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5 Ways to Avoid B2B Blogger Burnout


falling from chair Whether you write about GPS systems or accounting software, you know blogging about business-to-business (B2B) topics gets boring quickly. As time goes by and you keep pushing for new topic ideas and trying to find more time to write about them, you often find yourself feeling uninspired, bored, or otherwise wishing for a way out. So you have to ask yourself: How can I avoid this problem in the first place?

To help answer that question, here are five ways to avoid getting burned out as a blogger!

Keep Up with the Competition

A little healthy competition can be a good thing. When you watch the other guys churning out quality content time and time again, you know it’s possible. What’s more, you’re challenged to try to keep up. Hopefully you’re already following a variety of other blogs in your industry, but if not, do some research and subscribe to a handful of the best. Then use them to keep yourself motivated.

Seek Out Inspiration

Finding inspiration goes hand-in-hand with eyeing the competition—by continuously taking in relevant content, you set yourself up to be inspired. Follow blogs in your industry, media outlets relevant to your field, interesting users on social media, and so on. Anything that serves to cultivate fresh ideas and concepts is worth using.

Get Help

When it comes to blogging, your load gets lighter when you ask for help. Who else on your team could contribute? If you’re a one-person operation, could you enlist guest bloggers? What series could you launch and then ask colleagues to contribute content? By delegating part of your blog work, you free yourself up to stay inspired.

Think Outside the Box

When you’re stumped for new topic ideas, don’t quit blogging—think about a blog post that’s different from the ones you’ve been doing. If you typically share your thoughts, why not post a roundup of other articles from around the Web? Or perhaps you might interview an industry authority, review a relevant book, or create and post a unique infographic. By letting yourself think outside the box, you expand the ways blogging can work for you.

Plan Ahead—and Be Realistic About It

Setting an editorial calendar for your blog, in which you plan a month’s or a quarter’s posts ahead of time, may sound daunting. The truth is, though, that knowing what you need to write ahead of time is half the battle. It’s harder to feel uninspired when Friday’s topic and synopsis are right before you. Likewise, when you set your schedule, be realistic about it. If you know you are only able to write once a week, set your calendar accordingly. This not only helps you avoid frustration and burnout, but it also gives your readers clear expectations about when you post.

What do you think? Have you experienced some sort of blogger burnout from time to time? What could you do about it? If you’ve tried one of the above strategies, has it helped? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Image Credit: Bigstock

10 Reasons Your Blog is Failing


Over the years, I’ve written for a number of blogs, including blogs where I was the owner (like my new Blog Zombies blog), blogs owned by other people (like this one, the BlogWorld blog), and blogs that were part of a larger blog network (like b5media). Some have been wildly successful. Others, not so much. My style as a writer certain has changed over the years, but I think the core of who I am is still there…so it isn’t the blogger along that causes a blog to fail or succeed. Rather, the other decisions that go into blogging have a huge effect on whether you’re eating potatoes or lobster for dinner.

In preparing to launch Blog Zombies, I took a look back at my own failures and successes, along with some well-known other blogs that have (or have not) been successful to see if I could crack the code. Why do so many blogs fail while others, often with less talented writers, succeed? Here are 25 different things that many failing blogs (including some that I’ve been a part of) have in common – if your blog is failing, these might be the reasons why:

1) You have unrealistic expectations.

What is your definition of success? If you expect to get a million hits your first month as a blogger or plan to retire to your own private island within a year, you’re going to fail. Period. Unrealistic expectations can make your seem like a failure and give up, even though you actually were on the right track. No a-lister out there was wildly successful from the very first post. It takes time to build a blog that’s comparable to the blogs of your heroes. When I first started blogging, this was my fatal flaw – I quit my first blog too soon, not giving it time to grow. Push yourself, but get your expectations in check.

