How To Become A Successful Blogger in 2018 (Based on 102 Case Studies)

One of the best decisions I ever made was to start blogging.

It allowed me to pay back my school loan, take control over my schedule and design the life on my terms.

On top of that, I was able to help people while learning more about things I was interested in.

But LISTEN:

It was not easy.

There are well over 1 billion websites on the internet.

According to MarketingProfs, two million blog posts are published every single day.

I think you’ll agree that the online world is only getting more competitive.

Blogging seems like a pipe-dream and you even wonder if it’s possible.

Right now it feels like nobody, except “hackers”, see your site.

If you have ever wondered how EXACTLY can you build a successful blog, you are in the right place!

Because there is a way…

What you need are good role models.

You need a trusted advisor who would tell what to do, when and why so you don’t waste any time.

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”

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Tony Robbins

TonyRobbins.com

Tony Robbins is master at modeling.

James Altucher calls it Tony Robbins method:

  1. at first, you don’t know anything.
  2. you find 5 people who are the experts in the world.
  3. you extensively interview them.
  4. you figure out the most simple things they have in common with each other.
  5. you do that simple thing over and over again (repetition).

And that’s how you succeed.

If it’s good enough for Tony Robbins, it should be good enough for us too, don’t you think? 😃

This unique video by NYTimes about the evolution of 100-Meter Sprint is the best visualization I’ve seen about progress and modeling. There is almost a straight line of improvement.

Credits to NYTimes.

How did this happen?

Well, once something works, others study it and copy the best practices. They constantly build upon each other’s past successes and push humanity forward.

What if you could learn how to blog from the world’s smartest bloggers, people who have built multi-million dollar blogging business all at once?

What if Jon Morrow, Neil Patel, Brian Clark, Noah Kagan, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Brian Dean, Ryan Holiday (and more) all sat in one room and gave you their best advice how to build your blog?

Advice based on their experience, years of accumulated knowledge building business online?

Well, I am happy to say — now you can!

These guys have been interviewed time and time again, they have created courses, written books and have opened their kimonos and shared their key lessons.

As I prepared for my own 3rd attempt to build a successful blogging business, I set out to uncover the secrets of pro-bloggers.

First time around I made many mistakes, I learned as I went, but my lack of knowledge eventually caught up with me. This time I promised myself to do it right.

Nowadays we are drowning in information but we are starving for wisdom.

That’s why I worked hard to filter and find the most credible bloggers, online business owners.

I bought their courses, I bought their books, studied their interviews, read their case studies (in fact, 100 of them, here’s the spreadsheet).

My goal was to map out the birds-view journey that starting blogger can take to build a successful blogging business.

I wanted to make it as simple as 1-2-3 steps you could follow.

  1. Plan
  2. Write
  3. Promote

Once you get these three steps right, you’re set.

If you had a popular blog with loyal readers — couldn’t you figure out a way to make money from it?

Of course – you could!

That’s why I organized this article around these three fundamental steps.



Table of Contents

Part 1: Strategy – The Key To Becoming a Successful Blogger

  • Chapter 1: How To Pick A Profitable Niche For Your Blog
  • Chapter 2: Your Secret Weapon To Gaining Competitive Advantage
  • Chapter 3: How Do You Make Your Blog Stand Out?

Part 2: Writing –  How To Write A Blog Post That Drives Traffic

  • Chapter 4: The Mindset and Strategy Behind Crafting SuperArticles
  • Chapter 5: How To Perform Effective Research
  • Chapter 6: How To Become A Better Writer

Part 3: Promotion – How To Get Traffic To Your Website

  • Chapter 7: The Mindset Required To Achieve Explosive Blog Growth
  • Chapter 8:  #1 Evergreen Traffic Strategy All Pros Use
  • Chapter 9: How Bloggers Make Money?

Bonus:

  • Chapter 10: How To Get Work Done Faster
  • Supporting Worksheets & Checklist
  • Infographic: Successful Bloggers vs Unsuccessful Bloggers


Are you ready to learn from the best and finally have a blueprint to follow?

Let’s jump in.


Part 1: Preparation stage: How Do You Make Your Blog Stand Out?


“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the ax.”

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Abraham Lincoln

16th U.S. President

This is the most important part.

