I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty dang tired of hearing about Justin Bieber. I don’t know anything about Justin Bieber, I’ve never heard a Justin Bieber song and I probably couldn’t pick little Justin Bieber out of a line up, but I know that I hate him. He’s always trending, girls are always screaming and he’s the top headline of every media outlet I see. We’re at the point where just the sound of his name makes my skin crawl and my IQ drop. But the media can’t help themselves. Because the more they talk about him, the more they think they keep themselves “relevant”, hitting on the same five stories that every other magazine is hitting. They don’t want to be left behind or look different. Because that’s what entertainment news has become – trying to look identical to everyone else.

Take a look at your feed reader and you’ll notice that your industry has its own Justin Bieber. Blogs are filled with topics and headlines that are over-played, over-talked about, and over-everything. Yet we hype them because our competitors are, because the big dogs do, or because we’re told they’re popular. We even have full-blown Justin Bieber aggregators, sites dedicated to finding over-exposed topics and helping bloggers make them even more over-exposed.

Put down the Justin Beiber or your blog will die.

It’s pretty easy to find the Justin Bieber infecting your the world.

  • The top story on TechMeme that’s covered by 87 or so different blogs, all pulling from the same four unverified facts? That headline is Justin Bieber.
  • The repetitive posts on your favorite social voting site? That’s Justin Bieber.
    Problogger’s lists of “blogosphere trends”? That’s Justin Bieber.
  • The trackbacks on that A-lister’s blog where people are commenting on what he commented on about what that other guy said? That’s Justin Bieber.
  • The rash of posts and Twitter freak outs over Google Instant? That’s Justin Bieber.

Justin Bieber is your industry’s echo-chamber. And you either break out of it or it kills you.

It’s pretty easy to spot the eco-chamber, but it can be tougher for some to break out of it. After all, new bloggers are often told to link to people whose attention they want. So you cover what Mashable wrote and then link. You share that TechCrunch story and link. But that’s not creating real content and it doesn’t help you to grow your audience, your blog or, ultimately, you’re business. You do that by being different, by showing your quirks, and letting your customers see what you believe in.

How do you break out of the echo-chamber and kill Justin Bieber? Here are a few suggestions.

Ignore your RSS/feed aggregator for a week: I’ve said this before but, blogs make you dumb. Take the week off (maybe just keep one. I recommend Search Engine Land if you’re SEO-related) and focus on your own thoughts, no one else’s. By bogging your mind down with too much repetitive news, you limit your ability to think clearly and pick the wheat from the chaff. You start thinking like everyone else just because that’s what you keep hearing. Give yourself a week to find your own news and seek out other voices. Don’t worry, if the story is really that buzzworthy, you’re better off waiting a week to comment on it anyway. By that time, people will actually be ready to read it.

Leave your safety zone: As bloggers, we all have our “go to” blog topics, as well as the stuff we avoid writing because we’re scared. Focus on pushing yourself and your content in those more frightening directions.  When it hurts, you’re doing something right and using blog muscles you forgot you had. It will spice up the blog and bring different types of content and media to your audience. That’s a way better way to spend your time than regurgitating the story you’ve already heard 15 times.

See the bubble, but go under it: Sometimes topic gain buzz because they’re actually worth it (I know, it’s rare). You don’t want to ignore topics that can help your audience or where you can provide an interesting insight. But instead of writing about the release of Google Instant, wait a week and tell me how you’re going to incorporate that into your marketing plan. Don’t write about how the media once again say women are still invisible in tech, find 20 women who are rocking it and profile them. You can take advantage of buzz-worthy topics without sitting in the echo-chamber. But you have to learn how to do it.

Focus on creating content: Instead of rehashing everyone else’s content, actually create your own. I’m sorry, but there’s a difference between creating your own blog content and commenting on content someone else created. Learn to tell the difference. Maybe this means you’ll start to publish your own research, write from the edge of your topic, take unpopular stands, solve someone else’s problem, create a tutorial you needed but wasn’t out there at the time, create a tool, etc. Whatever you choose to do, focus on actually creating content instead of just throwing it back up.

Stop listening to everyone else, push yourself, and focus on creating content. It really is that easy to kill Justin Bieber. Well, at least your personal Bieber. Puberty will kill the other one.


About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.


44 thoughts on “How Justin Bieber Is Killing Your Blog


  • Steve on said:

    Super advice. Bookmarked.

    A tutorial is actually something I can do but would not have given it a thought.

    Thank you!


