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How To Be a Better Blogger By Avoiding ‘Me Too’ Blogging

By Apr 22, 2013July 8th, 201491 Comments

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When it comes to how to be a better blogger, there is a ton on advice to follow. What you want to make sure you avoid is becoming a “me too” blogger…or a person who sees someone else’s success and immediately tries to duplicate it, even though the approach might not be a match to who you are or what you blog about.

Blogging isn’t a race, but when I started blogging, I would spend lots of time trying to understand why other bloggers were racing towards the finish line, when I’m still tying my running shoes. If you’ve felt like this before, then know that you’re not alone.

how to be a better blogger

How to Be a Better Blogger

I started blogging in 2009 and had a fantastic run with a couple of blogs and although I learned a lot, when I launched Keep the Tail Wagging in December 2011, I felt like I was putting the blogging training wheels back on. Why? Because blogging is constantly changing and shifting and whenever we feel like we have a handle on something, it “improves.”

When I launched Keep the Tail Wagging, the plan was to take everything I had learned and put it into my new blog. I ended up tying my running shoes for 6 months as I fell into the habit of Me Too Blogging.

What is Me Too Blogging?

This is a term I heard on a podcast recently that summed up what I was doing and I loved it! Me Too Blogging is when we see another blogger do something (lots of Top 10 list, share something personal, host a scavenger hunt) and they get loads of comments. Those examples I shared are things I actually did with my blog – I saw someone’s success and thought ‘Me Too!’ And although it worked for the other blogger, it didn’t work for me. And here’s why…

  • I didn’t earn it. They’d been at it longer and had built their audience and perfected their style.
  • It wasn’t genuine. I believe that blogging is all about finding your voice, because that’s what makes you unique in our very huge ocean of bloggers.
  • And I wasn’t writing for my readers, I was writing to get traffic and comments. The best advice I received about blogging was to focus on the readers I have and together we’ll bring more traffic to my site.

How to Stand Out in Blogging

The first step to standing out in blogging and understand how to be a better blogger is to identify why you’re blogging. When I finally realized that everything I was doing was causing me more work, more stress, and not getting me any closer to the finish line, I stopped and asked myself ‘why am I blogging?’ This question lead me to create my mission…

I share dog care tips on the pet blog, Keep the Tail Wagging, an online magazine for dog lovers, based on my experience as a dog parent with the goal of becoming the premier pet blog for dog lovers, endorsed by leading pet brands.
Once I came up with my goal for how to be a better blogger, the rest fell into place. Now I look to other bloggers for inspiration, but I turn those ideas into something that will work within the framework of my blogging goal. Doing this lead me to make two big changes to my blogging…

  1. I only accept guest post contributions from only dog parents who maintain active blogs and
  2. I no longer host giveaways

These decisions won’t work for everyone, but they work great for my Keep the Tail Wagging.

The Proof is in the PR

To drive home how important it was to identify my blogging goal, in February 2013 (a year plus a month after I launched Keep the Tail Wagging), I was featured in Women’s Day magazine and quoted in Dog Fancy magazine. In March 2013, I was invited to speak at BlogPaws and the next month I had 3 more speaking engagements scheduled.

Not everyone is interested in monetizing their blog, speaking engagements, or writing ebooks, but I think many bloggers would love to learn how to be a better blogger by connecting with a community of like-minded people, even if it’s only to make new friends. If that’s your goal, then let that be your platform and build from there. You’ll be at the finish line just in time to see that this is a long distance race and not a sprint, which is what makes blogging so much fun.

More Tips on How to Be a Better Blogger

Looking for more advice on how to be a better blogger? We’ve got the tips you’re looking for!

About the Author
Kimberly GauthierKimberly Gauthier is the dog mom behind the online magazine Keep the Tail Wagging. She shares dog care tips from the perspective of a dog parent to three rescues and two tolerant cats. She’s not just a dog mom and blogger, Kimberly is also the author of Standing Out in a Popular Blogging Niche, available on Amazon Kindle, where she shares how she went from a blog to an online magazine in a year.

About Francesca

Francesca has an extensive background in content marketing, public relations, and social outreach. She oversees all Operations at Sway Group, including our robust metrics capabilities. Prior to joining the online world, Francesca oversaw viticulture and oenology at various wineries in both California and Italy, and managed regulatory affairs and facility approvals at the biotech company, Genentech. Francesca has been featured on CBS Sacramento and Food Blogger Pro’s podcast. She has also hosted an AMA webinar and spoken at Social Media World.

