Saturday, 25 June 2011

Working my way thru the latest ebook from Problogger's Darren Rowse

So yesterday I downloaded the latest ebook from Darren Rowse, the creator of ProBlogger.

In an effort to make the most of my time reading this, I'll be working through my exercises from each chapter on here.

So, up first: competitor research.

Well, that's an interesting one for me, since really I didn't set this up with a clear audience in mind. I mainly wanted somewhere to write thoughts on my continous learning, with the aim of having something to regularly come back to when I wanted to think about my professional development. Also I guess it was a way to share thoughts on my industry and on PR. Somewhat of a surprise to me is that having not been on here for quite a while, there is nevertheless traffic coming in via 2 main sources: my LinkedIn Profile, and my Twitter feed. Well, that makes sense, since I'm more active on those channels, and my blog is linked from those channels. Sheesh. Really ought to invest some more time on here ;)

So, I guess that would mean this is a blog that is a) a shop front for me professionally, plus b) a source of information on PR and publishing, so that is how I'll pick my competitors.

1. The Google blog search
The ebook says have a dig through the search results (i.e. not just p.1) for five similar niche blogs. I started out with "PR and Publishing" as my search.

2. The top result
The top result in was A nice looking site from digital marketing company "How do you do". Actually quite like this site and will be subscribing to the RSS. in terms of style (the ebook says look at this), each post has a photo/illustration at the top of the post, and is broken down into sub sections. There is some twitter activity, but low commenting on the blog itself.

3. The Case study sharer
This is a good looking blog with lots of interactive links/media: The posts are short on the whole, but always with images or video. Seems to get good traffic, and again a site I'd happily subscribe to. Amazing how much you find when you search around a little.

4. The learner
Actually this is a lot more like my own than I had realised: This is a student writing about insights into the industry they want to pursue, as part of an internship at another agency. There are generally lots of images, although this does vary from post to post.

5. The uber blog
This is the "wo, how funky is this' one:!/cover. A very attractive site from a consultant, with an interesting mix of content that I would really like to read. Having said that it's the uber blog, I have to say it wasn't the easiest to navigate, and I don't think all the functionality was working on an iPad. There is however a standard version wihtout the funkiness which is better for mobile. Of all the sites, I saw the most engagement on this one, and actually that's probably down to the focus of the content, which is well written. There is again an image associated with every post.

There was a commonality across all the sites, which was the sharing of interesting finds from the industry, nothing about product or service as such. There was a good deal of advice sharing, plus some opining. This was a quick skim and I'll learn more through spending more time reading the feeds from these sites.