Purple Blogging: How to Grow Your Blog In a Crowded Niche

Back in 2003, marketing maverick Seth Godin wrote a book called Purple Cow.

You know how the business world is always drowning in books written by entrepreneurs, marketers, investors, etc. Some good, some bad, some plain ugly.

Rarely do you come across a business book that completely blows you away. A book that pushes you to think and act like an innovator, and makes you want to kick yourself in the butt.

Purple Cow

For me, Purple Cow was that book. The moment I read it, I knew this guy with a bald head and a charming smile was pure genius.

So what was Seth’s argument?

If you want to stand out of the crowd, you gotta be remarkable, be interesting, and be a purple cow. Because brown cows are plenty — and they’re boring.

If a product wants to survive and succeed, it has to be worth talking about. It has to be exceptional. Or else it goes unnoticed. Gets lost. Becomes Invisible. And dies a slow, painful death. Ouch!

Mr. Godin talks about products that have awesomeness built right into them. Products like the new Beetle, or Starbucks, or Linux. Products that are too cool to be ignored.

But wait, why are we talking about products? Why not blogs and blogging?

Your Blog is a Product

Agree or not, the fact remains that your blog is a product. And if you don’t make this product remarkable – it won’t sell. No one will buy into it.

Yes, ‘Blog marketing’ can be pretty effective, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Here’s why:

You simply cannot sell a bad, lousy blog; no matter how good of a marketer you are.

You see, the Internet is driven by people. More specifically, it is driven by audiences. Which is why your blog needs to impress an audience to grow. To get somewhere, anywhere.

If it’s remarkable, people like it. They talk about it. They spread the word. They market it for you.

But if it’s average, then the opposite happens. They don’t find it interesting. They don’t talk much about it. They rarely spread the word for you. The result? You’re left to market it all by yourself.

When you’re average, you lose because you don’t get any leverage. And without leverage, growth is hard to come by.

Understand that your blog is your responsibility. Your readers are your responsibility. Your subscribers are your responsibility. Your success is your responsibility.

So buckle up and own up your responsibility by building a blog that is noticeable. Nobody is going give you attention on a silver platter.

You will have to earn it.

The bottom line is that your blog may not be a business, but it is definitely a product. And it deserves to be treated like one.

Marketing is Building Connections

Okay, let’s get this straight: promotion isn’t marketing — it’s a part of marketing.

Creating great content and getting the word out is only one half of the equation. The other half is gaining momentum. Which you do by building the right connections.

Because when it comes to marketing your blog, you can only do so much on your own. Beyond that, you need help from influencers who have a loyal tribe of followers.

But then again, influencers are busy people. They’re tied up with all sorts of stuff. And getting their attention is so not easy – especially when they don’t know you.

The solution?

Do something truly remarkable for them and they’re bound to notice you. Like Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

At the end of the day, influencers are, well, influencers. They’re looking for new ways to grow their influence. And they will not hesitate to connect with you if you can help them do that.

Remember, your aim is not to become influential. No, your aim is to go out of your way and give the influencers what they want. Wow them with your approach. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

That’s how you boost your own influence. That’s how you become a purple blogger.

Dare to be Outrageously Different

Don’t just be different. Different is outdated. It’s overrated. It’s simply not enough.

Instead, be outrageously different.

Be so different that it makes people question themselves. Do something so crazy that your audience is forced to sit up and take notice. Play the game so uniquely that you end up changing the rules.

The blogosphere is already over-flowing with me-too blogs. Ranting blogs. Aimless blogs. Dumb blogs. Abandoned blogs…well, you get the idea.

So why add to the clutter? Why not cut right through it and make your own place?

Yes, it takes risk to do what no one’s doing. But then this risk can be very rewarding if you do your homework and know where you’re headed.

Purple blogging is all about being remarkable. And you can’t be remarkable if you keep doing what everyone else is doing.

You need to be unconventional in your approach and redefine your priorities. You have to step out of your comfort zone, and be more open to the idea of experimenting with new ideas.

Doing the unconventional is not every blogger’s cup of tea. But for a purple blogger, it’s exactly where the opportunity lies. By embracing what other bloggers are afraid of, he learns how to get over his fear of failure.

Yes, you can make a mark with your blog, regardless of the niche you’re targeting. However, for that, you’ll have to blend uniqueness and usefulness together to create a lethal combination. A potion strong enough to win your audience over.

You need to work out a way to stand out of the crowd by creating a blogging persona like no other. Give your readers value they can’t find elsewhere and show them you aren’t just another blog.

Go Break Some Rules

Notice how I said break some rules, not all? It’s because rules work. They are there for a reason. People follow them to be on the safe side, which is fine.

