TopRank Marketing Editor

7 Ways To Develop A Unique Brand For Your Blog

TopRank Marketing Editor     Blog Marketing, Blogging Strategy

different-fishWith the blogosphere churning out nearly 1 million posts every 24 hours, an unstoppable river of content flows over the web daily. It’s daunting, especially if you’re new to online publishing.  The good news is it’s still very possible to succeed, even if you’re just starting out today.

Developing affinity with a group of readers who will actually take the time to link, comment and share your material requires a commitment of both resources and creativity – this is common knowledge.

But all other things being equal, you can and should give yourself an extra advantage by developing a unique brand for your blog. This is beyond being organized and having a plan, this is about standing out in a world of infinite choice.

With that in mind, here are 7 ways to help develop a unique brand for that shiny new blog you’ve just built, or give fresh life to your current site. Ideally, you could incorporate all of these:

1. Develop a post archetype

Develop a compelling post archetype that people respond favorably to and continue to feed your content into it. It can be something as simple as using a certain type of image, post heading, graphic, etc. – just something which makes your posts stand out on their own in an RSS reader as content a-la-carte. Your posts looking nice here is a key factor to getting them to spread between RSS users/early adopters who may never visit your actual blog, but are happy to do things like share content in Google Reader. You want everyone using tools like Reader to click the share button with every post, and they’re likely to do so with posts that stand out format-wise, as long as the content tells the same story of quality.

2. Create a simple or unique design

Most bloggers tend to over-complicate their blog designs. Complexity in web design is standard and expected. Simplicity is a thing of beauty. If you’re more daring, develop a unique design that takes a chance and pushes the limits, it’s a good way to get noticed. Breaking expectation with design/presentation of content is a huge strategy in and of itself.

3. Refine your writing quality and style

The single best way to create a blog with a unique brand is to have writing quality and style which is distinctive, emotive or in some way compelling. Writing is the heart of your blog’s brand, and has the power to transcend all other factors – the importance of this can’t be overstated. This is a long-term process of refinement and as you delve deeply into themes, concepts and topics it will become more defined and known. Some bloggers have become so good at this, loyal readers could pick their writing out of a lineup.

4. Find a way to view your topic from a fresh angle or different lens

As long as there is interest in a niche, it can never be too crowded for fresh thinking. Even within the most popular topics, the ways established sites cover ideas is relatively predictable. New sites can use this to their advantage simply by not covering ideas in the same way. A fresh angle or different viewpoint on a familiar topic may prove the most compelling choice of all. Remember, while there are many fans of popular sites, there are also plenty of dissenters just waiting to give voice to something different. Speak to them and they will spread your content more aggressively than even the biggest fans of the established players.

5. Focus on a unique topic, or intersection of topics

There’s really no topic that’s too specific or unique, in fact, the more offbeat, the better. There’s an audience for it, and if not you can make one (bearing you don’t go off the deep end and it’s too esoteric). The key is simply that you can deliver on the thesis consistently and with quality. If you can’t develop a truly unique topic don’t worry, this may not be possible. Another approach is to find a intersection of complementary topics. Music and inspiration, marketing and sociology, personal development and fitness, search and social media – you get the idea. This is compelling because in time it will form a unique community, and the content genres and mixing of audiences will play off each other to make something more interesting than the separate pieces.

6. Create a better signal to noise ratio

It’s common to publish frequently for the sake of publishing – but the real opportunity is to make your site known for signal and kill the noise. Becoming known as a site with a high degree of signal is how you will build up a silent army of users active in the social web who share your content every time. If you deliver on this long enough, the world will become conditioned to anticipate quality from you, and your content will be shared each time you hit publish.

7. Focus on achieving consistency

Quite possibly one of the most difficult hurtles to get over for developing a successful, unique blog is being consistent. Blogs that deliver high quality material on a consistent basis get noticed. Out of more than 133 million blogs created since 2002, only 76,000 of them (less than 1%!) have a Technorati ranking of 50 or higher – something that is a result of consistency. In other words, being consistent is a unique element of your blog’s brand in and of itself as most fail to achieve this basic, yet essential quality.

Conclusion

The popularity of web publishing is something which only continues to increase, and with it the battle for attention of readers daily heats up. Becoming an outlier in some regard is the element that will put you on the path with the best chance at large-scale success. This is actually not just important for those new to web publishing. In crowded marketplaces with many choices, a strong brand is more than a way to gain a following, it’s protection against unpredictable externalities. Finding a way to develop a unique brand for your blog is worth spending as much time on as anything else in your blogging roadmap.

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Comments

  1. Its really about being consistent and creating content that readers will find useful. The internet audience is more focused to “skimming” content and headlines play a key role in catching the attention of this audience and you just have a few seconds to catch/lose your audience.

  2. Some great tips! Person writing the blog makes that blog unique so to work on polishing your writing style and on finding your own voice is a must to stand out in the blogosphere.

    Also I’d like to point out videos. Try and publish videos once in a while, it makes your blog more personal and will make it easier to differentiate yourself in a very staurated world of “text-only” bloggers.

