How to Sprint to Your Blog’s Tipping Point

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The air in the dojo was electric.

Kids with gap-toothed smiles fidget with their belts nervously waiting for the class to begin. Anxious parents line the walls with cellphone cameras pointed at their “little karate kid”. I was one of them.

This was my son’s fourth class and my first class. Today I was on a survey mission.  My goal was to “evaluate” just how serious he was about Karate.  You see, my basement is filled with artifacts of false starts, and “cool” activities that my firstborn never quite finished.   Today I was looking for evidence that the dojo was a waste of time and money too.

Within 15 minutes, I had my answer. My boy was a stone-cold, steely-eyed, karate machine. I beamed with pride as he snapped off his kicks and punches with “Kill Billesque” ease.

As I watched, I wondered how he got so good so fast.

It only took a few minutes for me to find my answer. My son has learned how to “model success”.  During the practice session, the kids rotate among three different instructors.  Two were decent teachers, one was amazing.

My son kept one eye on this guy.

When he was bored he would slyly mimic the movements that the leading sensei was teaching his students.   By the time, he rotated to the lead instructor, he knew the routines down cold.

Once again, my kid taught me a valuable lesson about blogging; the power of studying the leader.

Your Blog’s Tipping Point

Bloggers are a fiercely independent bunch. We are natural cynics, contrarian, and adventurous.   If given a choice, we’ll blaze our own path and recreate the wheel.

As a result, we tend to second-guess success. Leading bloggers are discounted as freaks of nature that are totally unique. Instead of learning from them, we dismiss their methods and run off to blaze our own paths.

This is an incredible waste of time.

Instead of spending years learning everything from scratch, you can “model success” and rapidly reach your blog’s tipping point.  Once past the tipping point, you’ll quickly grow your audience, build a healthy subscriber list, pile on quality Twitter followers, and begin monetizing your audience.

You can get to your tipping point by studying the leader in your niche, just like my son :)

Wait, don’t get all fired up: I’m not suggesting you clone, copy, or mindlessly follow after the leader like some sycophant.

I am recommending that you search for why the leader has made it to the top of your niche.

Here’s some clues to investigate:

How Do They Add Value for Their Readers?
Although hundreds of blogs focus on Facebook tips, Laura Roeder makes the subject easy for almost anyone to understand. Study Laura for a while and you’ll find that she consciously brings this approach to every post and product.

How Do They Prove Their Expertise?
The funny thing is that most experts aren’t PhD’s. However, top bloggers repeatedly tell their story and show their skills. They do it through their blogs, case studies, testimonials and solid content that solves problems.

Brendan Buchard is an excellent model to study. Although his success is intimidating, he is a master at demonstrating his expertise. You can check out his testimonial reel to get some great ideas.

How Does the Leader Become the Eyes and Ears of their Niche?
Spend some time reviewing the leader’s tweets, Facebook updates, and product reviews. Leaders take the responsibility of keeping their readers informed. This is how they earn the trust and respect of their audience.

Kristi Hines is an excellent example of a blogger who is a sign-post for the best content in the blogging and social media niche. Others such as Social Media Examiner have built massive audiences and businesses by being the eyes and ears for their niche.

How Do They Share Their “Secret Sauce”
The real rockstars in any niche make sharing their personal tips and techniques a habit. You can uncover extremely helpful techniques by watching how leaders package and distribute their content.

Copyblogger Media just took the whole information marketing niche to school with its recent Teaching Sells launch. A quick review reveals priceless email marketing, blogging, and copywriting strategies

Here’s What You Can Do…

Find 3 leaders that are enjoying the level of success you would like to see for your blog. Now go to school on them.

Next, spend some time brainstorming ideas on how you can adapt what you’ve learned to your blog. Don’t steal. Instead use these leaders as inspiration for your own effort.

Your not done yet ☺ Comment below and tell me if “Studying Leaders” can help your blog. What have you learned so far? Talk to me and I’ll talk right back! ☺

By the way, if you enjoyed what you just read, go ahead and subscribe to get alerted when I publish new posts.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

11 thoughts on “How to Sprint to Your Blog’s Tipping Point

  1. Stanford Post author

    There isn’t an answer for your question. You will be an expert when your audience is willing to pay for what you know. For some, it takes 3 months for others 3 years. But perhaps your question is wrong. The questions should be “How do I write content that fulfills my audience’s needs”. This is the first step to building in expertise in blogging.

  2. Amy

    I am new to blogging and dealing with the learning curve. I realize that education is not free so the time i spend is just like a lot of dollars. What will be the cost and how long before I become an expert in blogging ?

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  6. Jennifer Hooper

    I have undoubtedly learned by studying others! I watch Copyblogger, Jon Morrow, Johnny Truant, Laura Roeder, Marie Forleo, and you, Stanford. I have learned a wide breadth of information, from the importance of crafting incredible headlines to the value of overcoming your fears and putting yourself “Out There.” Although I don’t know these blog leaders personally (and I know there are so many more!), they give me courage and comfort to carry on and improve myself, my writing, and my blog.

    At age 4, your son is one smart cookie! :-)

  7. Cathy Presland

    My youngest does judo and he said to me this week “mum, you know judo’s the only subject where it’s OK to copy someone”, maybe I should introduce him to internet marketing !! But in all seriousness there are so many lessons from judo that apply to business, respect, focus, discipline, enjoyment, striving for excellence… hmm i feel a blog post coming on.
    Glad to have found you

  8. MaKenzie Birchell

    Fantastic topic. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that I don’t know everything. :) Seeking out the input, expertise, and successful practices of others is a great way to find new ways of doing things and discovering talents you didn’t know you had. My daily and weekly “to-do” lists include tasks of seeking out new experts I can draw inspiration from, in addition to going back to my favorites that continue to offer new ideas and support. Always learning!

  9. Andy Fogarty

    Spot on Stanford, and Srini is absolutely right about the accountability that comes along with shelling out your own cash. The important thing is to choose your 2 or 3 and stick with them. Too many folks get pulled in way too many directions trying to chase the ideas that have worked for “this guy” and “that guy”. Good luck with the new sport. I loves me some good old fashion side kick’n :-)

  10. Laura Roeder

    Thanks for the mention Stanford :) And I agree with Srini, a mentor/coach is essential. I think I had large success very quickly because I didn’t wait to take that step.

  11. Anonymous

    Well I think you know how I feel about this :), considering I’ve staked my entire existence in the blogosphere on the expertise of other people. The one commonality I have found between all successful bloggers that I have interviews is that they have all had some sort of a mentor through a paid program of some sort. The power of that is important on numerous levels. First, when you pay for something, accountability gets built in. I was one of those false start kids and a false start adult (capoeira, standup comedy, electric bass lessons). Then I caught my first wave and the rest is history. I think that investing in yourself is essential to succeed online.

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