How To Succeed In The Modern Blogosphere

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The following is a guest post by Future Buzz community member Tapha Ngum.

I remember a couple of years back, when blogging was this relatively new thing. I would read them for hours at a time, not getting tired of doing it, even if some of the blog posts were repeating what I had just read on a previous blog.

It was this new thing that i could not only consume, but that i could participate in aswell. Not only that – it was also pretty clear to me, that if i put in the effort , blogging could be a way for me to actually make money. A lot of it in some cases. Basically, in almost every single way, in those days blogging was a very exciting thing.

But it is very different now.

Yes, there are still the odd posts that I find interesting and will actively want to engage with. But the advent of modern social networks and hosted blogging platforms, that allow everybody to participate and share has changed things. The ‘mindshare per captia’ that I have for each of the individual blogs that I see has gone down. There is just too much information, trying to get my attention at any one time.

The reason I used to find blogging engaging and interesting was because there were relatively few in each area, and the methods by which they could be found were intentionally kept at a curated and high quality standard. The overall quality of the blogs that you could find was much better.

I am not however, despite this growing trend, a believer that blogging is a pointless excercise. I actually think that if you leverage the tecnhologies now available to your advantage and adapt your style to suit the modern blog reader – you can actually have as big an impact and ‘mindshare’ as the traditional blogs that I mentioned above used to have, perhaps more.

You just have to be willing to think a little differently and do things the way that most other people aren’t currently doing them.

I have been blogging and guest blogging for many years now and have picked up a few key trends and ideas that i think could be used to better position a blog in the current landscape. I think that these ideas could be useful to any aspiring individual who would like to share their thoughts with others and reap some of the benefits that can be had with blogging.

Below I will share some of the key ways to be able to differentiate your blog in 2013 and better grab precious blog reader mindshare.

1. Have a very clear point of view that you define in the very beginning of your blogs life. And demonstrate it with a clear example.

The main reason why blogs like Signal vs Noise, by 37Signals and essays by Paul Graham are so popular is because they have a very clear and disctinct point of view. Which they illustrate with examples of their work.

In the case of 37signals, they wrote books, created programming frameworks (Ruby on Rails) and told people outright what their opinions and points of view were. And with that, they managed to grab the interest and mindshare of those who would be interested in what they wanted to say.

With Paul Graham, his philosophy is seen both in the choice of design style that he uses for his work and the way he has created and managed his own hacker/startup community news.ycombinator.com (commonly called ‘hacker news’).

The only way to get people who share your point of view and stand out among the crowd, is to actively demonstrate it. The only limits as to how you do this are within your own creativity.

2. Have a podcast from the very beginning.

A podcast allows you to amplify what I talked about in the above point. With a podcast you will be speaking directly to your audience and will not be able to hide your personality and point of view. So it allows you to share more intimately with others than you might have otherwise been able to.

3. Separate your writing style from others. Be you.

One of the more entertaining blogs that I read on a regular basis, is Unicorn Free by entrepreneur and web designer Amy Hoy. She has a very unique and no bullshit writing style that really resonates with me and likely does with other entrepreneurs as well. It is a style that fits the sort of personality that she is targeting. And not because she is necessarily trying to do that (though she may be, either way it works). But because she is speaking to you with her own voice, her own writing style.

This is how you get an audience to resonate with you. By being you.

4. Don’t try to ‘do’ social media. Just communicate with people.

Setting up an automated program to tweet every couple of minutes is not going to get you an engaged following. Everybody is doing that. And nobody is really paying attention. In order for you to stand out and really have people care when you have something to share is to be you on social media platforms. Talk to people. Share what you had for lunch yesterday. Communicate. That is how you ‘do’ social media.

5. Write a short book.

One of my favorite blogs online is the Ad Contrarian. This guy has to be the most honest, no nonsense blogger online today. He says what he thinks and really does not pull any punches when he does. He has a very clear stance and shares it very well. His writing style is also very much his own.

One  of the ways that i really started to engage with his site, was via his short book, that I found on Amazon. The book, in essence is essentially just a compilation of his best posts over the years that he has been blogging presented in a very easy to digest format.

This is something that almost anybody can do, once they have made a number of interesting posts. By sharing them on book stores online, you give your potential readers yet another rarely used mechanism for finding and engaging with you and your content. The key here is that with books is people are much more engaged than they are with your standard blogs. This engagement once you have it is likely to carry forward onto your blog and posts.

6. Embrace video – it’s still your chance to be a pioneer

There is a reason why the average YouTube video is 4 minutes 12 seconds (at least according to one study). And it is a symptom of the growing (or rather decreasing) attention span of the average internet consumer. This is not necessarily a good or a bad thing, it is just whats happening. And you can use it to your advantage. Making videos that offer summaries of your posts opens you up to a wider audience who may not have the time nor inclination to actually read your articles. It allows you have a broader reach(via both discoverability on video sites like youtube and also just by having another option for people to be able to consume your content).

Be Everywhere

If you really look into the above points, what they all basically boil down to is ‘be everywhere and be authentic’. The very successful and well known blogger Pat Flynn, talks a whole lot about this. The name of the game now, at its most fundamental level is that of gaining mindshare. And the key to doing that is to be be everywhere. Many people do know this, but what they often miss is that you should be authentic about it, and show people who you are. You’re not going to get everybody with this style. Just like you’re not going to be friends with everyone in real life. But just like in real life. The people who do end up connecting with you and what you’re about. This is how you will get mindshare in 2013. In my mind, it’s the only way.

Do you have other ways that you think are also important, to be able to differentiate yourself as a blogger in the coming year?

I’d love to know. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

This is a guest post from Tapha Ngum, founder of MyAppTemplates.com, a site that provides custom iphone app design templates to people who cannot afford to pay an iphone app designer thousands of dollars for their iphone app designs.

image credit: Shutterstock