A huge part of blogging is connecting and networking. You want to help promote content across the web and create relationships with other editors in order to gain more visibility for your site. In fact, I have had several editors tell me a piece of content wasn’t right for their site, but they referred me to their “friends” over at another site that was quite similar. I couldn’t help but wonder: Does the blogging community not worry about competition?
Well the truth is that although making connections is extremely important in the blogging industry, competition still exists. However, the trick isn’t to try and “beat” your competition, but rather try and be something different.
Tips and Tricks to Using Your Competition the Right Way
Because the line seems to be so blurry when it comes to competition in the blogging industry, many are unsure how to respond. Whether you’re just starting a business or working to improve your already-established blog, below are some of the questions you may consider when it comes to your competition.
1. Should you choose your niche based upon the competition?
No. You don’t necessarily want to choose the niche for your blog based upon the competition. This may be something to consider if you are going to use blogging as your only source of income, but it can be very difficult to run a blog about something you know or care little about. Choose a niche based upon what you love, and your blog will likely offer better content and do better than anything else you may have started.
2. Is it best to collaborate with your competition?
Yes. Many first time bloggers get nervous about referencing one of their competitor’s articles or tweeting something found on their blog, but this worry is unnecessary. Two blogs covering similar topics can easily share audiences. I am constantly jumping back and forth from blog to blog to find information that I think is valuable. Loyal readers of your blog will not see your competitor’s articles for the first time and suddenly stop visiting your site. Likewise, readers will probably not find your competitor’s website from a tweet that you shared or an article that you referenced. It’s best to work with your competition so you can help each other.
3. Is writing style enough to set a blog apart from its competition?
Yes. Writing style can make a huge difference when it comes to your audience. If you find that your competition is constantly writing “How to” posts or posts full of lists and bullet points, you may want to consider going the more narrative route. It’s more important that you write in a way that works best for you, but a writing style is one of the key aspects to blog creation. Some blogs have a humorous tone, some are serious, and some are just outright weird. This will help make sure that your blog stands out from the competition.
4. Should you follow the same structure as your competition when it comes to monetization?
Depends. It is important to at least look at your competition and see what they are doing in the way of monetization. Chances are they have been through the trial and error process, so you might get an idea about where you can make your money. However, this can also be an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. If all of your competition is charging for newsletters, you may want to hit the advertising a bit harder and give the newsletters away for free. In other words, it’s important to look at your competition when creating a monetization strategy, but it’s not always a good idea to follow their exact structure.
5. Should you worry about the design of your blog in relation to the design of your competitors?
Yes. I absolutely think this is a deciding factor when it comes to keeping up with the competition versus getting squashed by it. People are drawn to blogs that are easy to read. It is as simple as that. If your blog is easy to navigate and isn’t overdoing it with the colors and advertisements, then you’ll get the chance to wow readers with your content.
The most important thing to remember is that competition does matter. There is no reason to bash your competition or try and ignore your competition, but there is reason to pay attention to it. Look to see what they are doing and try and do something different. This will also pave the way for you to make relationships with your competition.