This is a guest-post from Stephen Smith – small business conversation consultant, public speaker, and the editor of Productivity in Context where he teaches people how to use basic tools and simple practices for taking control of their workflow situation, practical ways of being more productive at work and at home.
These practices are designed to give you more time to do the things that matter to you!
Recently a friend of mine and newcomer to blogging had an inspiration for a thought-provoking post. He carefully crafted his message into three bullet points with clever details and thoughtful insights. Since he had been quite prolific recently, he post-dated the article to run three days out.
Then disaster struck…
A duplicate post!
A similar post was featured on an established blog with a large readership.
What to do?
Since two heads are better than one (even if one is a cabbage), he sent out a call for help on Twitter (where you get breaking news first!). Never fear, I told him, this is what you do:
- Run the post right away, with two quick changes:
- Add a link to the other post at the end of your article. It never hurts to acknowledge the other writers, and it definitely helps to get you noticed. Also, by pointing to the similar post, you can emphasize the differences and not look like you are hiding behind a copy-cat post.
- Re-arrange your article to highlight the differences. My friend had written his post from a slightly different perspective than the bigger blogger. This meant that by simply moving some paragraphs around he could leave his readers with a much different mindset at the conclusion of the article. Then, by linking to the similar post, the interested reader could go and see the same topic from a completely different point-of-view.
- Send an e-mail to the author of the first post and introduce yourself. Let them know that you wrote a similar piece on that topic the same day, but with a different slant. Don’t ask for a link, but provide a link to your post in the e-mail. Perhaps you get a link, perhaps you don’t. In any case you have planted the seeds of a relationship.
- Subscribe to that blogger, so you can keep an eye on their interests and post-topics. This will help you avoid duplicate postings in the future, again, to avoid looking like a copy-cat.
The post was a success, and the final version, if I say so myself, was much better than the bigger blog’s version. Perhaps it had to do with the re-arranging, or perhaps just because a little more thought went into it. Now, I expect some of you might be saying to yourself, “Yikes, this happens to me all the time!“. Well, now you have a tool set for dealing with the situation.
On the other hand, some of you may be saying, “This never happens to me, my niche is too narrow/broad/non-controversial/etc. How can this help me?” I will tell you how.
When you write a new post, one that you really like, ask yourself this question:
“How would [insert name of favorite blogger] write this post?”
Think on that, then follow step 1.2, above. Re-arrange your post so that it approaches the topic from a different angle, and ends with a strong, non-[favorite blogger]-like conclusion. This is a powerful method for new bloggers to find their voice.
For those same new bloggers, I would also recommend following step 2, above, also. By contacting [your favorite blogger] you can nurture the relationship and foster communication. Let them know that you thought about how they would approach that particular topic as you were writing the post in order to gain a clearer understanding, and transmit it to your readers.
Again, don’t ask for anything but a comment. Just provide the post or an excerpt, and a link to it so they can leave a comment, and be sure to reply when they do comment.
Any questions? Please feel free to e-mail me via stephen at hdbizblog dot com.