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One of the biggest challenges in content marketing and blogging is standing out from the crowd.
Everyone and their sister is blogging right now and it is hard to rise above the noise and gets noticed.
A post that stands out will often get shared by influencers, which will get you even more attention, more traffic and more social shares.
But what are top bloggers doing that other bloggers aren’t?
Why do some people do so well with blogging, while others fail to make a splash?
The following are a few simple, yet powerful ideas you should start using if you want to stand out from other content marketers…
One important way to stand out from other bloggers is by becoming experienced in your niche.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be the most knowledgeable, or a prominent expert before you start blogging. But experience certainly counts and it definitely shows.
So what if you are inexperienced and simply new to your field?
The good news is that it doesn’t take long to become significantly experienced, especially because most people will give up before they become truly good at anything.
And a lot of people that do become good at what they do won’t make the effort to share what they know, much less start a blog.
No one is really good when they start off doing something, but people can accumulate experience with time.
When I first started blogging for example, I didn’t know much about social media. In fact, I don’t think I even had a Pinterest account.
Not too long ago, I published this case study about how I was able to rank my Pinterest account for my e-commerce site for its most competitive terms.
I’m usually among the top 5 ranked pinners for the term “baby shower”, which has gotten me thousands of new followers.
I was able to achieve this result because I was curious about Pinterest and took action to experiment with it.
As you can imagine, having the result to prove it makes my blog post more compelling and credible.
Lesson #1: Don’t spend all your time writing. Spend time learning and experimenting too. You’ll learn more that way and become more credible as a writer on that topic.
Got a point to prove or a statement to make? Back it up with real data and compelling evidence.
A lot of writers like to give their opinions or just make claims about certain topics. Sometimes, even if you share a useful tip, you actually have to convince your readers about how well it works before they will take action.
Where can you get real data to back up your writing?
Read other blogs and publications in your niche. Run your own surveys or research studies to get real numbers. Share your analytics or any other data or numbers that you have.
One of the most shared posts on my own blog was a study that I did of top publishers that got featured on LinkedIn Pulse, which ended up with over 3,000 social shares.
I gathered data like:
and made some conclusions about what successful LinkedIn publishers were doing.
Since LinkedIn publishing was fairly new at the time, the information was highly useful to others.
Although doing this research did take up a good amount of time, I was also able to write some pretty amazing guest posts about LinkedIn publishing on other blogs, including my first guest post on Blogging Wizard and Firepole Marketing.
Lesson #2: Use data and observations to back up your writing. You can reference third party data or do your own research to gather information to support your point of view.
People love stories and that’s why movies and fiction books have always been popular. However, stories are heavily underutilized in blogging.
Alex Turnbull published an interesting case study on the Buffer blog showing that adding a story to your blog posts can actually increase the number of people that read it by a significant amount.
They split tested a post and one version had a story added to the beginning while the other version just dove straight into the content.
In this case, nearly 300% more people read the entire post and stayed on the page 5 times longer.
Stories make your blog more interesting and personal. It allows people to associate and connect with the real you.
Lesson #3: Add an interesting and relevant story to your content if you can as stories can increase readership.
Every new blogger loves to think that they can just put up a blog post and tons of people will read it, like it and share it. But the reality is that many people who have done well have also spent time building relationships with others.
The fact is that you are more likely to help out your friends than people you don’t know.
Build relationships by sharing great content from other bloggers, commenting on their blogs and social media and finding other ways to help people out.
As people get to know you better, they will visit your blog more and share your content more as well. Particularly if you are writing top quality content.
It takes 5-7 brand impressions before someone makes a purchase. Personal branding works in a similar fashion.
Each positive interaction is a branding touch that will enable people to remember you and keep them coming back to your blog.
Lesson #4: Relationships do matter, so take time to build them. Get involved in communities and figure out how to help other bloggers and your own audience.
And finally, one of the most important things that will make you stand out from other bloggers is consistency.
Write consistently and keep trying. Don’t get discouraged and quit.
You will learn to write better as you go along and you will build your following over the course of time.
Commit to writing at least once a month and continuing to learn and improve and eventually you will be successful.
I’ve seen plenty of bloggers write a few posts and then quit. Some of them were actually doing fairly well at the time.
As I’ve continued to blog, my subscriber rates continue to rise and even accelerate.
Becoming good at anything is an ongoing process. You’ll learn and get better as you go along, so commit to the journey until you reach the destination. Even if it takes longer than you hoped.
Lesson #5: Even if you are not getting the results you want, keep at it. Consistent content creation will get you more and more leads over time and you’ll get better as you go along.
One great way to stand out from other content marketers is to spend time creating a complete resource or guide.
Most bloggers like to write short blog posts, so creating a complete list or guide is one way to stand out.
For example, Lee Hughes created this comprehensive guide to blogging on his site. While experienced bloggers might not read the whole thing through in one sitting, it’s a great resource to bookmark and send new bloggers to.
And for a new blogger that’s serious about blogging and is looking for a step by step guide, this guide could be of immense value.
Lesson #6: Invest time to create a resource that people will share and bookmark for future reference.
I’ve seen a lot of ordinary or plain looking blogs out there. I’ve even seen some badly designed templates being used.
Investing in your site’s design is a great way to make a good professional impression to your visitors as well as stand out from other bloggers.
Marco Mijatovic and his team at First Site Guide use their graphic design and illustration skills to create a visually memorable site.
I’ve read a lot about blogging and digital marketing over the past 10 years, so it’s rare that I see anything ground breaking. But it was the site’s design that stuck out in my mind and made me remember it.
Another important reason to invest in design is to increase social sharing on visual channels, like Pinterest. Free tools like Pinstamatic and PicMonkey make it easy to create pinnable header images for each blog post.
If you really want to amplify your results, then spend a little time on Pinterest pinning images, growing your followers and doing some Pinterest SEO as well.
With the inexpensive WordPress themes and free graphic creation tools available, there’s no reason not to have a visually appealing blog.
Lesson #7: Design can give a good first impression to your visitors and also increase social sharing on visual social media channels like Pinterest or Google Plus.
Writing is a skill that just about any blogger can learn. But top bloggers will often put extra work into making their posts stand out from other people.
Writing longer posts takes time.
Doing research takes time.
Adding graphical headers to each post also takes time.
But doing these things can make your blog posts stand out.
I use to write blog posts in under an hour and publish them right away. Although they were decent, I started getting much better results when I started putting more time into them.
Final Lesson: If you want your content to be more authoritative, then be willing to put extra time into content creation.
Brian Lang is the founder of smallbusinessideasblog.com, where he writes about his experiments with business and online marketing. If you want to learn more about content marketing and blogging, be sure to download his free resource, 50+ Free Tools and Resources for to Grow Your Blog.