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Do You Lead or Follow?

Where are ewe?

Where are ewe?,
originally uploaded by foxypar4.

Several bloggers have complained to me about the number of feeds they find lately that simply echo the same old information. Think about your blog … have you fallen into this trap?

It’s an easy habit to get into. Fear of not having something to say, or fear of being the only person not covering this particular news. I think there is also a large element where people do not want to stick their neck out and be found to be wrong.

Fact is people come to your blog to hear from you. You must create, not simply follow the pack.

  • What is your experience?
  • Share your ideas
  • Tell us your anecdotes
  • Which tactics work for you
  • Give us your take on the news

The last one is I think the main way people can break out of the echo chamber. I know what it is like to try to cover current niche events in an original way and it can be tough. My solution is to have opinions. Yes, fill the reader in on what is going on, but do that while you are explaining your thoughts, feelings, objections, enthusiasm or insight.

There are just too many ways a reader can be informed now for you to simply pass on what you hear and read unedited. Take the lead and your readers will respond.

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Comments

  1. This is always a big issue for us. With a blog about web content writing, our niche is jam packed with people wearing topics into the ground faster than Gramma’s doormat being trod upon by a hockey team.

    We needed to be different. We needed to put a spin on things and stand out. That’s why we decided to break away from the usual “information only” and write from a more personal view. We include our thoughts and opinions, our feelings, our insights… We’re not afraid to be us, and our posts ring out as original, not some bland repetition of what others say.

    People may be able to copy our concepts, but no one can clone our personality. That’s how we stand out in the sea of sharks.

  2. This is always a big issue for us. With a blog about web content writing, our niche is jam packed with people wearing topics into the ground faster than Gramma’s doormat being trod upon by a hockey team.

    We needed to be different. We needed to put a spin on things and stand out. That’s why we decided to break away from the usual “information only” and write from a more personal view. We include our thoughts and opinions, our feelings, our insights… We’re not afraid to be us, and our posts ring out as original, not some bland repetition of what others say.

    People may be able to copy our concepts, but no one can clone our personality. That’s how we stand out in the sea of sharks.

  3. The blog echo chamber is pretty bad. One of the reasons I prefer smaller blogs to the big well known mega-lots-of-paid-writers-blogs.

    I like a single cogent voice speeking with passion about something they are knowledgeable about type blogs. Like this one indeed!

  4. The blog echo chamber is pretty bad. One of the reasons I prefer smaller blogs to the big well known mega-lots-of-paid-writers-blogs.

    I like a single cogent voice speeking with passion about something they are knowledgeable about type blogs. Like this one indeed!

  5. I guess this is an advantage of writing a blog about my spiritual journey. Even when I do get inspired by someone else and write about their topic, I always do it using my own personal experiences to add to it.

  6. I guess this is an advantage of writing a blog about my spiritual journey. Even when I do get inspired by someone else and write about their topic, I always do it using my own personal experiences to add to it.

  7. I’m lucky in the sense that my niche is very small, so there aren’t many other people writing blogs about my topic. Because of this, the odds of any of us rehashing the same things is pretty small.

  8. I’m lucky in the sense that my niche is very small, so there aren’t many other people writing blogs about my topic. Because of this, the odds of any of us rehashing the same things is pretty small.

  9. I think these days, particularly the last 6 months, people are so concerned with earning dollars from their blog and wanting to become the next John Chow that they’ve been seduced into thinking that there’s only a set couple of ways to do it, mimic what John and his followers are doing.

    I’ve been guilty of this sort of thing in the past myself, but I’d like to think I’m beginning to break out of it and find my own voice and therefore my own LOYAL audience of return readers / subscribers.

  10. I think these days, particularly the last 6 months, people are so concerned with earning dollars from their blog and wanting to become the next John Chow that they’ve been seduced into thinking that there’s only a set couple of ways to do it, mimic what John and his followers are doing.

    I’ve been guilty of this sort of thing in the past myself, but I’d like to think I’m beginning to break out of it and find my own voice and therefore my own LOYAL audience of return readers / subscribers.

  11. This is always a struggle for blogs on common topics. I follow about 30 blogs in my niche and try to never post something similar to something I’ve read…but when it comes down to it – I write what I want to write regardless of what I have read or haven’t read.

    I think the most honest way to run a blog is to simply talk about what you want to talk about. Sometimes this will be a personal story, sometimes it will be providing insight on something you know better than most, and other times it will be talking about another blog you read just yesterday – rehashing the same ideas but adding a personal twist.

    I don’t think it really matters as long as you’re adding something to the conversation of the web.

    But I agree…if you’re simply saying the same things in new words…you shouldn’t bother.

