Let’s take a field trip outside of the “blogging-about-blogging” world.
Us bloggers are obsessed with cataloging and celebtating our heroes. However, the lists are starting to get a little stale. It’s not because the top blogs are resting on their laurels, it’s because the list-makers are getting lazy.
All of the lists have the usual suspects and they attract massive attention, but sipping from the same watering hole can be dangerous (even stupid).
You see if everyone gets their ideas from the same spot, then everyone tends to look and perhaps sound the same. The danger here is that you’ll be boring and predictable; the quickest way to choke the life out of your blog.
So, if you are working through a blog redesign or just trying to get your groove back then consider looking outside of the blogging niche for inspiration.
Here are some great places to start:
Perez Hilton – One-word, Flair. Perez Hilton offers a daily clinic on how to stand-out in a hypercompetitive space.
Ted.com – Ted has cornered the market on inspiration and innovation. You can get concentrated inspiration with the click of a button. Also take a look at their website. It’s specifically designed to show off it’s huge repository of content and get it shared around the web. You’re sure to find great lessons there.
HBR.com – The social hub for the Harvard Business Review. Along with incredibly insightful articles you’ll also find great techniques for monetizing an audience. HBR doesn’t teach this. You will need to watch what they do and see how it fits your blog. One clue: Take note of how the publishers integrate their print magazine into their blog content. The blog is essentially a pre-sell for the magazine. Brilliant.
Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week Blog – Full disclosure here: I’m obsessed with Tim Ferriss. So, I spend a lot of time on his blog. For good reason, I never fail to find a technique or tactic that can be used to attract readers or get noticed. For example, Tim will periodically “stick” high-response posts to his front page, so that new readers can’t miss the positive social proof.
Behance.com is becoming the new hangout for people serious about creativity and productivity. This blog is packed with fantastic tips for recharging your creative batteries and using your time effectively.
Smashing Magazine – Smashing has dutifully assembled creative tutorials, walkthroughs, and techniques for years now. If you are looking for inspiration, then stop by Smashing and do a search. Plus, I believe that Smashing is the one that made “list posts” the eyeball-magnets they are today.
Huffington Post – Collaborative blogging, aggressive headline experimentation, celebrity endorsements, HuffPo has it all. Spend 15 minutes on HuffPo and you’ll walk away with a fistful of ideas to test on your blog.
KanyeWest.com – Music artists compete ferociously for attention. The frontlines of the battlefield lies squarely in social media. Kanye West is pushing the boundaries as usual. Check out how Kanye focuses his community around his latest videos. No posts, ads, or tour dates, he just has a video and a hashmarked twitter feed.
InTreeHouses.com – Thom Chambers takes the best of blogging, design, and traditional print and puts it in a meticulously crafted digital magazine. Thom’s betting that his audience wants a reading experience that is dramatically different from the the normal blogging fare. I think he’s right.
Ev Bogue – Actually, I put Ev on this list not because he has a kick-ass blog but because he publishes amazing ebooks. “Minimalist Business” and “How to create a Movement” are a feast for the eyes, heart, and mind. By the way, Ev makes you pay for his best stuff. I love this guy.
I Dare You
Add to this list, but don’t list anyone that you’ve seen on someone else’s list. Give me folks who are extraordinary and shunned. People that are fearless and over-the-top.
(Image Credit: Tim Ferris – Told you I was obsessed)