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31 Days to a Better Blog--Day 14: Analyze the Competition

Buildingabetterblog2 Day 14 of the 31 Days Project (almost halfway there!) and it's time to analyze my blogging "competition." Not, says Darren, so that I can actually compete with them, but so I can see if there are niches to be filled by my own blog. Makes sense.

Darren suggests getting together a list of 10 blogs in my niche, plugging their feeds into my reader and committing myself to reading them for a week. As I read, I should ask myself some questions about what they're writing on, how they do it, what kinds of questions their readers ask in comments, etc. The full list of questions is here.

This exercise is not a one-nighter. It's going to take some time, especially since my "niche" is spread through some different communities.  I'll have to get back to you on this one.

I do think that from an organizational perspective, Darren's exercise is a really excellent one--not just for writing a blog, but for getting better at what you do. In the business world this is done all the time, but not in the nonprofit or government realms. How often does a homeless shelter say "Who are my top 10 'competitors' in this niche and what could I learn from them? What are they not doing that we could be doing? Where is there an unfilled niche that we could fill?" Not often, from what I've seen.

It's not about competing, really. It's more about complementing the other organizations, figuring out what you're uniquely qualified to bring to the table that fills a space no one else is addressing. I actually wish that we did a lot more of that. It seems that we try to copy one another, rather than learning from each other and then doing what we do best in a way that no one else can.

Anyway, time for me to do some analysis.

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