The road to being the authority in your niche, bringing an expertise into your blogging and utilizing the most out of it may seem like a strenuous task to the most of us. There are two primary variables to consider here: A) The niche you have picked out for your blog, and B) The image that your blog portrays.
What Does it Take to Be An Authority?
Before you proceed with the actual writing work, you just need to ask yourself a couple of questions:
• What are the top-notch requirements to become an authority in your blog niche?
• List out all the current top ranking blogs in your niche.
• How do they look like? What they have to offer and come up with marketing/SEO insights that have been done to give them an edge in the SERPs.
With some competitor audits and in-depth research work, you would be able to determine the requisite steps they took and how easy or difficult it would be for you to get recognized in a very short span of time.
Let’s have an example of the marketing leader, Rand Fishkin. He is the former CEO of MOZ and recently started his new journey with SparkToro. The start-up is in the field of influencer marketing and audience intelligence and Rank obviously understands the legacy and supremacy he can bring to the blogging channel. And therefore, he is quite active with SparkToro Blog.
Branding Meaning for a Blogger
Conventionally, when marketers talk branding, what do they mean is your identity. In a nutshell, branding identity is what you want users to think of when they see you. In your case, it would be your blog. It’s a reflection of you, your personality, your expertise, and your ability to deliver an extensive solution to the audience’s pain areas. Essentially, it includes all the things that make you look apart from others in your domain.
SEO, blogging, saving money online – a few names which have been the quotidian zone of every newbie; Brian Dean broke every single obstacle individual bloggers were facing for years. He is mostly the one-man show but he was able to compete with leading SEO magazines and coined several keywords which do have immense search volumes today. All the new search traffic goes directly to him. Kudos!
Finding a Competitive Edge
If you really don’t know why you’re different from other guys in your niche then neither will your readers. It’s a pivotal step to find your edge and market it.
Are you more knowledgeable than your peers? If so, express us you are, provide supporting citations, and remind all of us by sprinkling your authority throughout your writing. Probably you have a great sense of humor; make sure it shines through in everything you write everywhere. Maybe, you have some inside information, special white papers, incredible methodologies, or amazing presentations – you’ll have to offer some great value that people can’t get elsewhere.
Regardless of what the edge is, you better have one or figure it out soon. Otherwise, you really are just like everyone else and will struggle with branding perspective.
Let’s start with some tangible points which will help you to find a leading edge:
1) Come up with Your Own Domain
What does it mean? Simple, you’re not using Blogger, WordPress, or a Tumblr sort of free service. If you do, you’re just someone in a crowded space trying to sell products with no real brand, no real identity, mostly like hawking items at a flea market. Consider your domain name as your online storefront. It says a lot about what your offerings are and signals people that you are here to stay long and very desirous about your business.
2) About You
It’s weird how many blogs are missing the BIO text. I mean, how can someone expect to build a loyal reader-base without telling everyone about you? Even if you truly are an authority, how would your audience know? People will really not know who’s behind this big curtain.
I’m not saying you can’t be successful without a bio but you’re creating an uphill battle for yourself. While you’re at it, throw in a nice picture of yourself. People want to know who they’re spending time with, even if it’s just a few minutes a day through a well-maintained blog site.
And don’t worry about bragging a little. If it makes you feel more comfortable, write about yourself in the third person. Oh, those of you who don’t think you have strengths related to your niche, write about your passion, the learning experience itself, or your stance toward the topic.
3) Get a Globally Recognized Avatar
When you leave a comment anywhere, you want people to be able to easily identify you.
Go to gravatar.com and use a picture that best depicts what you’re trying to represent (ideally, the same picture as the one you used on your bio page). For instance, if part of your brand identity is your charisma, then you better use a pic of you smiling.
If you already have a brand icon or other picture, that’s fine. In most cases, I recommend using a real photograph of yourself. Look at all the top money making bloggers out there. You would recognize them if you were in an elevator with them at BlogWorld, right? None of them use colorful logos or cartoons or pics of their pets. They use their real faces.