Get it wrong and you’ll be wasting years just to discover you climbed the wrong wall.

We are advised to hustle, “Shoot first, aim second.”

But this is horrible advice if you want to build a successful blog.

You MUST have a better strategy than follow your passion and hope the money will follow.

I learned the importance of this step after failing at it miserably.

I built my previous blog (sold two years ago) 1stWebDesigner to 2.5 million visitors/month without any strategy.I just had a niche I was passionate about – web design.

You are probably thinking, what is this guy saying – 2.5 million and failing?

From outside it looked like a successful business, but it was built around search traffic, ads and no authority.

When Google changed it’s algorithm the site suddently could pay only for myself and I needed to lay off almost all of my team.

That’s when I knew I was missing something. My education had some huge holes.

To put it in perspective other sites with smaller traffic than mine like Social Triggers, Backlinko, IWillTeachYouToBeRich are multi-million dollar businesses.

The problem was that I focused on:

  • list articles (simple collections that didn’t build authority)
  • writing on whatever I was interested in – web design, typography, blogging, books (site became a general store, not known for anything)
  • making quick money (I built email list, just to abuse and drain it with endless product pitches, webinars, affiliate promotions)

This is NOT how you build sustainable blogging business.

The way you do it is by spending time upfront to figure out your niche, validating your idea and position yourself to be different from the crowd.

I promise you, every hour you invest in preparation here will save you at least 10 hours in the future.

That’s 10x return on your time!


Chapter 1: How To Pick A Profitable Niche For Your Blog


“It’s shockingly common to target the wrong audience.

Of the thousands of students who come into our courses, more than 95% begin by targeting a poor or nonexistent audience that will never be able to support a successful blog, no matter how much time they put into it”

I was lucky the first time when my interest was in web design and it was a viable niche.

However, the second time around I went for kizomba dancing niche (what..zumba???)

The plan was to become a professional kizomba dancer and eventually make money with it selling courses online.

This is how far I got.

Kizomba dancers were a small, passionate community, but a year later I realized I would never make living online with it.

It’s a video of me and my girlfriend dancing if you’re curious how kizomba looks like.

a. How To Know If Your Blog Idea Is Any Good?

If I asked this question early on when starting my dancing project I would have saved sooo much time. But I didn’t.

People liked dancing idea (12K subscribers on Youtube), but when I asked only few people were willing to pay for it (and very little).

Don’t make the same mistake and test your idea first through Ramit Sethi’s demand matrix.

It looks simple, yet contains a profound lesson.

My dancing project would fit right in the Labor of Love — few customers and low price.

However webdesign blog was right in the Mass Market (they way I positioned it) – many customers, but low price. Now I know,
that if I had done better job on positioning I could have made Golden Goose out of it.

Ask yourself – where does your blog fit in?

Beware from Labor of Love category…


b. The Truth Behind The Passion Controversy

Darren Rowse from Problogger once asked — How did you choose the niche for your blog?

Can you see a problem here?

When I went for dancing project I blindly followed Steve Jobs words – “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

But passion is the wrong question.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH.

Instead, you must ask:

What are my strengths?

Where is the money?

..and avoid your weaknesses.

You are looking for the sweet spot.

You are looking for things that motivate you, give you an unfair advantage AND something people are already willing to pay money for online. You are looking for Golden Gooses and Mass Markets.

To find these answers spend time to learn about yourself.

“The happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.” 

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Ray Dalio

Billionaire and author of “Principles: Life and Work

Here are the most effective tactics I used:

  • take personality tests like 16Personalities, GeniusU, and Kolbe (paid)
  • Ask your friends — What is the one thing you do better than anyone else they know?
  • List down challenges you’ve overcome, the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired.
  • Look at your book library, do you notice any patterns?
  • When friends ask you for advice, what is it about?

What you find might just surprise you (it sure did for me).

Another interesting argument I discovered in my research is that you actually don’t need to follow your passion.

As long as you gain these traits in work — good financial income, control over your time and do meaningful work — you’ll be happy.

This is what Mike Rowe noticed when making his show “Dirty Jobs”. It’s about people who do jobs nobody would say they are passionate about. Jobs like roadkill picker-upper, pig farmer or dirt sterilizer. Yet these people were happy and made good living. (Watch TEDtalk by Mike for more).

