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  • 3 Pillars To “Stealing” Popular Posts From Your Competitors

It is such a satisfying feeling to see how an article of yours gets shared on social networks.

And of course it’s not only about the feelings. Popular posts bring you tons of other cool stuff: new readers, new subscribers, new customers and maybe even new fans.

But what if your “creative genius” isn’t showing up to help you write the awesome viral post that will make you rich and famous?

Well, just go steal it from someone else!

Good artists copy, great artists steal. (Pablo Picasso)

So how do you “steal” a post and get your dose of validation and benefits from it?

Pillar #1: Find the Post To Steal

Your post won’t take off unless there’s a powerful idea behind it.

But how can you know in advance if your idea will work or not?

We’re going to reverse-engineer this process: find already popular articles first and then fish out the powerful ideas behind them.

There are two ways to find what’s popular:

  1. Browse your competitors’ blogs;
  2. Browse “news aggregator” sites.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Method #1: Browsing your competitors’ blogs

I assume you know your niche quite well and you can easily name five powerful blogs that set the trends. So how do you find which articles are popular there?

One way would be to browse all their posts one by one, look at the numbers on social buttons and put that into a spreadsheet. That would be a very tiring and time consuming method, but that’s what I used to do in the early days.

Later on I’ve discovered a handy online tool that can show you the number of tweets on the articles of a given blog. The name of the tool is Topsy and the search string you should use for this kind of results is:


Here are the results for DailyBlogTips:


This tool saved me tons of time and helped me to discover some amazing articles. But unfortunately it didn’t go beyond tweets, and Facebook “Likes” are more profitable than tweets.

I couldn’t find any tool that would give me the full picture of social shares: Twitter tweets, Facebook likes, Google +1’s and Linkedin shares.

So I eventually created this tool myself. It’s called Strip The Blog and it’s absolutely free.

See how I “stripped” DailyBlogTips:


Strip the Blog makes it easy to find out what’s currently popular on your competitor blogs, so let’s move forward.

Method #2: Browsing “News Aggregator” Sites

There are quite a few of these. Some are niche specific, like Hacker News and Inbound.Org, while others cover all sorts of things, like Digg and StumbleUpon.

My personal favourite in terms of “stealing ideas” is Reddit. They have a subreddit for almost any given niche, and lots of meaningful conversations with tons of amazing ideas to steal.

I’ve just opened a photography subreddit and instantly spotted a very cool idea for a new post:


“How to photograph nude men?” – this kind of article can be very provocative, which works amazingly well on social networks. Cha-ching!

And I know for sure, that this topic will make readers “tick”, since it’s already trending on Reddit.

Pillar #2: Idea Stealing 101

You’ve found an article with an impressive amount of social shares, what next?

What you definitely shouldn’t do is simple rewrite the article in your own words. That’s an easy way to annoy the original blogger (especially if you don’t link back to them) and to bore your readers, who may well have read the original version.

Luckily, there are a number of great ways you can “steal” an article and not annoy anyone along the way:

  1. Disagree with the author of the original article; have a totally opposite opinion and bring some facts to support it (like Michael Sharkey did just recently with “Lean Startup”).
  2. Look at the bigger picture and write a more general article about it.
  3. Perhaps an author is missing something, then you can publish an article and expand on his idea (or you can even expand on your own successful posts, like Glen from ViperChill did with a few of articles on “The Great Google Sh*tstorm”).
  4. Alternatively you could try to look at the original idea from a different angle (not necessarily the opposite one) and add some of your personal experience there.
  5. And of course you should read all the comments, as readers might give you some very straightforward hints about what really bothers them in this idea.

In other words, you need to add a clear personal touch to the original idea – otherwise you’re not stealing it, you’re just copying. And copying doesn’t work.

Pillar #3: Go Back To the Scene of the Crime

If you’ve mastered the art of stealing posts, you should feel comfortable letting the original author and his following know about what you’ve done. This alone can give your article enough momentum to go viral.

It’s like planting a seed into fertile ground. You already know that all these people support the idea, as they showed their passion with social shares and comments.

Drop a quick email to the author of the original article and send a few dozen tweets to people, who were sharing it on social networks. If your work is really worthy, it will take off from there.

The chances are, you won’t be the only one following the trend. See if anyone else blogged about the same topic and connect with them as well.

Go to forums and “news aggregator” sites to plant your seed. You should try to appear everywhere, where the original article did.

So that’s it! Hope the whole process makes sense to you. If not – feel free to throw rocks at me in the comment section below.


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About the author 

Ali Luke

I'm a writer and blogger, and have four books out: Publishing E-Books for Dummies, and Lycopolis, Oblivion & Dominion (three novels in a trilogy).

