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On January 11, Todd And(rlik) published the Power 150. Todd describes it as a ranking of the
top marketing blogs in America and his attempt to add a sliver of value
within the massive marketing blogosphere.

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Todd obviously spent a great deal of time compiling the criteria for the Power 150 and I’m proud to say that Two Hat Marketing made the list at #112. This is actually pretty way cool, since I only started THM back in Sep 2006.

But actually, Todd did something very, very smart in creating his list. Instead of continuing to spread the gospel of the original Z-List meme, he developed his own proprietary ranking system and branded it (nice looking logo, too). Essentially, he’s grabbed a space that no one else claimed, and if people continue to refer to the Top 150, then Todd becomes the de facto expert of marketing blogs. He’s more or less, written the rules of competition.

I accidentally learned this lesson about 20 years ago, when I was early in my speaking and consulting career. At that time I wanted to establish myself as an expert in trade show marketing. There were only a couple of people doing it and I wanted to quickly establish my presence. I wrote an article titled, "The Ten Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Trade Show Consultant or Speaker." Of course, I fit my own criteria very well, but made sure no one else did.

What I didn’t expect was the staying power of that article. For several years we received inquiries for consulting and speaking, and we could tell the person on the other end of the phone call was using my article as a guide. Somehow the piece spread through the industry and, most of the time, the people didn’t even realize they were questioning the guy who wrote the very questions they used!

That was when I learned the power of creating the rules of competition. Now, whenever possible, I work hard to establish rules that are easy for me to follow, but difficult for everybody else. And I work equally hard to create a situation where my competitors have no choice but to fight on my turf.

Todd’s essentially done the same thing. And if this is the turf he wants to compete in, he’s done a great job of writing the rules.