7 Ways to Be a Blogging Rebel and Turn Your Industry Upside Down

by Marcus Sheridan

There is one rule I’m 100% certain of when it comes to blogging, be it business or personal:

We all want to be noticed, seen, and respected.

Some folks act like they don’t care about these three words but I honestly feel it’s a bunch of bull. Why?

Because if we didn’t really want to be seen we wouldn’t have an online blog in the first place for the entire world to see.

I freely admit that like everyone reading this, I want to be viewed as a thought-leader in my field. (Why are we embarrassed to admit this btw??) Whether it’s swimming pools, inbound marketing, blogging, etc—I want readers.

I want growth.

I want to spark discussion.

I want to force myself and everyone around me to take a stand.

(***Notice here I didn’t say I want everyone to like me, but that’s another point for another day.)

But again, I’m by no means alone, we’re all in this boat together.

Despite our overall uniform desires of recognition (of some kind), well over 90% of us fail in this endeavor. When it comes down to the brass tacks, our blogs lack the ‘it’ factor. Notwithstanding all our hard work and efforts, we miss the mark. We’re left out of the crème that rises to the top.

As I look around the world of business blogging today, and the saturation that is occurring at a faster and faster rate within each industry, I wanted to offer my thoughts on how any of you reading this can stand out from the crowd. How can you, despite the competition, stake your blog’s claim as one of the best in your business?

Let’s talk about it…

1. Compare Like Mad

Some of you have read before how I’ve discussed the power of ‘vs.’ and ‘comparison’ when it comes to blogging. Without a doubt, this is still the most underutilized  and untapped content tool in the world of blogging today.

For example, when I started in the fiberglass pool industry, consumers kept asking me which manufacturers were the best, and which ones I suggested they stay away from. (Similar to someone saying, “Which is better, Ford or Chevy?”)

Upon hearing these same questions over and over again, I knew it was my duty as a content marketer  (and thought-leader) to put my opinions to pen. So I started writing. Just a few of the articles were:

Viking Fiberglass Pools vs Trilogy Pools Reviews/Ratings: Which is Better?

  • (Results: 125 inbound links and 13,195 page views)

San Juan vs. Viking Pools Ratings/Reviews: Which is Better?

  • (Results: 22 inbound links and 6050 page views)

Fiberglass Pools vs Vinyl Liner Pools vs Concrete Pools: An Honest Comparison

  • (Results: 201 inbound links and 21,577 page views)

With each one of these articles (plus the many, many more I’ve written), they all rank #1 on Google for their respective key word phrases, and the reason for this SEO domination is very simple: I was the only one writing them in the industry, and Google appreciates rebels that aren’t afraid to write about what others aren’t willing to.

2. Don’t Be Bullied by Dinosaurs

I was about 30 years old when I started voicing my opinions online with respect to swimming pools. Most of the leaders in my field were in the +45 crowd. This being said, I was attacked, verbally, a lot. I was also sent letters from lawyers, a lot.

Before long, I realized an important truth: Many industry leaders and their lawyers are like the big bully on the playground—If you stand up to them and even punch them in the face, they’ll likely run away and their true colors will come out.

Once I stopped caring about false threats and started realizing I was always within my rights (due to the fact I was stating the truth), everything changed, and the amount of attention we received as thought-leaders skyrocketed.

3. Question the Way It Has Always Been Done

Don’t like the way things are done in your industry?

If so, then stop complaining and do something about it. Use the power of words or video to change the status quo. Stand tall and tell everyone why you believe what you believe.

As an example of this, the warranties in the fiberglass swimming pool industry are ridiculous. Full of tricky semantics, some are very, very misleading to consumers.

Seeing this problem, I posted an article entitled: The Most Egregious Fiberglass Pool Warranty I’ve Ever Seen, and to say this article got much attention and page views would be a mild understatement.

Remember, this applies to every single niche, field, industry, etc., so don’t feel you’re the exception to the rule.

4. Be ‘The Drudge Report’ of Your Industry

Whether you’re a republican or democrat, you have to respect what The Drudge Report has done in terms of building its brand by breaking news and events.

So often on the web, ‘timing’ is everything, which is why your blog should report on the latest events, as they happen, in your industry. If a major manufacturer makes an acquisition, talk about it. If someone files bankruptcy, talk about it. If there is a significant innovation, talk about it.

But remember, the timing to this is critical, so as you see things start to unfold, get to your computer.