    • Lisa Barone on said:

      I know my tweets about Miley Cyrus don’t exactly help people believe this, but I’ve honestly never heard a Justin Bieber song. Or at least, if I have, I didn’t know it was him. But I don’t think even that is true. I mostly listen to country. Or 18-year-old female “role models”. :)


  • prateek on said:

    ‘It really is that easy to kill Justin Bieber. Well, at least your personal Bieber. Puberty will kill the other one’..Perfect end to a perfect post!


  • Joe Hall on said:

    But, when you produce good content that goes against conventional thought, don’t you then become Justin Bieber, as other start to echo your story/ideas?

    And Isn’t Justin Bieber supposed to be good looking? I mean its a compliment if folks say you look like him right? :P


    • Lisa Barone on said:

      Even if it gets popular, good content that goes against conventional thought is, by definition, anti-Justin Bieber. Or at least that’s what I think. Because Justin Bieber is nothing if not conventional and everything we’ve seen before.

      And I’m not touching that last part. I think Henshaw started that. :p


  • DanielthePoet on said:

    Hmmm… looks like all the females are refraining from comment because they don’t want to lie about their Bieber fan status. It’s okay. We love you anyway.


  • Gabriele Maidecchi on said:

    I believe you just won the Internet.
    Was having the same thoughts myself, and I find particularly alarming how most of the “big gurus” of social media and entrepreneurship are mostly just autotweet machines of news aggregators (I won’t name anyone here but if you can do 1+1 you really know what I am talking about *bigwink*).
    That’s also the reason why I stopped following most news aggregators myself, and very rarely retweet their stuff, there’s no point, everyone has already done that a billion times, especially the Mashable fanboy I wrote about in one of my posts.
    I like to think I keep my mind fresh enough not to be too much of a sheep, but heh only others can judge or tell me I guess. I suck at evaluating myself.


  • Sebastien on said:

    Damn this is refreshing. I mean who else is gonna talk smack about TechMeme, ProBlogger’s BS trendcrap, and Mashable?

    I’m glad I found this article but most importantly, I’m glad there are still a few people out there who speak their mind.

    And now, just for you Lisa, a video of Justin Beaver on YouTube, featuring Ludacris. What a fucking sell out!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffacxfA7G4&ob=av2e

    Hehe


  • DanielthePoet on said:

    While I don’t love Bieber’s music, I don’t get why so many people harbor such animosity towards him. He’s just a teen making the most money and getting the most fame he can. It’s not like he’s doing anything a hundred other teen stars haven’t done.

    Same with the regurgitation blogs, music, tech, etc. There’s a segment of the population who at some point found their “niche” mocking whatever was supremely popular. The masses may be sheep, but I don’t think any kid deserves the kind of animosity this kid receives. I think we’re pouring out our resentment in the wrong direction.

    Let’s call a spade a spade and call it “envious of a sellout’s success.”


  • Shane on said:

    Lisa,
    Thanks for this. I was worried all weekend from your Tweets what we would see, but in true form, you delivered an awesome and though provoking post!

    The thing I think really stands out to me is what you said about following along with every other blog. I see this in my own blogoshere. The iPad blogs all report news….news…news…and from the very beginning I refuse to sit for hours and rehash it. Yes, I would get much more traffic if I became a news site. But I am not doing to darn bad with some good SEO and creating helpul and useful content.

    All that is to say I agree with you 100% and it’s always good to remember there is “sustainable” blogging or there is flashpan blogging. I take sustainable….it lasts much longer.


  • Pretend Justin Bieber on said:

    Lisa, I am highly offended that you say I’m killing your blog. I actually am quite upset that you have the nerve to discuss my online presence by using real world concrete examples of how to focus on anything but me. I know I’m trending, but to actually think for yourself and not focus on me, well, that hurts.
    Next you’re gonna tell me that you’ve found someone new, someone that no one else knows about, or very few people. Like that Jason Gambert guy, look what you guys did to him and how you helped skyrocket him into oblivion. During that time, I was still relevant, but by Outspoken Media not focusing on me, somehow some guy got called to the carpet and helped saved the industry. Nice.
    Mark my words Lisa, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated, as long as you don’t think for yourself and make your own path…


  • Scott Golembiewski on said:

    Earlier this morning I sent an email out to a female ran automotive dealership blog to ask if I could interview them.

    I am trying to find people who feel that a blog helped lead to their success, how it’s impacted their business from budgeting, time, etc.

    I want real life stories of how blogging has opened doors, because I can probably bore someone to death talking about mine so I would love to hear other stories.

    Well sorry for making this comment about me, it should be about your Justin Bieber problem and all I can suggest is that you take off the Justin Bieber shirt and stop obsessing already, he’s too popular and probably texts and tweets to the point his fingers stopped growing. He’s not going to notice your post. Period.