  3. Nice tips. I’m currently in a remodelling mood and tips like these help me focus my attention on certain parts of my blog. 🙂

  4. Great tips! Agreed, Marko- video is a great way to both humanize and stand out at the same time (and very easy to share through facebook, etc.)

  5. Stephen Duetzmann says:

    Great tips. I also tend to think that you need to periodically look at what you are doing and make sure your message hasn’t become stale.

    Stay Savvy!

  6. Phaoloo says:

    Nice tips to find a way to stand out of the crowd of bloggers.

  7. Josh Dunn says:

    Great post.

    My blog is fairly new and I am really working to find my “voice”.

    For now, I’m not going to worry too much about Super-Uber-Quality content. I’m just going to write what comes to me and try to be true to my readers.

    I don’t know. Guess I just thought I would share.

    Thanks for the Super-Uber-Quality content by the way….

    Josh

  8. Stephanie Valentine says:

    Great tips. One way that I have found to have a post archetype is to express my personality through the blog as an archetype — for instance, cowgirl. I use horses and microfarming as analogies for solutions I am offering through my blog. I also like your other point of viewing the topic from a fresh angle. I’ve have to get some coaching to realize what specific slants on which specific topics catch the attention of small business owners for my blog, and that has really made a huge difference. A solid list of useful pragmatic tips.

  9. Christian says:

    Excellent tips, I am trying to improve my blog and this will really come in hand.

  10. “Focus on a unique topic, or intersection of topics”…this is really important; all the successful blogs I know are focused and you can find the same philosophy/message in every single post.

  11. Adam, Thanks for your post. Very helpful. Just a few questions: On #2 on design. Can you give me some examples of blogs that have “simple” and/or “unique” designs? And I’d also love to know who you consider to be the outliers in the blogging world.

  12. @charlene:

    Kottle.org is a fantastic blog with a unique *and* simple design.

    Also, the 37 Signals blog has a nice clean design.

    You can see I’m partial to simple layouts, however design is totally a personal preference. Check out the blog design roundups on Smashing Magazine for some of the more avant-garde designs .

    As for outliers in the blogging world, it all depends on niche – they exist across the spectrum of interests.

  13. Great tips. I also tend to think that you need to periodically look at what you are doing and make sure your message hasn’t become stale.

  14. Thanks for the great tips, my technorati ranking sucks, technrati is a big mystery to me.

  15. Fantastic tips, thanks. 🙂

  16. The beauty of writing your own blog is you are the boss. You are sharing some valuable information however one thing I did not notice is “Commitment” I have seen many blogs with a “gone fishing” sign. Basically the person looses interest or they have not updated since 2003. I have a variety of blogs & I try to post at least twice a week. Having a blog simply to monetize is where (imho) people go wrong. Again thanks for sharing your info.

  17. Noel - Text a Librarian says:

    These are great tips, thank you! I got stuck for awhile in planning what we wanted the goals and elements of our company blog to be (we make mobile reference software for libraries) that I couldn’t come to a decision on how to get started. In the end it was just about picking a targeted area, thoughts and commentary on working with libraries, new technologies, etc.

    Things have started, everyone knows what they need to do to contribute and all is set up for success. Implementing these tips will make it even better.

  18. Fred Roberts says:

    Thanks! Adam. I was a just considering purchasing a domain with my name to begin the process of ‘branding’ my business as opposed to setting up another keyword phrase domain, Fred

  19. Hi Adam, Great post and tips, thanks. #5 Focus on a unique topic is very important. Everyone is unique, just be yourself.
    See more your posts,
    AdWooz.com

  20. great article post..thanks for tips and idea share on developing on unique brand blog..i learn more from it. thank you very much… we will come back often.

  21. This is an excellent article. Consistency is key as no blog starts out with the highest page rank. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  22. Great ideas to improve my blog. The brand will be important for long-term marketing effort, I get it. Thank you

  23. It’s a very nice post. I wonder how many bloggers actually realize that. Well, there’s a wide variety of readers who may come across one’s blog but what’s important is CONSISTENCY, as you mentioned. It’ll make a good impression if you have it.

    -Costa Rica HQ

  24. Thanks Adam for wonderful tips! Now I know how to develop a unique brand for my blogs. After having an extraordinary blog, we should also know the Dos and Dont’s of Blogging. Some basic blogging netiquettes shall be observed too. I’m looking forward to read your post about this topic also. I think you are really good in giving helpful tips! Just keep it up!

  25. Annette says:

    Thank`s for a great article.
    I have a marketing blog and i just changed it to stick out from the crowd+adding content every single day jumstarts traffic.
    It is a lot of work but without quality content=no visitors.

    Annette.

  26. Thanks for your post. Very helpful.
    For now, I’m not going to worry too much about super quality content. soooo far 🙂

  27. This is nice article about marketing.
    Definitely every one, directly or indirectly associated with marketing can take benefit by it.

    Thanks more for your effort…

  28. These are some really useful tips on improving your blog. Like mentioned in point 5, be yourself focus on something that is important to you. Thanks for the great article.

  29. Clint Dunaway says:

    I agree that consistency is very important yet hard to achieve. It’s difficult to keep coming up with new and interesting articles. I find it mentally draining.