You could just be passionate about being able to live the life on your terms.

Either way do yourself a favor — pick between things you enjoy, are good at and the ones that pay good money.


c. The Million Dollar Question

“You see, people often think that competition is a bad thing. But when you have almost no competition, and the competition you do have is failing, it’s because you have a bad business idea that nobody actually cares about it.  

And that’s why competition – and competition that is succeeding – is a good thing. It’s proof that people want what you’re building.” 

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

How big is your niche?

Jon Morrow suggests asking:

“Are there at least one million people interested in it online?”

The bigger the industry, the easier it will be to attract at least fraction of these people to your site.

I found also this to be a good question to ask —

“Do I know any million dollar businesses in my field? Can I find any?”

For example, when I asked this question for dancing niche — I didn’t like the answer.

There was nobody making full-time living with kizomba dancing online.

The only way to make living dancing was to constantly travel and teach at festivals.

Somehow I didn’t see it through my excitement.


d. You Don’t Have To Be Expert To Start

Often you won’t be an expert when starting out and this stops many people from starting. They instead go to get more “qualifications” and delay their idea for years.

For example, even now when considering a blog about blogging, I felt weary. I have some experience as I build 1stwebdesigner in 8 years, but I certainly don’t feel like an expert. More like a curious student, advanced beginner.

“I think it’s okay to start a blog on a topic you don’t know a lot about.

I certainly wasn’t an expert when I started my blogs ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.”

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Darren Rowse

Problogger.com

Most people searching for answers are beginners. As long as you know a little more than beginner and are willing to constantly keep learning more and sharing everything along the way, you’re ok.

In fact, being a curious beginner is far more relatable to others than being an expert.


e. Authority Mindset – The Strategy of Preeminence

This is something that most people overlook (as I did too).

If you just rehash other people’s content and write only simple list posts, you won’t build any authority.

If you want people to do business with you they must see you as trusted advisor in your niche.

I learned this idea from Jay Abraham and he calls it the Strategy of Preeminence.

“It boils down to, I’m not trying to sell you — I want to serve you.”

How do you become an authority?

By being able to empathise and understand your reader feelings, worries, pains, dreams better than they can. You do it by giving insanely practical advice that solves their problems.

Jay: 

“Those who practice the strategy of preeminence tell people, — Here’s what you should do, here’s why you should do it and here’s how.”

This is how you’ll earn your reader attention and trust.
This is how you create long-term, true fans.

Recommended: Read or watch to learn more about the strategy.

Now…

How do you gain this level of understanding about your readers?


Chapter 2: Your Secret Weapon To Gaining Competitive Advantage


If you want to build a blog that will turn in the successful blogging business, you must remember — it’s not about you.

It’s about solving the needs and problems of your target audience.

It’s starts by knowing your market.


a. Discover Your Dream100

I learned about Dream100 from Chet Holmes – The Ultimate Sales Machine (Russel Brunson popularised it later, check him talking about it here).

Your Dream100 (you can add any number) is a list of 100 influencers you’d like to become friends with. These are people you look up to and who share your core values.

Dream100 is important for several reasons:

  • these influencers have your dream readers
  • you must know your competition so you could learn from them
  • blogging is a lonely road, it’s nice to have friends to share it with.

Brian Dean used his competition to discover proven content frameworks, which later became his infamous Skyscraper Technique.

Here’s how you find your Dream100:

Time needed: 3 hours.

  1. Use Other People Research

    Search Google for roundups of the top sites in your topic – “top/best/experts/popular” + “your topic” + “blogs”

    For example, Top SEO blogs, Websites for Writers 2018, Most Influential Affiliate Marketers

    Don’t forget to also look for – best [topic] podcasts/youtube channels/conferences/

  2. Do Your Own Research

    Think of keywords that describe your niche. Top sites ranking on these keywords will usually be part of your Dream100.

  3. Use Buzzsumo

    (signup for a free account to get unlimited searches) to see top articles of each website and help you decide if the site has your dream readers.

  4. Use SimilarWeb and their social media accounts

    This will help you to gauge how big is their audience and how approachable these influencers might be.