91 Comments

  • Awesome advice to create a blog mission, then I will know my goals and direction. Thanks for sharing this information, I found it to be very helpful. ;o)

  • Reading this is like manna from heaven! I’m just starting a blog and don’t feel inspired at all to dance around for followers. I’d just like to contribute from my little corner of the universe. This encourages me to do just that! btw we used to have a sweet dog (he now lives on a giant ranch) named Elton Good Doggie. He was a hoot. Love you.

  • Reading this is so stress reducing! Thank you in bucket loads! I am just starting on a blog and haven’t been feeling very inspired by the whole “me too” hooplah. I just want to write about what relates to our subject and shmooz with those who resonate in our territory…maybe bring some teachers in with us with similar goals. btw We used to have a dog named Elton Good Doggie. He now lives on a giant ranch.

  • Shashee says:

    Awesome tips! I have been blogging for quite sometime and realize there is so much that I am constantly learning. There are so many blogs/communities/conferences out there, it makes it very hard to keep up. I have started organizing better and using my time wisely when it comes to blogging. I must admit that I look at other blogs as well and hope to one day be as successful but I have learned to stay in my lane and keep building and working hard.

    I never realized it was so much work, but it is something I would not mind doing for the rest of my life lol because I love writing. Thank you for the awesome tips, very helpful!

    • Fantastic, Shashee!!! I know what you mean about there being so much to learn. It seems like things are changing all the time! It’s exciting, but it can be overwhelming too. But so much fun 🙂

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  • Kristine says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been battling being a “me too” blogger since I started to blog in 2011. It’s easy to be tempted and every time I realize that, the stress it has caused me is already high. It drove me to occassionally change my blog name.

    • Yep, been there, done that. Another thing that I did was make changes every time I learned something new. Now I just slow down and ask if it works for me and what I’m trying to accomplish. Most of the time, it doesn’t work for me.

  • celeryhills says:

    I have yet to see anything positive come out of giveaways when it comes to generate site traffic. I have seen tons of people sign up for the giveaway, only to completely vanish once the giveaway was complete. Personally I have never done a giveaway, nor will I ever.

    Another thing is “reviews”. I have one friend who has a small indie all natural beauty company, who contacted me one day because she was getting hit with tons and tons of requests from beauty bloggers for samples to review on their blog. These samples the bloggers wanted for free, and my friend didn’t want to do it. Samples cost money, and she didn’t want to give her product away. I told her to not feel pressured, and to simply put a disclaimer on her social media sites, “I do not give free product for reviews”. She wanted to go into detail as to why, I told her she didn’t need to explain herself.

    We should not have to succumb to the dictates of the masses as to what we “should” be doing. Keep strong!

    • I completely agree! Your blog/business is yours and should be run the way you want it to be run. One thing I tell small businesses locally is to ask for testimonials from current customers and use those as “reviews.” Not all companies can afford to giveaway free samples.

      I ask companies to give me at least $50 in free products, because I put a lot of time and work in writing and promoting my reviews. But if someone doesn’t have the budget – we either work on an alternative or part ways to work together in the future.

      No need to pressure anyone 🙂

  • This post is so timely. I am asked quite often if I accept guest posts by writers who want to include a link to a 3rd party’s site. They are so persuasive even providing articles on SEO, but you’ve convinced me – in the long run I will have a better blog if I say no. Also, it is hard to stick to a niche when others are telling me what my blog should be about. Thanks again

  • Adrienne says:

    I really loved this post! It’s just what I needed to read. I also admire your mission. It’s so clear! no wonder you’re doing fabulous! Congrats on all the recent accomplishments. 🙂

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  • zeemaid says:

    Great tips. Finding a niche is hard when your interests are all over the place. Narrowing it down helps streamline and reduce stress. Too much is not necessarily a good thing.

    • You are so right. I love our dogs, but I also love photography, reading, movies, and spiritual things. What I did was ask to guest blog for bloggers who write about those topics regularly.

      I totally agree with you that narrowing things down reduces stress; that’s been my experiene exactly!

  • Jennifer says:

    Absolutely agree! I’m still learning but did notice early on it was always, “Oh, she’s doing that so I need to..” I have learned that my core audience is my loyal fan base and I need to keep them happy, not do whatever I can in my power to gain 1000s of followers.

    However, I have enjoyed doing product reviews and giveaways.. is that a bad thing?

