10 ways to differentiate yourself as a blogger
1 - Know your audience.
Who is your ideal reader? What are her fears and dreams? What's different about her? What inspires her? If you don't know, ask her. Conduct a survey. Have a conversation. When you are brainstorming ideas for content, think of her and don't be distracted by thoughts of how others will receive what you say. You aren't writing for them. When you try to please everyone, it's harder to distinguish you from the pack.
2 - Be multi-dimensional.
You are a photographer. A yogi. A gardener. A country music fan. Who was adopted. Who has a passion for animals. Who is a sex coach. Who has lupus. Who is a recovering mean girl. Who writes poetry. Whose father is an alcoholic. With a fear of crowds and tight spaces. And spiders. And religion. And a strange obsession with feet. And obesity. And little people. Explore your layers and show your personality as much as possible. Don't worry about alienating your audience. You want them to love you for you. And the right ones will, and they will become your most loyal readers, but only if you show up -- heart on your sleeve, light shining, quirks evident.
3 - Take risks.
Surprise your readers and try new things. Say what they are thinking but can't express. Be a rebel with a cause. Test your ideas and ask for feedback. Write that post that will shake them up. Create that thing that will make their lives easier. Do what your heart wants -- to serve, inspire, beautify, heal. If you get it wrong, try again. And then again. Somewhere in one of those tries will be a piece of magic that will resonate and hit the mark. With every try you will become less afraid, more confident and more effective.
4 - Call to action.
Why are you blogging? What impact do you want to have? Think about how you want to make people feel, what you want them to know and what you want them to do after reading your blog. Be influential. Build the case then ask for what you want. You want them to subscribe to your blog? Ask them. Join you in a healthy diet challenge? Urge them. Say positive affirmations to themselves three times a day? Challenge them to do so. Be in it together. Believe in your mission.
5 - Be Imperfect.
Show your humanity. Let them see your dreams, struggles, insecurities, and triumphs. They want to know what you have overcome and what you are dreaming of. No one wants your perfection. They won't stay for your everything-is-easy-all-the-time image. They want a journey. They want to see themselves in you and connect. Your loyal readers will be the ones who feel at home in your space and inspired that they too can be flawed and unashamed.
6 - Evolve in public.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Develop your writing skills and if applicable, your photography and design skills. Notice what draws you to other blogs. Layout. Language. Imagery. Color. Voice. Study your craft and commit to your progress. Keep elevating your game. Don't treat it like a hobby if deep down you know you want it to be more. Be professional. Share your growth with your readers. Talk about the behind the scenes and make yourself -- your growth -- accessible. Show your transformation. Grow and inspire.
7 - Come out from behind your blog.
Go out and tell people who you are. Stay abreast of what is going on in your area and volunteer to cover relevant events on your blog. Why not plan your own event? Interview someone or host a discussion on google hangout. Start a podcast series. Stretch beyond your comfort zone. Share yourself in a different way.
8 - Develop a unique series or feature.
What kind of conversations do you like to have and with whom? If someone intrigues or interests you, invite them to be featured on your blog. Likewise, if there is a topic you want to know more about, create an informational series that will inform both you and your readers. Pay close attention to the content you currently read and ask yourself what's missing that you would like to see so you can create it. Keep your ideal reader in mind. You won't be the first to do features on your blog, but you can be the first to do it with your spin and your perspective.
9 - Build relationships and create community.
Interact with your readers and get to know them. Respond to their comments, emails and efforts to connect on social media. Find out which social media platform works best for you and develop a strategy for engagement. Get to know like-minded bloggers and collaborate with them. Leave comments on their blogs, retweet them, let them know you appreciate what they do. Get your readers involved by hosting a challenge or giveaway.
10 - Practice what you preach.
Set an example for your readers and show them how you walk your talk. Build credibility, not by being perfect, but by being honest. Having a blog is like having an accountability partner. Your readers take the time to visit your space and read your words and you feel a responsibility to deliver and do what you've said you will do. If you allow it, blogging will give you the courage to lead.