  12. This is always a struggle for blogs on common topics. I follow about 30 blogs in my niche and try to never post something similar to something I’ve read…but when it comes down to it – I write what I want to write regardless of what I have read or haven’t read.

    I think the most honest way to run a blog is to simply talk about what you want to talk about. Sometimes this will be a personal story, sometimes it will be providing insight on something you know better than most, and other times it will be talking about another blog you read just yesterday – rehashing the same ideas but adding a personal twist.

    I don’t think it really matters as long as you’re adding something to the conversation of the web.

    But I agree…if you’re simply saying the same things in new words…you shouldn’t bother.

  13. At fist I thought that my Wellness blog would easily fall into the trap of rehashing the same stuff — I mean how many ways can you spell E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E or E-A-T right? Then I started watching closely what some of my favorite bloggers did (yes, Chris, you’re at the top of the list:) and I found an answer that is echoed here in your post and by Chad, Patricia, Jack and James above…

    Namely, I have to put my spin on things, bring my voice forward, talk about my own experience (say with the Blood Type Diet and Homeopathy after a car accident for instance) and that’s that. I lead, who follows will follow. End of report as my grandma used to say:)

    Now I have to copy your post along with what I just wrote here and paste it on my forehead so I don’t forget.

  14. At fist I thought that my Wellness blog would easily fall into the trap of rehashing the same stuff — I mean how many ways can you spell E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E or E-A-T right? Then I started watching closely what some of my favorite bloggers did (yes, Chris, you’re at the top of the list:) and I found an answer that is echoed here in your post and by Chad, Patricia, Jack and James above…

    Namely, I have to put my spin on things, bring my voice forward, talk about my own experience (say with the Blood Type Diet and Homeopathy after a car accident for instance) and that’s that. I lead, who follows will follow. End of report as my grandma used to say:)

    Now I have to copy your post along with what I just wrote here and paste it on my forehead so I don’t forget.

  15. Great post! I often find myself worrying a lot about just hashing out the same old stories on my blog that everyone else seems to be writing about. To make it worthwhile for readers to come to my blog is I try to give my own personal spin on things (just as you suggested). However, every once in a while I get a gem of a post that is unique enough to draw a lot of visitors/comments to my blog.

  16. Great post! I often find myself worrying a lot about just hashing out the same old stories on my blog that everyone else seems to be writing about. To make it worthwhile for readers to come to my blog is I try to give my own personal spin on things (just as you suggested). However, every once in a while I get a gem of a post that is unique enough to draw a lot of visitors/comments to my blog.

  17. @James, I really agree. My blog is sort of a mutant love child of Seth Godin and Brian Clark, but my voice is different from theirs and my stories and wild hairs are different.

    For that matter, Seth basically repeats the same 11 posts with new examples and new angles, and Brian does the same. And that’s not a bad thing at all. (Partly because their topics are easy to outline but very hard to master.) That constant infusion of a new personal take on the old subject keeps bringing their loyal readers back for more.

  18. @ Sonia – Cripes, I must be blind to not have noticed that (or just too busy trying to figure out how to dominate the blogging world!). New game plan in motion πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

    @ Brad – If you’ve put yourself into your posts, then all of them are gems. People just haven’t found the buried treasure yet.

    @ Erica – Your personal experiences are more interesting to people than any informational piece. Now you just have to tie the two together!

    @ Chad – Yes. (And why do you always post such good comments that I can’t add to them? Dammit, man!)

    @ Matt – Honestly? I’ve had John Chow in my feed reader for about two months, and each time I look at a new post, I’m thinking, “Man, that’s boring.” What are people seeing in his blog besides the fact he’s uber-successful? The blog is dull as hell, and I’m subscribed only because everyone else is. Am I missing something?

    @ Jack – It’s funny as hell to watch an A-lister post something and then see the feed reader start to light up with the domino effect. The thrill wears off after two weeks.

  19. @ Sonia – Cripes, I must be blind to not have noticed that (or just too busy trying to figure out how to dominate the blogging world!). New game plan in motion πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

    @ Brad – If you’ve put yourself into your posts, then all of them are gems. People just haven’t found the buried treasure yet.

    @ Erica – Your personal experiences are more interesting to people than any informational piece. Now you just have to tie the two together!

    @ Chad – Yes. (And why do you always post such good comments that I can’t add to them? Dammit, man!)

    @ Matt – Honestly? I’ve had John Chow in my feed reader for about two months, and each time I look at a new post, I’m thinking, “Man, that’s boring.” What are people seeing in his blog besides the fact he’s uber-successful? The blog is dull as hell, and I’m subscribed only because everyone else is. Am I missing something?

    @ Jack – It’s funny as hell to watch an A-lister post something and then see the feed reader start to light up with the domino effect. The thrill wears off after two weeks.