5. State the Best and Worst

Everyone loves ‘Best of’ and ‘Worst of’ Lists. Surprisingly, most industries don’t have them. Most folks refuse to write about them. Why? Because they’ll get attacked, judged, criticized, etc. Just ask Jade Craven who writes ProBlogger’s ‘Bloggers to Watch’ List every year. Heck, Jade doesn’t even call them the ‘best bloggers’, she just calls them ‘worth watching’, yet the article is still anticipated by thousands every year, discussed all around the internet, and at the same time criticized by many.

Again, this goes back to having an opinion about your industry and putting it out there. Write your opinions down. Tell us why you’ve reached those opinions. And then stand by your claims.

6. Question Authority if You Feel They’re Wrong

What’s the deal with people being afraid to question authority in their fields? I see this everywhere and wonder sometimes if 99% of us have become the sheep that aimlessly follow the shepherd without any rhyme or reason.

Here is a good rule of thumb my friends: If someone in your industry, especially a leader, says something you don’t agree with, then write about it.

Got me?

But there is a second part to this: Don’t be a jerk. Don’t call someone names. Don’t question motives. Just state your opposite opinion with class.

I’ll give you a couple of examples of exactly what I’m talking about:

I’m sure most of you have heard of Chris Brogan, a major authority in the field of social media marketing, Google +, and other areas.

What I love so much about Chris is that because he is always stating what’s on his mind, his findings, and his opinions; I know if I read his blog I’ll likely be moved in one direction or the other in terms of agreement or disagreement.

Chris once discussed on his blog the merits of asking other people to ‘share’ our online works. Because I didn’t agree with his take on the matter, I wrote this post, cordially expressing my differences.

On another occasion, Chris was called out by many for his Twitter unfollow experiment. Considering I thought it was nuts that his actions had affected and polarized so many, again, I wrote an article about it, one that ended up in my top 10 all-time here at The Sales Lion, entitled: Chris Brogan Unfollowed Me on Twitter, and Now I Hate My Whole Life.

Yes, this was a very sarcastic article, but my difference of opinion with others, as well as my support for what Chris had done, was well made.

Through these experiences and others, Chris and I have developed a friendship and mutual respect for each other, even though we might not always agree with each other. (Which is a good thing.)

Readers have also noticed I’m not afraid to take on issues or question authorities, all while not being a sheep following a shepherd—something most folks appreciate quite a bit.

7. Lose the Filter (Be Authentic)

Do you remember the day Gary Vaynerchuk made waves across the entire social media industry when he responded to a social media ROI (return on investment) question by stating, “What’s the ROI of your mother???”

This one little statement seemed to catch everyone’s attention. Some adored it. Others despised it. But as for me, I elected to focus on the beauty of his unfiltered approach.

What makes Gary Vaynerchuk so appreciated and respected is his lack of filter. (And no, I’m not at all referring to his language here.) What I mean by this is he isn’t a social media politician. He doesn’t throw his finger in the wind too see which way it’s blowing. He feels it, he thinks it, then he says it….and people dig that.

YouTube Preview Image

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we notice Gary Vaynerchuk for this reason.

Your Turn:

So there you have it folks, 7 ways you can become a blogging rebel and truly build your business and brand to a point where it impacts your entire industry and is viewed as a though-mecca for your field.

Considering I quit at 7 because this article was starting to get a little long, I wanted ask each of you this:

What other qualities do you feel enable a blog to reach the top of its industry? Of the qualities and techniques I mentioned above, are there any you disagree with? Why? Which of these have proven most effective in your efforts to be ‘read, noticed, and respected?’

Jump in everyone, your voice here matters.

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

paul wolfe January 16, 2012 at

Marcus

1 other thing. Authenticity.

By that I mean someone who sets out his stall and delivers it every time. Gary V is a great example. The quality you admire in Gary above is (IMO) merely how Gary is in EVERY ASPECT of his business.

When he was doing the original Wine Library TV shows he’d often blind taste test $15 against $50 bottles of wine. If he thought the $15 was better he’d say so – and then he’d say stuff like: If you still wanna try the $50 bottle, I’ll throw in some $15 as a bonus so you can test yourself.

Stuff like that increased the turnover of his dad’s liquor store from $4 to $80 in about 4 years I think. (And made him a social media superstar too).

And without trying to sound like I’m sucking up, that’s something you display in spades here and on your Swimming Pool blog. And it comes through in every post, email, video, etc.

In fact, I’d make it first on the list. (but that’s me).

paul

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paul wolfe January 16, 2012 at

PS – it just occurred to me that those blind taste tests of Gary’s that I mentioned are simply A vs. B style posts!

