Caroline's Corner:

How to stay unique despite being one of many bloggers in your niche

There have been moments in the past year that I wanted to quit my blog. My inner critic would tell me I wasn’t good enough to play with the big bloggers out there and I would tell myself over and over again the blogging world is oversaturated and in particular the mom blog niche. Instead of quitting, I took breaks, started blogging for Yoast and found my love for my blog and my writing style again. And it’s safe to say: people start to recognize my personal brand. How I did this and how you can achieve this too, is something I want to explain today. And the good news is: you do not need 10,000 followers on Instagram and 100,000 visitors on your blog!

Background and statistics

Before we dive into the world of personal branding, let’s go back to the article I wrote a few months ago about my goals and statistics. Maybe you remember me saying I wanted to reach 100K of unique visitors a month at the end of 2018. Although I still want to grow to these numbers, I am not working on growing that rapidly anymore. As a blogger, you do not (yet) need an audience that’s in the very high numbers. You need to make sure your base is strong and your engagement is high. How I came to this conclusion? Last week I was at a blogging event where I spoke to Cassandra, a blogger in my niche. She talked about micro influencing and about the importance of becoming a brand, instead of focussing on reaching the mighty and powerful 10K on Instagram ‘just’ for the swipe up function. And my head started spinning.

Personal brand – what is it?

One of the most hyped, but also important, expressions currently is ‘personal brand’. In short, it means presenting yourself as a brand to the world. It’s what people see when they look at you, read something about you or hear from you. You want this image to be positive and true to who you are. I know that I’m seen as someone who works at Yoast, knows a lot about the plugin and SEO. But there’s more to that. As I give talks and workshops about SEO to bloggers, I’ve received comments about how people see me. And most of the time people know me for my love for Disney, my advocacy for self-care for mothers, Yoast, SEO, my sense of humor and the ability to explain things.

My personal brand is more than just my blog or my Instagram, it’s everything. On my blog, you won’t find many hints to Yoast, but on Instagram, you will. On my blog, you will find a lot of hints towards Disney, less so on my Instagram. Yet either platform is completely true to who I am. I mock motherhood and being an ‘influencer’ both on Instagram and on my blog and I definitely portray the importance of self-care on both platforms.

You should ask the same feedback from the people around you. Someone might say something you don’t particularly agree with, but it’s how they see you. Be sure to know what you want to be known for. If you do not receive that from anyone or not from everyone, then that means you’ve got work cut out for you!

Your personal brand helps you stay focused and unique

You might wonder where I’m going with my explanation about personal brand. There’s an important reason for it: knowing how the world sees you and how you want to be seen, will make sure your blog will stay or become more focused. If you know what you and your blog stand for, you know what your audience expects from you. If you, for example, wish to do a collaboration with a company, you should make sure it is in line with your brand’s values and reputation. For example, if you usually only share vegetarian dishes, it would be a bit strange to suddenly do a collaboration with a company that’s not vegetarian. Although you might still eat non-vegetarian products in your daily life, if your audience is not aware of this fact, your followers will be confused. Do this too often and you might lose your credibility.

The importance of micro influencing

I currently have a little over 700 followers on my personal Instagram. Although I too wish to grow my following, I’d find it more important to interact with my followers. My average engagement rate is 12.45%. According to Influencermarketinghub, the average engagement rate for accounts with less than 1000 followers, is 8%. I’m well above that and I take pride in this. It means my Instagram followers represent the people I wish to reach. Less is more and this is definitely the case in the world of online influencing. Although it might look awesome to have thousands upon thousands of followers, if your engagement rate is low and your following does not represent your blog’s audience, it might be even harder to be considered an influencer than someone with fewer followers, but a higher engagement rate. Because it means that the latter knows where his or her audience is ‘hiding’ and knows how to reach them.

So how would you grow?

