It’s the end of the month and I’m looking over my goals. I’ll have a list of how I’ve done against them after today is over and I can get this month’s numbers. I was also thinking about a fundamental switch that I’ve made with this journal during this month. I’m not sure if anyone has explicitly noticed, but I have made a conscious effort to change things for the better (I think I’d actually be happier if people hadn’t noticed as that would mean I was on the right track from the beginning, but I’m sure some of you have).
I came to realize that there are a lot of personal finance writers out there that are simply cloning each other these days. Not exactly cloning, but when you read what the author has written, you feel like you have already read it someplace else. While that isn’t a problem if you have been around for awhile and have an established core of readers because they read your writing first, for someone like me who has been writing for less than six months it’s a good way to tell readers to not bother coming back again.
A good example was the news that HSBC had raised its rates to 4.8%. When I first came across this news, I didn’t see any others in the personal finance realm who had posted it yet. As I began writing I realized that even if I was one of the first to post it, since I’m still not a first spot destination for most readers, they were going to read it someplace else and thus see it here as old news. Until I reach a level where I’m a first read destination (if ever), any hot topic news is going to look like old news on this site for the foreseeable future.
The same goes with articles posted on the big personal finance sites and newspapers. I won’t be able to regurgitate their news and make a few comments and expect to gather a following. The writers that have been around are already doing that and doing it well enough that anyone else that tries it is not likely to find many people reading their writing. Don’t get me wrong – If I were in their position I would likely be doing the same thing, but I’m not so I have to find something different. Until I made some changes earlier this month, that was basically what I was doing.
So if I’m going to write about something that’s in the news and I know others will pick up on, then I will have to write it in such a way that is will be significantly different than what a reader finds on another site. If I can manage that, even someone who drops by that has already read the news will find a different take on it and hopefully will therefore be willing to come back again. The other is coming up with ideas and information that is unique and just isn’t being found anyplace else. Both these goals make writing a lot more difficult, but hopefully makes it interesting enough that people who visit will return and eventually recommend it to others…that’s the plan at least…
When I was looking at how to reposition myself, I visited a lot of personal finance authors and borrowed what I liked best about their writing and sites. To my surprise , none of them would be considered the major ones in the personal finance world. Even though some of these might not be known as well, they are the ones that keep me coming back to their sites because of a uniqueness that makes them fun to visit. Here they are in no particular order:
Frugal For Life: Knows how to write pertinent articles that you can’t find written anyplace else that her readers love.
How To Be Poor: Comes up with unique thoughts on issues most people don’t even consider.
Sitting Pretty: If I could only write as eloquently…
Stop Buying Crap: Brings humor to money – a rare gift indeed.
If I’m able to incorporate those four elements well enough with my own style, then I believe that this writing venture will be a success. That is what I will be trying to do for the rest of the year…