Convincing clients of the benefits of blogging can be tough enough, but something I’ve always found even more challenging once I’ve sold them on blogging, is getting them to do it properly. A particular incident that comes up time and time again is the competition. Basically, if you’re going to demonstrate just how much in-the-know you are by blogging about your industry, then you’re going to have to mention your competition from time to time.

Now, a lot of clients are wary of calling competitors out on their short coming (and rightfully so). But the flipside of that is that they’re similarly loath to even allude to anything that their competition has done that’s been done well. Unfortunately, that really limits what you can blog about because no one (and I mean no one) want to read about how awesome you think you are — there’s just nothing in it for them.

Fortunately for me, someone who’s enjoys a lot more respect and street cred than I do, Hugh MacLeod, sees thing similar to how I do (and gawd do I hope thhat that’s going to make my pitching process a lot easier in the future):

[…] on a basic, primal level, how you talk about your competition actually says a lot more about you, than talking about yourself ever will.

I call this The Cocktail Party Rule — what’s true at cocktail parties is also true in marketing: “If you want to be boring, talk about yourself. If you want to be interesting, talk about something other than yourself.”

If you have the cajones to actually say “Nice job!” in public to somebody in the same business as you, it means you’re probably secure enough about your own schtick. It means you’re not exactly worried about your own product. And people can tell. Animals can smell fear, or the lack thereof.

And if you think that Hugh is just another Web 2.0 kool-aid drinker who’s preaching to the choir (i.e. me), the maybe a lawyer can change your mind:

It’s this discourse that further enhances your reputation as an expert and grows your business. Not commenting about what other lawyers in your area of the law are blogging about is shooting yourself in the foot.

And when it comes to blogging, this goes beyond passing mentions. You have to give them some link love too (which is even harder to convince clients to do). And if I had to defer to a more accomplished and respected internet marketing contemporary than myself to back up that claim, I’d probably fall back on Brian Solis (who used to also be a lawyer, in case you were wondering):

And often, the most relevant bloggers in your field will be your competition.
The marketplace is going to sort things out on its own whether you like it or not. If you’re blogging and not linking due to fear of competition, you may be surprised to find that you’re not even in the running.

Anyway, there it is: another sermon for the choir. Once again, I’ve managed to say something to an already sympathetic audience. Does that mean I’m wrong, though? Not at all. It just means that you’re probably right, too.

Hat tip to Julien Smith for the link to Hugh’s post

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