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

Hahahaha, they were the original splits, weren’t they Paul?? ;)

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Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog January 16, 2012 at

I’ll take Paul’s point one step further – I disagree with ‘lose the filter’, and I’d replace it with ‘be authentic’. Two closely related notions, but to me, authenticity resonates more.

Sometimes, there is a need to ‘filter’. In fact, you say so in this post Marcus. You point out that when you disagree, you need to be civilized, respectful and mindful of the other person’s feelings (in other words, even though you might want to call them really bad and insulting name…you should filter yourself and refrain :-)).

But you never want to be inauthentic. As bloggers, in so many ways, we are the brand. Nobody wants a fake brand.

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

I agree Ruth, we’re just playing with semantics here really though. There are a million types of filtering. I filter every day on this blog. I don’t talk religion, or politics, or other things I don’t feel will add value. So no question, filtering, at times, is good. In this sense, though, filtering is strictly referring to ‘keep it real’, and ‘being authentic’, just like you said.

So to stifle misinterpretation, I think I’ll add a little to that part of the post. ;)

Thanks Ruth!

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

You know, I am so glad you mentioned this Paul, because in many ways authenticity underlines the 7 habits I mentioned in this article. Without it, eventually, the stuff doesn’t matter because people will eventually pick up on one’s lack of authenticity and tune them out.

And yes, that is what makes Gary so unique. The dude keeps it real, no doubt.

Thanks for the great comment brother, I appreciate you man.

Marcus

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John | Married (with Debt) January 16, 2012 at

I’m a new personal finance and lifestyle design blogger, and I’m quickly getting a taste of the non-rebels, the industry conformists who write only about the BEST Roth IRAs and credit card rewards tricks.

BORING.

Though I am trying to be different, I am also needing to gain acceptance by this group, so I can’t be too much of a rebel at first.

I wonder how to strike the balance. Do we need to establish ourselves before rebelling? I wonder which is more difficult?

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

I actually don’t think ‘being like everyone else’ is going to get you established in most cases John. That’s really my point here. If I were you, I’d write like you’re one of the thought leaders of your industry right now., See yourself that way. Push the envelope.

Keep in mind though, this doesn’t mean you’re not real…just the opposite really. Be YOU and let it come out. And fear nothing my man.

Thanks for the thoughts John!

Marcus

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John | Married (with Debt) January 16, 2012 at

Thanks for getting back, Marcus. I have already pushed the envelope with a few of my posts, and have so far avoided the typical “How to Improve Your Credit Score So You Can Buy More Crap” fluff.

If I can’t be different, then I can’t do this.

Thanks for letting us know it is OK, and beneficial, to want to be a thought leader rather than an idea regurgitator.

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Annie Andre January 18, 2012 at

Marcus,
I actually had the same thoughts as John. I’ve been afraid to voice my opinion on my own site about my opinions of the 9 to 5 mentality because i am, was afraid to piss people off. I thought i should establish myself first.
When i came over to read your blog today i finally said to myself i’m going to try to be more authentic, not really filterless but voice my opinion. What’s the worse that could happen. All my 300 followers unfollow me? LOL.
Thanks Marcus for this article. It truly made me rethink my stance about certain issues. I’m t sure if im ready for the rebel label yet but in time i’ll be there.

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John | Married (with Debt) January 18, 2012 at

Annie – I checked out your site and subscribed because it looks really great – it seems that we have similar goals and messages.

This might be the spark that puts you “over the top,” so to speak. Because you are already doing it, you have credibility. Don’t be afraid to use it!

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Well said John!

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Annie, it’s comments like these that bring me the greatest satisfaction, because what we’re talking about is action…pushing…stretching…all things we must do for personal growth.

I do hope you become more ‘YOU’. By so doing, you’ll find your tribe. And you’ll be happier. And you’ll grow bigger!!

Good luck!

Marcus

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Glenn Wallis January 16, 2012 at

Nice work Marcus thank you. I especially like the idea of compare and contrast. I can see why that would be helpful and draw traffic.
It seems that sticking at it is also pretty important. I would bet that a lot of people get so far, get disgruntled that they aren’t No.1 on a Google search and quit (possibly just at the time they are actually making progress!)

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Kevin Haynes January 16, 2012 at

Marcus – First, I think its smart/bold that you come out and say you want to be known as a thought leader in your field – props!

