Synicate Me

28 March 2009

Ten simple rules for positioning your blog

Now that you already know how to write for the internet and how to build traffic to your blog, I'd like to focus more on positioning your blog. Positioning is a marketing term which refers to finding a position for your product in the market.

Promoting your blog is a question of marketing

You can view your blog as a product that is competing for a position in the blog market. Besides focusing on creating great content and finding a unique selling point for your blog, you definitely need to market your blog to ensure that it finds a position in the blog market. It's not just a case of creating awareness for your blog, but also a case of finding your blog's own little kingdom in the blogosphere. This process is known as positioning in the business world.

How do I market my blog with positioning?

In the book The 10-Day MBA by Steven Silbiger, the author refers to ten simple rules used for positioning. Al Ries and Jack Trout are responsible for writing these rules. If followed, they could make your blog stand out from the competition.

Ten simple rules to position your blog

  1. Own a word or phrase in the mind of your readers. The idea is to find a catchphrase that your readers would identify with your blog.

    How do you choose this word or phrase? Try to highlight a positive aspect of your blog, the benefits of reading your blog or your unique selling point. Find your own word or phrase and stick to it!

  2. Begin with your blog's name. Your blog's name should already give your readers an idea of what your blog has to offer. My main blog, The Necro Files, is heavy metal and horror review site. Metalheads and goremeisters get the idea immediately.

  3. If you have an unique blog post idea, create a new blog. In hindsight, this is where I went wrong with my blog. I should've created three separate blogs: a ranting blog, a music review blog and a film review blog.

  4. The easiest way to own a phrase is to be the leader. You are not going to wrestle a word or phrase from someone else, because it has already been associated with another blog in the minds of blog readers. Be unique. Be first. Very few people are impressed with Gonzo journalism by anyone other than Hunter S Thompson, right?

  5. Reinforce your message. Reinforce your original marketing concept. Do it over and over again and do not stray from the original idea.

  6. New competition? Create a new blog. If you find a new blog on the block that seems to compete with your existing blog, but is not exactly the same, create a new separate blog. The reasons are that you don't want to confuse existing readers about the direction of your blog and you don't want to stray from your positioning message.

  7. The first option for followers is to create a new category. There are many John Chow type of blogs, for instance. If you want to do that kind of blog, find a sub-category in that niche that you can dominate.

  8. The second option for followers is to open a position in the reader's mind. A great example of this is Dosh dosh. Dosh dosh is a follower in the blogging about blogging world, but found its own position in the minds of readers thanks to its unique style, its simple layout and great quality posts.

  9. The third option for followers is to reposition the leaders. Undercut the concept of the leaders. The easiest way to do this is to address issues and fears raised by critics of the leaders. Read the comments on their posts and you might learn something.

  10. Stay consistent with your positioning. This is another mistake I'd made with my main blog. I tend to jump between topics. Sometimes I review horror films, sometimes I review heavy metal albums, sometimes I write rants. Those are three different blogs each battling for their own market share!

There you have it. Ten simple rules for positioning your blog!

10 January 2009

Running a competition to promote your blog

I've become disillusioned with the recent changes in Entrecard. Now I have accumulated more than a thousand credits, and I want to get rid of them so I can remove the widget from my blog.

Instead of having all those credits go to waste, I've decided to host a competition to promote my blog, the Necro Files. Since I've never hosted a competition before, I had to do a bit of research to find out how I can use this competition to promote my blog the best.

What the blogging experts say regarding competition

Dosh dosh seems to be negative about holding competitions with the explicit purpose of marketing your blog. I agree with the dosh dosh approach: forget about gimmicks. Minimise noise and maximise signal. This implies rather working on great content instead of increasing the noise in your message.

You have some responsibility to your loyal readers to keep up the level of intensity and to provide them with content they are interested in - or stand the risk of losing them. Despite agreeing with dosh dosh, I am still stuck with more than a thousand entrecard credits.

Pro blogger's tips on how to run a competition

  1. You need to work on traffic first. This seems a bit hairy, especially since the competition is essentially a promotion to try and get traffic to your blog. According to Pro Blogger, a competition rather engages your current reader base instead of finding new readers.

  2. Identify the goals of the competition. You should decide what the purpose of your competition is. Do you want more subscribers? Do you want to reward loyal readers? In my case, my goals are spreading Libertarian propaganda and getting rid of Entrecard.

  3. Offer relevant and worthwhile prizes. While I have become disillusioned with the high bounce rate that Entrecrad traffic brings, some others who start out blogging are still quite happy with the service. I believe that the prize of all my Entrecard credits would be a relevant and worthwhile prize to them.

  4. Make entering easy. Well, I have never been known to take the easy way out. I expect my readers to have the same kind of drive, so entering won't be easy. Perhaps the success of my competition would suffer, but so be it.

    I would require entrants to write a blog post on Libertarianism. The post should be at least 250 words and it should adhere to the laws of an intellectually honest debate. This implies that entrants would be penalised for logical fallacies. Entrants could write from a favourable or critical viewpoint, as long as they can back up their stance.

  5. Set a reasonable competition time. This is tricky. My own blog posts take about 2 days (in between work and other commitments) to complete. I understand that researching a blog post - especially on a topic one might be unfamiliar with - could require more time. I also haven't decided on exactly how I would judge the competition.

    I could run a poll on my blog to let readers choose the best entry. However, this opens up the process to the failures of a democratic system. The other option is evaluating the response their entries get on their blogs. The amount of traffic and the amount of comments could count, but this leaves the quality aspect behind.

    I would rather focus on quality than quantity. Since it is my competition, I will be judge, jury and executioner. While I will employ caprice, I would encourage entrants to view other entries and digg and stumble them if they find them interesting. The amount of diggs and stumbles could then be used to evaluate the quality of the post.

  6. Promote your competition. Viral marketing is the latest craze. I will offer a widget on my blog that shows up on each page to promote the competition. For the viral element, I will offer a banner that entrants can copy into their entries. Furthermore, I will use forums and my social networking contacts to promote the competition.

The proof of the pudding

You may view my first attempt at hosting a competition to promote my blog here:
Enter the Necro Files Liberty Essay Competition
Enter the Necro Files Liberty Essay Competition.

Feel free to enter!

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