Unique Selling Proposition: What’s Yours?

By Gregory Ciotti

Now that blogging has become commonplace on the web, we have access to a lot of great blogs that contain a lot of great information on nearly every subject…

Yet, therein lies the problem for new bloggers.

How, in a sea of blogs in every niche imaginable, are they supposed to stand out?

The answer is easier than you might expect, and it involves positioning yourself as “unique” in 3 very important areas of your blog.

So without further adieu, how can bloggers make sure their projects rise above the sea of competitors?

1.) Your Unique Selling Proposition

Let’s get the toughest one out of the way first!

If you want to start blogging in any relatively popular niche (which you should if you want any visitors) you are going to need “twist” for your blog topic.

The thing is, with literally millions of blogs out there, coming up with a “brand new” topic is likely going to be impossible, and force you to start blogging about something way too “niched down” and specific (is there any demand for a blog about alligator wrestlers who also parasail and dabble in stamp collecting?)

The good news is that you don’t have to come up with an entirely new topic, you just have to have a “twist” on your unique selling proposition (which you should always make known on your about page).

How?

One great way is taking a mix of things that apply to you, and use it for a single, broader niche.

For instance on Sparring Mind I talk about the general topic of content marketing.

However, I also focus on research studies (specifically in psychology) and WordPress optimization, which limits my potential audience…

But it also helps me stand out.

You need to do the same and recognize that limiting your audience to have a unique topic (at least initially) is perfectly fine.

Just look at Copyblogger, it started out purely as a copywriting site, and now it dabbles in all aspects of internet marketing.

Point is, you can always branch out later, and a unique selling proposition of a few niche topics lets people get to know what your site is all about much quicker and it helps you stand out in the crowded blogosphere.

Being known as the guy/gal who “blog about fitness from a desk jockey’s perspective” is going to get you more recognition than just being yet another fitness blogger, and it isn’t hard to do either.

2.) Your Blog’s Content Medium

This is the one that scares most bloggers the most, even though it can be a tremendous way to stand out among the bloggers in your niche.

What do I mean by your blog’s “content medium”?

Simply put, the medium in which you display/showcase your content, or how you get your information to people.

Obviously the gold standard (and one that newer bloggers always choose to pursue) is the classic text post.

Putting words on the page is “easy” in that it requires the least amount of technical skill to do, but the thing is, you could be doing so much more with your words to stand out.

Say you want to get into the personal finance niche, but you don’t really have a strong unique selling point (mentioned above) and just have excellent financial advice, how can you stand out?

Simple: take the content that you would have used in a blog post, and turn it into something else instead.

Imagine a personal finance blog that focused only on videos & podcasts, it would certainly be pretty original.

You would generate buzz just by being different, and as long as the quality was still high, you’d most likely see a faster growth rate than had you just done normal text posts, because you are standing out in the marketplace.

You could also take a less “all out” approach and just be known as the guy/gal who incorporates a certain medium into their content really well.

Pat Flynn became known for his excellent podcast in addition to his regular posts, and now he is branching out even more to video.

Have you taken a look at some of the most unusual ways of generating traffic with outside content?

Consider the power of SlideShare or how you might effectively use Scribd to get your content a farther reach.

It’s not hard to add a unique twist to your blog with different content types, and it also keeps things interesting for your subscribers.

3.) Having A Unique Blog Design

This is another thing that scares newer bloggers, mostly because they feel like having a “unique” design involves some massive amount of HTML knowledge or costs thousands of dollars.

In reality, having a unique design just means having a memorable design.

This in itself can be done on a very minimal budget, taking a typical theme and realizing what exactly your competitors are doing.

For instance, on Sparring Mind I use “graphics” images for my posts. (ie: My post images are of the graphic design variety)

I do this because I noticed that most people in the content marketing niche (such as Copyblogger) use “real” stock photos, so it was one way I could instantly stand out.

Another thing you might pay attention to is color scheme.

For instance, Derek from SocialTriggers has specifically said that he chose the color purple because he doesn’t see many marketing blogs using it.

That’s a way to instantly be recognizable with minimal effort!

We’ll use ThoughtCatalog as another example (here’s one of my favorite posts from that site).

Notice the minimal design, the super-huge font, the homepage with a distinct focus on photos.

All of those things could be easily replicated (even with a typical premium theme), but because of the sites unique content offering, and now a unique (albeit minimal) design focus, the site is instantly recognizable to most people who land on it’s posts (and has become very popular).

What I’m really trying to say it, it doesn’t take a professional designer to help you build a memorable blog (although if you are trying to build a beautiful blog, you should hire one :))

You can position yourself as unique armed only with the knowledge of what makes all of your competitors look the same, and then you can do something different.

Over To You

What currently makes your blog stand out in your niche? Do you have a certain “twist” that makes your blog memorable?

What are some of your favorite unique aspects about the blogs you read?

Gregory Ciotti writes about WordPress and online marketing at Sparring Mind (make sure to check it out). He also writers a weekly column for Daily Blog Tips.

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4 Responses to “Unique Selling Proposition: What’s Yours?”

  • Ron – SEO Copywriting Blog

    You got me thinking again! Time to do what I love and in the niche I love. 🙂

  • Warren

    Very good topic for a post and most of the info and tips are great. Thanks

    However. Now don’t take this personally because 80% of bloggers do this and maybe I’m wrong to see it as bad advice but saying you need a unique selling point or you need unique content or great content isn’t advice. what you saying really is, you need to be better. You can apply the same thing to almost any situation as advice (in business anyway). EG: My clothes shop is failing – get better clothes (content). My newsletter is failing – better content. My bus touring company is failing – Get better buses and/or tours and/or tour leaders (content). you get the point. If you want to offer advice on actual content you need to view said content and advice how to improve it. Saying improve to do better is not advice its stating the obvious.

  • ES

    Good points. On one of my travel related blogs, I was earlier using only images but then realized that I can easily take short videos of them, as well since I am visiting all the places I am writing about. This is not be a big additional job but it could have been done for every travel post I published earlier as well.

  • Daniel

    Some Good food for thought, Gregory.

    I have seen some sites that were very basic in design(stripped right down to the bare essentials) yet, these sites are very successful.

    I actually did some browsing through some of these sites, wondering what the catch was.

    The content was good(Not great).

    I would hazard a guess that, the sites in question have the advantage of superior site access and navigation(Far less clutter) and a much faster loading speed.

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