If you want to be noticed, you have to stand out.
If you're anything like me, you've read a lot of blogs and looked into a lot of businesses before deciding to take the leap and start your own. If you have, you probably noticed that the market is saturated with blogs and online businesses of every kind. It can be intimidating to think about joining a market like that, filled with intelligent, hard working people who have created success in their fields.
You've also probably read a lot of advice about making yourself stand out from the crowd so that your potential readers and clients can find you. While this is great advice and definitely something you need to do, it can be exceptionally difficult to do. There are so many options on the internet and so many people working on similar things, how can you make your blog or business stand out from the rest?
Below are some ways to start being different and getting noticed. As you read through them, make sure to evaluate how each applies to your goals and intentions for your business. You may not be able to use each tip, but there is something you can do to help yourself stand out from the crowd.
1. Find Your Niche. Very cliche, I know, but also very true. You need to find something that you're both passionate and knowledgeable about and then tailor that to your dream client. You don't have to limit yourself to one specific topic for the rest of time, but you do need to find something that makes your blog/business unique so that you aren't lost in the sea of lifestyle/DIY/food blogs floating on the internet.
Here at Lemon and the Sea, I talk about food, DIY projects, business, and life. At first, these all seemed like things that needed separate spaces. However, I'm discovered (through a lot of time and soul searching) that my passion is helping others to create intentionally. That can (and should) be done in every aspect of life, so featuring recipes, home decor, and business advice can all apply to living intentionally.
2. Start with Branding. The easiest way to start this if you don't have a lot of money to invest in hiring someone is by creating an idea board. You can do this on Pinterest or go old school with cut outs on an actual board. Only pull out images that you like and once you've got a collection, evaluate what you like about them. Maybe it's the color scheme or the simplicity of the image. Maybe you prefer colors and images found in nature instead of girly pinks. Once you've got an idea of what you like, pick three colors and two fonts, as well as some sample images, to use when creating your online presence. If you stick with just a few colors and fonts, you'll have a consistent look that will be professional and draw people in.
If you look throughout Lemon and the Sea (and check out my social media presence) you'll notice that I use the same colors and fonts throughout. I also use the same profile picture, which helps people to recognize that they've found the right person, no matter where they're looking for me.
3. Create Your Own Images. There are a lot of options for stock photos out there, and some offer some nice photos, but to really stand out, it's best to take your own photos. This way, you stay consistent in your color scheme, get exactly the look you want, and get to avoid any legal minefield associated with stock images. If you aren't a photographer, try trading services with a friend who is. Or, skip photos and create great graphics instead.
For Lemon and the Sea, I set up a photo shoot using a white board, a few accessories, and my deck to create a variety of images that I can use throughout my site. It only took a few hours and a little editing and now I have images I can use over and over that fit my brand.
4. Be Yourself. This is so important. In this age of the internet, we can easily put on a front for the people we are trying to reach. This is totally understandable. You're putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to criticism. It can be scary. But, it's so important to let your personality shine through. If you want to build a following and find clients, you have to let them know who you are. People want to work with a real person. After all, that's why they're looking for small businesses online instead of going to a big faceless company with their work.
Remember, you don't have to share anything that you're uncomfortable with, but the closer your online presence is to your personality, the more authentic you will be. It also makes it so much easier to connect with clients once they engage with you one on one because they already know who you are and want to work with YOU.
These are some ways to start creating a unique online presence that belongs to you alone. I'll be writing more about creating an awesome online business in the coming weeks, so don't miss out.