  5. Collect relevant information

    Discover who’s behind these sites and over time keep collecting relevant data about them. Later you will use it to stand out and start conversations.

    Collect data on things like what topics he is interested in, his interests, his friends, family, where he hangs out etc. This will be extremely useful when reaching out.

Here’s how my Dream100 looks like:

DR is their domain authority.


Important Note

Make sure you include both big influencers and small ones. When it’s time for networking, you will start from the bottom and slowly move up.

The more popular influencers are, the busier they are.

However, bloggers with similar-sized audiences to yours will become easily your best friends, accountability buddies and support system.

I remember how fun and motivating it was when I and my friend started blogs at the same time and had a nice competition that pushed both of us to grow faster.

Don’t underestimate the power of friendships.


b. Get Into Minds of Your Dream Readers

Listening to the people could be your greatest weapon.

Remember, it’s not about you — it’s about your reader. It’s about serving your reader to the best of your ability.
And in order to do that, you must learn all about him.

Daymond once said on interview:

“By the time I had created FUBU and did my deal with Samsung, you couldn’t tell me anything about my customer that I didn’t know.

I knew what clothes they wore, what they drank, what they drove — everything, the color, the size.

I knew they would pay $79.99, but they wouldn’t pay $99.99.”

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Daymond John

CEO of FUBU, Known from Shark Tank

You want to get out of your head and get into minds of your readers.

What exactly are you looking for?:

Their dreams and hopes.

For example:

My dream is to be able to not think about money and just focus on my craft, serving people, doing the best I can.”

Their challenges, fears and pain.

For example:

“I’m so scared that I’ll put in all of this time and effort just to have no one be interested. There are SO many blogs out there, how do you compete? I don’t feel like I have anything new or interesting to bring to the table. I want to dedicate all of my time to this but I can’t afford to quit my job.”

Exact words and metaphors they use to describe these feelings.

For example:

“How can I promote my blog without being annoying?”

or 

“I, too, am looking for more of a nuts and bolts approach. I need more of a cookbook, not a coffee table book.”

Different groups of potential audiences.

For example, for FounderTips I learned there are lots of different audiences, not just one as I previously thought.

There are:

  • get rich quick people, who want to make $1000 in the first month
  • hobby-bloggers, who just love writing, sharing their passion, don’t care about making money with it
  • startups/small business owners, who are interested in content marketing to increase their revenue
  • big companies, who want to scale, care about deep ROI, content marketing strategy, automation
  • Travel bloggers, digital nomads
  • niche site bloggers, who want to outsource, delegate, don’t care about passion and want to run multiple blogs.
  • Author, writer, copywriter bloggers – want to freelance write, become a book author (fiction, non-fiction)
  • and then there are experts, who want to become lifestyle entrepreneurs (4-hour-workweek lifestyle). People who want to build their personal brand and become entrepreneur teachers.

Sure, these audiences overlap, but can you see how the language you use will be different depending on the audience you target?

When you know exact language to use for your target readers, you cannot believe what kind of effect it will have. I experienced it when I read Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern sales pages.

People will ask themselves:

“How’s this person reading my mind? That’s exactly how I feel!”

Here’s how you do this research:

Important Note

This will take quite a bit of time and it should be a never-ending process. Create a dedicated document for collecting these nuggets (I use Evernote).

Copy and paste exact words people use.

Here’s how I collect this info:

1.Dig in book reviews

Amazon Book Reviews is a goldmine for learning what people really want.

What books your target audience reads?

These people have paid money for the book and will tell you exactly what they loved and hated about it.

Look especially at 1-4 star reviews as 5 stars reviews are usually left by friends. Also note the headline, subtitle, table of contents and cover of these niche books as they reveal a lot about what your audience wants.

2. Question and Answer Sites

Quora is great to see popular questions in your niche. You can see it by the number of follows question has.

3. Check The Online Communities

Reddit, Forums and Facebook groups are extremely useful because people seem to open up in these environments and reveal their biggest challenges as questions.

Just use simple search strings in google to find these groups:

  • “ your topic + reddit”,
  • “your topic + forum”
  • “ your topic + facebook group”.