2) You don’t make blogging a priority

I understand that many beginning bloggers out there have regular jobs that they can’t afford quit to blog full time. Here’s a reality check, though: that’s the case for all of us! At least, it used to be. Very few bloggers have the luxury of being able to blog as a full time job from their very first post because blogging simply doesn’t pay the bills right away, no matter how good you are. The difference between those a-listers in your niche and a lot of bloggers who fail is that the a-listers made blogging a priority. It means less sleep and less time with your family. It means having free weekends is a thing of the past. It means you don’t have as much time for hobbies anymore. Until you get some steam, blogging has to be your priority unless one of the kids is on fire. Welcome to the 80-hour work week, my friend. Of course, you don’t have to give up other things in your life completely – just be aware that if you don’t spend time loving on your blog as you build your readership, it isn’t going to go anywhere.

3) You haven’t invested any money into your blog.

“But I don’t have any money.” Well, fine. Continue to tell yourself that your blog is just fine with its free WordPress or blogspot domain name, it’s poor design that you don’t know how to fix, its non-existent mailing list, and its plethora of other problems.

Listen. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get started. That’s one of the reasons I love blogging. But you do have to start setting aside money for upgrades – yes, even before your blog is making money of its own in most cases. If you say you can’t afford it, I don’t believe you. You could afford to order pizza last night. You could afford to add the movie package to your cable bill. You could afford to go to the beach last weekend. This goes back to point #2 – make your blog a priority.

4) You take the “if I build it, they will come” approach.

Earlier this week, I talked about what the phrase “Content is King” really means for bloggers, and part of my argument was that you need to support the content you create. No matter how well you write, people aren’t going to just magically show up on your site and make it successful. At least, not at any kind of decent rate. You have to be out there promoting your content and building your community. Otherwise, you might as well just write in a diary.

I once served as a freelance writer for a blog where I wasn’t paid to do any kind of promotion. It was actually a ghost-writing project, so I didn’t even get a byline – it would have been difficult for me to promote that. After three months of daily posts and little traffic, I was fired from my position because apparently I wasn’t a good enough writer. Right, that was the problem. He went through three or four other writers over the next year before emailing me an apology and asking if I’d come back. I politely declined. He obviously didn’t understand that problem – it wasn’t the writer, it was the lack of promotion.

5) You “aren’t really into” social media.

Dude. Dude. If you’re a blogger who doesn’t like social media, you’re missing out on perhaps the single easiest thing you can do to be successful. I don’t care if you don’t like Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or LinkedIn. You need to at least have a mild presence at these social networking sites. You need to at least give your readers buttons to they can share your content. You need to stop complaining about the kids on your lawn and admit that social media isn’t some new-fangled passing fad. It’s here to stay.

And believe it or not, if you stop being so stubborn and give social media a chance, you’ll probably actually like it!

6) Your guest posts are better than your own posts.

Guest posting is a great way to promote your content. Some bloggers I know guest post like fiends. As soon as they finish a guest post for one blogger they’re off looking for their next fix. The problem? They don’t update their own blogs! If I click through to your site after reading a great guest post and their are tumbleweeds blowing around and – worse – mediocre posts that you threw up so there would be new content, I’m not going to come back…and neither is anyone else. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Only guest post if you can be assured that readers are coming back to your site and seeing even better content.

Remember, your blog is your home. If you want people to hire you as an interior decorator, your own home has to shine too!

7) You haven’t defined your niche.

What do you blog about? If the answer is pirates, cooking, Project Runway, and motorcycles, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding your audience. You don’t necessarily need to pick one specific topic, but when readers come to your site, they need to know what they’re getting. Are you a mom who tells stories about the funny things her kids say and gives tips on how to find the best toys? Are you a banker by day who writes humorous stories about your life to entertain readers? Are you a home cook who talks about her favorite TV shows and the snacks she’s going to make to eat while watching? You don’t have to fit into a tight little box, but if you post about everything under the sun with nothing that ties the topics together, you’re going to have a hard time building a community.

8 ) You’ve too narrowly defined your niche.

Define your niche, but don’t be so narrow that it is hard to find people who are interested. Your blog might be failing because there just aren’t many people interested in the topic. It’s hard to find an audience when you blog about something really random that doesn’t have a ton of fans. I mean, you can do it, but it’s much harder to build traffic and make a profit that way.

