I live in the central New York area and my favorite grocery store is called Wegmans, which is also usually in the top 5 corporations in the nation every year as best places to work for. I also border a Wegmans via my backyard, the one I won’t go out into. I love Wegmans; let’s just get that out of the way.
With that said though, I’d be lying if I said everything at Wegmans is perfect. Indeed, there are some things that I can’t find at Wegmans that I have to go to other stores for. There are some other things I’m not crazy about that Wegmans offers. That’s just the way life is; you almost never find perfection anywhere you go (kind of like Japanese and Chinese restaurants and their horrible desserts).
Truthfully, for many years, probably at least a decade in fact, I never went to another local grocery store chain. I did go to the one individual store in the village that where I live is associated with, family owned, but that’s it. However, I have found that sometimes you’ll discover some interesting things in other stores. And when I was thinking about that I also realized that there are ways that going to stores you’re not used to correlates with blogging. So, in my never ending quest in trying to convince people just how special blogging is, I offer 5 ways that blogging is like visiting a new store.
1. Sometimes you’ll find something really tasty elsewhere. Wegmans has these amazingly juicy rotisserie chickens, big and plump at a pretty good price. They supposedly have 4 flavors; I say that because once you take the skin off, they have no taste at all. At another store I found rotisserie chicken as well, smaller, close to the same price, but marinated throughout the entire chicken and it tastes wonderful! Sure, I have to drive 8 minutes to get there as opposed to the 30 seconds of a drive it takes to get to Wegmans but it’s worth it most of the time.
Visiting multiple blogs opens up a world that you might have never known existed. There is a lot of wonderful talent out in the blogosphere and a lot of different styles. One of the recommendations I’ve made in the past over and over is that a great place to get ideas for your own blog posts is to visit other blogs and see what others have to say, then use your blog to comment on it. There’s nothing wrong with expanding your horizons that way.
2. Other stores have deals that your own store won’t have. Something I discovered relatively recently is that when it comes to health care in this area each grocery store chain and probably drug store chains as well offers something that another store doesn’t. Wegmans offers Lipitor for free. A store called Price Chopper offers insulin syringes for free. And of all things, it turns out that Walmart Superstores offers their own insulin brand where, instead of paying $285 for a month’s worth of insulin, it only costs $49 from them.
Not only is there a lot of talent on the blogosphere, but there are tons of different topics that people love to write about and everyone has their own style. Hopefully that includes you, because even if you have a topic that people love, if all you’re doing it regurgitating what someone else said first no one will care. Like above, all the stores have the same things, but each offers them at different prices. Your blog should be just like that.
3. Sometimes you can only get what you want at a place you’d never think to visit. I love cinnamon Altoids. I used to buy them all the time at Wegmans. Then they stopped selling them and I thought I was out of luck. I visited all the other grocery stores and none of them sold this particular flavor anymore either. On a whim I decided to stop in at a drug store and, happiness, they sold them. I’ve now found that 3 drug store chains in the area sell them; whew! I’m someone who never really went to drug stores but I’m finding some amazing things these days that I thought were lost forever.
I’ve talked to people who say that there are certain types of blogs they’ll never go to. Heck, I’m the same but my list has gotten smaller. That’s because every once in awhile you find that you’ve categorized someone as one thing because of how they describe themselves and realize that they’re so much more than that. This is the only one of my blogs where I’m not sure how people categorize me, yet I write my posts with the hope that wherever they put me they also see me as someone who offers them something they can’t get elsewhere. And I hope that’s a good thing.
4. You get a better appreciation for quality. I mentioned above that Wegmans is one of the top corporations in America multiple years in a row. What’s ironic is that one of the worst grocery store chains in the country is also here in central New York, with one store about 5 minutes from my house.
In most places you visit a grocery store and there’s not much difference from one to the other. That’s not how it works here, and that’s not how it works in blogging. Sure, some blogs and websites are prettier than others, but that’s not the only thing that decides whether one blog ends up with more visitors and traffic than another. In the end no blog or website is perfect, but all it has to be and seem is better than someone else’s, seem to be written better and offer something better than what someone else has to offer. Sure, there’s room for everyone, but sometimes there’s a great separation between quality and not so much, and it’s everyone else involved that makes the difference.
5. When all is said and done, there’s a place for everybody as long as they show some competence and spirit. I gave you a link to the grocery store chain ranked as the 6th worst in the nation above. However, they have two things that are pretty cool. One, they have their own chicken nuggets that taste fantastic and are plentiful at a pretty nice price. Two, they have their own discount program where sometimes they discount certain items as much as 75% off the normal price; you kidding me? True, it’s not always about price but wow!
Same with blogging. We can’t all be (insert your favorite blogger here) and we can’t all have blogs ranked in the top .1% and we all can’t put out as much content as Huffington Post or Copyblogger. What we can do is be the best we can be, offer opinions and information, entertain, educate or inform, be interesting and original, and just write our own blogs and contribute to conversations on other blogs. If you can’t be the best then be the best you can be; no one will ever fault you for that.
Now, was that so hard? 😉