Hey, he took my blog post idea!
Have you ever had an idea for a blog post, but before you can write about it, someone else beat you to it? If you write about social media and technology like I do, you probably answered "all the time!" It's actually quite rare for me to write on a topic that no one else has already. Jeff Bullas goes so far as to say that everything has already been said. I don't buy into that 100%, but I see his point.
One of the most common instances for me is when I decide to write about an update or development in social media, something "news" oriented. Most of the time, I discover latest developments thanks to the news feeds I've set up in Feedly. If Google or Facebook makes an announcement to their blog, I will see it and have an opportunity to write about it. But then as I'm flipping through my other Feedly feeds, I will see several articles from other bloggers talking about the exact same news!
What do you do in that situation?
The obvious option is to not write your blog or to blog about something else. And I sometimes choose that route. If it's a news story and I have nothing else to add, I might just share one of those other posts and perhaps discuss it on Google+.
But for so many others, I'll push through with my post anyways. Why?
First, it's my hope that every time I write on a topic, I am able to bring my own perspective and experience to the fore and provide valuable information, even if it's the same information you might find elsewhere, in a different and unique way. For instance, I love to write about available updates to apps, and some might ask why I bother to write about something that anyone with the App Store or Google Play can read about. The difference is that I always look for "what's in it for business?" and the standard update text is always focused on specific changes. I provide additional background, context and value to the story.
Second, each new post to my blog has tremendous SEO value. This isn't the primary purpose of my blog, and I am by no means advocating quantity over quality, but the simple fact is that the more targeted content you have within your site the more traffic your site will receive. I have specific goals for my site with regard to article frequency, volume and subsequent traffic and leads, and it's important that I maintain my publishing schedule, regardless of what other people are writing about.
Finally, and most importantly, I had to come to the realization that for every story, I had a choice. I could let my readers and customers go to another site to get their information, or they could come to me. By regularly writing articles and blogs and stories, even if the topics are covered elsewhere, I'm making sure that I am doing everything I can to position my own site as a valuable resource for you and my other readers.
Now, as a small business, I cannot hope to cover every single story and development. I do not have the time and resources to spend all day writing, and not every story is within my own limited reach. For instance, I'd really love to write more about Android devices but I simply don't own one (yet), and I do keep my writing scope to that which I have personal experience. If a story comes along that I don't have time to cover, but would otherwise, all I can do is make note of it and consider revisiting the topic from another angle in the future.
And for most other business bloggers, topics will include less news stories and more tutorials and opinion pieces, and this is where every business can really shine. So what if there a dozen other tutorials on a topic within your industry. Make yours better. Look for a unique angle or for information you can add or present differently. Bring value to your readers and they will appreciate that and keep coming back for more. And to the guy that stole my blog idea? That's OK, I stole your idea last week, so it's all good.
Have you ever had an idea for a blog post that you saw someone else write about? What did you do?
Image courtesy of Zach Klein, Flickr.