Writing a blog with original posts and ideas has always been more appealing to me than just running around with whatever everyone else is writing about. For one thing, others have probably said everything really well already. But by staying out of the loop in terms of the ‘current noise’, you miss out on the community chatter aspect (bloggers linking back and forth if your post is really good regarding the particular hot topic of the day). Overall though, I think your blog will benefit since you end up building a port for your readers where they know they’ll find something fresh.
The problem with writing a blog containing ‘original ideas’ is that the blog tends to be tagged as a “muse” by others. That doesn’t mean a “blog muse” is cranking out exceptional writing, ideas and content–it just means the blog content provides a flash point for other bloggers. It gives them ideas for things to write about. Sometimes that means an almost identical mock up to your post (boo!), other times it’s taking a single point raised in a post to write a new post on another blog.
Anyone with a sense of blog or net ettiquette would think being a blog muse is exactly what you want to be. Bloggers finding inspiration with your posts, that means lots of inbounds–right? Things like:
“Terry over at SuperAff wrote about targeting ads the other day, and one thing I think she missed that is important to note is …”
However, the reality is different. Many times the blog muse isn’t mentioned at all. When it happens here on SuperAff, I basically just operate with a ‘two or three strikes’ and you’re out kinda thing. I stop linking to their blogs, stop commenting, stop reading their blog, the “your blog don’t exist to me” goes both ways.
But when it happens “out there” on my other web properties, I made a change. This time I’m running with it and having some fun–with surprising results.
I wrote a killer piece for one of my blogs that was picked up and linked to by several blogs. Within 48 hours or so, another blog took the post and ran with it–without acknowledging my other blog at all. Their post wasn’t a copy and paste, but you know how it works.
The sucky thing was they had a wider audience and it got more love from the social bookmarking scene and all that jazz. That’s how things can go and it’s happened several times with SuperAff so I should have a thicker skin already, but I was a tad bittercakes about it.
So I did the same thing back. Except this time I ran with a week’s worth of posts (ideas taken from their blog), as well as a killer post linking to all sorts of resources in their niche. I linked to puh-lenty of their competitors–not only did I send some new readers to those competitors, but they’ll also enjoy a boost in the serps.
- Result: My posts are outranking theirs in Google AND I got some juicy link love back from the bunch of competitors I linked to.
I came across a blog in one of those ‘blog networks’ that had pretty much modeled a month’s worth of posts from past posts on my blog (not SuperAff, a different one). Of course, no link love. More bittercakes. Learning from the first example, I was determined to write plenty of posts that would outrank theirs in the SERPs, as well as send some love to their ‘competitors’.
- Result: Before I could finish my plans for a spanking (I only got about 5 posts in), they suddenly linked to my blog a few times. Truce, and I accept it.
When you’re taking from a blog without giving a smidge back, things can backfire elsewhere.
Over the years here, there’s one big blogger that I’ve sent a few links to from SuperAff, I’ve sent in some content ideas to him (hey, I think this would be something your readers would like to know about), left some comments, the whole deal. He’s taken twists of the suggestions and wrote about them–without acknowledging me. He’s also written plenty of posts modeled after ones here on SuperAff. And yet never once has he tipped his hat to SuperAff.
Bittercakes on my part? Maybe, although I don’t really dwell on it–his blog just doesn’t exist to me now, remember :P. Anyways, he has other blogs out there and I noticed one of his other blogs making the rounds, links pointing to a post of his. A note hits my inbox (on another blog) that my blog readers might find his post interesting. My blog readers surely would–I wrote a similar post months before, and it purposely excluded his blog and focused on links to his competitors (because I don’t forget). Dingbat.
- Links are probably the #1 most valuable thing to help blogs grow, and yet they’re so hard to pluck out of fellow bloggers. Why screw that up for yourself? If you’re musing from a blog that’s a heavy linker–don’t screw them over by not acknowledging them.
- If you’re musing from a blog that could outrank you in the serps–don’t inspire them to do so.
- Remember that no matter what size a blog is, their links matter. Why not do your best to see that they link to you rather than your competition?
- And … you might think you’re messing with a blog that has no voice or no way to fight back, but you never know what tools they have at their disposal ‘out there’ that would benefit you.
Stop Being An Ass: Pretty much sums things up. You can’t tell who’s behind a blog and what other places they’re blogging at. You might get away with ripping from someone today, but what happens when they decide to work on outranking you or push up your competitors or kick your butt elsewhere? Isn’t it just a whole lot easier being open and give credit where credit is due?
In the meantime: New content ideas for my blog, new google traffic I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and new inbound links and subscribers from blogs I would have never thought to link to in the first place. Revenge really can be Sweet! 🙂