If your don’t have a broad enough niche, you’re also likely going to run out of things to say!

9) You blog as “admin.”

If I want to know how to do something specific, I google it. I read the post. I complete the task. The end. The next day, I probably can’t tell you who wrote that post. Does it matter? Well, yes…if you’re actively trying to build a community.

This point is a bit subjective, because if you’re planning a blog that is purely informational and gets most of its traffic from search engines, I suppose that blogging without personality could work. Most of the time, however, it works better to inject a little of yourself into each post. Let readers get to know you, not as admin, but as John or Susie. Make sure you have a well-written About Me page so readers can learn more about you because they will be curious if you write good posts.

10) You scrape content.

This should go without saying, but the last point I want to make is this – don’t plagiarize. If your blog is scraping content from others, it is only a matter of time before it fails, and I hope that when it does, the police are involved and you go to jail. I once worked (briefly) for a very small blog network that I found out was stealing content from others – I high-tailed it out of there as quickly as possible!

But also don’t scrape ideas. A lot of people in your niche are probably talking about the same topics, so be original and you’ll stand out. If you read an idea you like, give credit where credit is due. When you are inspired by another blogger’s work, link to them to give them credit for the idea. You can’t copyright ideas, so you might be well within your right to blog about that topic, but it’s just polite to link to the other blogger.

Remember, success and failure are both a matter of perspective.  And, even if you do feel as though your blog is failing, keep in mind that it doesn’t make you a failure. You can move onto your next project and be a raving success!

Ten Simple (but Costly) Blog Mistakes


Sometimes, the difference between a profitable blog and a blog that doesn’t make any money isn’t major. In fact, it can boil down to just a few simple mistakes. Of course, every blog is going to be different, with different goals and meeting different reader needs, so not every tip is right for every person. But in general, here are ten really simple mistakes to fix that could be the difference between financial success and failure:

1) Filling Prime Real Estate with Other People’s Ads

In my high school graphic design class, I learned something that I still carry with me – a person’s eye naturally moves like a giant “S” across a page. That means that you’re prime real estate is at the top right. Online, anything “above the fold” (aka, the space you can see without scrolling) is also good. What do you have filling these spaces? I see a lot of people with ads in this space. Unless the most important thing for you is to get clicks on your ads (like if your main monetization strategy is a PPC program), why are you just giving this real estate away? Fill the top right with ads for your own products or affiliate products. Sales will jump. Or, use it for mailing list sign-ups, which you can use to drive sales in the future.

Another high-value place? The very end of your posts. When people are done reading, give them something valuable to do, like sign up for your mailing list or check out your product.

2) Not Including a Search Option

If there’s no search option on your blog, people can find stuff on Google instead, right? Right…but will you be #1 in the search results? Let’s say that I remember you reviewing a product but can’t easily find the post. I can search on Google, but what might pop up is someone else’s product review or someone else mentioning that you reviewed that product.

Even for your own products, you might not come up first on Google. One of your affiliates with awesome SEO can easily beat you out, simply by optimizing their posts. While this will still sell your products, you’ll have to pay an affiliate fee whereas on your own site, it’s pure profit. Don’t risk it. Just include a search bar on your blog and you don’t have to worry about it.

3) Avoiding Affiliate Links

If you talk about products often, why would you not sign up to be an affiliate? You don’t have to link everything you mention, but Amazon affiliate links can be easily added when you mention something in a post. Share a Sale and Commission Junction are also two great places where you can find product affiliate links – I’ve used both with success, and usually these affiliate programs give a better commission than Amazon. People are taking your recommendations when purchasing a product. Why shouldn’t you earn a bit of a commission.

When someone approaches you to ask for a review, this is definitely something you should ask as well. Most people have affiliate programs for their products, and if you’re doing them the favor of reviewing their product, the least they can do is allow you to earn a commission for anything you sell.