  1. Pretty able post. Never believed that it was this simple afterwards all. I had spent a abounding accordance of my time analytic for anyone to explain this accountable acutely and you’re the alone 1 that anytime did that. Kudos to you! Accrue it up

  2. wow…great…its really fun and some time when we need to recover our sites rank we need some tips like this…so thank you so much….:-D

  3. When I spotted this in my feed reader I thought It would be about ‘curation’ – but I’m not disappointed, I think this approach sounds like a lot of fun 🙂

  4. Pillar #3: Go Back To the Scene of the Crime

    I understand your intentions with this article. Very clever !

    I will use some of your ideas to recover one of my sites, ruined by panda…

  5. Tim Soulo- great post. I agree with both Maxwell Ivey and Josh, The title got me completely fired up. I wanted to read it just to post a harsh comment at the end but you are so right, there are so many ways to create new content just by dissecting another bloggers blog post.

    Two funny items that relate to this post:

    1. The title reads “3 Pillars To “Stealing” Popular Posts From Your Competitors” by Ali Luke” but then on the very first line of the post it reads “This is a guest post by Tim Soulo.”

    2. The first Comment by Tony and the sixth comment by Abel are exact matches. That/those naughty boy(s).

    Finally, Tim your “Strip The Blog Tool” is Awesome! I will be utilizing this quite often.

    Thanks again for the great content.

  6. First things first, this article is the perfect example of a catchy title. It certainly caught a lot of attention. Well done.

    I love this article. It’s, dare I say, perfect. You touched on some subjects and key points I wouldn’t have thought of myself and I thank you for that.

    Keep coming up with articles like this because you’re doing something right.

  7. Awesome tips here, you know what this is something I should really pay more attention too, I just write what I’m loving about not really thinking what is pillar or not.

  8. Great Post, We all want to thrive in our business, which is why we need to stay on top of industry changes, as well as technological advances. It doesn’t hurt to remember the basics, either: great customer service, continuing education, networking, and organization.

  9. Hi,
    Thanks for your writing. I am a blogger and I always want to have good traffic for my blog. After reading your writing today, I realize that I will have to change some points for my blog in order not to create an attractive niche. Look forwards to reading more useful articles from you. Great job!

  10. Never used topsy in the past but i see you’re a big fan. Thanks for pointing out this resource ill be giving it a go in the near future 🙂

  11. Great post! I think most of us in the blogosphere ‘borrows’ ideas for new posts from other bloggers in our niche. The most important tactic of doing this though…is putting the post in your own words while adding something to it that can’t be found in the other posts – such as the suggestion above. 🙂

  12. Tim,
    What a great article!! I am constantly suffering from writer’s block and you gave me some great suggestions on how to find subjects to write about (and what not to do when using others’ ideas). Thanks, also, for the free tool.

  13. Hello; When I first started reading this post i was prepared to disagree with you or call you out on this topic. Even if it is a guest post you are sharing. But then I thought no you wouldn’t support any black hat methods so decided to read it. Am glad i did. It has some excellent points on how you can get ideas from other bloggers posts and either stimulate your imagination or make their ideas your own. One that got me yesterday was from ashley faulkes. he started out with a headline about something scary happened to me. so i quickly click on the post only to find out the scary part was a hook to get me to read. he followed it up with an excellent post on comment love, and i consider him a friend so i was tickled more than angry. smile but fear is an excellent way to get attention and have a post go viral. Thanks for sharing tim’s post. take care, max

  14. Hey guys, thanks a lot for leaving your opinions here: ))

    Tony, I guess you already know that awesome content is just one of the many other things you should do to grow traffic on your blog. But I guess it all starts from awesome content anyways 🙂

    Josh, I think there’s no problem when people steal your content and lick back to the original. And Google usually determines the original article quite easy and ranks it better 🙂

  15. Well, it was re-written, but they kept my name on the piece. Yeah, they used one of those foreign language translators that made me look like my 3 year old who is learning how to write.

  16. I must admit, I came into this post guns ablaze–ready to fire. Why? I’ve had my work stolen before and it pissed me off. Well, it was re-written, but they kept my name on the piece. Yeah, they used one of those foreign language translators that made me look like my 3 year old who is learning how to write.

    Anyway, before I go off on a freaky tangent, I re-holstered my guns before firing any shots. I liked where you went with this, and would like to try these pillars myself. I think my problem is the fear of not being original.

    But, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that there is nothing new under the sun. So, I guess I should just suck it up and deal.

    Thanks for the insight,


  17. Hi,
    Thanks for your writing. I am a blogger and I always want to have good traffic for my blog. After reading your writing today, I realize that I will have to change some points for my blog in order not to create an attractive niche. Look forwards to reading more useful articles from you. Great job!

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