While I agree with the point, “Lose the filter”, I also think its important to stay on point and not go too far with it… I’ve been turned off by a few popular bloggers over the years who lost the filter too much (and too often) and used their platform to rant and complain… Nobody likes a Debby Downer :-) Yes, be controversial… just don’t let the negativity creep in!

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

Appreciate that Kevin, and I do believe most of us want to achieve that status if we’re being completely honest with ourselves.

Regarding your second point, let me clarify:

To me, when I talk about ‘losing your filter’, I’m really saying let’s ‘be real’. Let’s not be politicians. Let’s not try to make every person happy with our answers. Let’s allow our personalities to come out a bit.

Like you, I can’t stand it when bloggers turn into full-time ranters….it’s the boy who cried wolf scenario…and it ain’t a business model, that’s for sure.

Thanks for your thoughts bud,

Marcus

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Tom Ewer January 16, 2012 at

Being recognized as authentic and trustworthy have to be right at the top of the list. I daresay you create such an online reputation by publishing great content and communicating actively with your readers and followers.

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

Fully agreed Tom. The moment we appear to fall in the camp of ‘the blogger who cried wolf’, then we’ve got a serious branding and TRUST issue on our hands.

Thanks bud,

Marcus

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Cheryl Pickett January 16, 2012 at

First, I’ll say Amen, Amen and Amen! to what you’re talking about here, and as per usual, demonstrating so well. No where on the internet is there a need for another boring, “me too” blog or website. And the suggestions here can be a path to take to making a better one for sure.

One caution I’d add is to be careful with this style/strategy. Don’t use it, or any tactic for that matter, if it’s not your style. This one works well for people, like Marcus, whose personalities are a certain mix of strength, confidence and boldness. You’ll know if that’s you or not and I don’t think you can fake it. And if it’s not, don’t worry there are plenty of other ways to be unique or to mold this strategy to be yours. The main thing is to get beyond boring and on the path to your own kind of brilliant.

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

“Going beyond boring”….Ahh yes, that’s a great way to put it Cheryl. And I also like how you talked about personal ‘style’. Although I don’t think principles change much when it comes to blogging and content, I do think ‘voice’ and ‘style’ do, and we certainly need to find out own.

Thanks for always having great things to say lady. :)

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley January 16, 2012 at

I’d also like to throw in there as an addition to the Dinosaurs…

“Let the Haterz Hate”

I have a good insurance buddy who is young and using the Internet to move his business and he even went so far as to write about book about selling insurance for young agents…

Well when he wrote that book and his name started exploding onto the scene so many haterz came out of the woodwork. What do you know about selling insurance? You don’t have enough experience. Blah Blah Blah.

When you rise you have to be ready for the hate. You have to shrug it off and do your thing without a second thought.

Walk the path…

Great article buddy!

Ryan H.

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

Dang brother, hearing the story of your friend is like traveling back in time 3 years….wow…he really should call me sometime ;-)

But you’re so right Ryan. Haterz do what Haterz do. All we can do is let them go on their unmerry way. ;-)

Thanks so much for dropping in my man,

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB January 16, 2012 at

List posts tend to be link bait. Very few bloggers take time to write them properly and by that I mean provide real substance why XYZ is included or not included.

They also tend to focus on the bloggers who have the most exposure which is not a true measurement of whether they know anything or not.

One of the challenges that popular bloggers face is the ability to remain humble. Many take the praise as being indicative that they know more or better when it is not necessarily so.

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

I hear where you’re coming from Jack, I do, but at the same time, I see list posts as an important and ‘good’ part of the blogosphere. I see people giving back and spreading the love, if you will.

Granted, they may certainly be ‘link bait’ on occasion, but I don’t think we should allow that to overlook the great intentions of many, many people.

As for the humility, if I’m ever able to be considered in the class of ‘the best’ (or whatever you want to call it), they I remain true to who I am, and what go me here. But considering my 4 kids keep me grounded every day, I do think that will be the case.

Hope you’re doing well on your end Jack, and thanks for taking a moment to read and comment.

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB January 17, 2012 at

Hey Marcus,

There are lots of ways to give some link love that don’t involve creating a list of the top 25 business bloggers or 18 bloggers that know how to cook a hot dog better than the rest.

I rarely see them as being useful.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

That may be very true Jack, but at the same time, we can’t allow our individual opinions to dictate those of the masses. And the facts show us that folks like lists. You know what I mean? Heck, when I first started this whole blogging thing, it were the lists where I got my foundation for finding others.