  20. @James, I feel the same way about JC. Blasphemy! πŸ™‚

  21. @James, I feel the same way about JC. Blasphemy! πŸ™‚

  22. @Sonia

    >>My blog is sort of a mutant love child of Seth Godin and Brian Clark…

    Ugh. Your blog is much better-looking than that. πŸ™‚

    @James

    >>What are people seeing in his blog besides the fact he’s uber-successful?

    Are you sure he’s even that? Don’t take all evil at face value.

  23. @Sonia

    >>My blog is sort of a mutant love child of Seth Godin and Brian Clark…

    Ugh. Your blog is much better-looking than that. πŸ™‚

    @James

    >>What are people seeing in his blog besides the fact he’s uber-successful?

    Are you sure he’s even that? Don’t take all evil at face value.

  24. I couldn’t agree more. If I read one more blog post about the PepperJam Affiliate Network or the change to the Google AdSense referral program I am going to lose my mind!

    There’s nothing wrong with using other stories or blogs for inspiration, but please, please add something unique or original to your post!

    – Martin Reed

  25. I couldn’t agree more. If I read one more blog post about the PepperJam Affiliate Network or the change to the Google AdSense referral program I am going to lose my mind!

    There’s nothing wrong with using other stories or blogs for inspiration, but please, please add something unique or original to your post!

    – Martin Reed

  26. @James – Exactly, ideas are cheap but implementation is where the difference lies

    @Jack – I think even the big multiple author breaking news type blogs can make a difference by not just reporting but saying why something might be important, what could happen next, how it happened etc – too many just copy press releases

    @Patricia – Yup, if you talk about life through your own personal lens then everything will be colored in by your unique take on life

    @Adam – Yes the temptation to simply link it in will be reduced but unfortunately so will the chances of cross promotion

    @Matt – Even Mr Chow takes a unique way of looking at the world (“evil”), it is one of the things the Chowalikes forget

    @Chad – Adding to the conversation is something we talk about a lot but a lot of bloggers seem to think that means just passing the conversation along πŸ™‚

    @Erica – Particularly in niches where people need support or to know what really works it is powerful to put in your own experiences. It separates out the people who live it from the people who merely want to profit from it.

    @Brad – You will find there is a reason why certain posts capture the audiences imagination, perhaps the topic or the headline, how can you do more in your own unique way?

    @Sonia – Thanks Sonia! You will see in the latest post I took inspiration from your comment πŸ™‚

    @James – People want to emulate what was successful yesterday rather than create what will be successful tomorrow. Hmmm, might be a post in that!

    @Brian – He is certainly successful at creating a story about himself πŸ™‚

    @Martin – It’s things like that which put me off reporting news. Now when I do write about something I know others will cover I try to only report stuff I know will have value and if I can try to add a different viewpoint

  27. @James – Exactly, ideas are cheap but implementation is where the difference lies

    @Jack – I think even the big multiple author breaking news type blogs can make a difference by not just reporting but saying why something might be important, what could happen next, how it happened etc – too many just copy press releases

    @Patricia – Yup, if you talk about life through your own personal lens then everything will be colored in by your unique take on life

    @Adam – Yes the temptation to simply link it in will be reduced but unfortunately so will the chances of cross promotion

    @Matt – Even Mr Chow takes a unique way of looking at the world (“evil”), it is one of the things the Chowalikes forget

    @Chad – Adding to the conversation is something we talk about a lot but a lot of bloggers seem to think that means just passing the conversation along πŸ™‚

    @Erica – Particularly in niches where people need support or to know what really works it is powerful to put in your own experiences. It separates out the people who live it from the people who merely want to profit from it.

    @Brad – You will find there is a reason why certain posts capture the audiences imagination, perhaps the topic or the headline, how can you do more in your own unique way?

    @Sonia – Thanks Sonia! You will see in the latest post I took inspiration from your comment πŸ™‚

    @James – People want to emulate what was successful yesterday rather than create what will be successful tomorrow. Hmmm, might be a post in that!

    @Brian – He is certainly successful at creating a story about himself πŸ™‚

    @Martin – It’s things like that which put me off reporting news. Now when I do write about something I know others will cover I try to only report stuff I know will have value and if I can try to add a different viewpoint

  28. @James, I really agree. My blog is sort of a mutant love child of Seth Godin and Brian Clark, but my voice is different from theirs and my stories and wild hairs are different.

    For that matter, Seth basically repeats the same 11 posts with new examples and new angles, and Brian does the same. And that's not a bad thing at all. (Partly because their topics are easy to outline but very hard to master.) That constant infusion of a new personal take on the old subject keeps bringing their loyal readers back for more.