What Makes Your Blog Remarkable?

It’s a difficult question to answer. Difficult, because for the majority of us there’s little if anything remarkable about our blogs. That’s not meant to imply your blog isn’t good. It’s not meant to imply that you won’t find something here worth reading. But when we take a long and hard look at our blogs do we find something that’s truly remarkable?

Brian Clark got me thinking about being remarkable today when he mentioned it as being the real secret to getting subscribers. Brian should know something about getting people to subscribe. The Feeburner widget on CopyBlogger is showing over 17,000 readers today. Brian is well known for helping people use words better so it may surprise you to know that he thinks

The most important and all-powerful words that cause people to subscribe to your blog in large numbers are… the ones other people use when talking about you.

No matter how good your blog is if others aren’t talking about it and linking to it you won’t have the audience you want. Remarkable is worth talking about. It’s not necessarily good or bad, it’s simply worth remarking upon.

A coupon for 5% off isn’t remarkable. A coupon for 100% off is. Being a little bit better than someone else isn’t remarkable. Being so much better that you redefine your industry is remarkable. Being remarkable is why linkbaiting works. Content worth being talked about gathers links.

Some ways you can be remarkable are

  • Consistent high quality
  • Originality
  • Controversy
  • A unique look at an old topic
  • Filling a vacuum; being first

Is It Remarkable If No One Knows About It?

A purple cow is remarkable for the simple reason that no one’s ever seen one. Keep that same purple cow locked inside the barn and no one sees it and no one talks about it. It’s still purple, but no one knows. Before someone can talk about your blog they need to see it. You need to give your remarkable content a push to get people talking about it.

A problem many of us face is blogging in over saturated markets. How many other’s blog about your topic? One of the reason’s for the popularity of blogging is how easy it is to set one up. In under five minutes anyone can have a blog. The ease in packaging and distributing content leads to a lot of competition for our attention. When there are thousands of others writing about the same things you are it’s harder to stand out and be remarkable.

CopyBlogger (as one example) gets talked about and linked to often and rightfully so. Brian’s content is generally remarkable. However if you took a few of Brian’s more talked about posts and moved them to a relatively unknown blog they wouldn’t get talked about as much or even at all. In a sense it’s the purple cow in the barn syndrome. CopyBlogger is out of the barn and standing in the middle of the field. Once there are enough purple cows in your field then people will look longer at your ordinary black and white cow and some will even believe they see purple. It’s all the purple from the other cows in the field being reflected.

Until you’ve raised one purple cow no one will be looking for one at your farm. If all the other farms around yours have purple cows then one more farm with a purple cow isn’t remarkable. When everyone has a purple cow you need an orange or green cow. You need something different to be remarkable.

Who Finds You Remarkable?

Who ends up seeing your blog and talking about it is also important. My mother thinks I’m remarkable. She talks about me to all her friends and has probably mentioned to many of them that I blog. Her friends though, are unlikely to visit. Not because they don’t believe my mother or because they don’t like me, but because most of them aren’t interested in the topics I blog about. As remarkable as my mother might think I am she doesn’t have influence over those likely to become subscribers. She talks about me and then the conversation stops.

In Unleashing The Ideavirus Seth Godin describes the people who talk about you and spread the word for you as sneezers. If you want your idea to spread to the right people you need the right kind of sneezers talking about you. Your blog needs to be remarkable to those that can best spread the word.

Rand’s idea of the linkerati is much the same concept. Find the linkerati for your topic and make sure to be remarkable to them.

Most importantly you need to be remarkable to your potential audience. They’re the ones ultimately subscribing and reading. Some of my mom’s friends may very well have visited and been impressed with what I had to say. But unless they were also interested in the topics I typically discuss they probably won’t come back consistently. It’s your audience more than any that needs to find you remarkable.

What Are You Remarkable For Doing?

If you develop real estate and come up with a way to build a house for $100 people are going to talk about you. A $100 house is remarkable. But if your houses disintegrate after the first rain or collapse under a moderate wind being remarkable didn’t do you any good. You want to be remarkable for the right things.

If you’ve built a brand based on offering high quality services for a premium price do you want people talking about your latest no frill service? You might if you were looking to expand into a new market, but you’d also want to keep in mind that it could damage your existing brand.

One way people go about generating buzz is through sensationalism. You can certainly be remarkable by being sensational. All style and no substance is usually revealed in time though, and you may find yourself being talked about for all the wrong reasons. Be remarkable in a way that has people talking about you in the way you want them to talk about you. You may not want to be remarkable just to be remarkable.

Take a look at your blog again. Take a long and hard look at it and ask yourself if it’s really remarkable. Does it offer something no other blog offers? Is it so much better than the other blogs in your industry? Have you written the definitive post on a particular sub-topic? If you didn’t write your blog would you read it and would you talk about it? If the answer is ‘no’ then look for ways you can become more remarkable. I’ll do the same.

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6 comments

  1. I will have to agree with you. When you get involved and are trying to get your message across in a niche that is completely filled with what businesses would deem a “competitor” you have to stand out from the crowd to get noticed. I love how you made the play on words to illustrate your point.

    What is a unique selling proposition? Why would we want to read something from you as opposed to the 1000′s of others?

    Something to think about.

    REMARKABLE SITE!

  2. Thanks Stephen. Glad the play on words went over. If it was successful I owe it to Brian since I was trying to apply what I learned from his recent series on using metaphor. If I failed I take all the blame.

  3. Wow, Steven, congrats on getting seen by Brian. You really deserves the attention. The post was really good at conveying the message. I agree with you about being remarkable to pull in some attention.

    But, I’ve a different view which I would like to express, based on this. I think, having something to offer other people in the sense of knowledge is not solely the thing that could make you remarkable. For example, I read a lot of blogs regularly in my tight schedule even if they don’t have much to return to me.

    Take Alexanders blog at alexandersarchive.blogspot.com. Its a blog about his personal views and stuff and has nothing (in the first look) to offer me. I mean, of course, I love the way he writes and thinks and thats enough I want from him. But, don’t you think these kind of blogs could also be remarkable ?

  4. Thanks Sreejith. I agree with you that it’s not just knowledge you can offer. There are lots of things. Imagine you could offer an application that could look at a site and return exactly what needed to be done to generate a #1 rank on all search engines. It would analyze everything for you and give you a step by step process for what to do. Obviously that application doesn’t exist and I doubt we’re going to see something like it, but it would be pretty remarkable.

    It might also be remarkable if someone wrote an application that claimed to do all of the above, but clearly didn’t. You might not want to be known for that, though.

    With John’s blog it could simply be that you’re not his audience. Not everyone has to read every blog. In all fairness to John he’s only been at this for a few months and I think he’d be the first to admit he’s still feeling his way around.

    John is a talented writer though, and had plenty of opinions and I have no doubt he’ll do well.

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