    • Jennifer, it’s great that you recognize where your priorities are and it’s great that you love reviews and giveaways. That makes you a great resource for bloggers who don’t love them – if someone is contacted by a brand, they can send them your way.

      I don’t do giveaways, because I don’t love them. I was doing them, because I thought “that’s what bloggers do” and then I realized, I don’t HAVE to do anything, it’s my blog, I can create my own experience. So I chucked the giveaways 🙂

      Kimberly

  • Pam says:

    Great tips! Still finding my way and love all the blogging info.

  • Charlotte says:

    Thanks for this! I hope I’ve managed to stay away from “Me Too” blogging, but I admit that there were times in my career when I just was at a crossroads and I may have sought guidance from other, more experienced bloggers.

    I must check you out now, fellow dog lover 🙂 And congrats on all of your success, that’s awesome!

  • Thanks for the great tips! I am always looking for new ways to improve my website and avoid certain pitfalls like you mentioned…

  • Lindsay says:

    Fantastic points! Excellent article my dear!

  • Kim says:

    I have learned the hard way that writing with my readers in mind too much leads me to writing craptastic, boring posts that don’t show who I am. I have tried to write what’s popular or what works well for other bloggers. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t work. It makes me cranky and makes me feel like I’m just catering to the masses. That’s not me. I’m finding out I am much happier writing what I am passionate about and makes me happy. In the long run that’ll make me a better blogger than trying to do what everyone else is doing.

    • You’re spot on, Kim. When you write what makes you happy, then you’ll attract an audience what loves it too. I did the same thing on my blog – if you look at my earlier posts, I was all over the place, because I was trying to please this invisible audience. When I just said screw it and started writing for me, the traffic came, comments came, etc. Now I have a happy medium – I still write for me, but they send me suggestions that are great too. It works, because I have my ideal audience.

      It’s great to see that you’re on your way there too!

  • Chris Carter says:

    I love this advice- it’s so true!!! If you don’t stay focused on your mission or your passion or your authentic voice, then the blog won’t evolve into something worthy of success.

    • Absolutely, Chris

      Someone emailed me this week about writing an article about their site. It was tempting, because I like their site, but it has nothing to do with our goals. I didn’t want to brush him off, because he’s a great guy so we’re brainstorming on how an article about his site would benefit him while allowing me to stay true to my voice. I don’t think I would have even thought to do this a year ago 🙂

      Much success to you!

  • Carli says:

    Kimberly, great advice! I started out as a me too blogger and while it was actually successful it was stressful and I didn’t like it. I’m still doing some reviews and giveaways but I’ve become more selective. Now I’m rethinking it altogether. After I received a wonderful opportunity with Verizon that is really the benchmark I’m using going forward to accept things. And, I didn’t get that opportunity until I stopped being a “me too” blogger.

    Love the post. I need to come up with a mission statement now!

  • Sarah, I don’t have a baby, but I completely relate. I finally stopped when we had a new puppy and she got sick. She didn’t make it and we were heart broken. That finaly made me stop and asky myself why I was blogging. All of a sudden the daily themes, the mass giveaways, and the rest just didn’t seem important, because they were taking me away from my blogging goals.

    Kisses to the new baby!

  • Sarah says:

    Wonderful advice! I completely understand the “Me Too” blogging. I fell into that. I was stressing out, really trying to “make something” with my blog while watching others. I would stare at my rank and all that, daily, and throughout the day. It drove me nuts I think. So I dropped it. I stopped with the scheduled posting, daily themes, staring at my numbers and ranks and now just blog when I get a moment. (Having a new baby changed my perspective) I don’t stare at blogs and “wish” I could blog like them, I just blog. Somehow I’ll find what my voice is. 😉 I’ve been blogging over a year now

    Slowly I am just being “me” on my blog. That is really all it should be. 🙂

  • ronnie says:

    You are…super cool!
    Great post and I love the wordpress plug-in post too!
    You need another blog for those of us without dogs!!!

    • Thank you, Ronnie

      I thought about creating a new blog, but I just don’t have the time. When I launched my blog, I had two other blogs too. I had to retire them, because I wanted Keep the Tail Wagging to be something amazing. I’m so happy to have this community to share with and now that I’ve been able to slow down, I hope to write for SITS Girls more often.

      Thank you for your kind words!

  • Fantastic post Kimberly!