Does it mean I don’t want to grow my blog anymore? No, not at all. I still want to reach a big audience. But I realize now that won’t last if I don’t take the route of commitment. If I don’t want to be forgotten in a few months, it means people should really feel connected to my brand: to me. By knowing what I stand for, I know how I should grow, not how I can grow. If this is a little too vague, let me make it more clear with an explanation.

The kind of blog posts I write, are:

  • Blog posts about self-care, in particular, self-care for mothers;
  • Posts about motherhood with a personal twist, think of: things I can say at home, but not at work, the laws of motherhood outdoors and a tutorial on how to avoid changing diapers at all cost.
  • Posts about Disneyland Paris;
  • Inspiration interior blog posts, for example: Halloween decorations or an Ikea Hack;
  • Vegan recipes that are easy to make, because I hate to cook;
  • DIYs that are easy and fast done and still steal the show, in case it’s your mother in law’s birthday and you haven’t made a gift with your toddler yet.

My strategy is staying true to my brand

I know I could reach a lot more visitors by competing with the bigger bloggers out there. I could write ‘how to’s’ and informational articles that have been written over and over again. This could be a business model or a part of your brand, that’s totally fine. But it’s not mine. I would lose my current following and would gain a new following. My current blog posts wouldn’t fit into that strategy and people will become confused about my personal brand.

By staying true to your brand with your articles and on social media, people will eventually recognize you and your brand. Although your biggest source of traffic might not come from Google for a very long time, your brand will be strong and depends on people rather than on algorithms.

I’m curious how you are maintaining your brand. Are you already working on your personal brand and if so, how?

Read more: Blogging: the ultimate guide »

Caroline's Corner series

Caroline's Corner series

Caroline blogs about her experience as a blogger, from making sure you keep going to optimizing your blog.

28 Responses to How to stay unique despite being one of many bloggers in your niche

  1. pamela bloom
    pamela bloom  • 2 years ago

    I am in charge of brand marketing for our dental practice. We have a gorgeous web site but need to boost rankings. Our developer just added the Yoast plug-in to our wordpress site-I’m just mow learning how to optimize with this.

    • Caroline Geven

      Good luck with it :) I’d advise our academy courses to you, they’re helping me rank my website.

  2. seofaisal
    seofaisal  • 2 years ago

    Thanks for an informative read! I’m working on a fashion dapper site, primarily on SEO as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I thoroughly enjoyed your advice. These past few months “almost did me in” with technically difficulty, and I wanted to throw in the towel.
    So I took a break. Hope to get back soon.

  3. Dawne Richards
    Dawne Richards  • 2 years ago

    Thanks for an informative read! I’m working on my personal brand, primarily on my blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I just started the blog in July, and of course am facing the impatience and self-doubt of so many others.

    • Caroline Geven

      Yes, impatience is a thing I’m suffering too! Hang on and you’ll get there. Good luck!

  4. Debby Woods
    Debby Woods  • 2 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed your advice. These past few months “almost did me in” with technically difficulty, and I wanted to throw in the towel.
    So I took a break. Hope to get back soon.

    Thanks, Debby

    • Caroline Geven

      I hope you get back to it, good luck!

  5. Key Z
    Key Z  • 2 years ago

    It does not matter whether you are unique or not. It’s important how much traffic you have on the website.

  6. Ifwat Ibrahim
    Ifwat Ibrahim  • 2 years ago

    Hi. Such a great post for reading. I have one question. My target audience is from Malaysia. So my blog should i write in english or in malay? Or maybe i can combine it? It become my conflict is common talk for Malaysian is combination of English and malay. Example when they search for “ecommerce Website” they will write ecommerce Website. Not a “website e-dagang” (in malay). So let’s say my target keyword is ecommerce website so my blog post should in total english or total malay? Because previously one of seo expert tell me that not good if i combine english and malay in my website. What is your opinion for my situation? Thank you in advance

    • Caroline Geven

      I write my personal blog in Dutch, because my audience is Dutch. I’d advise you to write in Malay, but I sneak in English words in my own blog posts as well. If your targer keyword is ecommerce website and it is used in Malay as well, use that to target for. Google is very good in recognizing certain phrases, so don’t worry about that!