Look for topics that show up often and ones that seem to spark the biggest conversations. On reddit you can nicely sort subreddit posts by Top – Past month, year, all time. Make sure to use them.

4. Use Youtube

Youtube is the second biggest search engine and another great source for research. Just type in questions your audience might be asking, find popular niche channels and look at the questions people ask under popular relevant videos to your niche.

Use Ctrl + F on PC or Command + F and type in question mark to quickly find interesting comments.

5. Your Dream100 site comment sections

hen you find your competitors and plug in their URL’s in Buzzsumo, check the comment sections of these articles and look for interesting stories or questions people ask.

6. Analyse competitor product sales pages, FAQ, case studies, objections

If you spent the time to create your Dream100, you’ll notice that many of them have their products, courses and with it sales pages.

The more expensive the course, the more value you’ll get because your competitor usually has spent significant research to learn about their audience, their objections.

Use Archive.is if the sales page is not available anymore, sometimes it’s been saved before and you’ll get archived version of it.

At first, you’ll start by guessing who your ideal reader is, but over time as you talk to your readers, hear their struggles, survey them — you’ll know.

Few extra ninja tips to learn about your existing readers:

  • Darren Rowse used to manually email people who left comments on his site and engage with them. When people comment they leave their email, so why not reach out to them?
  • After people join your email list, ask them – “What are you struggling with the most right now?” You’ll get simple answers. But then you reply them manually and ask followup questions like – “What do you mean? What have you tried that worked, didn’t worked? Really curious to hear some more.” With this 1-2 punch you’ll open the floodgate and answers on second part of questions will be immensely valuable!

c. Analyse top articles

When you are doing this research notice patterns of frequently asked questions.

What kind of articles seem to be shared the most?

And what kind of articles get people to open up and share their stories in comments?

Be on lookout for these things.

As you immerse yourself in the industry you’ll start coming up with great ideas and naturally write using your reader’s words. You’ll become like Daymond John who knew everything about his customer.

Collect great articles and any article ideas you have as you are doing this research.

It will come in handy in the content creation phase.

Use Ahrefs for deeper popular content research

BuzzSumo is a bit limited in free version by showing only top 5 articles during the last year.

I would really suggest going for Ahrefs 7$, 7 day trial.

Ahrefs is great for discovering other sites popular content. My favorite sections are “Best by links” and “Best by link growth”.

There you can see to which pages other website owners have linked the most. Study these pages and look for patterns.

Alternatively you can look for your Dream100 popular content pages on their websites.

It’s usually somewhere in the sidebar or titled something along the lines of “Most Popular”.


d. Attract the right audience, repulse the wrong one

It’s not about the size of your audience, it’s about quality of it.

Ramit Sethi learned it hard way. He found that people who want to save money, don’t want to spend money to help them save it (even if by paying $9, they would gain $90).

You can either attract people with money or people with no money.
You can either attract action takers or “silver bullet” seekers.
You can either attract cheapskates and discount seekers or people, who are willing to invest in quality education.

There are two ways you can attract the right audience and repulse the wrong one:

  1. Google Search intent – Different people search for different things. For example, someone who searches “how to make money quick” is very different from the person who searches “how to build a successful online business”.

    Read this guide to make sure you rank on Google for the RIGHT keywords.

  2. The language you use – you can share stories about how you invest in your education by buying books, courses, going to conferences or joining mastermind groups. Or you can talk about cutting coupons and taking advantage of refund-policies. It’s up to you, but be mindful of the choices you make.

Derek puts it nicely:

“When you think about who you want to attract, think about MORE not LESS.


Show your readers how spending MORE on education will make them MORE successful.”

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

Your vibe attracts your tribe.

Make sure you attract your dream clients instead of clients from hell.

The reason why in the early days of 1stWebDesigner I attracted cheapskates was that I was cheapskate myself. It showed in articles I wrote, the language I used.

Don’t make the same mistake.


Chapter 3: How Do You Make Your Blog Stand Out?


“If you’re just going to start another me-too blog, what’s the point? 

My motto has always been, figure out a way to be the best in the world on that small piece of real estate you have on the internet. 

Just try to be the best, and you’ll find you get disproportionate rewards.” 

Most people don’t spend time to think how they can differentiate. They enter red oceans full of people trying to undercut each other on price. You don’t want that.