    I have spent many hours saying “me too” only to find out that what works for others isn’t going to really work for me, most of the time 🙁 So of course in the end I’ve discovered nobody else can be me..and that’s a good thing! LOL

    There is always so much to learn.. My blog is still totally evolving because I’ve only blogged for 1 year and 8 months..I’m still finding what works and what doesn’t and building my audience..but I’m having fun doing it 🙂

    Thanks again for the reminder that it’s ok to be me 🙂

    Blessings!

    • You’re the reason why people read your blog. I remember when I decided to cut back on writing and I thought that I might lose readers – nope, they were right there with me. It’s exciting to build a community that supports what you’re trying to do and helps you evolve. When I finally started focusing on my audience, wow, the pressure ease up a lot.

      I know what you mean about there being a lot to learn. Every time I think I GOT IT everything changes 🙂

  • Great tips! I agree that thinking about why you are blogging is very helpful to find areas on which to focus as you grow your blog.

    • There’s no way I could have gotten where I’ve reached as quickly as I did if I didn’t keep why I blog in mind with every choice that I make. It’s saved me a lot of time and bad investments (in plugins, themes, etc).

      Kimberly

  • Ugochi says:

    Very important that we stay original and motivated by our readers.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Exactly! One person told me that it was pointless to start a blog, because with the competition out there, we could never be successful. Unless there are 10 more Kimberly Gauthier’s out there, I don’t have competition – I have teachers, leaders, and a community.

      Like you said, focus on being original.

  • I really like this post because it really takes me back to the reason why we all started blogging in the first place. We blog because we want to help people and we want to interact with people who have similar interest and values. We blog because we want to share good information and we want to know people who also share important information.

    Earning from your blog comes naturally once you mature as a blogger, when you become an expert in your field, when you gain the respect of your readers and when you continuously give good information. If the first thing that comes into your mind when you blog is to make money, then you’re not going to get anywhere. When you making money is your only motivation for blogging, you’ll get burned out. When making a buck is your primary goal, your readers will see that and they’ll get tired of you.

    But when you’re passionate about your topic and you take the time to interact with your readers, you will reap definitely reap the rewards. And it’s not just money, it’s respect, recognition, and the friendships that you make along the way that makes blogging really worthwhile.

    • Beautifully said, Julia!

      When I would focus on making money, I went to the sites where people said they made $5000-$10000 a month – they looked terrible. They were busy, had tons of links, bad content. I didn’t get it. That’s not what I wanted in a blog – I didn’t think any dog lovers would come to a site that was SELL SELL SELL so I abandoned that thought and focused more on my passion for dogs.

      Very well put!

  • For me Blogging is my life .. I love it as i like my family . & for becoming a better blogger you have to updated with the Niche of your blog , keen with your readers and just give them what they want .. 🙂

  • Inpage Urdu says:

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  • Awesome! It’s so easy to lose focus and fall into the me too. I think we all do it at some point.

    • Oh, absolutely! Every time I see a cool new idea, I want to give it a try, but I have to ask myself if it’ll work for me. At one time, I wanted to start a blogging community like Lisa Cash Hanson and help others with blogging. She’s amazing at it, I wouldn’t have the time – thank goodness I figured that out before I set everything up!!!

  • Laurie says:

    Loved this post! So insightful and helpful. I know what I want to do with my blog just not sure how to connect. I am guilty of the MeToo blogging, though am more focused now. Going to read more posts!

    • Fantastic, Laurie

      We all have to start somewhere and as long as we can pull ourselves out of that habit, we’re do well. Glad that you’re more focused – I find it fascinating that we all have to take our own path to figure out where we’re going with our blogging.

  • Yes! I have had to pull myself away from doing this type of thing a few times. I haven’t posted those posts (thank goodness) but I’ve got them saved so I can revamp them and make them my own…in due time. Thanks for the great tips! It’s always good to take a step back and rethink what we are doing and what we truely want out of all our hard work.

    • Fantastic, Kendra – you are a smart blogger! It’s great to gain inspiration, but we should be spinning our wheels being a Me Too Blogger. Definitely make it our own! You rock!!!

  • Stephanie says:

    This is great advice! I started my blog as a personal, family one, and as it has grown it honestly never occurred to me to focus on the readers and what they WANT to read. Duh. That makes so much sense and is probably why I haven’t seen as much interaction as I would like. THANK YOU. I will certainly try to implement this advice asap.

    • Fabulous! Glad I could help.

      I created a Suggest a Topic link (it’s my contact page) and I remind my readers each month that they can suggest a topic – and they come through. These are posts that are both popular on my blog and cause a lot of interaction on my Facebook page. It’s great!