But sometimes they become more of a hindrance than help. Sometimes you’re better off not following them. Sometimes it makes more sense to create your own set of rules.

Because breaking rules doesn’t always mean you’re doing wrong. It could also mean that you’re doing better.

Master rule breakers know what they’re doing. They don’t go against the norms just for the heck of it. No, they do it because they know the rules too damn well to follow them blindly.

Write Really, Really Well

Writing is one thing. But writing to make a difference? That’s something else. That’s what real bloggers do.

Real bloggers don’t just write — they write to pass on ideas. They write to teach, connect and inspire. They’re on a mission to change lives with the power of words and ideas.

As a blogger, when you write so much, why not do it really, really well? It’s common sense.

The blogosphere is ridden with blogs that are happy with publishing poorly written content. While they do manage to convey their core message, they fail at making an impact. And when you fail to make impact, you fail to stand out.

Here’s what you need to understand: Good writing is not only appreciated — it’s taken forward.

If your blog’s got exceptionally well written content, your readers will want to be a part of what you’re doing. They’ll have no problem recommending your posts to others and being associated with you. And if you ask me — that is huge.

Be a Quality Fanatic

Purple bloggers have this thing for quality.

They’re always looking out to make the right impression. They take care to avoid the tiniest mistakes. And do whatever they can do to give their readers an amazing experience.

If that makes them quality fanatics, so be it.

It’s their obsession with giving their ‘best’ which makes them stands out. It’s what ultimately gives them an edge over the competition.

The reason why you find quality lacking in the blogosphere today is because it takes serious effort. It doesn’t come to you just like that. You have to strive for it.

But once you get it, it never goes unnoticed and unrewarded. It earns you the love, respect and admiration of your readers. And that’s enough to take you places.

Is Your Blog Purple Enough?

The purple that we’re talking about here is obviously not the color. It’s much more than that. It’s your ticket to creating an insanely successful blog. Really.

The idea behind purple blogging is simple: Be truly remarkable to stand out from the rest. No rocket science there.

However, painting your blog purple isn’t enough. Nope. You have to make sure it’s the right shade of purple.

In other words, your blog needs to have an optimum balance of everything. Or else you risk making the wrong impression. You risk losing focus. And above all, you risk losing your audience.

So don’t just grab attention, but send a message. Don’t just impress an audience, but impress the right audience. Don’t just be a blog, be a purple blog.

The question is, how do you find that perfect shade of purple?

Easy — by knowing what shade your blog is:

VioletViolet blogs are everywhere. But they’re so ‘light’ that nobody notices them, or takes them seriously. They’re more of a hobby than anything else. They defeat the whole purpose of purple blogging, which is to grow in a crowded niche.
MagentaAh! The magenta blog. Never easy on the eyes and a pain to understand. It’s got a loud design, a loud mouth and a personality you want to run away from. Nothing about it is appealing. If your blog’s this shade, you’re probably trying too hard.
PurpleYep, this is the shade we’re talking about. A proper purple blog gets your attention without offending you. You find yourself pulled right into it, which makes you want to visit it again and again. It’s the kind of blog you want to spread the word about, because everything about it is so cool.
IndigoEvery indigo blog out there has the potential to make it big. However, the reason it gets lost is because it’s too busy copying the real purple blogs. It lacks in originality and creativity. It doesn’t have anything ‘exciting’ to offer to its readers, except the same old rehashed ideas that you find everywhere.
SlateblueA slateblue blog is more on the blue side than purple. Why? Because it targets the wrong audience. It’s not positioned right nor does it have the right content. No wonder it has a hard time building a loyal readership.

The key steps to building a purple blog are:

  1. Know your target audience inside out. Get into their shoes to discover their way of thinking. Understand their needs, wants, desires and motivations.
  2. Look where no one’s looking. Avoid the traditional thinking trap, and experiment with ideas that the others are ignoring. Be a square peg in a round hole.
  3. Connect with influencers the real way. Do whatever you can to give them what they want. Help them grow so they can help you grow. Start friendships. Strike partnerships. Be awesome.
  4. Have a solid content strategy in place. Forget about quantity and work on creating quality content that has a higher chance of hitting a homerun. You know, content that makes you go weak in the knees.
  5. Quit chasing social media numbers. Instead, focus on gaining mindshare in your niche and growing your influence. Aim at becoming a recognized brand and the followers will follow.
  6. Try being consistent, persistent and useful. Be passionate about your goal, but at the same time remain practical. Keep pushing forward and do not, I repeat, do not rest on your laurels. Ever.
Mustafa Khundmiri is a freelance writer and a professional blogger. You can follow him on Twitter
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