Blogging originality and evolution of ideas

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A couple of my favorite bloggers have talked about the apparent decline in original thought. Danny Brown suggests that popularity can breed sameness in part because of pandering to the masses. Gini Dietrich talks about aggregation and automation which encourages laziness on the part of the bloggers or writers, and, I think, on the part of the readers as well.

Evolution of thought

It’s not all bad news though. More people read more stuff than when we relied on newspapers. We see the same ideas or the same advice being imparted. We can scan or gloss over this. What is exciting, though, is seeing people pick up and run with ideas, and develop them. There is a sort of osmosis where new thought filters through and blossoms. Of course we all have many of the same sources, such as Mashable, and I read many top bloggers though I cannot read everything without giving up work and sleep.

At the same time, many have different slants on the same subject. I think it interesting when I read a post one day and then someone blogs on a similar subject a day or a week later, perhaps having read the previous one. As long as original thinking takes place, I don’t think we always need to worry about the “sameness”. Ideas are there to be built on. “On the shoulders of Giants” and all that.

Plagiarism

That is not to say that it is OK for anyone to just copy an idea and spin someone else’s article as their own, or, even worse, just republish a post as though it were their own. That has happened to me and probably to you too. It is very annoying even if it is sometimes a rather back-handed compliment.

Being ourselves

I am not a top blogger, although of course I have ambitions. Don’t we all? However, I do believe that we can best develop by simply being ourselves. Pamela Wilson put it quite well writing for Copyblogger a while back. Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion demonstrates how being ourselves and saying what we believe in a business blog makes for originality and a unique brand. He also shows that we can write about anything we like within reason, which helps our individual personalities to come out.

Yes, in writing this I have dipped into other people’s material. I am being myself, of course. Even if you think I lack originality in thought, maybe I have found you a great blogger you had missed. But perhaps you are already way ahead of the game.

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Thank you for the music!

I have had a very enjoyable year writing this blog and my other ones. If the truth be known, I mainly write these days because I enjoy it and because I hope the odd nugget might be useful.

I suppose I started blogging partly to raise my profile, and for the Google effect; as a marketing tool. I soon found that I enjoyed writing, unexpectedly it was good for my ego to have a voice. I also find it useful in my general thought process and even relaxing. Although the marketing matters to me, a very welcome side effect is the therapeutic value is in crystallising my thought and getting new ideas. Seth Godin has written about this.

I have learned a huge amount from others and I am sure there is a lot more to discover. We can never know enough about anything which excites us. Apart from Seth, there are others who have helped me a great deal, whether they know it or not, although I know they all set out to help. That’s what good bloggers do; it is not about selling, though any business which comes along is very welcome. I hope I am helping too.

It is difficult knowing whom to thank because some deserving people will be left out. If you feel left out, don’t worry because I do appreciate you. So aside from thanking my wife, my family, my agent and our cats I wish to pay tribute to those from whom I have learned:

Chris Brogan, and I recommend this

Jim Connolly

Su Butcher

Andrew Lock whose video blog Help! My Business Sucks makes me laugh as well as having some useful reminders

Sarah Arrow who allowed me to guest post on Birds on the Blog

You would have been disappointed if with the title above I hadn’t given you this too so as it is so appropriate:

PS. Actually I don’t have an agent yet.

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Confidence in our business strategy

 

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I have been writing recently about making assumptions about our business and our clients which may be unwarranted. In the business process, whether we are selling goods or services, we do need to understand those who may buy from us, and what they are looking for when they do buy, whether from us or our competitors. That means that research is essential to ensure that we do know what we are talking about. Of course we will still not know what we don’t know, but the more we do know by asking the right questions, the better position we will be in to meet the expectations of our market, or to be specific, our customers and prospects, because they all have their individual needs.

So as long as we are prepared to keep testing our marketing strategy and our business approach, then we are probably doing our best, but no complacency is allowed! We should always listen to our peers and colleagues of course; it is essential. They have a collective knowledge which is a huge resource.

Of course, we may not always get the right advice, though, and sometimes our own experience may tell us more than what we hear from our friends and colleagues. Recently, someone said that blogging was not very effective in marketing. Well, I wouldn’t say that blogging should be the only marketing we do, but I know from personal experience that it works for me; it does bring in significant new business and that is a big plus for me because at the same time I really enjoy the writing.

We should always listen to advice freely offered, and often we should take paid-for professional advice on marketing and other strategies. However, if we already know that something works for us we should stick to our guns; if someone thinks it shouldn’t work they may not understand our niche. I believe in always listening but being confident in what we believe works for us. Every business is unique and needs its own strategies to take it forward.

What are your thoughts?

© Jon Stow 2010