Gauging Brand Competition: Do You Need a Unique Topic or a New Angle?

It can feel like everywhere you look on the internet, there’s yet another blog. And recent statistics seems to support this: by next year, there will be nearly 32 million bloggers in the U.S. alone.

Even though there’s plenty of brand competition out there, you shouldn’t let that discourage you from starting your own blog. That said, it’s important to do your research and pick your niche wisely. Go too broad, and you might get lost among millions of other blogs, but go too narrow and you’ll probably have too small of an audience.

Here’s how to strike that delicate balance to reach a larger audience, add value to the conversation, and stand out from the competition.

1. Pick a topic that ignites your passions

Blogging means playing the long game. You’ll have to write within the area you choose again and again.

Think about a topic you could talk about ad nauseam, something you’re so passionate about you’d write about it even if you’d never earn a dime for your efforts.

Make a shortlist of the topics you love the most, and go from there.

2. Do market research

Truthfully, passion will only get you so far. Anyone who wants to launch a business needs to understand the competitive market. That holds true whether you have an online-only business or a brick-and-mortar business. Take a look at the list you created and pair it with data to narrow down what your blog should focus on.

Do a Google search on your topic and see how many results come up. Look at how many other blogs are in the same niche. Doing this basic research will help you gauge the popularity of your topic and the amount of brand competition.

This can also tell you if your topic is too niche. For example, if you’re a car enthusiast, a blog dedicated to the 1968 Chevy Chevelle may be too narrow to capture a large enough audience and create a viable business. But a blog dedicated to 1960s muscle cars and other classic cars of that era may strike the perfect balance — both general enough to attract a wider audience and specific enough to own that segment of the market.

3. Find your unique angle

Next, you’ll need to dig deeper to find a unique angle.

To do this, follow the conversation on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to see what people are saying about your topic. Check out Facebook specifically to see if there are any fan pages devoted to the subject.

Listening to podcasts, reading widely, or talking to family and friends who are enthusiastic about the topic may help you unearth more content ideas — or may spark an interesting angle that can be the new focus for your blog. For example, after your initial market research, you may decide to focus your blog on millennial career advice. However, after doing more digging, you might discover that the student loan debt crisis is really affecting this demographic’s career decisions and instead decide to focus on how millennials can accomplish financial goals while managing student loan debt. You could also share your personal story navigating this journey — another element that would distinguish your blog.

Standing out from the competition

Creating a successful blog isn’t easy. It takes dedicated effort and hard work — month in and month out — to build an audience. You can lay the groundwork for future success by picking a topic that fuels your passions, won’t bore you in the long term, and can attract a sizable, engaged audience.

Completing all this work in advance can transform your blog from a mere side hustle to a thriving online business.

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Satta Sarmah Hightower

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