Friday, August 05, 2005

How to have a Thought Leader blog

Is your blog a
Thought Leader blog?

Do you know how a Thought Leader blog differs from Link Logs, Clinking Blogs, and Rotation Blogs?

Link Log = blog that lists valuable URLs, with minimal or no commentary.

Clinking Blog = blog that links only to bloggers in a little clique, a circle of friends or industry blogs. Clique + linking = "clinking".

Rotation/Recycle Blog = blog that merely posts articles about what other similar blogs are posting about.

For example, if Seth Godin or Tom Peters blogs about Windows Vista, your blog does the same, usually linking to their blog post.

Thus, a post or topic is "rotated" or "recycled" around the blogosphere.

Michael Martine
Blog Consulting and Theme Design
for Specialty Markets

writes some incredibly valuable posts.

Here's an excerpt from his recent essay

"How to be a thought leader and own your niche"

I'm just giving you some choice quotes, so be sure to visit his blog and read the entire essay. It's well-written and chock full of good information and personal insight, based on his own experience. This is practical, not just wild theory.


If you’re link blogging instead of creating original material, you’re not a thought leader in your space.

The more into your niche you get, the more important (and easier) it is for you to write original material. Focus on your niche. Burrow into it. Be as specific as you can within it.

Not just consulting, but IT infrastructure change-management consulting. Not just web design, but content management systems for real estate agencies. Not just farming, but organic heirloom tomatoes for gourmet restaurants.

If you’re thinking that your business isn’t that specific in the first place, well, I was expecting that.

Most of us don’t specialize enough for fear of narrowing down our customer base too much. We fear we’ll miss out on “all that business”. And yet, if everyone is generalized, nobody stands out. You have to excel at something specific.


I present myself as an example: the more specialized I get, the more traffic my blog gets, the more comments and emails I get, and the more business I get.

Most importantly, the business I get is the kind of business I really want.

I started out as a web designer. Great. There are fifty-million or so web designers. Then I got more specific: I became a blog designer. That’s better, but today’s blog designer is yesterday’s web designer.

Now, I’m a blog consultant and WordPress Theme designer for specialty markets.


A generalist is practically forced to take on work he or she doesn’t really want to do, because it’s difficult to compete with all the other generalists out there making the same mistake and turning everything into a slim margin price war.

And all the other generalist blogs are posting about the same thing as everybody else.

The thought leaders at the top of the blog food chain are posting original material.

Everybody else is just linking to them and adding their own meager observations (coattail blogging).

When I see blogs like that, I can’t hit the back button fast enough. When you occupy a specific niche to the point where there are very few others to link to, you’re in a position to be a thought leader. Others will now link to you.


To paraphrase Tom Peters quoting Jerry Garica, you don’t want to just be the best at what you do—you want to be the only one doing what you do.

Determining your niche and staking your claim to it will enable you to blog with originality and authority. It will allow you to become a thought-leader in your field, driving traffic and business your way.

Of course, nothing is that simple!

The most successful people do not follow formulas!

Following a formula automatically makes you an also-ran, a me-too. Finding your niche should be a process of imagination, innovation, discovery, and bravery. Finding your niche is scarily a lot like asking, “What do you really want to do?”


I strongly advise you to blogroll, or bookmark as a favorite, Michael Martine. This man knows what time it is, and that is so refreshing, what with all the big bloggers pooping out and taking "breaks" or having nervous breakdowns lately.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


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