  7. Ursula
    Ursula  • 2 years ago

    Thanks for that article. Actually that was what I needed to hear. I want to grow my blog and wherever I read it is all about “how to” and “what is the best…” anyway, I think it is important to find the balance between being yourself as a brand and getting people to read your blog especially when you need the income.

    • Caroline Geven

      Yes, I totally get what you’re coming from. These how to’s explain to you how to copy others, not how to become unique yourself.

  8. Bee
    Bee  • 2 years ago

    Thanks for this post! such a great reminder. We are all kind of carried away in this thought that we need a whole lot of followers before we can ‘be anything’.
    My personal brand: I try to be true to myself by writing from the heart, just the way I would have said it if I spoke to a friend almost. That in addition to using only my own photos which all have a certain dark, calm element to them

    • Caroline Geven

      Seems like you have figured out your personal brand, you’re welcome for the reminder :)

  9. Steve Biggs
    Steve Biggs  • 2 years ago

    There are bloggers like me who are not blogging for a following, an income, or even exposure. I’m blogging just because! :) I simply want the articles to exist and if they get read and help people out then that’s of course a big bonus. So as I’m not following any blogging “rules”, guides or how-to’s I feel my blog is naturally unique as I’m simply doing it for me.

    • Caroline Geven

      That’s definitely how most bloggers start out there blog! There are no blogging ‘rules’, just the ones you feel you should be true to.

  10. Eliana Bryson
    Eliana Bryson  • 2 years ago

    Being unique is much difficult and for how long can you remain unique because competitors in your niche would track and copy your tactics which are working fine.
    I believe it is better to compile ideas of others and provide your users with more value based content with facts,figures and tricks which solves their problems.

    • Caroline Geven

      If they copy you, they are not unique and they will always be one step behind. Of course you need value based content, but you need to be the best content available in order to rank on Google. You need to engage your visitors as well.

  11. Kirti
    Kirti  • 2 years ago

    To each blogger his own.
    This is true for life also. You need to stand out!

    • Caroline Geven

      Exactly! Well said :)

  12. Nancy
    Nancy  • 2 years ago

    Hi Caroline,
    Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post. I’m in a similar situation with my blog about luxury family travel. I have a small, but engaged following. Staying true to my brand is a priority. I started the blog to share information & inspire families to travel. I focus on providing helpful information. It’s never been about winning the numbers game. My previous work as an economist helps keep things in perspective.

    • Caroline Geven

      That’s so good to hear that your previous work helps you to keep things in perspective. We seem to live in a world where all we want is more, more and more. I’ll admit I’m guilty of that too.

  13. Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
    Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)  • 2 years ago

    Ahrefs or Semrush once mentioned something like “What’s the use of high volume of traffic without sales”

    While traffic does matter, the power of influence matters the most

    • Caroline Geven

      Yes, influencers are becoming more and more popular and important in today’s world.

  14. Dr.Amrita Basu
    Dr.Amrita Basu  • 2 years ago

    This is exactly what I have felt over the last few years.For solopreneurs creating own brand is very important.

    • Caroline Geven

      Yes, it definitely is!

  15. Isabelle
    Isabelle  • 2 years ago

    Hi, I can see what you mean! It’s been a few years since my blog is online and since about 4 years other blogs have arrived, often taking my content, while these people do not raise even chickens … I was often discouraged but today I decided to stop paying attention. People follow me, know my blog and know that I really have chickens. some make the difference and it’s very good my strength is to know what I’m talking about, and I’m convinced that people make the difference. I communicate a lot about my name on social networks and people hold back. (I’m French, excuse me for my English)

    • Caroline Geven

      I can imagine it’s quite frustrating if people take your content. Know that they aren’t allowed to steal content! However, I think it’s a good thing that you decided to stop paying attention. It will pay off in the end.