You’ve just come up with a great idea for a new blog. It's a subject you know and love. It's something you know you could write about over and over again. And it’s something you know others want to read about too.
So you jump headfirst into starting that new blog.
But unfortunately, there's one thing missing. Do you see the missing step here?
There one thing many new bloggers overlook. It’s scoping out the competition. Not just checking them out, but really analyzing them.
A little competition is a good thing. It means there’s already an interested audience for your subject matter. And while you already know there's going to be competition in your niche, you don’t want there to be TOO much of it.
This is why it’s important to study and analyze your direct competition before diving headfirst into a new blog.Click To TweetIt will help you find out who your competition is, what makes their blogs great and what you can do to make yours even better.
Figuring Out Your Competitors
So where do you start looking for your competition? Why, Google of course!
Search your topic and word “blog,” and a few more variations of that. The top results should yield you the most popular blogs in your niche. Be sure to take a look at the later pages just to give you an idea of how many blogs there are. Make a list of your competitors. Hint: You may want to list them on a spreadsheet. You’ll see why in a minute.
Sizing Them Up
Now that you have a list, let's analyze them little more. The first thing you may want to take a look at is their website. Make columns on your spreadsheet to record things like: number of pages, websites speed, opt in offer, products or services, coaching, etc. Look at what each blog has that makes them so popular.
In addition to what is on their websites, you may want to include other things like how often they post, how they interact with their commenters, and if you can figure it out, how they're driving traffic to their site.
Also, track their activity and mentions across the web. Set up Google Alerts using for each of your competitors. Check out their social media pages. Use a site like Follow to help you gather information on their blog posts, twitter mentions, web mentions, advertising, SEO, traffic and affiliate marketing.
Take a look at their readers too. Ask yourself, who is their target audience? Be very specific. As specific as you can. What does their ideal reader look like? How do they spend their time online? What kind of family life do they have? What is their annual income bracket? While some of these questions may not seem relevant, the more information you can gather the better you can analyze who your competition is aiming their content at.
Now Make Your Blog Better
I know that seemed like a lot of research, but it is all for a reason. Now that you know as much as you can about the blogs you are competing against, you can think of how to make yours different in some way. And better.
Look at your spreadsheet and all the data you collected. Try to think of:
- Small niche audiences they are not catering to (This is big. If you can find an audience that no one is catering to, you’re a step ahead of the game)
- Topics they aren’t covering
- Products or services they aren’t offering
- Things they aren’t doing
- A voice they aren’t capturing
- Something they aren’t utilizing on social media
- A different (and better!) blog layout
There are many ways you can differentiate your blog from the competition out there. Just because your niche is overpopulated doesn't mean you won't be able to make a name for yourself, or make your blog stand out.
Now to you: How to do you size-up your competition? How do you make sure you stand out above the crowd?
Corinne Kerston is a professional writer and blogger for hire. She specializes in online marketing and B2B and B2C content. Her goal is to help businesses boost their exposure through engaging, well-written content. Connect with her on her website or Twitter.