That’s right: Your blog is competing with others for the attention of your readers.

Competition. (Photo: flickr.com/anniemole)

It doesn’t matter if they’re in your commercial space or not, other blogs are competitors to one extent or another. At any given moment, your readers could be reading something better suited to them, more engaging, more thought provoking or more aesthetically pleasing. But for the most part, it’s a friendly competition, among many highly talented and social bloggers , for mindshare. If they’re passionate about what they do, this competition thrills every single one of them.

The following are just some of the blogs that were submitted by our visitors as answers to the question:

“Which other blogs do you read regularly?”

radian6 logoRadian6 PowerShift

Focus: “Social Media Monitoring and Engagement”

Lesson: If it won’t help, it doesn’t fit.

Contributors like Teresa Basich address common pain-points and concerns, as in “Social Media Engagement for Regulated Industries.” Guides, checklists and the occasional thought piece are all packed full of actionable content. The number of comments per post is higher than I see on most company blogs, and speaks to the overall usefulness of the content Radian6 delivers here.

AlmostSavvyAlmost Savvy logo

Focus: “Helping you get started with social media”

Lesson: Opinions are currency.

Social media consultant Irene Koehler isn’t exactly shy. Her thoughts may ruffle the occasional feather, but they’re coherent and make for good discussion. Not coincidentally, discussion is what many blog readers are after. Thoughts, after all, are the key ingredient to thought leadership. Companies large and small need to have opinions on the things that matter to their customers. Well-formed opinions demonstrate expertise.

Get Elastic

Focus: ecommerce

Lesson: Curate and build.

You know those blogs that only link back to their own content, like a self-contained labyrinth of bad SEO? Get Elastic is not one of them. In fact, much of what is covered and discussed on the blog comes from the world outside Elastic Path Software. Posts like, “Top 10 Things Customers Expect from Your Online Store” take interesting findings and build on them. External content is always credited, and each post ends up being a more robust exploration of topics relevant to the ecommerce space. Perhaps that’s why it’s the “#1 subscribed ecommerce blog”.

Mack Collier

Focus: “Helping companies understand the ‘social’ part of social media”.

Lesson: Find the time.

Collier’s blog is no ghost town. In August alone, he’s already written 10 posts, with an average of 19 comments per post (that’s a lot). Last August, when his blog had only been up for a few months, he only published five posts, with an average of 3.4 comments each. In a tweet to me, Mack said:

“Yes, I think freq of posting increases traffic BUT more posting simply makes one a better blogger, practice makes perfect”.

Uncrate

Focus: “The buyer’s guide for men”

Lesson: Add a big picture to those thousand words.

Uncrate gives people what they want: large, beautiful photographs of really cool stuff that they can buy. Oh, and they review the products, too (we like reviews). Some things look so much better than they sound, and this is true of nearly everything you can write. There is an image, somewhere, that will make your post irresistible. Buy them from somewhere like iStockphoto, get them for free from Flickr Creative Commons (attribute!), or create your own—just don’t serve up a pile of plain-text boringness.

What blogs do YOU read? Let us know in the comments!


18 Responses to “How companies can learn from competing blogs to improve their own”

  1. What's cool is that I imagine all the people I reference here have taken insights from the blogs they love, too. No one does it on their own.

  2. Ian, thanks for the reminder that we are competing against all other blogs for readers attention – and it is mostly friendly. The two blogs from your list that I really enjoy are Mack Collier and Irene Koehler's Almost Savvy. I'm always open to learning from others :)

  3. Your voice must resonate with a lot of people, as I've seen you on too many lists to ignore. This is just one of them, but it's really a list created by our readers. Keep it up!

  4. Hey there, Ian. Thanks for including AlmostSavvy in such esteemed company.

    You are so right. With so many links, catch-phrases and “gurus” competing for our eyeballs online, it is an ongoing challenge for bloggers to find a way to stand out while still maintaining focus and being true to their brand.

