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6 Great Bloggers You Can Learn From In 2012

Do you already write a business blog or are you about to start one as part of your new year’s resolutions?  Whether you’re an old hand or a young pretender, there is much to be said for learning from the best in the business.

And almost all great bloggers have a number of traits in common:

  1. They focus on a limited number of subjects or themes
  2. They write in their own voices – they don’t sound like or mimic others
  3. They consistently produce interesting and thought provoking content
  4. They start conversations
  5. They write often
  6. They make it easy to pass on/share what they write

Even if you write about something entirely different – and my blog focuses on how people can both conquer fear and capture the hearts and minds of others through public speaking – here’s my list of…

…business bloggers worth following in 2012:

Seth Godin

Seth is a world renowned marketing guru, with more than a dozen best selling books to his name (including Permission Marketing and, more recently, Tribes). Four things really grab me about his blog:

  • Great headlines – He avoids conventional “top x ways to…”, “Why….”  or “How to ABC” formulaic headlines
  • His posts are typically short – with less than 1 in 3 exceeding 300 words
  • A ‘one issue only’ focus in each posting
  • He encourages conversation by making you stop and think

Chris Brogan

In addition to being one of the most prolific writers about social media over the last  12 years, his constant experimenting with and challenging the worth of new ideas in this space help to make him a thought leader.

His most recent thoughts on tapping into the value that can be created via video and Google+ are especially interesting and packed with actionable insights.

Gary Vaynechuk

You just have to love this guy. He provides an outstanding example of how you can ‘own a space’ for a given topic online.

He’s built a huge business and established himself as an expert in his field of ‘all things wine’ by using video to both engage and educate his target audiences online.

His passion and expertise have earned him hundreds of thousands of fans via his  wine library tv site and getting on for 1 million followers on Twitter. Not surprisingly, his business has prospered on the back of this.

In addition to finding time to thumb through his books (The Thank You Economy or Crush It), watch him in action; he’s nothing short of inspirational.

Brian Clark

Now here’s someone all bloggers should pay attention to – Mr. Copyblogger and author of Copywriting 101.

While he calls himself a recovering attorney, Brian leads the way in helping people to transition from copywriting that may work within traditional/offline media to what works when people get online.

On top of finding oodles of advice on how to develop compelling content here, be sure to check out Brian’s advice on how to create great headlines.

Research shows than headlines are the single biggest determinant of whether your blog postings will get opened – so do yourself a favour and learn from someone who really understands the art of headline creation.

Jeff Bullas

Jeff is an Aussie who seems to produce more output on anything to do with social media than anyone else I can think of.

While much of what he does in Twitter and Facebook appears to revolve around curration of others’ ideas – his blogs are consistently well researched, well written and include many examples.

Unlike others who produce flimsy “how to…” articles, you’ll find tons of practical advice you can use straight away in his blogs.

If you like articles that give you sequence of tasks to get different things done, stop here – you’ve found your man.

Danny Brown

Author of one of my favorite social media blogs and founder of ‘for bloggers by bloggers’ (a great resource), Danny is one of the best exponents of creating more questioning blog posts and consistently uncovers angles not already discussed to death elsewhere online.

I am especially taken by his recent observations about things he would do differently if he was starting over with his blogging now:

  • Focus on quality over quantity – basically, don’t waste your time and energy churning stuff out if it’s not as good as you can do…it’s a waste
  • Be more honest – in other words, take more views – even if people disagree with you, you’ll kick off more interesting and engaged discussions
  • Constantly learn – social media is constantly evolving and no one knows everything, so build learning into everything you do (track who your audience is, what interests them and what they want to discuss together with  what you can learn by listening).

Over to you now

Whose blogging have you learned from?

Who would you recommend as essential reading and why?

Eamonn is the CEO of The Reluctant Speakers Club, a leading provider of public speaking courses in Ireland. Contact him to learn how he can help you gain more trust and inspire others with your ideas

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  • Hi Eamonn, If you’re into social media, I’d really recommend Niall Harbison and the team at Simply Zesty: (
    It’s inspiring how quickly they have grown both their blog and business). 

    I’d also recommend Social Media Examiner as an incredible social media blog:

    And let’s not forget our very own Anita Campbell and her award winning Small Biz Trends:

    Learning from the best of the best is always for me, the best way to go 🙂

  • Eamonn O’Brien

    Thanks for your comments Niall, as you say there are many other great examples of blogs I might have mentioned and Simply Zesty is among the best – also their series of training videos re Facebook offer an excellent starting point for those getting started. 

    In addition to Social Media Examiner and Small Biz Trends, I quite like Jim Connolly’s blog and ProBlogger. No shortage of people to learn from. 

  • Coffeysandra

    Thanks Eamonn and Niall for posting this. Very helpful and informative.

  • Thanks Eamonn, a great post with some names I hadn’t come across before and will be following from now – along with your own blog of course, always a good read too 🙂

  • Epobrien

    Thanks Debbie – so pleased you found it useful and you know that phrase ‘flattery will get you everywhere’ …it’s so true, thanks!

