At Brandsplat, we blog about blogging. That means we spend a lot of time reading blogs. Keeping up with the habits and styles of other blog writers has given us an education that we then get to pass on to you, our awesome readers. For brands, reading the blogs of other brands can be similarly informative. Seeing how others in your industry blog can teach you new tricks and inspire you — just as long as you’re not trying to be an exact replica. Everybody hates that. And yet, we find borderline-plagiaristic patterning all over the web.
“Why does every website look the same?” is something we wondered recently. This has happened before with blogging and online media, but the cloning seems especially out of control right now. Look at Mashable. Then go check out ReadWrite. Then go look at BuzzFeed. Even your Outlook and Gmail inboxes look like clones of one another. While all the content on the aforementioned sites is admittedly different, you can’t help but notice how much they look the same: bold color in either the logo or in a color bar at the top of the page followed by a slide-show of the top stories and wrapped up by little photo boxes of the other top stories on the site. We’ll put the blame on BuzzFeed who seems to have single-handedly changed the way we blog. They’ve even morphed Mashable from a fabulous news source to another spot for Twerking videos and soggy writing. We’re frightened that there’s some evil empire changing every site into copies of one another.
All kidding aside, we tend to believe that a desire to have our blogs turn into clones of the big guys only makes our blogging less valuable. When the goal is to morph into the next BuzzFeed, the originality of a blog’s voice gets watered down. This is especially true if you’re blogging for business. Brand identity is something every company has to define and it’s an ongoing task. Why throw all of that in the fire, just to look and sound like other brands? Sure, read other blogs; that doesn’t mean you need to be a photocopy. Don’t sacrifice your brand’s unique identity for a fad. It didn’t work so well in middle school with parachute pants and it doesn’t work now for blogging. Sure, it is important to stay on top of blogging trends, looks and personalities, but these things always fade. The next big blog trend is around the corner and trend victims will once again be scrambling to keep up.