the new ones and miss about the old ones. Everything will have pros and cons. But learn them all and find what works best for you, both now and in the future. Stake out your brand on each one, even if you’re not sure you’ll use that particular network. If someone else grabs it first, that’s no good. You don’t wanna pay some poacher a ton of money to hand over your name that he registered on Twitter while you weren’t looking. And as the web goes mobile, making sure your blog is set with its own app is just as important. Your brand has to be where the readers are, and today’s readers are on the go.
Another good example of an industry that’s making radical changes because of new technology is the film industry. Film as a medium is all but dead with relatively inexpensive high-quality digital cameras being used in the majority of productions, both studio and indie. There’s a few guys being cranky about it and saying they’ll retire when they can’t shoot on film anymore. But most influential names in the industry have embraced digital, even old school guys like Martin Scorsese. Guys like him are smart because they know that at the end of the day, the delivery system doesn’t matter. It’s the strength of the content. And remembering that is how your blog will always stay relevant.