Everyone is different, that’s for sure. And I’m glad you’re always willing to say your thoughts on the matter Jack. :)

Thanks again,

Marcus

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Jade Craven January 16, 2012 at

Standing by your claims can be the worst part of the process – even if you’re doing what feels right.

I used to work for a guy that was a Launch Coach. He was really popular (I helped build up that popularity) until he went through some personal stuff. That then became public and people turned against him, and his biz partner, when certain allegations were posted on a site.

I got brought into the drama in the comments of the site and jumped in immediately, saying what I thought was true. This meant that I was essentially defending a guy that a lot of people disliked at that point.

This led to a lot of snark, which was hurtful. I had a lot to lose by defending a person, and that drama had already played out for 6-8 months and totally messed with my income. At that point, I’d been borrowing money off my boyfriend to survive for 2 months.

But you know what? I did what felt right, and I stood up for what I believed in. My handling of everything may have messed things up last year but still, I can move on from the experience being proud in myself.

All that stuff that happened last year showed me how fickle community and industry can be. People will be all over you and then jump ship as soon as things look bad. Now I kinda don’t give a stuff about the blogging rules and go with my gut. I model businesses and publishers rather then fellow bloggers. Dunno if it’s successful but I’m less stabby now :)

I do enjoy the way you question authority – although after reading Gini’s response to a recent post, I do worry about posting without seeking comment. And thanks for mentioning the PB post!

- Jade

Note: Those allegations were a hot topic and I’m not commenting on them as I’ve done it so many times elsewhere, and I’m not defending any actions. Just trying to keep the conversation on topic. (standard disclosure now :P)

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Marcus Sheridan January 16, 2012 at

Hey Jade, great points. I know you went through quite a bit last year and it sounds like it has only made you stronger, which is what it’s all about.

And with respect to Gini, I do regret not discussing it with her first. Although my comments about her statement were meant to be observational, they weren’t taken by many that way, and so I went ahead and removed that portion of the post. It was a live and learn moment for me as well. ;-)

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Rebecca Livermore January 18, 2012 at

Jade, it seems that there is often a price to pay for doing the right thing, but in the end, I believe it pays off. I would also very strongly defend someone I work for, which is one reason why working for people of high integrity is very important to me. (Not saying anything about who you worked for, as I don’t know anything about that situation.) I do believe that doing the right thing, particularly when it costs you, gives you a right to be proud.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Amen to that. :)

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Walter Pollard January 16, 2012 at

Marcus – I agree with Paul, authenticity I see as being vitally important in paving your way as a unique blogger.

At the end of the day, as long as you passionately believe in what you writing is what’s most important. There’s nothing wrong with pushing the envelope as long as you can back it up.

This is what really makes your blog shine.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

That’s exactly it my man—-As long as you can back it up, it’s good.

If it ain’t, then we’ve got a serious problem.

Thanks for being awesome brother,

Marcus

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farouk January 17, 2012 at

that’s a very good read Marcus
well done :)

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Thanks Farouk :)

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Josh Sarz January 17, 2012 at

The Mane man teaches his ways. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Marcus. I noticed your link to an old post about getting threatening letters from lawyers. The whole post made me smile the whole time.

Lions don’t cower in front of lawyers!

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Hahahaha Josh, the good old days when lawyers always wrote me letters!

Maybe I need to get back to that ;-)

Marcus

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Kerilyn January 17, 2012 at

Yay! I love it! Thank you, dear sir… another wonderful post brewing with the gentle push to keep me moving forward AND… not giving as much of a HOOT what everyone else says. Breathing in confidence… and breathing out my TRUEST desire to also be a Thought Leader in my niche. Thank you Marc.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Girl, I just love how you put that— Breathing in confidence, breathing out desire to lead….Hmmm, gonna use that one again! ;-)

You’re awesome lady!

Marcus

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Andrea January 17, 2012 at

They are all good ways to be special. I like comparisons too when they are honest and not just a way to push an affiliate link throughout the post.

Other ideas to be the purple cow? I think the best one is finding our inner voice, or inner style and follow it. It’s always good to listen to good advices and we must always strive to improve ourselves both as human beings and as bloggers but at the end, after having checked the compass and the map we are the captains of our boat and we must decide which is the right path to our destination. I mean listen and then do what we resonate with. Finding our inner style and following it is the best way to be positively different.

Rebels were those who changed the world, never the sheeps. :)

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Rebecca Livermore January 18, 2012 at

Andrea, I agree that the comparisons need to be honest and not have hidden agendas. And the sheep can’t ever change the world because they are too busy doing what everyone else is doing that they don’t have or courage to think for themselves.

