The blogosphere has quickly become one of the most crowded corners of the internet, with new sites and over 2 million blog posts being added everyday.
The web is awash with blog sites all vying for the attention of the public. This is true whether the site is designed to market a new product, promote a political cause, or provide scholarly information on an esoteric subject.
Amidst this sea of online information, it can be hard enough to get noticed, let alone to build a successful online reputation.
But, there are techniques that bloggers can use to break through the crowd, building traffic to their site which will ultimately pay off in that all-important call to action (CTA).
The Problem Every Blogger Faces
If there is one problem common to all bloggers it is creating content that people actually want to read. We've all heard the mantra “Content is King”, and while there is much truth in it, creating interesting and authoritative content is easier said than done.
The secret is to offer something no other blog can offer, whether it is expertise in a specific field or unique insight into a certain topic.
As crowded as the blogosphere is, sites that offer unique content and better information still rise to the top. That being said, it's impossible to be an authority in every field.
Many bloggers fall at the first hurdle by attempting to be the voice of authority on topics that are too broad to be successfully covered in a regular blog post. This is why it is essential that bloggers learn to narrow their focus.
Tip One - Narrowing Your Focus
One of the cardinal mistakes made by first-time bloggers, and even by many experienced bloggers, is trying to tackle a topic that is too large.
For example, let's suppose you are creating a blog about cooking. That's a broad topic that contains so many different sub-categories that it's nearly impossible to become a go-to source for information. Your blog is going to get lost in the shuffle as people search for specific cooking tips.
A perfect example is television cooking programs. The successful shows have a very specific focus, such as southwestern cuisine, Italian cuisine, or French Nouvelle cuisine. Some programs even break their focus down even further, dealing with specific cooking techniques such as baking or barbecuing.
In this way, the program carves out a niche for itself in a crowded informational marketplace. If you really want a niche focus, go for the carnivore lifestyle cooking!
This same technique holds true for blog sites, and bloggers should learn to take their initial topic and break it down into the sub-categories in which they have real expertise.
By confining your blog to a smaller niche, you can more readily build up a reputation as an online authority on a given subject. It is much easier to become the best blog in a smaller niche than it is to become an authority on a topic that is too broad to be manageable. It is also important to remember that people search for specific information when they are online.
Returning to our cooking example, someone is much more likely to search for “How to prepare bouillabaisse” than simply “ soup”.
And, when they find a blog that answers their specific questions, they are much more likely to share that site on social media and become a returning visitor.
Tip Two – The Halo Effect
Now, I can hear bloggers everywhere shouting, “But I can't write about bouillabaisse for the rest of my life!”. That's very true, and this is where the Halo Effect comes in.
The Halo Effect is a psychological term coined by Edward Thorndike at the turn of the last century. At its most basic, it recognizes that people tend to assume that someone or something's positive attributes in one field automatically transfer to other fields. It is the essence of branding.
For example, the success of Apple's iPad led to a brand identification that consumers extended to all of the company's products, i.e. the iPad is great, therefore all of Apple's products must be great. This was the halo effect in action, and Apple was able to introduce new products that the public simply assumed were guaranteed to be top quality.
That same halo effect can be leveraged by successful bloggers. Your hard-won reputation in one small niche will be transferred from the mind of your audience to your other endeavors. In other words, “this person knows their bouillabaisse; it's a sure thing they know who makes the best kitchen utensils”. By building a solid reputation in one small niche, you can create an authoritative online identity that will extend to other topics.
For a blog to be truly successful, it needs to become the go-to source for information on a specific topic. By narrowing your focus, and starting small, you can build an online reputation for creating the most authoritative and informative blogs in your field. That reputation will keep visitors coming to all of your sites for the information they want, and the information they want to share with others.