The point of differentiation is so that when people introduce you to others —  they would say, oh he’s a traffic guy, conversion expert or if you want to run faster — you gotta talk to this woman.

You gotta ask yourself:

What’s the hook for my blog?

Why would anyone read my blog instead of a million other blogs?

This is #1 tip Tim Ferriss has for people starting new businesses —

“It’s easiest (and in my mind, more fun) to create a category and own it rather than trying to dominate an existing category with something incrementally better.  

Create a new category that is easily differentiated.”

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Tim Ferriss

4-Hour Workweek

This concept is explained more in books “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” in chapter 2: Law of Category and “Blue Ocean Strategy”.


a. Good Examples

Are you confused?
It’s easier to show than explain..

  • BehaviorGap – Carl Richards explains complex financial concepts through simple sketches.
  • Blogging From Paradise – Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging
  • GrooveHQ shared their startup journey to $10M in annual revenue.
  • MichaelHyatt – Your Leadership Mentor
  • Matthew Woodward launched his site with Zero Link Building Challenge (SEO)
  • StartaMomBlog – How to start a successful blog as a mom.
  • RomanFitnessSystems – We do two things: make People Hot and Get People Huge.
  • Fluent In 3 Months – Language hacking and travel tips. Have confident conversations in weeks instead of years!
  • NicheHacks – teach how t build niche sites and monetize with affiliate marketing
  • Kinowear is a menswear fashion blog that aims to help you dress in your own unique, upgraded style… while actually saving money.
  • MeeraKotHand – I simplify email marketing so that you can create a tribe that’s addicted to your zone of genius (even if email scares you senseless)
  • ShaeBaxter – I’m here to help… Make Google fall in love with you! (let me show you how)
  • NerdFitness – “I love breaking down a difficult concept or a controversial topic and attacking it from a unique angle with our twist of Nerd culture references and lessons.” – Steve Kamb

Every one of these sites have something that makes them different. This is especially important in the beginning.

Even Jon Morrow, Smart Blogger site started super niche — BoostBlogTraffic.


b. Pick a sub-niche of a niche you can dominate FIRST (10 articles)

In one interview Brian Dean explained how he came from nowhere and quickly became an expert in the competitive SEO industry.

He did it by going super niche.

At first, he picked up a popular sub-niche of a niche – Link Building.

Then he wrote 8-10 epic articles only talking about link building.

When he was guest posting, he wrote about link building.

His bio, his homepage, his about page all talked about him being link building expert.

Quickly he was recognized as an expert in this sub-niche. He was interviewed about link building and invited to contribute on expert roundups.

Next, Brian picked another sub-niche of a niche, until he mastered that..and so on…until he arrived to where he is now.

This reminds of a story about Facebook, doesn’t it?

Facebook didn’t compete with Myspace head on. At first they were social network only for Harvard, then other Ivy league schools until step by step they ended up spreading over the world.

It’s a proven strategy, make sure you use it!

Develop Your Unique Solution, Technique

Along with picking a sub-niche of a niche, you must come up with a unique solution that will help to position you as an authority.

I kept seeing this again and again as a key factor to authority for today’s experts.

Few successful examples:


The Briefcase Technique by Ramit Sethi

The Briefcase Technique is a simple tactic, that helps to negotiate a higher salary. Ramit noticed how well this simple trick worked, he named it and eventually became famous because of it.

It’s so powerful because it works and gives instant improved results when applied.

Feature Box by Derek Halpern

When Derek started he knew he must do something unique to stand out. His audience struggled with conversions, so he came up with the Feature Box. Then he went around and did website review videos of influential bloggers online.

He gave tips on how to increase website conversions and always made sure to mention his Feature Box solution. 

His association with popular bloggers and his unique solution quickly helped him to become an authority.

The SkyScraper Technique by Brian Dean

The SkyScraper technique is basically just about how to write remarkable content. Many people have talked about it and even a huge authority like Rand Fishkin came up with his unique solution and named it 10X Content.

But 10X content is little known, while everyone in the blogging/SEO community talks about Skyscraper. Why?

Because after creating his solution, Brian Dean went around guest posting and talking about his solution everywhere.


It must be something that solves one important reader problem instantly when applied.