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Andrea January 18, 2012 at

Hi Rebecca, thanks for your reply, I think you said it perfectly, sheeps must follow their handler and if he goes down a gorge they share the same fate. Not so good. Better be a bit outside and have a better look or perspective. Also, the handler is the one who gains more from sheeps and usually he doesn’t give back a lot. :)

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Rebecca Livermore January 18, 2012 at

Andrea, this made me laugh, though a thought that crossed my mind is that I suppose it depends on who the shepherd is. I think there are some out there who inspire people to great things and lead them on the right path, but that is pretty rare.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Ahhhh, now that is a very good point Rebecca!

No question, there are a few good shepherds out there.

But you know, the easy way to tell that is if it ‘is’ or ‘is not’ all about the shepherd, ya know? ;-)

Thank you for all you do for this community here Rebecca!

Marcus

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Andrea January 19, 2012 at

Right, it depends if the sheperd is a leader or a boss. A leader leads and stays in the front line, a boss orders and remains well behind, just in case he needs to run away. :)

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Rebecca Livermore January 19, 2012 at

Andrea, thanks for yet another laugh. I’ve had some bosses like that, but ran away from them as fast as I could. :)

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

So very well said Andrea. We hold the compass. We are the captains.

Tell me, do you feel like you’ve now found that clear voice or are you still in the process?

I ask because I’m a completely different blogger than when I started. Heck, I’m different than what I was a year or six months ago.

It’s amazing the changes that occur as we write and write, and push our thoughts as hard as we can!

Thank you,

Marcus

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Andrea January 19, 2012 at

Well, to remain in the naval field I’m seeing the earth but I haven’t find the right beach to put my feet on. My voice is clearer but not as clear as it should be or as it can be. But I think I’m pretty near anyway. I’m pretty different too, especially because after having begun to listen to better bloggers than I am my results have skyrocketed. I’ve learned so much in the last couple of months that I’m very different from what I was six months ago. This obviously brings the possibility to improve more and become better within my reach. :)

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

You are on your way Andrea, love it!! :)

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Marjorie Clayman January 17, 2012 at

You’ve created quite a pickle for me, Mr. Sheridan. I love this post a great deal and don’t really have much to add to it, but I hate leaving comments that are just, “Awesome post.” On the other hand, a comment box is not an invite to blabber, right? Hmmmm…

I will say this – “calling people out” is not a solution. I think some bloggers think it is. “If I rake enough people over the coals, my dislike for whatever they are doing will be replaced with a pleasant sense of vengeance.” Yeah, not so much. There are ways to discuss polarizing issues online (I swear).

The comparison idea is interesting too. I don’t do that much on my blog but I’ve noticed that if you add enough detail and really show that you know what you’re talking about, comparison posts can be extremely valuable.

Thanks for being you, sir!

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Created a ‘pickle’, ehhh Margie? Well cool, because I LOVE me some pickles! ;-)

Completely with you in the ‘calling people out’ thing. Sure, it gets attention. But eventually, it turns into ‘the blogger who cried wolf’ syndrome, and loses all effect and respect.

Thanks so much for dropping by Margie!!

Marcus

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Meagan January 17, 2012 at

On the topic of being authentic, I feel like it’s somewhat of a process… at least for me it is.

I’ve been blogging & growing my business for a little over a year in a semi-crowded niche & I’m just now feeling like I’m getting the hang of things. That would include finding my voice, my personal style, & my authentic self.

At first I wasn’t exactly sure of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I followed my competitors too closely even. I didn’t know what I was bringing to the table that was different.

I now realize that “authentic” doesn’t mean 100% in a different direction, it simply means being real. So the one thing you can do to be authentic is to just be yourself. Talk the way you talk, share personal stories that add value, give your opinion, etc. Some people will click with you & some won’t.

Again, I think it’s all a process & it changes with time. I’m sure a year from now, things about my business such as how I present content, the way I feel about certain topics, or where I want to go with things may change, but overall it’s still me.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

‘Being Real’…That’s exactly it Meagan. In the fact that you’ve stuck with this and allowed yourself to develop is perfectly symbolic of the process so many other bloggers go through. I honestly believe it’s impossible to just ‘come out the gates swinging’ with all this stuff. Only through pushing out thoughts onto the screen can we truly find out ‘voice’ and ‘self’.

