The “King Of The Hill” Approach To Maintaining Authority

One strategy (intentional or not) that I’ve noticed coming out of established and powerful blogs is to speak dismissively and/or condescendingly about posts on lesser blogs.

Take this recent post from The Truth About Cars where the author takes a two pronged approach.

  1. He ridicules the content of the post without directly criticizing it, implying that it is riddled with fallacies, and…
  2. He flatters his readership by effectively saying “but I don’t need to point out the problems, because even you can…”

Now, I’m not advocating this strategy, but I did want to point out that it is effective on a psychological level. It’s the “king of the hill” approach – you stay at the top of the hill by knocking your oncoming competitors down the hill. It works on your readers because it re-affirms what they already believe in their minds: that you are smarter than the other guys.

But notice how little work it takes.

As an authority, you don’t really have to offer reasoned criticism. You leave that to your readers. And by passing the buck to your readers, you establish several things. First, you establish tribalistic triumphalism – even the lowest of us (not the leader, but even the readers) are smarter than the other guy’s leader. Second, you establish superiority as a leader by not dignifying your competitor with a reasoned response. Third, you establish trust with your readers by entrusting them with the glorious task of defeating your competitor.

So let me ask: do you think this is a good strategy or could it backfire?

3 thoughts on “The “King Of The Hill” Approach To Maintaining Authority

  1. I think anyone has the right to criticize an other blog.If you have a different point of view you can express that option with out being cruel.So I hope that this approach would backfire.

  2. Personally, I’m not into my way or the highway blogging. Too many bloggers see each other as competitors rather than members of the same community. A better approach is to respectfully disagree, discuss why, and invite responses from the blogs in question.

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