You know that devastating feeling when you’ve poured your heart, soul and coffee-infused brain into a piece of writing, just to find out that it’s been read by your mom (hey, mom!), aunt Gertrude, her book club and your cat – and this last bit is purely based on speculation. Not only does it happen to the best of us, but it happens to most of us: very few Internet Gods have been able to achieve a following so strong that even (hilarious and amazing) taxidermy adventures can garner as much attention as a U.S. presidential debate – yes, I’m looking at you, Jenny Lawson.
This may be due to the fact that we’re all just small fish in the big Internet pond, and that it’s really hard to stand out in the blogging crowd. Or perhaps you’re writing about proper ways of brewing tea. Either way, one of the essential tricks to get people’s attention, in the blogging world just like in life, is to show your personality. You don’t have to just trust us on this; just take a look at the personal approach of pretty much any relevant brand ever. Yes, this one. This one, too. See, all the cool kids are doing it and, as an individual, so should you! There are really no excuses; instead, I’ll give you a few tips:
1. Personalize the look of your blog.
It’s not that much of an investment to pick a neat WordPress template, and make it your own. Because, let’s face it, every time I see a page that looks like it’s been pulled out of a blank notebook and glued onto the Interwebs, no matter how awesome the content, it just makes me a tad bit sad. I know you can do better! So customize, customize, customize – if the guys and girls on Project Runway can make it work, so can you
2. Personalize your blog’s domain name.
We’re past the point when .com was the be all and end all of internet domain names. There are so many cool ones around that’ll make you stick out – in a good way. A .me domain name, for example, is as personal as you can get, and chances are the one you’re looking for is available. Plus, you can make it work like whoa – CoffeeIsOn.Me, if you’re a coffee aficionado, or BrewingTeaWith.Me, if you’re that tea person. If you’re not up for a .me, there are many others to choose from (did someone say .im?)
3. Get an email address with your name, because you can (therefore should).
How cool would it be to have firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address? Very cool. Again, you can chose among a variety of extensions and between several registrars offering this service – currently, Blacknight’s promotion is one to consider.
4. Find your niche and stick with it!
Show some genuine interest and knowledge about a certain topic (alright, fine, it can be about tea brewing), and you’re bound to find a following in the community. A great example of this is Mike Vardy, writer, podcaster, speaker and productivity enthusiast (“productivityist”), whose personal blog vardy.me is among my favorites.
5. Find your voice. Apply liberally.
This is one of the hardest and most important parts of a good online presence and sometimes takes years to master. Just when you’ve achieved that perfect blend of wit and sarcasm in real life, here comes the Internet with its funny ways to pose another challenge. However, once you master that unique voice, and are channeling the REAL you – not projecting an imaginary persona, your readers will know and will respond to that. That recognizable voice may even become your main online feature – again, looking at you, Ms. Lawson. All you have to do? Practice. It’s often hard to address an imaginary, and undoubtedly varied group of people who don’t know how awesome (and not weird at all) you are. I found that pretending to write to a friend – or to your cat – helps.
The take away points: be sincere, develop your own style and do everything in your power to channel your inner “me.” If it takes a few formal tweaks to your blog or your email – so be it. Your cat will be proud of you. And more importantly, you’ll find the right audience that’ll appreciate the writing and the person behind it!