What is your blog about?
Are there bigger, better-known blogs that publish content in the same general niche?
If you aren’t the biggest fish in the pond, people are very skeptical about the quality of your content.
They won’t care about you unless you give them a really good reason to.
And they certainly won’t subscribe to your blog if you don’t know how to communicate your value proposition.
What Makes You Special?
When you come to a new blog, what are your first thoughts?
If you’re like most people, your thoughts go something like this:
“What’s this blog about?
I doubt it’s as good as [blank], but let’s take a look…
Nah, nothing looks really interesting. Not worth my time.”
And then you leave.
One thing that can really help you stand out is your headlines.
If they capture your visitors’ attention and make them read your posts, you have a fighting chance of converting them to subscribers.
But your headlines won’t make much of a difference if you don’t have a strong value proposition.
Your value proposition is the collection of the most compelling reasons people would read your blog and subscribe to it.
For example, your blog might be the only one that offers information about a specific topic.
Maybe it combines two topics in a new and interesting way.
Or maybe you make expert-level advice easy to understand.
In any case, you need to offer something unusual to succeed.
Don’t be afraid of being the freak
If you’re not special enough to be considered a bit of a freak, you’re simply not unique enough.
Your visitors need to get a feeling that you do something only a few people do.
Or that you do it better than almost anyone else.
In most cases, it’s far easier to find a unique angle for your blog rather than convincing visitors that you’re the best in the world at what you do (even if that’s true, it’s difficult to prove).
There are several ways you can make people notice your specialty.
But before you can use any of them, you need to know what your specialty is – your value proposition.
You’re likely to already have all the necessary pieces for a strong value proposition, but maybe you haven’t realized what they are.
If you need help figuring out what makes people interested in your content, take a look at this quick 5-step system for finding the core of your value proposition (it’s free).
When you know what your specialty is, it’s time to make it shine.
The tools you have
Once you know what can make your visitors pay attention to you, you need to show it.
Otherwise it won’t make a difference to your success.
And you have a lot of tools at your disposal.
Here are just a few of the most important ones:
Your tagline needs to give visitors a clear idea about what they can find on your blog. And it should tell them what makes your blog different from other similar blogs.
For example, “BIG traffic ideas for small marketing budgets” gives people a clear idea of what Traffic Generation Café is about, and why you should pay attention to it.
(all of them, not just post titles)
People rarely use headlines to communicate their value proposition, yet most visitors only read your headlines, so they’re ideal for telling readers what makes you unique.
If you write about a common topic and don’t make it somehow very unusual, people have no reason to think you’d be anything but normal.
And people don’t want to read yet another “normal post about a common topic.”
Your “about” page
It’s one of the most important pages in a blog (often the second most visited page).
If it doesn’t clearly tell visitors what makes you different and why they should stick around, you’re practically kicking them away.
At the end of each post, you’re likely to have a small blurb about what you do.
Make it count.
Don’t just say, “John Doe writes a blog about blogging. Get his ebook about blogging.”
Instead, give people a reason to believe you’re not just like everyone else.
Of course, as with so many other things, having the tools is different from knowing how to use them.
What if you believe you’re doing everything right, but you’re not seeing the results you’re after?
You’ve probably made one of the typical mistakes I see people make all the time.
Being a generalist
People aren’t stupid.
However they’re not mind readers either.
Don’t expect them to guess what you mean. Instead, make your specialty clear.
For example, more than 50% of taglines hardly tell visitors more than the general topic of the blog.
It should state what makes you different.
- “Lose weight quickly,”
- “Marketing tactics for bloggers,” and
- “Design tips for beginners”
…are all vague taglines.
They don’t give visitors any reason to believe the site is unique and worth their time.
- “Plant-based diets for lasting weight-loss,”
- “Taking your blog from 0 to 1,000 subscribers,” and
- “Expert design principles and ideas for new illustrators”
…all describe the blog in much more detail.
They don’t just make a vague promise. They give you a reason to stay on the site and learn more.
Basecamp does a great job being specific:
It’s very easy to go overboard with your claims.
Calling your blog the “best” in any way is likely to sound like an exaggeration; it’s “marketing talk.”
- “The best way to lose weight,”
- “The most effective marketing tactics for bloggers,” and
- “The best design tips for beginners”
…all sound presumptuous.
People probably won’t think you’re lying. They just don’t believe it’s quite true.
And they won’t remember it for more than a few seconds.
So, avoid superlatives when you describe what makes you worth paying attention to.
Even if you have a great value proposition – one that gives visitors a great reason to stick around and subscribe to your blog – it won’t make a difference if you can’t prove it’s true.
Even a promise that sounds possible won’t be believed if there’s nothing to prove it.
So, before you start telling people why they should read your blog, consider whether you can prove your words.
A claim that has nothing to back it up is weak.
And people can smell that a mile away.
They won’t necessarily consciously notice the lack of proof.
They just don’t believe what you say. And they won’t read your blog.
For example, I avoid making claims about my site, my services, or myself.
Instead, I show testimonials from experts.
That way I don’t have to find proof for my own words, which are always scrutinized.
What makes your blog worth reading?
And can you back up those reasons? Do you have testimonials, studies, or the expertise to be believable?
Use the comments to tell us.
And if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask.
Peter Sandeen spends much of his time knee-deep in snow (he lives in Finland) with his wife and dogs. Apart from that, he gives clear, straightforward advice on creating strong value propositions, improving your conversion rates, and building effective marketing strategies.