Happy Wednesday, friends! As mentioned the other day, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather as of late, which is why there’s been a bit of a delay in getting this post up. BUT now it’s up so we can all celebrate!
Today’s Blogging Basics post is all about how to differentiate yourself as a blogger (read the previous entries in my Blogging Basics series here!). This is something with which I struggle on an almost daily basis… even after 4 years. Finding your voice – and ensuring your voice stands out in the crowd – can be super challenging. So before we dive in, know that you’re not alone if you’ve been struggling with this lately!
What I’m Wearing:
Dress: ASOS (almost sold out!!) / Purse: Kate Spade (also available via Rent the Runway)
Shoes: Vince Camuto / Earrings: identical pair here / Rings: BaubleBar
Every time a reader tells me that reading my posts is like talking to an old friend, that is just about the greatest compliment I can receive as a blogger. If you’ve been reading Glitter & Spice for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I have a pretty specific voice and style. I am self-deprecating and open. I am highly sarcastic and my posts feature a lot of humor. My style is über feminine, semi-professional, and colorful. I tend to feature looks which err on the side of timeless rather than trendy. Y’all get the gist.
What you probably don’t know is that it took me a long time to find my voice. I cannot even tell you how many times I googled “how to differentiate yourself as a blogger”. And received answers like “be as niche as possible”.
WTF does that mean. I have disparate interests and I like to talk about those various interests on the blog – it’s how I evolve as a blogger and constantly keep content fresh. I can’t imagine only featuring and writing about feminine professional fashion. Though my style is pretty consistent no matter the year or location, I love writing posts about travel. And the business of blogging. AND general life ness. If I only talked about how I look like a pretty pretty professional princess in dresses with oversized pink bows, I’d just about go insane.
So, because I don’t like the internet’s answers, I’ve decided to come up with my own. Without further ado, I present my tips on how to differentiate yourself as a blogger:
How to Differentiate Yourself as a Blogger
Have a unique UI
UI stands for “User Interface” – aka the look and feel of your blog. I’m all for installing one of those gorgeous Pipdig or Bloom Blog Shop themes. But then I recommend customizing it to the point that it’s barely recognizable as one of those themes. Install new fonts. Change the colors. Put widgets in your sidebar that are specific to you and your brand. Install plugins to yield different functionality.
Basically the name of the game is personalize and customize up the wazoo.
Use professional-quality photography
Note that I said “professional-quality” – not “professional”. If you know your way around a DSLR camera and the basics of Photoshop or Lightroom, you can have beautiful imagery on your site at a fraction of the cost. Though I’m artistic AF and I catch on to technologies really easily and quickly, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to take pretty pictures in manual. There’s such a huge difference between the photos I set up and edit myself (like this post) and the photos my photographers have taken (like this post). I wish I could take pretty photos, but I can’t. So my photography is my largest expense on the blog. But it is so worth it.
People care about imagery almost more than they care about the writing. Come up with a general “look” for your imagery and keep it consistent. I have a very light and bright look, while my friend Morgan of Style on Edge tends to have much higher contrast photos (especially on her Instagram!). Just figure out what works for you and be consistent!
Maintain your own unique style
I’m not saying every single one of your posts has to fit a super-specific niche, but I do recommend taking steps to ensure that every single look (or recipe or trip!) really fits your aesthetic.
For instance, I will never post a super cutting-edge $1000+ designer outfit in which I’m wearing all black and it’s spiky and somewhat terrifying and generally something Lady Gaga would wear. That’s just so not me. If you look through every single post I’ve ever written on my blog, you’ll only see me wearing black a handful of times. And my outfits rarely cost more than $250. It’s just not me and not my style.
Similarly, if you look through my recipes, you won’t find anything super time or labor-intensive. The majority of my recipes are quick, easy, and at least relatively healthy (or so deserving of being a cheat meal!). I’m cooking for myself and I’m self-taught. I’m not cooking for a Michelin restaurant and I want y’all to know that my recipes are easy to replicate. That means no-frills and a lot of quick-and-easy’s.
Launch a Series
Yes, this Blogging Basics series is a way for me to stand out as a blogger. And I’m not afraid to admit it. Series (or different content verticals) are a great way to help you figure out how to differentiate yourself as a blogger.
My friend Brooke of One Small Blonde has an entire content vertical just of fun girls’ night ideas. One of my blogger besties – Nita of Next With Nita – has a whole series on her site devoted to her work with animals (she’s a foster dog mom). Anna of Fleurdille – another one of my blogger besties here in Dallas – posts about her adorable kiddos every Tuesday in her “Tiny Tuesdays” series. And my friend Sarah of Sassy Red Lipstick is famous in the blogging community for her amazing posts about body positivity. Each one of these content verticals set these girls apart from the crowd. And, almost as importantly, drives traffic to their sites (Anna has told me before that Tiny Tuesdays are always her most popular posts!).
Find Your Voice
This is probably the most challenging of all of my tips on how to differentiate yourself as a blogger. As I mentioned earlier, I try to use humor as a way to keep my voice unique (and readers coming back for more!). My writing style (aka “voice”) here on the blog is really similar to how I am in real life: quirky, self-deprecating, and highly sarcastic with a lot of interjections and random tangents.
By comparison, my sweet friend Christina of Fashion & Frills‘s writing style is much more similar to her personality. Just by reading her posts, you can tell she is so bubbly, so nice, and much more educated in the fashion department than yours truly (all of which is true in real life, btw!).
When you sit down to write, you want the words to flow naturally. I hardly ever edit my posts, as I really like for them to read as a stream of consciousness. Some people like to be a bit more polished – it’s just what works for them. Find what works for you – what comes naturally to you – and go with it.
That’s all, folks! Do you have any tips I forgot to include in my list of how to differentiate yourself as a blogger? Share them in the comments below!