4) Underestimating the Eagerness of Your Readers to Buy

A few months ago, I was reading a blog that I really enjoyed, so I signed up for the blogger’s mailing list. I got several emails per week from this blogger, and while they were all interesting, not a single one tried to sell me anything. So I asked the blogger…why? His response was that he didn’t want to turn off readers with sales. Now, I definitely think that some people overdo it, but your readers are your fans – they want to buy the things you recommend or products from you. It’s silly to never sell, in my opinion.

The blogger took my advice and added in a sales email about once a month (so, one every 10 – 15 emails) and is now making a boatload of money that way. To date, he’s had no one complain and sees no greater unsubscribe numbers than with non-sales emails.

5) Paying Too Much for Hosting

Shop around. Are you getting the best deal? You want to avoid a shoddy hosting plan to save money, but some companies are waaaay overpriced. Ask your connections on Twitter or Facebook. People can recommend some great hosts that might be better AND cheaper than the host you chose at random.

Even look at the hosting plans offered by your company – do you need the plan they sold you or is their a cheaper plan that would serve your needs? Companies love to upsell you, and you might be paying for stuff you don’t use. It takes about ten minutes to check out the hosting plans available and you could save a lot of money every year that way, especially if you have multiple sites.

6) Not Including Clear Contact Information

If I want to purchase an ad on your site, how do I get in touch? If I can’t find your email address or a contact form in about 20 seconds, I’m gone. Make a contact page and put it somewhere very easy to see on your site. Don’t hide it on your about page. Don’t put it half-way down your sidebar in a small font that’s lost between ads and navigation tools. I don’t understand why bloggers don’t make it easy to be contacted…unless, I guess, they don’t want to be contacted? The best blogs, in my opinion, make it idiot-proof, listing contact information in multiple easy-to-see places.

Personally, I like it even more when I see an actual advertising page for potential sponsors to learn more. Creating an advertising page on your site that’s clearly listed in the top navigation bar or footer (the two places advertisers typically check first) will tell them that you’re open to selling ad space, that you’ve actually thought about your prices (so you’re a professional), and that they’re likely to hear back quickly.

7) Being Too Humble About Your Products

Dude. You’re awesome! Your readers won’t be reading your posts or following your tweets or subscribed to your emails if they didn’t like you. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your products.

In fact, your products should be front and center! Not only that, but when you talk about your products, don’t be humble. Talk about the advantages of your product and, although you should be clear and honest if there are people who won’t benefit from the purchase, make sure you sell it. If you’re not comfortable with sales, let your fans speak for you by posting testimonials. I’m always willing to give away a free copy of my book if someone (especially someone known in my industry) is willing to write a testimonial.

8 ) Crazy Long Sales Letters with No Buy Button until the End

Long sales letters drive me nuts. I understand that they work, otherwise people wouldn’t use them. But just because they work in their current long form doesn’t mean they couldn’t be better. Don’t confuse the fact that you’re making sales with success. If you sell 1000 products on launch day, you might be jumping for joy…but what if I told you that you had the potential to make 10,000 sales? Not so exciting anymore, is it?

I’ll be one of those people who hits the back button, in many cases, if you don’t have a “buy” button near the top. I certainly want to read a little about your product, but I’m there for a blurb, not a book report, and other readers probably feel the same way. So keep your long sales letter with the buy button at the end, but put one closer to the top too for those of us who are sold already.

9) Lack of Formats

This one is specifically for those who create informational products, which is a lot of readers. If I could do one thing differently with my last product launch, it would be to offer not just a downloadable PDF file, but also multiple other formats. Some people still like print. Others will jump on board if you offer a kindle version. Heck, some people even want content broken up and sent via email over time.

If your products are expensive, I think it also make sense to offer different payment structures. Give a discount for those who can afford to buy your product outright, but make it possible to pay in small chunks for readers on a budget. You don’t want to offer so many options that things are overwhelming, but a few choices will help get your product in the hands of more readers, and it doesn’t take much effort to offer multiple options.

