Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran blogger, here’s a guide for how to create a blog that sets you apart from the crowd.
Blogging isn’t easy, guys. I know to most of the world everyone thinks that blogging is just sitting at a computer all day long. That’s not it at all. Blogging is so much more than just typing up a blog post here and there. Honestly, the hardest job I’ve ever had is a blogger. I spend hours and hours every day creating content, coming up with new ideas, and trying to secure partnerships of brands that my family loves and I truly believe in. It’s A LOT of work. Coming from the corporate world makes things a little easier but there still is so much to figure out on a daily basis.
When I first started blogging almost 5 years ago, my posts were horrible. There was nothing that set my posts apart. I started out as a fashion blogger just writing posts about what I was wearing. My posts were so vain. There was no substance to what I was writing. I would struggle to come up with 300 words for each post. A large part of my struggles with writing early on was privacy. I wanted to maintain a sense of privacy in my life and I wasn’t sure how to do that while blogging. It took me some time to figure out what I was and was not comfortable with. That’s when my writing changed. After that my blog got better, I started to grow, and more opportunities were coming my way.
5 years ago when I was trying to figure out how to create a blog, I struggled. Things are so different know and you can literally set up a blog in less than a week. To be considered an influencer, you don’t even need a blog anymore. The blogging world is so saturated that it’s almost hard to stand out. Once you’ve gone through the process of figuring out how to register a domain and install wordpress, the hard part is done. Whether you’re a new blogger or a veteran blogger that’s looking to rebrand, here’s a step by step guide for making yourself stand out.
How to Create a Blog That Sets You Apart From The Crowd
1. Stay in your lane.
Blogging is saturated, there’s no doubt about it. That’s not an excuse. Every industry is saturated. The key to success is making yourself stand out and being disciplined enough to put in the work. One thing that I learned early on in the blogging world is that you need to stay in your lane. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. There is no such thing as competition. The only person you should be competing with is yourself. If you get caught up trying to do what others are doing, you will lose. You can’t style the same looks as Sally, cook the same recipes as Betty, and take the same trips as Nancy. YOU HAVE TO DO YOU!
2. Know your through line.
A through line is an overarching theme of your blog. If you know you’re through line, you can work magic with almost any brand. Consistency with your through line is what brands and your readers will look for. For example, I’m a wife and mom of two who is business savvy, loves being fashionable, and traveling to new places while working hard to create the life I’ve always dreamed of and finding happy moments in every day.
What is something that each and every one of your posts have in common?
3. Find your tribe.
Tribes are a beautiful thing, especially in the blogging community. Finding a group of people who are creative like you is golden. For a while I really suffered with this. Orlando has such a large blogging community and it’s honestly hard to weed out the people who are just there for a come up. I started blogging when I was in college. I didn’t know anyone else at my school who was blogging. Honestly, I didn’t even know anyone else my age that was a blogger in Orlando.
I was alone in the blogging community here. Then I became a member of a local blogging group in Orlando and met a few people. That eventually turned out to be a disaster. There was a lot of competition and jealousy within our group. It wasn’t good for me so I began to distance myself. From going to conferences and networking events, I began to meet genuine people. Slowly but surely I started meeting bloggers who were interested in making a connection and not stealing your contacts.
After almost 5 years in the blogging game, I’m happy to say that I’ve found my tribe. I’ve got an amazing support system of creatives who I can exchange ideas with and collaborate with. A tribe is so important when you’re trying to grow for so many reasons. They’ll push you to challenge yourself, they’ll help you to evolve your thinking, they can help you brainstorm new ideas, and they can give you insight. However, finding a tribe is hard. It takes a little trial and error, and a lot of trusting your gut. If you’ve got a bad feeling about someone, trust your instinct. Don’t be afraid to walk away from someone. Protect your space at all costs. If you’re struggling with finding your tribe, here’s a couple of tips.
4. Pitch your heart out.
Pitching is one of the things that I love to do. I love coming up with creative ideas and painting a picture for brands. One of the main questions I get from other bloggers is how can they earn money blogging. Monetizing your blog isn’t easy. When I get that question, my first response is always “are you pitching?” If they say no, then I’ll usually ask them why. Most of the time the answer will be because they don’t know how. Honestly, I feel like that’s an excuse. There are hundreds of resources online that can help you figure out where to start.
If you’re not pitching, you’re already behind the curve. Reaching out to brands that you want to work with is a great way to set yourself apart. Not everyone is pitching and reaching out to brands. Even if they are, their ideas aren’t the same as yours. Pitch your heart out and pitch early. Don’t wait until the last minute to pitch for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day or any other holiday. The general rule of thumb is to pitch 2-3 months before.
5. Take high quality photos.
Pictures are everything! Okay, not everything but a large piece of the puzzle. If you want to know how to create a blog that sets you apart, think about the photography. When you think about it, the pictures are the first thing that will draw people to your blog. The content will be what keeps them there. You want your pictures to be amazing. Go the extra mile to make your pictures stand out so that they’re getting re-pins on Pinterest and drawing in traffic from social media. When brands come to you, they’ll want high quality photos. They won’t want to work with you if all you’ve got is bathroom selfies and pictures with bad lighting. Take your photography as seriously as you take you’re writing and pitching. If photography isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to outsource it.
6. Be authentic.
This is the most important thing! It’s so easy to get lost in the blogging industry. Everyone’s life looks perfect on social media. It’s not, trust me. Those squares on Instagram are only a fragment of someone’s life. I recently had a call with a brand and as we were talking they told me that one of the reasons they wanted to work with me out of thousands of other bloggers out there is because of my authenticity. My work is authentic and relatable. That resonated with me.
Have you ever stopped to think why Cardi B is so popular? It’s because she’s real. She doesn’t sugarcoat things, try to hide the bad parts of her life, or try to be someone who she isn’t. Cardi is honest, always. She’s honest about her past and where she comes from. Her authenticity is why brands and fans love her. She is who she is with no apologies. It’s up to other people to love it or walk away.
Bloggers can learn a lot from Cardi B. We can learn what it means to be authentic and true to not only ourselves but our audience as well. If you stay true to yourself you won’t ever have to worry about finding the right brands to work with or whether or not something is going to sit well with your followers. Be authentic all of the time and the right opportunities will come your way.
Photos by Emma Shourds Photography