Good luck to you with all of this Meagan. And I’m so grateful you took a minute to swing by and say this. :)

Marcus

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rebeccalivermore January 18, 2012 at

Marcus,

Several things here stood out to me, with them mainly being things that make you who you are. For example, your honesty about admitting that you want to be a thought leader in your field. Even better was your question asking why people are embarrassed to admit it. I have some thoughts on that, but will save them for another day. :)

I also love your point about questioning the way things have always been done. I think this applies not just to how things have always been done in your industry, but how you yourself have done things. Kind of a comfort zone thing.

Regarding respecting authority, I think a lot of this is insecurity. In fact, I think insecurity plays a big role in a lot of these areas.

In some ways these are simple things, but even though they are simple, doesn’t mean they are easy, particularly if insecurity is a factor.

Rebecca

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Stef January 18, 2012 at

Rebecca you nail it here with your last sentence! I know for me what you say is 100% true. I’m proud to say for myself I’m managing that stuff on a much higher level now than I used to.

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Rebecca Livermore January 18, 2012 at

Nice to see you again, Stef. I know exactly what you mean. I’m certainly not the same person I was when I was younger, which is a very good thing. I still have a long ways to go. . . but at least I’m heading in the right direction. It sounds like you are, too.

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Hey Rebecca, and thanks so much for this :)

I really liked your last point, about this all being ‘simple’. Yes, it is simple, because the only thing we’re are talking about is the ability to think like a consumer, make solid observations, and then write about these things–the good the bad and the ugly.

And I do hope people see just that. By no means is any of this a science beyond our limits.

Smiles,

Marcus

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Fernando January 18, 2012 at

Totaly love it this post, I should realy start to blog more and more than usual and this tips are just perfect, and even better for me because of my personality, I just like to say what I mean, talk with da ppl and let’s here what can I learn from them.
Thank you pretty much for this post dude
Greets from Paraguay

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Fernando, un placer amigo. :)

Let your light shine in your writings brother. And push hard!

Que te vaya excelente!

Marcos

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Fernando January 19, 2012 at

Hahahahaha you are a genius dude, I will do it thanks to you and your tips, thank you pretty much for the answer and the coolness, makes me feel special, you realy know what you are doing ;) by the way… I read my last comment and I realy write so bad in english hahahaha hopefuly you understand what I say

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Entiendo completamente hombre mio ;-)

Keep smiling Fernando,

Marcus

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Fernando January 21, 2012 at

Hahaha what a nice guy you are! do you realy can talk in spanish or are you using a translate?
Keep being so cool dear Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore January 19, 2012 at

Fernando, what you wrote makes perfect sense to me. :)

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Fernando January 21, 2012 at

Becky! thank you pretty much, makes me feel proud of my english learned just by TV
Completely nice

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Rebecca Livermore January 21, 2012 at

Fernando, seriously, you are doing a good job, so keep up the good work! I’ve studied both Hindi and Mandarin Chinese, and I was always so happy just to be able to read signs (since they use a different script) and when people could understand me. So I know how tough it is, and I had the advantage of language teachers and very patient friends. Not sure I could have done it with just TV, so I am duly impressed!

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Fernando January 23, 2012 at

Realy cool!!! I want to learn chinese some day too :D you know! here in Paraguay we talk 2 languages, spanish and then another one, like our “indian” language, it’s call guarani, then, like spanish is so similar than the other “latin” languages (portuguese, french and italian) I can read in portuguese too although I can’t speak it as well, allways english was like the BIG BOY or something, and I couldn’t get it, but for one year I was in Germany, I learned german and it’s harder than any other language, and thanks that I could “improve” my english :D and since I started to learn all this wonderfull stuff about social media, internet marketing from the Pro’s (like Marcus) while I was learning even more english ;)

So, I can say while I am falling in love with internet stuffs and so, I was totaly falling in love with languages :D proudly I can say I can “almost” talk in 5 languages, anyways, nice to meet you Becky, tell me! may I find you in facebook, google+ and twitter?

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Rebecca Livermore January 23, 2012 at

Fernando, I just followed you on Twitter. Send me a DM and I’ll hook you up with some things that will help with your language studies. Sorry, but since I don’t know Spanish, unless you learn Chinese, you’ll be forced to communicate with me in English. Good practice for you! :)

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Fernando January 23, 2012 at

Pretty pretty nice! Like the idea ;) I follow you too already

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Doug Gene January 18, 2012 at

This is a great post. I love your “knock down the walls” type attitude. I’d say “lose the filter” was probably the most helpful ( for me, at the moment). Thanks!

