Oh boy…I was planning to have this post up last week, but after the whole Pipdig scandal I found myself spending the majority of last week trying to decide what I wanted to do with my blog template before finally taking the plunge and switching to a new theme!
Anyways, I’m back into blogging, and today I thought I would share what I spoke about at BlogConLDN last weekend – how to create award-worthy content. I think there’s an assumption that awards shortlists are decided based on people’s follower count and/or how close they are to the judging panel. While that may be true for some awards (I can’t speak for those I don’t have an active role in!) I can assure you that when it comes to the Blogosphere Awards, the focus is on high quality content (regardless of follower count). So today I thought I would share what we look for in award nominees’ content!
When it comes to making your content stand out, I think there’s five key areas: making sure you have a strong ‘key message’, choosing a ‘core medium’ to communicate via, staying consistent, engaging with your community and not falling into the comparison trap.
When you think about your favourite content creators (the ones you would nominate for an award) how would you describe their content? I’m betting you answered that in one sentence, maybe less. And that’s what having a key message is all about. When someone first comes across your blog/twitter/Instagram/YouTube channel/Podcast they should be able to identify the purpose of the content from the get go. Is this something someone looking at your content could easily do right now?
If you’re not sure how clear your ‘key message’ is, ask some friends/family to take a look at your content and summarise what it’s about. That way you can determine what vibe you’re giving off! I would say that my ‘key message’ on Instagram is ‘affordable style inspo’. I do sometimes stray from that, but the majority of my content fits that theme.
Also, when we’re talking about ‘key messages’, it doesn’t just have to be about what your audience gets from your content, it can also be what you ultimately want to achieve. Do you want to write your own sci-fi novels? Open a quirky bakery in your home town? Offer style advice to women just like you? Make sure your content is driving towards that end goal, and it will transform it into a ‘key message’. Take the bakery example, if you’re constantly sharing your delicious bakes, your audience will know to expect that from you, and as your bake-addicted following grows you’ll hopefully be on your way to being able to open that dream bakery because you’ll have an audience who are entirely interested in you achieving that goal!
I’m sure you, like I, have previously fallen into the trap of feeling that you HAVE to be present on all platforms (and a master of multiple mediums) but honestly I don’t think that’s true. In fact, when it comes to shortlisting for awards, somebody who creates incredible content on one platform is far more appealing than someone who is stretched across a few (and doing them all poorly).
Think about what you love to spend your time doing – writing, videography, photography, audio – and focus your energy on mastering that medium. If you’ve got an eye for photography, is there really a point in you struggling your way through a 500 word blog post ‘just because’? Here’s a handy guide to how to explore your core way of communicating via different mediums:
Once you’ve decided on your core way of communicating, you can use social media/a newsletter to drive people to that content. For example, if you’re a podcaster use Instagram for quotes from the podcast and images of guests (rather than seeing it as a separate platform that you have to conform to). It’s tempting to conform to what you think you should be on a platform, but the best path to success (and being noticed) is being yourself and seeing social media as a tool YOU can utilise, rather than a necessity.
Social media moves so fast, it can be tempting to just put content out daily to feel like you’re keeping up. But if the content you’re putting out isn’t all of the same quality I honestly feel like this can be damaging. When I look at someone’s content, and I can see where they’ve lost the spark, it’s far less appealing than someone who posts less often (but always delivers something amazing).
Being consistent isn’t always about posting daily, or even weekly. It’s also about the quality of your content, and it’s better to take a week off than to compromise the quality of what you’re producing! Take Shane Dawson as an example, he rarely puts out content, but when he does it’s as a consistent series that leaves people hanging on every second of the video!
Take your key message into consideration, and create a content schedule based on how often you can realistically create that content.
Trust me when I say there is absolutely nothing appealing about somebody who creates great content, but never engages with others online! Social media is about…being SOCIAl, so use it to find like-minded people and build relationships with them. Networking is a great way to stay inspired, and feel more connected. It also makes it far more likely that someone will nominate you for an award, or that a judge will recognise your name/content from engaging with you (or seeing someone else engage with you) online.
Ok I promise we are nearly done with this bloody long blog post, but I do have one final point to make, and I think it’s one of the most important ones when it comes to standing out on a list of award nominees.
DON’T FALL INTO THE COMPARISON TRAP
We’ve all found ourselves comparing our content to others online, but I honestly think if you dwell on this it will only harm you. When we’re looking through a long list of nominees, seeing people in the same locations, wearing the same outfits and doing the same poses gets boring very quickly. So the person doing something different will always pique our interest (and most likely end up on the shortlist).
Letting your own personality shine through your content is crucial to building a brand online, and so as tempting as it is to incorporate ‘popular trends’ into your own content I would advise against it. If you do want to jump on trends, like the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project, I think it’s crucial to do it in your own way, regardless of how ‘popular’ you think it might be. Doing things your way will attract your perfect audience, copying others will attract an audience that is far less valuable to you. So no matter how frustrating it may be to see others soar while your content struggles to bring in the likes, stick to who you are, and what you want to achieve – you never know who’s watching…
Photography by Shots By Fifi