Are You More Collaborative or Competitive with Your Blog?

[tentblogger-vimeo 27409649]

Melanie Seibert over at TheLarkBlog sent me this neat vlog (one of her very first!!) to share some thoughts about collaboration and competition among bloggers which was inspired from the 2011 BlogHer Conference last week.

Before I add my own personal thoughts I want to give Melanie a huge thumbs up for making a video blog (which I think is a great thing for all bloggers to try at least once because of the opportunity of increased authenticity) and sharing it with this community! I know that even now I still get nervous sitting in front of my own camera at home – silly to think about but it’s true!

So I (and this community that you’re a part of) salute you for your first-ever effort! Way to go! And, it’s awesome that you found it valuable to jump into some local community (and a large conference) surrounding your niche and connect with other bloggers in real life – kudos to that as well!

We All Struggle With This!

I want to firmly believe that most bloggers share a collaborative mindset when it comes to their personal blogs but I fear that it’s not as often as we might want to hope – I think that deep down every blogger, at some point, dips a bit too far into the “it’s all about me” worldview and can find themselves looking at themselves too much at some point in their journey.

In fact, I think that’s part of the journey itself as we all struggle (daily at times) to strike the right balance between self-promotion and creating unbelievable value for our readers. It’s about the attitude that we have when we hit the “publish” button – and we may have had an entirely different attitude when we had first sat down to write!

But it’s tough and I don’t have an easy or copy-and-paste solution; we all have to grapple with our desire to be competitive (which is a good and healthy thing when managed well) and our desire to be collaborative (or our struggle to be more collaborative than we are right now).

But that’s just my perspective. Now it’s your turn! Here’s what Melanie asks:

Do you find that blogging is mainly collaborative and that other bloggers are pretty much helpful to you or have you encountered any competitiveness? tweet

So what about you? What’s your experience been? Is blogging (and bloggers) a unique bunch insofar as we tend to be more collaborative than competitive than other industries or communities?

Love your thoughts – and I hope you guys had a great weekend!

  • Chris Langille

    Collaborative for sure! I love to get feedback and network with other bloggers.

    an “open-source” approach I guess

    • John Saddington

      ah yes! love the open source idea!

  • Dorian Speed

    I’d agree that it’s definitely been a more collaborative enterprise for me, although I haven’t been in “professional blogger” mode whatsoever for a few months. But still – I think people can sense when you’re in it for building traffic and becoming the Next Big Thing…and they won’t come back.

    • John Saddington

      i agree with this dorian. it’s surprising how many bloggers are obviously-egotistical… and their shameless about it!

  • Melanie

    Wow John, thanks for posting this! My first-ever attempt at vlogging…

    To answer my own question, I think your willingness to provide info and answer questions on this site sums it up for me… Since I’ve been blogging, I have encountered a few “haters,” but they seem to be more exception than rule.

    Thanks for your support!! You rock.

    • John Saddington

      great job! i like to showcase new talent… i mean, why not?

  • Michael Walden

    I am learning as I go. I’m trying to get myself out there and be collaborative but I think due to the fact that I am pretty much an “uncarved block” it’s more difficult to make decent connections. I don’t consider myself competitive, and perhaps that is something I need to change; in a positive way of course. I’ve only been at this about three months, sometimes it seems as though there is just too much “mental munchiness” (food for thought). :)

    • John Saddington

      i’m an uncarved rock too…! i want to be one… i think it would get boring to be “complete.”

  • Loren Pinilis

    Blogging is incredibly collaborative by nature. I haven’t found anyone to be competitive in the sense of “I win, you lose” – although I have found a few to practice “I want to win, I couldn’t care less about you.” But for the most part, everyone seems pretty nice :)

    • John Saddington

      ah. such a picturesque perspective……! glad that you’ve seen it!

  • Rob Rash

    Although I feel the competitiveness in trying to be an expert in my field, I love to read blogs in the same niche. I love encouraging those people and creating friendships with them. Plus we keep sharpening each other.

    Collaboration trumps Competition in my book.

    • John Saddington

      i totally agree. how do you go about becoming an expert?

  • Benny

    I have found bloggers that I’ve come across to be pretty helpful. It’s a bad mindset if you see other bloggers as your competition instead of helping each other out.

    In saying that I am very competitive to myself. I keep pushing myself and want to beat certain blogs on my same leve. I don’t want them to fail. It’s just I want to do better. But if there’s room to collaborate of if I’m asked for help or advice. I’m more than happy to give it.

    • John Saddington

      how do you measure other blogs? what are your criteria?

  • Marcus Williamson

    Gotta go with the collab train on this one. If anyone needs help and I have what they need then let’s make it happen somehow

    I will say, I’m with Benny on the competitive part. I’m trying to get better, so the people I consider my blog heroes are people that I also look to “compete against.”

    • John Saddington

      now that’s awesome. but it can be a bit discouraging, right? some people are way ahead… or at least seem to be.

  • Greg

    I have found that bloggers are very helpful when it comes to setting up blogs etc etc…when it comes to making money with blogs the lines begin to blur abit :)

    • John Saddington

      that can be true…!

  • Karl

    I believe myself to be more collaborative but I see so many other bloggers competing for opportunities that aren’t so great and have enough room for more than just themselves.

    Collaboration is the reason I started blogging and it will always be one of my main focuses while doing it!

    • John Saddington

      love this karl. don’t lose this attitude!

  • Kristin

    Hey Melanie, thanks for bringing up such an interesting question! I am really new to the blogging world, and so far I have found it to be on the collab side. I actually wish I could find someone with a blog similar to mine so I could collaborate with them. So far, no luck, but I’m optimistic I’ll find someone else out there blogging about the same thing soon. Also, that conference sounds awesome! Great first Vlog!

    • John Saddington


      that conference might be just up your alley…!

    • Melanie

      Thanks Kristin! John’s right, you may like BlogHer. I know there are other travel bloggers out there, though I don’t have a bunch of links at hand! But there’s a blog directory here that might have some good links for you:

      • John Saddington

        sweet! thanks for the link melanie!

  • Christopher

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with competitiveness, but I definitely feel blogging is much more of a collaborative experience.

    We all learn from each other through posts, comments, and other social interaction.

    Though I’m not there yet, I can imagine it becoming a bit more competitive because like any media outlet, we’re out to share information, but more importantly we’re out to share information first. If you’re not sparking discussion or breaking industry news, readers might look to the next blog that is.

    Again, I don’t think competition is a bad thing … it’s what pushes us to do better, grow our following, and eventually reach the level of those we look up to.

    • John Saddington

      i think competition is a great thing and when managed well is a force! i am super competitive but i’ve had to learn to tone it down and not go to the extreme.

      • Melanie

        You’re both right, it’s not a bad thing. That’s a good point!

        I need to spend some more time appreciating the positive aspects of competition … seeing it not as a personal slight, but as a “game” to see how we can push ourselves to excel. Thanks!

        • John Saddington

          sure thing.

          i see almost everything as a “game”… it has it’s advantages… and certainly it’s disadvantages…!