What do you think of when you hear the word “competitor”? Do you feel the fear? Or do you feel the confidence to succeed? A competitor can be seen as one of two things. The first, being someone you think is doing everything better than you. This just transforms into jealousy. I’d say that a competitor is very different to that description.
Competitors are people in your industry that offer similar services that you do. This can be with the content you offer, products or anything you offer on your blog. They’re not people to be jealous of. They’re actually people to look up to. They’re people who you can use as a platform to help you strive towards what you want to achieve. And the truth is, competition happens whether we want it to or not. The only thing that puts us off feeling positive about it is fear. The fear that someone might do something better than you. Or someone might sell more of a product than you. But honestly? Having competitors is a good thing. Having no competitors would be bad.
As Jason Saltzman says on Entreprenuer: “The more competition, the more opportunity." So today, I’m sharing five reasons why it’s good to have competitors.
1. You Can Analyse If There’s Room For Improvement
Your competition can actually teach you a lot. Analyse what they’re doing to see what works and what doesn’t work. If something doesn’t work, think how you could make it work. And if something works for them, think what you could do to make it better. These lessons will be invaluable to you. You can use them to your own advantage. You can analyse, learn, implement and grow.
Say you create an idea for a regular feature. You think it would be perfect to slot into the aesthetic of a competitor’s blog. This could even lead to a collaboration. You could pop them an email and say:
"I was thinking of starting [insert feature here] on my own blog. But I actually just realised how well it would fit with yours instead." If they say yes, great! If they say no, just say that it’s too bad. Then go ahead and start the feature series on your own blog. Show them how awesome it could have been for them. It’ll be their loss after all.
2. Your Own Goals Can Develop
I talk a lot on this space about how there are many bloggers who inspire me. My goals for blogging have changed through seeing their own goals change. Most of the inspirational bloggers I follow have gone through a re-brand. Not in terms of a drastic design change. This has been with their content. What they’re writing about has changed because their goals have changed.
Seeing others do this has inspired my goals to change and develop. Just by following my competitors, who are also people I look up to. So it might be scary, but you can alter your goals by learning what they’ve done. You might think of going down a different route with your content. See how your competitors have changed this aspect on their blog. Did they announce the change immediately? Or did they bring the content in slowly over a period of time? Your goals don’t have to be the same. But there’s no harm in learning from what your competitors have done.
3. You Can Aim To Do Something Different
The worst kind of competition is copying. Being inspired by someone and imitating someone are two completely different things. I am inspired by people on a daily basis. I could be reading something, come across a sentence and think, “I could write a post about that.” But copying? Never. The best way to use your competitors is to work out what you can do differently. Put your unique selling point on it. Make it relevant to your readers. Ask yourself what they’re missing? I noticed that some of the blogs I follow talked about implementing different strategies. But they didn’t show an example. I’m a visual learner. I like to see things to understand them.
So in my recent post on “Five Tips For Content Originality”, I included screenshots of different things I was talking about. People appreciated that and it’s something I’m planning to do with as many posts as I can.
Maybe you feel some bloggers don’t go into enough detail in their posts. Maybe they dedicate one post to five short topics. You might feel that you could write five posts about each thing they talk about. Do it. You can do something different and improve on something at the same time. This way, you’re definitely using your competitors to your advantage.
4. More Value Can Be Added To Your Brand
Everything you learn and implement adds value to your brand. Especially if you’re consistent. Each part of your blog reflects you as a brand and you can use your competitors to improve this.
The visual aspects of her blog are completely on brand. The fonts, colours, style – everything. It made me strive to do the same with my images. I finally feel like A Branch of Holly is developing a consistent visual style now. But the main thing is this – this is adding value to my brand as a whole. Don’t be jealous of people’s images, no matter how beautifully arranged they are. Take on board how they’re creating them and adjust this to fit your own brand. This can be done with any aspect of your blog, so long as it’s creating value.
5. You Will Grow
Competition drives us to improve and be at our best. We always want to improve and better ourselves. Having competitors helps us to do this. You might be taken out of your comfort zone. But this might mean you create your best idea yet. When you’re creating something, always ask yourself how you can make it better until you know it’s at the best you can ever make it. This isn’t being a perfectionist. It’s creating something to the best of your ability.
Take this example from an Entrpreneur article (source). A guy called Drew Houston knew that cloud services existed like BOX, and were hugely popular in the market. Google soon announced that they would be introducing cloud services. They’re Google. No one can compete with them, right? But still, Drew had a vision of making cloud services simple and easy, that everyone could use. He created Dropbox. His personal net worth? It’s estimated at $1.2 billion.
Now I’m not saying you’re going to come up with an idea and make a billion dollars. Well, you might. But I am saying that if this guy can compete with Google, you can compete with your competitors. Push yourself and show your competitors that you’re a player in this field.
Why Not Try This?
- Make a list of people who you think are your competitors. It doesn’t matter if you’re unsure. Try and write between five and ten names. Think about people who write about the same things you do. Or who offer the same packages as you. And don’t pay attention to their follower count. It doesn’t matter.
- Look through their recent posts. Note down what they’re doing that’s working. Then try and come up with one or two things that could make their content even better.
- Once you’ve got a list of things that are missing from your competitors, think about how you could replicate these elements in your own content.
The result? You’re showing yourself as a player. You’re showing yourself as a competitor.
I’d love to know, do competitors scare you? Or do you use them to your advantage?
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