  • Kristiina says:

    Great post! I find that keeping an editorial calendar and sticking to it helps keep me from me- too blogging.

    • That’s such a great idea and a useful tip. I use the plugin WordPress Editorial Calendar to keep track of where I’ve been, what I’m doing, and to schedule posts. I used to write 5-6 days a week; now I write less so that I can promote more. I thought it would make it easier, but I still need that calendar to stay organized – and you’re right, it does help us from becoming Me Too Bloggers 🙂

  • Keia Lee says:

    This is great advice! thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I just started a blog late last year so I really appreciate helpful posts like this 🙂

  • Aditya Singh says:

    The article is Really Good And this may help new blogger to do better blogging. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Linda says:

    Thanks for the advice. I just started a personal blog the end of 2012 and I am trying to figure it all out. I am learning little pieces here and there, slowly, but surely. I just need to keep on keeping on. 🙂

  • Yes, best to find your own “voice” and be comfortable with it, then everything falls into place.

    Thrift Shop Commando

  • Girl I’m so excited for you and everything you’ve accomplished 🙂 As bloggers and women in business there have never been more opportunities open and available. All that is left for us to do is grab it!

    And you did.

    • You are so right, Lisa – I was speaking with someone this weekend about growing your online business and it was sad to see that she was so frustrated with the process. Yes, it does take time, but it’s importand to start with “why am I doing this?” and then move on to creating goals. Even with Blogging. There’s plenty of room for all of us and the more we add our own voice, the more amazing the blogosphere will be!

      Thanks for being such an amazing inspiration, Lisa

  • Linda Troup says:

    I just found you on G+ and I’m happy I did.

    I’m a pet parent of 3 French Bulldogs that have had a host of medical issues from allergies to ruptured disks, paralysis, surgery & recovery. THEIR issues have led me to find my passion in life…helping other pet parents learn how to use holistic options to help their pets have the best outcome possible.

    My first blog was just for me and was to document my training to become a Tellington TTouch Practitioner. Later I started my current blog http://www.TouchNpaws.com where I bring all I’ve learned, and certified in, to the table to teach others.

    I love what I do and I’m really excited to have found your page.

    Thank you for a great article on avoiding the entire “Me Too” syndrome!

  • Great advice. Thank you. I definitely spend time comparing myself to others and feeling like I’m not quite measuring up because I’m not doing the same things. But I’m doing what works for me and hopefully it will pay off in the long run. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • It will definitely pay off in the long run. This is my fourth year blogging; I spent my first 3 years following the lead of others instead of finding my own way. You’re way ahead of me by doing what you know works for you!

      A year ago, my “time on site” was less than 2 minutes; today, it’s more than 10 minutes. I think that huge change is really due to the fact that I started doing what works for me and helps me reach my goals instead of comparing myself to others (which is so addictive at times).

      You’re doing great!

  • Kate says:

    I am SO new to blogging and it is tough not to jump on those bandwagons that work! Thanks for this advice- I will keep at it 🙂

    • Yep, been there many times. It’s okay to try new things out that you see, just don’t feel pressured to fit into a mold. The one great thing about your blog is YOU – you make it unique. So not everything will work for you and your blog, but at least you gave it a shot and can move on to try something new 🙂

  • Thanks for this article, Kimberly. As a newbie, I’m still finding my way and this puts some things in perspective for me. I’m working on trying to find my audience.

    • When I was trying to find my audience, I took a step back and imagined who my ideal reader was and realized that it was someone like me – a woman who loves dogs, thinks her dogs are her kids, loves dog rescue, and wants to be a great dog parent – turns out that this is the audience that I’m building. What’s cool is that I’m starting to attract some dog dads too!

      You’ll get there 🙂

  • Alison says:

    Great tips, Kimberly!

  • Thanks for sharing these… I am too having difficulty what will I really post in my blog… Reading this post makes me realize that I should focus on WHAT I COULD REALLY SHARE. Thank you again for this post.

    • My pleasure, Teresa

      Been there, done that. Once I figured out why I wanted to blog, why I loved it so much, everything else became easy and I didn’t feel the pressure to produce – it all just came naturally.

  • Thanks for the tips and I’m a happy doggy mom, too!

    • Nice to “meet” you, Barbara – I just switched our dogs to a raw diet blend and I’m pretty excited. Only another doggy mom will understand that one 🙂

      What type of dog do you have / how many dogs?