  • Epobrien

    Thanks for your post Sandra, delighted you like it. Happy New year.

  • Plenty of names I recognise here….and what an outstanding bunch! Would also add Pete Cashmore from Mashable (

  • Good call with Niall and Simply Zesty, loving his blog too. 🙂

  • And another great call with Jim – one very smart guy indeed.

  • Hey there Eamonn,

    Cheers very much for putting me alongside some of the folks I really look up to in this space. I love the way you offer your take on why you read who you do, and I think you’ve captured their essence perfectly.

    Really grateful to have you reading my blog, and I’ll try not to let you down with the approach that you’ve described here.

    Cheers again, mate, very kind and much appreciated.

    PS – Check out Spin Sucks from @GiniDietrich:twitter , well worth the read. 

  • Thanks for suggesting Spin Sucks, Danny & Happy New Year!  

  • Epobrien

    Hi Danny – I’m thrilled you liked the article and, as you can tell, I really enjoy your blog. I’ve had quite a few people comment on your advice so far, especially re favoring quality over quantity. Words to live by!

    Will check out Spin Sucks and Happy New Year.  

  • I love Danny’s blog. But don’t tell him I said so!

  • Of course Eamonn, those fellas are belters. 

    @DannyBrown is one of my faves who’s making a difference in all kinds of ways. 

    And I’ve also learned a thing or two from about 13 absolutely rubbish Internet personalities, and a few brilliant ones too:

    All the best for ’12.

    Much love, Ian.

  • Hey there Ian,

    Cheers, mate, really appreciate that, it means a lot. Sincerely. Have a great weekend, fella.

  • Your secret’s safe with me.

  • Epobrien

    Thanks so much Ian and I love your article…so much fun and wild photos. 

    Course, you forgot to mention your Irish cousin Ian O’Spin – hope he doesn’t notice!

  • Epobrien

    I was going to say the same thing as Danny just said….hey, wait a minute…oh well, there are some things you just can’t keep under a lid. 

    FYI, I’m really enjoying your blog – don’t you just love social media?

  • Oh thanks! Somedays I love it, yes. 🙂

  • Lindaminto

    Hi Eamonn, I’m completely untechnical.  If I wanted to start a blog, what do I need to do.  Easy as 1-2-3 please!!!  Thank you. Linda

  • J. Grey

    you are forgetting about John Grey at

  • This is always a great way to be able to learn and push your own social media effort and levels of social media engagement!

  • Great post Mairead, I am sure it will
    resonate with every working mum, in or outside the home. I have been
    contemplating the 168hrs recently myself, and the ease to fit in time for the
    things we really want to do. 
    I agree with “We all get the same one hundred
    and sixty eight hours per week, it is simply a matter of deciding how you want
    to allocate them.” And it’s important to note that 32% successful business owner,
    simply means that we are not spending 168 hours on our business but 50+ which
    is a lot for a busy mum. It’s all about getting the balance right and that is
    an individual challenge.
    By letting go, we can hang on 🙂

  •  You’re right Elaine, by letting go, we can hang on…the trick is knowing what to let go of and what to hang onto.  Many business owners work way more hours on their business then 50+, I think a Mum who is also juggling the others things would love to be able to spend more time working on her business than she can…so maybe it is a blessing in disguise.

    It’s always good to re-evaluate what we want to do with our time, it’s something I re-visit at least every 6 months.

  •  We all do it, at least until we wake up to the fact that these women are NOT actually doing it themselves, they have nannies, P.A.s, housekeepers etc to do a lot of the grunt work and we forget that, then only see the perfect turned out ‘public persona’ that they dispay to the world.

    I’m so glad it resonated with you.  Hopefully you can decide how to distribute your time to suit your lifestyle and stop putting yourself under pressure so much.

  •  Absolutely Mag, I created them to demonstrate visually to a client who couldn’t get her head around how not being organised and being constantly under (self-imposed) pressure was adding to her stresses.  Once she ‘got it’ it was amazing to see the relief on her face when she decided exactly on how she could best use her time.  Like a lot of us she had bought into the fairytale.

  • We all learn as we get older, I certainly don’t believe or think like I did in my early 20’s when my elder two were born.  Germaine Greer had her place as a voice for women when a lot of women had no voice, and there is no point in blaming anyone, that doesn’t get us anywhere. People will get the balance right when they decide what is right for them and stick with it, not what society decides is right for them. Attitudes are changing for the better towards working and child-raising and that can only be a good thing. Thank you for taking the time to comment Susan.

  • Hi Elaine and Sian, really appreciate the feedback, and completely agree with your views… it’s all connected to clarity in the way we do business, at the end of the day! Thanks again.

  • Could you say that Ireland is an European “tax haven”?

  • It’s really hard to ignore the power of social media. Every business should take advantage of this powerful tool in reaching their audience. Thanks for sharing this very informative article Sandra.

  • Could you list some leading companies in each industry?

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