Small vs Big & Voice in Brand

Part 5 of an ongoing series...
read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4:

  1. Why Bloggers Hate SEO's
  2. Why SEO's Should Love Bloggers
  3. Dynamic Sites & Social Feedback
  4. Controlling Data and Helping Consumers Make it Smarter

Can Individuals & Small Sites Compete With Big Ones?

Some people think individuals can't compete with large corporations. The numbers prove otherwise.

When I was recently sued many sites linked through to my site referencing the lawsuit. The first day traffic volume of some of the leading referers was

  • Slashdot ~ 7,500
  • Wall Street Journal ~ 6,000
  • ~ 6,000
  • ~ 50

An individually written blogspot blog sent me nearly as much traffic as the Wall Street Journal did, and sent far more than most media sites did. Keep in mind that around 100 or so bloggers linked into the WSJ article, so the average blog post on likely gets more online readers than most WSJ online articles do.

Working Alone:

If people like your biases or the way you present the news they will send you stories as well. As you develop trusted and trusting readers even individuals do not end up working alone. Many people will send you tips about the news they uncover. Over time those relationships develop and you know who to trust more and if your channel becomes profitable enough you may even be able to hire one or two of your favorite researchers.

Should I Have Said That:

Being the first person with the news is also an easy way to get links. Sometimes through misinterpreting a story, not fully analyzing it, or just going with gut instinct it also can help uncover things that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Some people are afraid to blog because they think I am not sure if I should of said that. In many cases when I write on the web I write it like... should I have said that? Hmm... if I was wrong someone will hopefully tell me or it might get links or comments.

That's the whole point of feedback. To learn from it. The more authentic your voice sounds the better it will be received.

Those who write the rules write them to keep themselves in power. The advantages of being new & small are:

  • You can move quickly, changing your business model or adding multiple new channels each day.
  • If you make errors people may be more tolerant of it if they do not think of you as a professional or do not realize your reach.
  • If you are brand new you may not have much to lose if you break a few rules.
  • Sometimes hidden stories come out when we make mistakes.
  • Controversy is typically surrounded in links. Sometimes being wrong is more valuable than being right.

Most anything that may hurt your credibility in the eyes of some may help you in the eyes of others.

Niche & Bias:

Being small means lower overhead and you can focus more on a specific market. The tighter your niche the easier it is to carve out a market position. The same may be true for the way you bias stories.

If you look in the political sphere the most prominent blogs are typically ones that lean far in one direction or another. If you fake the position eventually it will sound shifty and the truth will wash out, but if you are biased or broken that can lead to added profitability or authority on the web.

Published: October 29, 2005 by Aaron Wall in articles


November 1, 2005 - 5:11pm

Atrios is one of the most popular bloggers, despite still being at blogspot. I wouldn't necessarily attribute the visits to the WSJ getting less traffic. Their visitors might just be less inclined to click through. I'd also imagine that the WSJ readers - especially from subscriber-only articles - have more money than traffic from Atrios.

In the political blogging world, there are a lot of bloggers who simply rip and post, buying obvious propaganda without knowing much about the underlying issues or bothering to look into it in more detail. Most bloggers who covered that story simply repeated AFP's incorrect representation of Chertoff's remarks, without bothering to do something as simple as reading what Chertoff actually said. Even non-professionals should be a bit more professional than that.

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