You do that and you get true fans for life.

“You may not have unique ingredients, but you’ve got a unique recipe. And that unique recipe is all that matters.” 

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

You may not have an idea for your trademark technique yet, but keep it in the back of your mind.

SuperPower solution is a powerful way to establish authority and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it.


c. Review 127 blogs to get perspective

It’s extremely useful to check both great and bad blog examples.

When you research your Dream100 naturally you’ll be exposed to great, successful examples, but what about bad ones?

Where do you get that perspective?

When I asked this question I found Problogger was doing the International Start a Blog Day, where they listed 127 new blogger websites. I checked all these websites and analysed them.

I asked questions like:

  • What did I like about the site?
  • What seemed missing?
  • Does the site stand out in any way?

Approach this exercise with curiosity and put on your Sherlock’s hat. It’s fun, I promise.

For example, I discovered that most people are self-centered.

They write about things they are passionate about, but they forget to think how others can benefit from it.

This was a big AHA because I found myself doing it too. On my About page I invited people to follow me on the challenge, but I forgot to explain what’s in it for them!

When someone visits your site he is thinking – is it for me or not?

You have only 2.6 seconds to leave the first good impression!

Make sure your design looks trustworthy and your messaging explains why a visitor should stick around.

RomanFitnessSystems immediately stands out with quality design and unique messaging

If there is no unique hook —  the visitor thinks, oh it’s yet another food blog. Same old. No thank you.

If there is too much me, me, me talk — the visitor leaves because he doesn’t see what’s in it for him.

If there is a popup before the visitor can read anything — he gets annoyed and leaves.


d. Figure out hook for your email list

By now everyone knows they need to have email list.

From 127 blogs I reviewed almost everyone had optin box on their site.

But why should anyone give you their email address?

To receive free updates?

You must have AT LEAST an enticing freebie or ebook that solves big reader’s challenge.

Or even better you can develop unique hook not only for your website, but also your email list..!

“It’s critical that you pick an angle for your mailing list. What are you good at? What can only you offer via email?” 

Few examples:

  • Reading List — Ryan Holiday recommends life-changing books he has read each month. It’s been a huge success, you can read more about it here.
  • Brian Clark started not one, but two unique email lists. Further – is a personal growth newsletter, and Unemployable – a newsletter that provides smart strategies for freelancers and entrepreneurs once-a-week.
  • The Daily – David Risley has a newsletter where he promises to send a daily email from Monday through Friday to give actionable advice on what’s working in the world of blogging and online marketing.
Brian Clark’s Further email newsletter looks tempting, doesnt it?

Email list is your most valuable asset as a blogger, why not spend little extra time to make it unique too?

Both Neil Patel and Jon Morrow say that you can expect to make $1 per subscriber per month. Money is in lists.

Unique hook could be something as simple as promising subscriber-only insights as Kyle from GrowthBadger demonstrates.

Ninja Tip

Don’t focus on email list only. Start collecting Browser Notification lists, Facebook Messenger lists – money is in all lists that you control.


e. Including Hero’s Journey as Part of Your Blog’s Theme

“Having a story arc built into your blog does wonders.

People want to follow to find out what happens. 

That’s why “project blogs” do so well. 

You need something big, something personal, and something that you care about deeply. Then you frame it in a way that capitalizes on the natural storytelling elements. 

If you can do this, half your work as a blogger is done. 

Blogs without a central purpose always struggle.” 

avatar

Alex Turnbull

Founder of GrooveHQ

If you are still struggling with how to differentiate, don’t worry!
The most unique ingredient is YOU.

You have unique experiences and fascinating stories only YOU can tell.

The easiest way to add story arc into your blog is by starting a challenge.

This is how you start with a bang. Alex talked everywhere about this challenge and attracted lots of interest right from the start.

Here are few examples:

Challenges get people hooked like a good TV show.

People love real stories.

Challenges are inspiring, relatable and personal.

I did it with my kizomba dancing project. I committed myself to one year of practicing for 3 hours a day.

Then I publicly shared my journey short video blogs. People loved it and saw themselves on the journey I took.

You don’t need to start as an expert.

But after you overcome challenges in front of your readers you’ll become one and people will trust you.


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