10) No Affiliate Program for Your Products

If you’re selling stuff, are you offering an affiliate program? If not…why not? You’ll have a virtual sales team that are only paid when they sell something if you set up even a low-payout affiliate program! I have to love beyond love a product to write a review if I’m not getting a commission. Even then, if it’s a busy week, I might not make time for it. If you have a great affiliate program, though, you’ll see a major boost in your sales, and most of those buyers will be people you never would have reached otherwise, so it’s not like you’re losing money by paying affiliates, at least most of the time. The benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages, and best of all, it only takes a few seconds to set up an affiliate program through a company like E-junkie.

It’s your turn – what changes have you made on your blog that resulted in big jumps in profit?

Creating a Resume Blog


Here at the BlogWorld Expo blog, we often focus on making money with a blog, and we also reference hobby blogging occasionally, but there’s another reason why you may choose to create a blog – to show potential employers. In today’s job market, having an edge when you apply for any open position can help you stand out among thousands of other job-hunters. A resume blog has a different goal than a monetized blog or hobby blog, so if this is something that interests you, here are a few pointers to help you get started:

  • Your blog needs focus.

What type of job are you trying to get? That should be your blog’s focus or, in more bloggy terms, your niche. Employers aren’t going to care about your website if all you do is post funny YouTube videos and rant about your bad days. Essentially, you want to avoid creating an online journal if you want your blog to serve as a resume. Instead, think of your blog as a portfolio. If you aren’t applying for writing jobs, that’s ok. It doesn’t have to be a portfolio of your writing work – it should be a portfolio of your knowledge and experience in your industry. Through blog posts, show that you understand your field and are continuously working to improve your skills. For example, if you want an executive chef position, post recipes that you’ve created in your home kitchen or if you want to work as a lawyer, post articles commenting on recent cases in the news.

  • Concentrate on your About Me page.

While some potential employers will read your blog, most will skim over the entries on your home page and skip instead to your About Me page. This should be a generalized cover level of sorts, but feel free to be more casual with your About Me page than you would in a cover letter. Don’t forget to post a professional-looking picture or two of yourself. It’s easier to imagine yourself hiring someone when you can see their face.

  • Post your one-page resume.

Your entire blog will serve as a resume, but you should have a page specifically called “resume” linked on an easy-to-find place on your homepage. Keep this resume brief and to-the-point, since most employers will have a full resume from you already. Make mention at the top of the page that this is an abbreviated version and a full resume is available upon request. You also likely don’t want to list your references as part of this online resume, since it isn’t necessarily a good idea to post personal contact information for these people online for the world to see.

Do you have a resume blog? Have you ever been hired after sending employers to your resume blog? What tips do you have for job hunters who are thinking about starting their own blogs?

Improve Your Blog in One Easy Step


Thank goodness online polls are much easier!

I’ve been doing some free consulting on my own website, specifically for people interested in freelance writing. Although I started with the goal of helping people learn to work with clients, I’ve found that a lot of people have questions specifically about blogging. Mostly, it isn’t any one question…people just want me to look at their blogs and give them some pointers they can use to improve. Even outside of my consulting, it’s rare that someone approaches me with a specific question. People just send a URL and want a brain dump on how to improve as a blogger.

I’m not the smartest, best blogger in the world, but I can tell you right now how to improve your blog in a single step. Write this one down:

Ask your readers what they like and dislike.

I have a problem giving people advice sometimes, simply because I’m not their target market. I can give general blog pointers, but there’s no way I can give specific advice to someone writing a motorcycle blog, for example. I’ve never even been on a motorcycle, and I have no intentions of ever owning one. Asking me what your blog is missing or what you could do better isn’t going to end well. Or, at least not as well as it could.

You can go about asking your readers what they want in a number of ways. If you have a mailing list, I recommend that you start there, by emailing either a survey or a general question. You can also write a blog post asking people to leave comments or, if you’re struggling with a specific aspect, post a poll on your site, asking people to vote.

If you don’t have a huge readership yet, you can still look to your readers for advice. Connect with people on Twitter or Facebook and approach specific people who are vocal in your niche. Ask if you can pick their brains for a few minutes – most will agree – and meet on Skype for a half hour or so to talk about your blog. You can even meet with people one-on-one either over Skype or through email.

