Sunday, November 27, 2011
What I learned From Casing the Competition!
Don’t be fooled.
Though Blogging, by nature, is a very inclusive, interactive, informal genre of writing that has been known to provide friendly alliances and the occasional “warm and fuzzy feeling”, it is indeed competitive.
In my opinion, these days, as much as professional sports!
Don’t believe me?
No matter what your niche, Google its category, and you’re bound to render results in the thousands. Sometimes millions.
Like it or not, this means that you’re “competing” for readership. You’re competing for the limited time of today’s busy reader faced with an abundance of choices and a finite number of hours in each day. You’re competing to be “heard” amidst a sea of many voices. Some are virtuosos!
You’re competing for potential clients, advertisers, and even positioning.
Which is why “sizing up” your competition is crucial to create win-win situations for you and your readers.
How Competition Can Increase Competence
It goes without saying that we should all be on top of our game when we Blog, whether it’s professionally or as a form of artistic expression. Being at our best helps us to challenge ourselves, create “brand loyalty”, become a credible resource, and “win friends and influence people”.
But sometimes there’s a bonus. You get recognized in the process.
Which brings me to the genesis of this post…
A little while ago, I received an announcement regarding a Blogging contest. Write to Done was holding their 6th annual “Top 10 Blogs for Writing Contest.”
As with many Bloggers, Pen and Prosper is a labor of love for me. I dedicate many hours to this endeavor without compensation or expectation.
But, a contest? I saw it as a different type of reward. I thought that it would be fun and would minimally provide a little exposure for me and my little spot. So I threw my hat in the ring.
And let’s just say it’s been a very eye-opening experience ever since.
Being pit against such tough competition has made me realize my strengths and my weaknesses. I must admit, when it comes to good reading on writing, there’s a virtual “smorgasbord”, folks.
When I did a little comparative analysis with other sites, I felt that my design wasn't as strong. So I went in and did a little tweaking. I opted for a cleaner, leaner appearance. Additionally, I added more info about my guest posting experiences. I even edited some of my articles.
In your efforts to Blog better, and reach new heights in the new year, you might want to engage in a similar undertaking.
How do you stand up against the competition? Are your posts original? Is your voice unique? Do you give readers take-away value to take away? Why should anyone other than family or friends want to read your work? These are things to consider.
You’ll never be your best, if you refuse to look at what you could do better.
What I learned About Competition at This Stage of the Game…
1. Contrary to popular belief, competition doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Like money, it all depends on how we view it and how we use it. Think of the camaraderie of the contestants on the popular reality show, Dancing With the Stars. Whether we’re comfortable with it or not, competition will always be a part of our culture, our work place, and even our family dynamics. Use it to be clever, not cut throat.
2. Being a successful Blogger takes much more than disseminating information.
In viewing some of the other contenders‘ sites, what stood out was the sense of commitment, the creativity, and the passion that was evident in many of the readers’ “favorites”. Heck, I even signed up for a few of the "competition's" newsletters and updates myself!
3. Regardless as to the outcome, I’m still a winner.
I took a chance. I took a risk. I gave it my best. And if nothing else, I know more than I did before. Armed with this knowledge, I am more resolute in going the distance and making a difference.
As they say, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”
How do you feel about competition? Does it leave you bitter or better?
Side note: A special thanks for those of you who took the time to vote and make a difference. The deadline is December 10th for those who are interested.
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