Following the leaders is not a recipe for social media success

social media competition

By Srinivas Rao, Contributing {grow} Columnist

If Brian Clark and Darren Rowse (some of the biggest names in blogging) started their blogs today and followed their own advice, they would fail.

It’s tempting to look at how successful people have made their reputations and copy their techniques. You may even get some results.

But what made them successful was originality.  If you want to get results that other people haven’t, you have to do things that have never been done before.  In order to do that you have to take everything you’ve learned and adapt it to your unique skill sets. You are not going to stand out by simply regurgitating what you’ve read elsewhere.


In my very first conversation with Mark Schaefer, he said something to me that has been fundamental to how I approach the online world. “The courage to experiment is at the heart of originality, and originality is the heart of success on the social web.”

The beauty of the social web is that experimentation is cheap and, in many cases, free. You just have to have the courage to do it.

I look at other blog posts and advice I read as ingredients in a dish that I’m cooking. If you want to create mouth-watering content that makes your audience salivate, you have to mix up those ingredients and add your own flavor.

Best Practices Might Be Hurting You

Everyday I watch so many brilliant people with invaluable life and business experience come to the blogosphere and approach it all as if they’re starting from scratch. You may not know much about blogging and social media, but if we could look inside your head and your heart, I think we’d find they are bursting with insights and wisdom that you may take for granted. Many of us remain blind to our greatest strengths. We take what we already know for granted!

As a result we become dependent on repetitive “best practices” and formulas. We forget that our most natural abilities give us the greatest opportunity to be outstanding in a world full of noise. I’ve had conversations with hundreds of bloggers, authors and entrepreneurs and if i have learned anything, it is that there is no one formula for success. Just because it’s a best practice, it doesn’t mean it’s best for you.

Originality is Underrated

I’m always a bit irked when somebody who is new to the blogosphere starts a blog about blogging or social media. It’s such a tragedy that leads to the death of their own authenticity before they even start the journey.  What makes any blog unique or interesting is the person behind it. That’s why it’s essential to infuse your personality into everything you do. What makes any blog memorable is the author’s ability to invoke emotion in their readers and tell a good story.

If you’ve been following formulas, best practices, and scripts, and your results have been less than stellar, mix things up a bit.  Try something you’ve never tried. Try something no one has ever tried. Start by breaking one of the so called “rules” of successful blogging.  You might become the next big thing.

Srinivas Rao writes about the things you should have learned in school, but never did and his the host-co founder of BlogcastFM.  You can follow him on twitter @skooloflife

Illustration courtesy of BigStock photo

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