Don’t be afraid to approach people who aren’t gurus or experts in your niche. Let’s face it – they big names in any industry would love to help you, but they simply don’t have time to do a blog review for every reader. If they did, they wouldn’t have any time to actually blog! Plus…is that person really your target audience? They might be who you aspire to be as a blogger, but your average reader is going to be different in terms of knowledge and skill. You want your blog to be optimized for your readers, not for the experts in your field.

Be discerning when your readers give you advice. Remember, what is perfect design for one person looks horrible to another. The things that interest one person might bore another. You get the idea. Look for overall trends in what people are telling you. If 10 people in a row all say that your font is too small to read comfortably or that they want to read more about a specific subject, that’s probably advice you want to note.

The bottom line? Your readers are a great resource. Don’t be afraid to use their opinions to make your blog better for everyone.

Getting Readers to Love Your Link Love


Link love makes the blogging world go ’round. It’s really a form of social networking within your blog post. After all, if I see that someone linked me in one of their blog posts, I’m likely going to stop by their site and leave a comment, even if we aren’t friends.

There’s no wrong way to include link love in a post per se…but there are definitely ways that are more effective than others. If you want to show some appreciation for blog posts you love, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be conscious of SEO techniques. Basically, this boils down to linking using a keyword phrase that relates to their site or article, rather than the words “click here” or something otherwise unrelated. Think about the phrases you’d type into Google to get to the page you’re linking. Those are the words you should use when creating the link in your post.
  • Remember that titles aren’t always descriptive. The whole point of link love is to get readers to click through to other sites. If you use the title of the post as the anchor text for your link, include a bit of a description to go along with the link, unless the title is extremely straightforward. This may seem like Blogging 101, but I can’t tell you how many lists of links I’ve come across that don’t have any description whatsoever.
  • Spread out the link love. Your most faithful readers will pretty quickly come to realize which bloggers you personally enjoy, since you’ll likely mention them most often. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your friends and the blogs you like, but take some time to research other opinions on topics as well. Sometimes no-name bloggers have really interesting ideas! Try to link to a variety of people – friends, gurus in your niche, new bloggers, etc.
  • Have a theme for a link love list. Some people like to do weekly round-ups. That can be a great resource for your readers – but try to have some kind of theme, especially if you write in a very broad niche. Otherwise, it becomes an issue of why you’re including links from some blogs and not others.
  • Build a blog on more than just link lists. As much as I love link love, your readers want to hear your ideas too. Using links as a starting off point for blog posts works really well, but avoid posting only lists of links. If you find yourself scrambling to come up with post topics, maybe you need to rethink your niche.

Link, link, link. It’s called the “web” for a reasons. This series of tube wouldn’t work if no one linked to other blogs. Although you do want to keep people on your own site has much as possible, if you create a site that only references itself, you’ll be missing a lot of opportunities out there to provide your readers with the best information possible.

How To Blog About What You Don't Know


Earlier today, I wrote about how the advice “write what you know” isn’t always the best advice. That doesn’t mean that you should use your blog as an outlet for uneducated outbursts about every topic under the sun. When creating content, you can use the following tips to keep the standard of your blog high, even if you have no practical experience in the topic:

  • Create a resource list.

Don’t know much about a certain topic within your niche? I bet you that some bloggers out there do. For example, on After Graduation, I wanted to write a post that would be helpful for readers interested in publishing books. I’m an expert novel-starter, but a novice novel-finisher, so I’m not really qualified to give advice in this area. Instead, I create a list of 18 people who are qualified to give advice about publishing.

  • Interview an expert.

Again, even though you don’t know much about a specific topic within your niche, there are people out there who do. There are also experts in your field who are more than willing to share what they know about the topic. Most people are happy to answer an email questionnaire or spend 10 minutes on the phone with you, especially since you’ll be promoting their company, products, or services by doing an interview where they’re named as an expert. When interviewing someone (whether or not it is a celebrity), make sure you use these interview tips.

  • Trade guest posts.

