Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Do I Make MY Blog Stand Out?

This is a common question new bloggers have. There seems to be this thinking that nobody wants to hear what you have to say, or that you won't be interesting enough to keep your readers coming back if you talk about yourself. There's also the school of thought that says "Since I write about crafting, every post should be craft-related."

Well, this isn't really the truth. If you don't add some of you into your blog, your readers will fade away and look for more engaging blogs to frequent.

So how do you do this? Easy. Write about yourself.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're sitting there thinking "But I'm a craft blogger! Not a story teller! Nobody wants to hear about my cat or my kids or my boring life!" (Admit it, you were thinking that weren't you?) Well you know what? You are wrong.

Think about it this way: Why do people shop for handmade items? Because they want a real person behind what they're buying, right? I firmly believe that one of the main reasons the handmade movement is so popular is that consumers are tired of fattening the wallets of faceless corporations. So, as an artisan, you need to make sure your readers (who are your potential buyers, btw) know you.

Here's something else to think about: If you wanted to buy a new scarf, and you knew you wanted a handmade scarf, you could go to a local craft fair to buy it. Now, if you are walking around that fair, and you see a face you recognize, a friend from work or school maybe, and she sells scarves, wouldn't your natural inclination be to buy from her? Of course it would be! Our natural inclination is to go with what is familiar to us. We instinctively trust deals made with friends more than deals made with strangers, so it stands to reason that if you become a recognizable face your sales will increase.

Get out there and make yourself known! I'm not saying stop promoting your fellow artisans, nor am I saying stop making spotlights or treasuries in your blogs. What I am saying is pepper your blog with snippets from your own life. If you have a really funny day, or a even a really weird one, tell your readers about it! If you teach in real life, teach online! Take the same skills you use in "real life" social settings and put them to use here. Treat your readers as though they were strangers at a party. Ask yourself "What would I say to someone to make them want to continue the conversation?" Ask questions in your post to encourage feedback. Make your blog inviting and entertaining, and you will stand out!

For instance, when you make a spotlight, don't just say "Here are the things I like today." Instead, how about saying "I chose these items today because...." and then tell us the truth! Take a good look at the items and see what they are saying to you. Did you just make a treasury of hearts and flowers? Maybe it means you're feeling loved... TELL US THAT! Or maybe you made a spotlight full of dark colors and hard edges. Could it be you're lonely or sad today? SAY SO! It's these small touches that will make your blog the one people come back to, and your shop the one they want to visit!

One last thing, if you sit down to blog and you've been too busy to shop for things to spotlight or artisans to feature, don't be discouraged. Think of this as an opportunity to let us see the "real you". Tell your readers why you've been so busy. Take a day off from being an artisan and just be you. You will be amazed at the outcome!


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