    And, as Mack states, creating original content (or, at least adding a new perspective to an ongoing topic) is critical. There are many, many blogs which regularly take the approach of jumping on the topic of the hour to capitalize on link-bait.

    I write in my own voice, which often includes a touch of humor and sarcasm. It's the only voice I have, so to write any other way just wouldn't feel authentic. That's the great thing about blogs, and social media in general. We all have the opportunity to “try on” other people to see who fits. Whatever your style or interest in specific content, you'll probably easily find someone who presents information of value in a way which best suits you.

    Thanks again for the mention. Great reminder of the importance of looking beyond our own blogs to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from others (which I do on a regular basis).

    Irene

  5. What's cool is that I imagine all the people I reference here have taken insights from the blogs they love, too. No one does it on their own.

  6. Ian, thanks for the reminder that we are competing against all other blogs for readers attention – and it is mostly friendly. The two blogs from your list that I really enjoy are Mack Collier and Irene Koehler's Almost Savvy. I'm always open to learning from others :)

  7. Your voice must resonate with a lot of people, as I've seen you on too many lists to ignore. This is just one of them, but it's really a list created by our readers. Keep it up!

  8. Hey there, Ian. Thanks for including AlmostSavvy in such esteemed company.

    You are so right. With so many links, catch-phrases and “gurus” competing for our eyeballs online, it is an ongoing challenge for bloggers to find a way to stand out while still maintaining focus and being true to their brand.

    And, as Mack states, creating original content (or, at least adding a new perspective to an ongoing topic) is critical. There are many, many blogs which regularly take the approach of jumping on the topic of the hour to capitalize on link-bait.

    I write in my own voice, which often includes a touch of humor and sarcasm. It's the only voice I have, so to write any other way just wouldn't feel authentic. That's the great thing about blogs, and social media in general. We all have the opportunity to “try on” other people to see who fits. Whatever your style or interest in specific content, you'll probably easily find someone who presents information of value in a way which best suits you.

    Thanks again for the mention. Great reminder of the importance of looking beyond our own blogs to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from others (which I do on a regular basis).

    Irene

  9. Maybe I'm biased, because I'm a commercial photographer's son ;-). But I do think that plain text is not a winning formula unless, as in my comment above, you have a rabidly-devoted following already. Shirky and Godin could pull off an all-text experience. You and I, and the overwhelming majority of bloggers, cannot.

    I'm stoked that you tweeted this out and commented. Thanks for that.

  10. Right. Unless you're one of maybe .00000001% of the online population, that tiny percentile of bloggers who have established their thought leadership to the extent that others are just dying to see what they're reading, that lazy curation will not fly without an infusion of great, original content.

    Thanks for stopping by, Mack. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  11. Good morning Ian – You have a great list going here. Besides Mack's I enjoy the Brains on Fire group and Lisa Petrilli. They both get my juices flowing each day. Katie does a nice job as well. She has been a recent edition to my reading. Have yourself a great week!

  12. Mack Collier

    Hey Ian, thanks for the mention! You're right that there's SO many blogs now that we are all competing for the limited time and attention of our readers. One mistake I believe many bloggers make is that they aren't willing to give THEIR personal opinions on a common topic. I see too many bloggers that will write about whatever the popular topic of the day is, but when they do, they will just recap what OTHER 'popular' bloggers had to say on the topic!

    I think two smart ways to address common topics are to either give YOUR personal opinion, or to contact other bloggers to get THEIR opinion on the topic, and to collect it as you did here. But simply rehashing existing content doesn't really help the reader.

    As Katie said, quality content that's ORIGINAL is what I am looking for.

  13. Thanks for the Radian6 blog shout out! I'm also a frequent reader of many of the other blogs you listed, and your'e completely correct – blogs are “competing” for attention, much like newspapers and publication are competing for eyeballs. For me, quality content is the key. It's less about the pretty pictures (though they help) than consistent and quality content. I read blogs to learn something, and if you can manage to teach me something small with every post, I'll become a loyal subscriber.

    Katie Morse
    Community Manager | Radian6
    @misskatiemo

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