  • Jason on said:

    Hi, Justin Bieber here commenting under an alias or else the worlds population of teenage girls would swarm to your blog like flys on sh*t. Anyway I like how you turned my name into a verb. Now I can begin infiltrating the English language. Thanks!

    /joke

    Great post.


    • Scott Golembiewski on said:

      screw words, throw up a sign.

      sign for bieber is two “ok” signs touching your thumb and forefinger, think Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. Ok, now stack those and you got yourself a “B”


  • Suzanne Vara on said:

    Lisa

    Kudos to you for pointing out the obvious and hoping many will listen. People want their blog to have 10K visitors in the first month and their way of doing this is latching on and riding the coat tails of the popular bloggers. For them it is their strategy and purpose for blogging. The numbers matter but when you say to someone what do you hope your blogs does for the company, the blank stare sets in and they talk about building readership. No doubt building readership is important but if the people coming to the site are not within your target and would buy from you then readers smeaders. I am sure the pretty number of traffic is paying the bills. There is the part of building a community around a blog which is not done with pulling others articles and commenting upon them; it is being an originator and not a grabber to slap the post up to get the traffic.

    As far as Justin Beiber. Ok, my 5 yr old had Beiber fever. He wore his hair like his, practiced the dance moves, and of course sang the parts of the songs that he knew. It was cute to watch my son but it was pretty painful otherwise. It all came to an end one day when he asked for “hip hip” on in the car (I am a classic rock person) and there was a Justin Beiber ballad and Andrew said “Mommy he sounds like a girl” – OOPS. He now has spiked hair and while still likes a song or 2, he has lost his Beiber fever.

    @SuzanneVara


  • Dan Derrick on said:

    I must be doing something right. I don’t even know who the guy is. My blogs are usually inspired by a phrase or just a thought. I have as much use for an aggregator as TV. Both waste time with little to show for it. Dan Derrick


  • Doc Sheldon on said:

    Not to sell you short, Lisa, ’cause I generally like your posts. But you’ve outdone yourself with this one! Absolutely great!
    FWIW, I’m another that’s never heard the little twit sing, and if I never do, it’ll be too soon. I managed to get on with my life without once hearing that Susan Whatsername, from Britain, too, and feel pretty darned good about it.
    As to the more symbolic nature of your Beiber-demon, I agree wholeheartedly. It’s too easy to find yourself posting about two day old news, and I’ve trashed a couple of decent posts for that very reason. I do backslide now and then, but I appreciate the reminder!


  • Rabab Khan on said:

    I am one of the new bloggers you talked about. *Grin* I really appreciate the effort you put into this post and have learnt a lot. Thank you.


  • Chamindika on said:

    thank you so much for these posts on blogging advice! I just recently started doing my art again and started to blog about it and your advice has come in so handy! Especially your advice about using your own voice. You mentioned creating your own content rather than regurgitating someone else’s and when I read that, I was horrified because I realized I did that in one post, even though I wasn’t intentionally doing it.

    I gave a link to an article by Jocelyn Glei that inspired me and also quoted from it, but after reading your post, I realized that I was quoting too heavily from it, so I actually went back and rewrote it to reflect how the article’s points affected me. Thanks so much for making me more aware and helping be become a better writer!


  • Justin Bieber's Ex Friend on said:

    I was an early fan of Bieber at the beginning of his youtube fame. I shared in the viral spread of him. Looking back, I can’t help but take part in the monster I’ve helped to create.

    (Completely different note)
    A+ to his PR team for keeping him in recent news, even when it seems impossible Justin Bieber could ever show up in the cover.

    I admit as of this point, I’m a burned out fan. To other bloggers and trending news scavengers don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time. Remember the Hanson Brothers?


  • Pablo Edwards on said:

    Lisa,

    A mentor of mine recommended I check out your blog and particularly this post. I love it, it is all very true and done in such a humorous light. I will be back to check out more, but for now I have to work on leaving my zone…


  • @TheGirlPie on said:

    Every point you make is true for anyone who writes for a living;
    great reminder and workarounds for the trap.

    Keep up the good works, Lisa.


  • disorder on said:

    Great article! I’m happy, that there is no Bieber hysteria here in Europe. But in the end, we’ve got our own beavers (taht’s what German word Bi[e]ber means).


  • sarah on said:

    NO, not a chance in this world will we beliebers let justin bieber be brought down!!!!!
    NO, JUST NO!!!!!
    WE WILL KEEP THE BELIEBER FLAG WAVING!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I HAVE 3 BLOGS
    AND 2 TWITTERS
    AND THER’E NOT DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!
    blogs are read everyday!!!!!
    i never heard of a dead blog!!!!!……. -___-


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