4) Start Utilizing Social Media (I prefer Twitter specifically)
This is one of the easy ways to build a following. In fact, right or wrong, some folks judge your popularity by how many Twitter followers you have.
And don’t just open an account. Add the picture you’re using for your bio and Gravatar. Then use parts of your bio page on the Twitter bio. Lastly, get a new background so it looks like you actually care about your Twitter account. After all, you didn’t use the WordPress default theme, did you? Basically, treat your Twitter account as an extension of your blog.
5) Sound Human in Your Posts
There are so many blogs that look like they are written by bots. I know there’s probably a human behind all of it but why can’t some people just write like they are speaking to me. It’s not that hard; in fact, it’s easier!
Forget what you learned in school. You’re not writing a research paper or a textbook. You definitely shouldn’t be that formal when blogging. Just write your posts like you normally speak and your personality will shine through.
6) Add Value to Your Posts
This is really what makes you stand out as an individual. You are unique because you can add value — a little something extra that can’t be had anywhere else.
Often times, your post topics will give you a chance to act as an authority on your subject. Take advantage of these windows of opportunities so you can stake your claim. If you don’t, you’ll look like just a messenger and guess what, there are already millions of those around.
7) Have an Opinion Whenever Possible
When writing posts that allow you to express an opinion, pick a side and defend it. Don’t be afraid to have a stance and have others disagree. I’ll argue that disagreements are healthy for blogs since they create useful commentary. Being neutral is worse than being wrong!
This can come in the form of your professional or personal opinion. Provide supporting evidence when possible but allow readers to share their experiences.
8) Be Consistent
Whatever your choose as your edge, you better regularly exploit it. So if your schtick is your sarcasm, maintain your eye-rolling banter throughout your posts. If your thing is being motivational, then you have to be rah-rah most of the time. In other words, almost always stay “in character”.
There may be times you have to be serious on a funny blog, or funny on a serious blog. However, if you’re consistent with the way you express yourself, when it’s time to be the glaring opposite, you’ll create quite a dramatic effect — in a good way.
9) Respond to Comments
Regardless of where your blog is on the maturity scale, you must respond to comments. Of course, if you have a hundred comments per post like some big names, then you can get away with just popping in with a little insight when appropriate.
For the rest of us, there’s no reason not to respond to a quarter (and in some cases, more than half) of the comments on your own site. You have to bake that identity into your blog whenever you can when you’re in the growth stage.
10) Incorporate as much of your site’s look and feel in everything that you do.
I think I’ve already pounded the message of using the same real picture of yourself whenever possible in my last post.
Now, let’s use the same brand messaging for everything else that you do. If you have a logo you want associated with your blog, make sure it’s on your email messages, feeds, Twitter background, etc. The same goes for colors and fonts that are on your blog.
11) Online Marketing
Consider SEO optimization while publishing posts is a great way to nurture organic traffic. Yoast, WP Smush IT, and various other WP plugins will help you configure SEO optimization at initial and advanced level.
Social media scheduling applications like HootSuite and Sprout Social will help you to take out your words at the right time when interaction is at its maximum.
Lastly, email marketing has been a proven way to get lots of eyeballs on your latest blog posts.
12) Offline Promotion
An effective marketing approach includes online as well as offline promotion channels as a multi-faceted advertising paradigm. Networking with other bloggers and big publications at a meet-up or conference, speaking engagements, and cold calling are a couple of manifested schemes to establish recognition and thought leadership.
Claire Parker, one of the Staples contributing writer, advocates printed marketing collateral and its marketing relevance for small businesses. Business cards, loyalty cards, banners, brochures & flyers, and promotional apparel can help someone boost their reader base and loyal audience without breaking the budget, she said.
Over to You
If you go for it, and they’ll come – this formula is not always true, but if you build it right, they’ll surely come. Simply put, you have to create a blog with professional and authoritative fundamentals. You can then begin creating more great content to add to the site’s value and start obtaining authority value from outside of your blog.
An authority style site is now the best type of website to run so it is highly recommended that you take the time to learn all the different strategies and techniques to become a true authority in your niche.