Technorati indexes 133 million blogs. According to their statistics, about 900,000 blog posts get made every 24 hours. Every topic, every theme, and every subject has been exhaustively covered by hundreds of blogs.
So why should anyone read yours?
Getting noticed might seem impossible. But there are blogs that rise up out of that vast sea of sameness. Blogs started by people just like you. You don’t necessarily need great writing talent, although it’s worth developing the talent you have. You don’t need to be able to break the latest tech news or celebrity gossip. And you don’t need to already be famous.
You do need to find something interesting that only you can say, then say it clearly and repeatedly. Here are some ideas for lifting your content out of the limitless ocean of blog mediocrity.
Don’t write in a tired space
Think twice before you start a blog whose sole focus is on affiliate marketing, your adoration of Apple products, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, or, yes, blogging itself.
It’s not that there’s too much competition. Competition is a great thing. The problem is how rarely anyone approaches these subjects with a truly fresh eye.
It’s not impossible to create exciting new sites on these topics. Ittybiz did it with making money online, and Zen Habits with an appealing personal voice and an easygoing, non-techie approach to GTD.
If you have a genuinely new angle or voice to contribute, go for it. Otherwise, ask yourself if anyone really needs another Shoemoney clone.
Don’t write in a space no one cares about
On the other hand, if you start a blog on naked mole rats, it had better be for passion rather than profit. The audience that wants more information about insect-like collectivist rodents is going to be pretty limited.
If you’re launching a blog (or trying to refine your topic to get more readers), start with some basic keyword research. Look for a subject that gets a healthy amount of traffic every day for combined relevant keyword phrases.
One way to find a great niche is to carve out a small corner of a popular topic. It will be hard to get attention for “weight loss,” but you could create a great following for yourself with “gourmet low-carb.”
Share a unique voice
There are a million snarky mommy blogs. There’s one Dooce.
The more vulnerable you’re willing to get, the harder you are to imitate. And the more likely you are to find the true fans that lead to blogging success. Dooce’s mix of serious and silly, profane and profound, has found a lot of would-be imitators. But Heather Armstrong stays at the top of the game because, well, no one else can be Heather Armstrong.
If you want to know how to strengthen your own unique voice, re-read this classic Copyblogger post on becoming a better writer.
. . . or be genuinely useful
Even though the world is virtually drowning in information, that information is getting harder and harder to actually use.
Who’s trustworthy? What are the first steps? Which resources actually work? When’s the best time to start? What’s overrated, hard to use, or annoying?
Look around for a set of useful questions you can reliably answer. Keep an eye on forums, blog comments, Twitter and your own email box for problems that seem to come up again and again. Keep looking for ways to help.
It’s absolutely fine if you compile rather than create. It’s not your job to invent something out of nothing. It’s your job to take the nearly infinite sea of information and distill it to something useful.
. . . or have real authority
If you actually make 7 figures on the Web, you are allowed to start a “making money online” blog.
If not, well, don’t.
. . . or focus on your community
It doesn’t matter how many blogs there are on your subject, or how big some of them are. If you focus obsessively on offering great solutions that benefit your readers, you’re going to be able to grab a nice slice of the attention pie.
Chris Brogan is the master of this. There are thousands of blogs about social media, but no one pours more attention and care into his community than Chris does. His dedication is both remarkable and infectious, and it pays off not just with great readership numbers, but with an engaged readership that talks Chris up and recommends his blog to others.
The key to creating a memorable web presence
It’s not what you uniquely do. It’s what you uniquely communicate.
There will always be bloggers who are smarter, more perceptive, better connected, or more entertaining than you are. But if you can communicate what you have to offer in an exceptional way, you’ll find a warm, responsive audience and all the amazing gifts that can bring.
Let us know in the comments: why should we read your blog?