Don’t Be Popular. Be Useful.

A post over on Medium grabbed my attention a while ago. It was titled “Feeling invisible? It’s time for a brand awareness strategy.” The author, Steve Harvey (no, not that Steve Harvey – just another, lesser-known one), explains that the big answer is you have to have a brand awareness campaign that also demonstrates your usefulness to consumers. The idea is that in order to stand out and not be invisible, one must resonate with their audience by establishing a brand awareness strategy that’s targeted to their audience’s personas.

Bloggers Need Brand Awareness Strategy

The author also explains that your job as a blogger is to capture brand awareness through a brand awareness strategy and not merely through a brand recognition strategy. What’s the difference? Brand recognition is simply amplifying your brand presence throughout social media by using your communication, logo, and brand elements to create a cohesive message that amplifies your social media audience. Does that sound challenging or what? And how, exactly, do you differentiate between making sure you are doing brand awareness instead of simply brand recognition?

I graduated high school eight years ago (holy Jesus). I certainly wasn’t recognizable, and I wasn’t in your face. Instead, I was a good student. I was quiet. I was a varsity athlete and was active in many of my school organizations. I was a happy and healthy contributing member of my school. And I think that’s fairly reflective of the type of blogger I’ve become.

In the blogosphere, I’m not whizzing past people trying to break the story in my hunt for popularity. I’m quiet at first. I take in the information, let it sit in my head, and then I respond only when I have something interesting to say. When I have an opinion that I think is valuable or when I think I can add to the conversation with my words. I’m not antisocial. I’m active in the blogosphere and in social networks. I help promote the works of others, without shoving my own in your face. I’m not trying to make you look at me, and I don’t think that makes me invisible.

Copyblogger says to be visible, don’t worry about teaching people, just write what they want to hear. I’m not sure that’s great advice. I think being like everyone else and telling people what they want to hear is exactly how you become invisible. And I think teaching and knowledge is the reason a lot of people read blogs. Sure, we all want to be entertained and to laugh, but if you don’t have something to back all of that up, you’re nothing more than a punch line. I have no interest in that.

If you want your blog to stop being invisible, start making it a Must Read. Don’t aim for popularity. Being popular means nothing. Instead, focus on bringing your readers somewhere they can’t get to on their own. Teach them to do something or to feel something they didn’t know before. Make your content remarkable. Share something with them that they can’t get anywhere else. And the thing they can’t get from anywhere other than your blog is you. That’s what you have to give them. That’s what makes your blog visible to the masses and it’s what sets you a part as a blogger. [And, it should be said, as a brand or business. Don’t stop with just your blog.–Susan]

Take a stand. Even if it’s unpopular. Take a look at the popular bloggers in the SEO space. They’re people who aren’t afraid to go on the record and say what needs to be said, even if they know it will bring them a firestorm. They’re not the folks in your face all the time, they’re the ones who think first and respond later. That’s the kind of blogger that’s visible in a crowded space.

The author talks about being valuable to the reader by tailoring the brand’s usefulness to their audience as a solution, and I think that goes without saying. Of course, you have to be valuable. Eight years out of high school, I look at my peers who did not work on building their brand, clowned their way around, and it doesn’t seem like they’ve gotten too far. They’re still living in the same town, doing the same things, and altogether invisible to the rest of the world. You should want more than that, both for your blog and yourself.

Stop aiming for popularity; start achieving impact—make your brand visible by offering unparalleled value, teaching, and guiding your audience where they can’t reach alone. Contact us.

FAQ: How Can I Increase My Blogger Visibility and Stand Out in a Crowded Online Space?

Standing out is crucial for success. With countless blogs vying for attention, establishing your presence and boosting visibility can be challenging. With the right expertise and strategies in place, bloggers can thrive and successfully navigate this highly competitive environment. This whitepaper will offer essential tips and techniques for expanding their visibility online and carving out a niche in the increasingly congested virtual space.

  1. Quality Content Is Key:

Quality content is essential to increasing blogger’s visibility. Your content must be engaging, informative and valuable to your target audience; understand their preferences when creating original, well-researched blog posts.

  1. SEO:

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be an invaluable way to boost blog exposure. Use relevant keywords, optimize meta descriptions, and ensure your website loads quickly. As part of your blog’s SEO efforts, make sure to prioritize both on-page and off-page SEO strategies so as to boost its ranking and reach more readers.

  1. Engage with Your Audience:

Building a connection with your readers is essential. Respond to comments on your blog, engage on social media platforms, and encourage discussions and interactions. A loyal and engaged audience can promote your blog through word-of-mouth and social sharing.

  1. Collaborate and Guest Post:

Collaboration can significantly boost your visibility. Network with other bloggers and seek opportunities for guest posting. Writing for established blogs in your niche can introduce your work to a broader audience and lend credibility.

  1. Visual Appeal Matters:

An aesthetically pleasing blog can make a lasting impression. Invest in a clean, user-friendly design, incorporate eye-catching visuals, and ensure your site is mobile-responsive. A visually appealing blog can encourage visitors to explore your content longer.

  1. Analyze and Adapt:

Regularly analyze your blog’s performance using analytics tools. Pay attention to metrics like traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rates. Adjust your strategy based on these insights, focusing on what’s working and eliminating what’s not.