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Doug, so thrilled you found this to be somewhat helpful. That’s what it’s all about my man.

Thanks for being awesome :)

Marcus

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Stef January 18, 2012 at

I would add “be controversial.” Not just for it’s own sake of course but as necessary to move things forward. This is woven into just about every point you make in this post Marcus.

I also think it’s inherently obvious but it’s incredibly important to back up what we write with facts when and where appropriate — which ties into several of your points here as well.

Speaking of how you do all of this with story, facts, integrity and confidence behind you, I REALLY appreciated you bringing up being sent lawyer letters and linking to prior posts about your experience with that stuff. Honestly Marcus stuff like that has scared me into silence more than once and I am a lawyer!

No more though. :-) Keep ROCKING it!

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Marcus Sheridan January 19, 2012 at

Love it Stef!

Yes, controversial is in many ways a part of this. But as you also inferred, it will happen naturally if one just addresses these subjects openly and honestly.

Every industry has at least one group of old dudes sitting around a table trying their best to call the shots.

It’s the job of great ‘content’ to make sure those folks soon don’t have a seat at the table. ;-)

Thanks so very much for stopping by Stef!

Marcus

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Matthew Stock January 20, 2012 at

Great blog Marcus. Your rebellious and compelling style inspired me to start by own blog on basement waterproofing. I particulary agree with your third point to “Question the Way It Has Always Been Done.” Our industry is littered with dinosaurs. I plan to keep blogging until their arcane ideas are extinct.

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Marcus Sheridan January 21, 2012 at

Dude, that’s just freaking awesome. Seriously. LOVE it. And I can’t wait to watch you crush it and turn heads in the process.

Out with the dinos!!

Marcus

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Philos Mudis January 21, 2012 at

Sometimes you are just born a rebel. Sometimes you won’t even realize you are rebelling as long as you think that what you are conveying to the world is from your heart.

An example I would like to use here is this: If you come across someone you really love (let’s call her A) you try all your best to woo her. At the beginning you try to be 50% authentic, and spend the remaining 50% of the time trying to be another person. Then you realize that A loves you but she’s not ready to blown like birthday candles. She’s ready to show you the difference between real love and infatuation.

You then realize that to win her over bit by bit, you’ll have to stick with real love. On the other side, you believe that going with infatuation can give you a few hours of flirting. Something deep inside tells you to go slow on A (even if you loose her) but the world tells you to step on the gas (though they know you never ever do more than 80 km/h).

You can win with either – though going with real love (which needs more tact) could get you all your dreams.

May be this example works for some. I just want to say that one should just speak it as they see it. They shouldn’t put someone’s eyes on top of theirs.

Happy blogging.

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Marcus Sheridan January 21, 2012 at

“Speak it as they see it”

That’s some very, very sound advice Philos.

Thanks so much for dropping in,

Marcus

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Richard Buttons January 24, 2012 at

This is great, the one I especially agree with the staying lean. To often people get a business loan and blow it all on fancy stuff.

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Jens P. Berget January 25, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I certainly agree with all your 7 ways, and to me, personally, I really like to connect and feel that the author is interested in me as a reader. I have been reading a lot of the most popular blogs in marketing, and I have stopped reading many of them, because I felt that the author didn’t really care about his readers. He cared about marketing, and he cared about writing and standing out and even teaching, but he didn’t care about what happened to his “followers” and he didn’t schedule time to answer questions.

And another thing. Some people are just truly gifted writers, and it doesn’t matter what topic they are writing about, but they seem to be able to turn any small detail into a story, and it’s like sparks flying and magic happens while I’m reading it :)

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Marcus Sheridan January 25, 2012 at

You’ve brought up a great point Jens– the concept of sincerely giving readers a feel that ‘you care’. And you’re right, readers typically can pick up on that. It take time to reach that point, but the results and the loyalty that come from it can be something special.

Thanks brother for all your support….keep those sparks flying. ;-)

Marcus

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Mike@verzekering rechtsbijstand February 15, 2012 at

I don’t have any tip to give because I am learning about blogging. I am currently using one tip that you have mentioned that we should blog about latest industry news on our blog. I feel this is a very valuable tip.

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Sasi Kiran December 1, 2012 at

No blog post gets my website as much traffic as comparison articles.

Your tip no.7 ‘Lose the filter’ requires a lot of confidence to follow. And that kind of confidence requires that you have already built authority and respect by following the other 6 tips that have been mentioned.

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