Competition shouldn’t be ugly. It should be smart.
I once worked for someone who was obsessed with what “the other guys” were doing. It was borderline obsessive, his need to be bigger and better than his competition. And guess where his company is today?
A healthy understanding your competition helps you understand how you fit in; an unhealthy one can leave you paralyzed with doubt and inadequacy. We want you to have the former.
A competitive analysis can be especially helpful as you strategize and launch your school’s blog. It prepares you with you insight into what your blog will offer that others don’t, and what potential students care about. What it shouldn’t do is send you chasing after ideals that aren’t your own or tactics that don’t align with your goals.
So what should you look at to help boost your inspiration and make your own blog stronger? Grab a notebook and pen, and jot down your answers to these questions as you look at your competitors’ blog:
Does the blog have a theme or set of core topics?
How would you describe the language and tone they are using?
What is the overall look and feel of the blog?
Who is the target audience?
How often do they post, and are they consistent?
When did they start blogging?
What social networks are they on?
Are their fans/followers engaged with the blog content on social media?
How often do they share their blog posts on social media?
What additional content do they offer via their blog (eBooks, videos, podcasts, newsletters, etc)?
What topics does this additional content focus on?
What is unique about the blog?
Now answer two more questions, turning the focus onto your own blog:
Did reviewing this blog spark any ideas for your own blog? (Focus on original ideas—you’re looking to be inspired, not to become an imitation.)
What will be different about your school’s blog that will make it stand out from this blog?
When you complete this competitive analysis exercise, you’ll have a full picture of what other schools are doing, and can begin to use that to shape what you envision for your own school’s blog.
Remember, it’s not about jumping on the next trend or keeping up with the Joneses. It’s about crafting a blog that fits your school and your audience—and that’s something only you can do.
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