You shouldn’t necessarily contact bloggers you don’t know and ask if they’ll write a post on your blog, but if you have friends who blog in your niche, or can cover a specific topic related to your niche, propose a partnership. What value can you bring to their blog? When you trade guest posts and work together to promote them, everyone wins.

  • Get out there and learn some new skills.

This is the most time-consuming tip, but it definitely pays off in the end. Let’s say that you write a blog about cooking, but have no idea how to decorate a cake. Does your community center offer classes? Or, say you write a blog about home improvement, but have never built a deck. If your neighbor is planning to do just that, offering to lend a hand will give you the experience you need to blog about the topic later. You’re probably passionate about your blog niche (I hope so, anyway), so spending some time and money learning new skills is often worth it.

Of course, there’s always the option to do traditional research when you don’t know much about a specific topic. Don’t just regurgitate what Wikipedia says. Do comprehensive research about the topic, and make sure your sources are valid. You can use Wikipedia as a jumping off point, but find some experts on the topic and even hit the library to find print resources on your topic of choice.

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She spends way too much time reading about random topics on Wikipedia.

Image credit: sxc.hu

How to Lady Gaga-ize Your Blog (and why that's a good thing)


Rah, rah, ah-ah-ah.

That's all hair, people. How could you not love her?

Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga is doing something right. In a see of pop stars, she stands out on top – people know her name, buy her album, emulate her crazy outfits, and debate the underlying messages of every music video she creates. She’s got the “making money and being popular” thing down.

You might not be singing on stage every night, but as a blogger, you are still on a world stage, and taking some cues from someone who knows how to make money and be popular, like Lady Gaga, can make you stand out in a sea of blogs. Let’s look at some top ways you can Lady Gaga-ize your blog, no matter what your niche.

  • Back up your blog with talent and skill.

Whether or not you actually like her music, Lady Gaga isn’t an auto-tuned pop star who can’t even read music. She actually plays piano quite beautifully and writes a lot of her own music. Part of the reason why she’s so popular is that she has some talent and skill to go along with the marketing, whereas other pop starts rely on gimmics and computerization of their voices.

Can you back up what you’re saying on your blog with talent and skill? Bloggers who want to make money need a good niche, but you shouldn’t write about a topic you know nothing about just because you see a way to make money. Readers will sniff out a fake in a second, and if you don’t actually know your topic like the back of your hand, the prettiest website design and most eloquently written posts in the world can’t save you.

  • Don’t be afraid to be controversial.

Sure, people respond to news and how-tos well, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind with some opinionated pieces. Even if people don’t agree, you’ll get them talking, which is exactly what Lady Gaga does half the time she opens her mouth. I remember one time, I wrote a piece for Binge Gamer called “Why I WILL Let My Kids Play GTA IV” about the responsibility of a parent to ensure his/her child is old enough to be playing games that are violent. This came at a time when everyone else was writing about the negative influences of video games. Over 100 comments later, the piece is still extremely popular on the blog, in part because it was controversial.

  • Set yourself apart from the competition.

In a sea of monotonous pop music, Lady Gaga stands out. I would argue that her actual music blends right in with mainstream radio play, but if in no other way, Lady Gaga never steps out of her house without looking downright ridiculous. Her videos are also always wildly different as well. People know who she is; I’m not sure it there’s a person in the free world who can’t name at least one Lady Gaga song.

What are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Find your voice, that unique writing style that feels most natural to you, and use it. You want people to remember you and your blog. Otherwise, they won’t come back as a regular reader. It doesn’t mean that you have to have some kind of gimmic, but if you’re going to start a blog to make money, you have to offer readers something they can’t get anywhere else. You have to be different.

As I’m writing this post, I realize that I have a lot to say on the subject. I blame my undying love for Lady Gaga. So, come back tomorrow for the second half of this post – more ways to Lady Gaga-ize your blog! (I realize that I’m way too excited about this, but you have permission to make fun of me in the comments.)

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She will sing Bad Romance at karaoke any night…so you’re probably better off never giving her the mic. It’s for the good of us all.

Image credit: Domain Barnyard via Flickr’s Creative Commons

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