  1. Build an Email List:

An email list is a powerful asset for a blogger. Use opt-in forms strategically to collect email addresses and send your subscribers newsletters, updates, and exclusive content. This personal connection can keep your audience engaged and informed.

  1. Consistency is Vital:

Maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged. Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, sticking to a schedule helps readers know when to expect new content from you.

  1. Monetize Wisely:

While monetizing your blog is important, choose revenue streams that align with your niche and audience. Affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling your products or services can be lucrative if done tastefully and genuinely.

  1. Harness the Power of Social Media:

Select platforms most relevant to you and your target audience, then participate in online discussions and post engaging posts to increase online visibility.

By implementing these strategies and consistently working on your blog, you can increase your visibility and stand out online.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Increase Blogger Visibility and Stand Out Online

  1. Create high-quality, informative, and valuable content tailored to your target audience’s needs.
  2. Optimize your blog for SEO, incorporating relevant keywords and ensuring fast loading times.
  3. Foster audience engagement by responding to comments and participating in social media interactions.
  4. Collaborate with other bloggers and explore guest posting opportunities in your niche.
  5. Enhance the visual appeal of your blog with a user-friendly design, attractive visuals, and mobile responsiveness.
  6. Analyze your blog’s performance through analytics tools and adapt your strategy accordingly.
  7. Build and leverage an email list to maintain a personal connection with your readers.
  8. Maintain a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged.
  9. Monetize your blog wisely, choosing revenue streams that align with your niche and audience.
  10. Promote your blog on relevant social media platforms, engaging with your audience and participating in discussions to boost your online presence.

This article was updated on December 1, 2023.

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (11)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent Digital Marketing Optimization posts is better than the last!
Bruce Clay on January 22, 2024
How To Optimize Content for Facebook and Instagram
Bruce Clay on December 14, 2023
SEO vs. PPC: How To Choose
Bruce Clay on October 16, 2023
7 Proven Strategies To Increase Website Traffic for Your Business

11 Replies to “Don’t Be Popular. Be Useful.”

Lisa, I should not agree, it is not my style! lol

But you did say it the right way, “What is it about!”

What ever happened to JUST BEING YOURSELF?
There will be people who are class clowns or total shut ins. Be yourself be authentic but don’t start letting your core business drop aside to hit refresh on replies.
It’s about something I know very little of “Balance”. I’m trying to figure out the proper time to spend in different places but there is no universal recommendation.
That being said for the most part if you’re doing SM for traffic why bother. If you’re doing it to build relationships and let people know you exist that’s a different story.

I agree with you..being useful is more important than being popular..^^ maybe you will be popular for a few days or months but if you started to become useful you can go a long way..^^

The more useful you are, the more people will link to your content. The class clown is not a reliable source of information. You look to authority figurers for facts, not some bozo!

I think you took Jon a little too literally, Lisa. He’s not saying don’t teach; in fact, his main point is that people have to find value in what you offer, which is another word for useful information.

For example, you’re much more of a class clown in your writing style than I am, and I’m much more of a teacher. So maybe you shouldn’t use “copyblogger” throughout your article, and instead attribute directly to Jon Morrow, the author?

Or I can call you Bruce Clay, if you like. :-)

I’d rather be useful than popular. But it won’t hurt to be both.

You aren’t a squishy sheep?

Stephen Ward took the words right out of our mouths. Never write anything you don’t believe in or something that isn’t you – what’s the point for getting recognized for something that isn’t genuine?

I don’t necessarily think Jonathan at Copyblogger was saying that being a class clown is the only way to get your blog noticed; it’s just one of the more effective ways. It’s a tactic like any other, and it has its place. That being said, I’m in the same camp as you, Lisa. Don’t be so concerned with attracting attention. Write valuable, well-thought-out content and let the rest of the world notice you on its own time. When it does, your words will actually mean something.

I think you might have taken the humor part of the Copyblogger post a bit too literally. In fact, your style of writing combined with your visibility in the industry (and visibility of your employer) makes you an excellent example of what the post is trying to illustrate. You are giving the people what they want to hear (search information mixed with commentary) and you have become quite popular in the industry even if that wasn’t a goal of yours.

A great example of this concept is Robert Scoble. At one point I started following his online activity because he is cutting-edge with technology and interviews. He has access to stuff and people and places many of us are far from reaching ourselves.

But then he changed a bit. He started twittering and doing friendfeed more than blogging. He changed from bringing us content, so passing along others’ content via Google Reader. He follows thousands on Twitter so he can report a tsunami before the traditional news media. He shifted from being useful to being a content aggregator. In doing so, he became less useful to me, and I no longer follow him.

Sure, lots of people still do follow him, but to me his feeds are just noise. I still have his blog in my reader, but there is no way I have him in my Twitter stream.

let’s stop worshipping numbers and fleeting popularity, and actually be useful to the world. Let’s start taking 30 minutes to write a blog post instead of 30 seconds to twitter. Let’s take a few minutes to craft a thoughtful response to a blog post, instead of a 10-second desperately-trying-to-get-visitors “great post!” comment.

Thanks for the thoughts Lisa :)


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Serving North America based in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Bruce Clay, Inc. | PO Box 1338 | Moorpark CA, 93020
Voice: 1-805-517-1900 | Toll Free: 1-866-517-1900 | Fax: 1-805-517-1919