How Competition Makes You A Better Blogger
By: Jennine Jacob

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Whether you’re breaking into a saturated niche, or if someone has decided to create a blog on a similar topic, competition will shape your experience as a blogger. There are several ways to look at this. You can get mad, complain, maybe even give up, or you learn from the competition to improve. Competition can be positive, it exists in every industry,  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would not be as great innovators as they were without the competition they gave each other. They might have hated each other for a while, or tried to tear each other down, but in the end, their competition made them better.

We don’t have to hate our competitors. Being nice doesn’t mean we’re not competitive, and it doesn’t mean we give up when something appearing to be bigger and better comes along.

 

Competition is a gift

A few years ago, when I started the IFB Conference, a company I was in partnership talks with saw the success of my conference, started their own confernece in direct competition. I’m not going to lie, it hurt. I felt betrayed. But something inside said, “Let’s just try to do it better.” It turned out that the next conference I did, was better, in fact it made my career. If it wasn’t for the other company encroaching on my space, I may not have been pushed to do something greater. In two seasons that company stopped doing conferences, and sure other companies are popping up and hosting their own fashion blogger conferences during NYFW, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. They’re just pushing me to evolve.

The same goes for blogs, whether it’s a blog with amazing photography, or extraordinarily eloquent writing, a stellar design or a kick-ass social media strategy, they’re pushing the boundaries of what we call quality content. Back in 2007, most bloggers (including Susie Bubble) took outfits in the mirror with a digi-cam (although she stepped it up by collaging them on fashion spreads). Today, the standard is much, much higher with professional grade photography, and even in the case of From Me To You, innovating technology and inventing new forms of photography like the cinemagraph. It doesn’t mean that the rest of us should stop blogging, but it does mean that if we’re going to aim for the stars, we’re going to have to improve our skill sets, or hone in our unique talents. All of us.

 

Competition does not mean comparing

While it’s good to look at the competition to see what’s going on, to be inspired by their successes and to learn from their mistakes. Competing doesn’t mean comparing. Comparing is when you’re using language like, “I don’t have a professional photographer boyfriend taking my outfit shots like so-and-so.” Competing is when you’re acknowledging someone’s success, “So-and-so has gorgeous photos and my photos are kind of blurry, so I need to learn how to properly take photos.”  Competing is taking actions to improve, comparing is looking at what others have or don’t have. Competing will make you a better blogger, comparing will make you a bitter blogger.

 

Look at competition to set goals

If you’re one of those people who wants to reach for the stars getting yourself familiar with the stars is a good place to start. Find your heroes. Heroes may be at the top, or they may be someone admirable, they really could be anyone having the kind of success you desire. When I started blogging, I looked at the blogs I loved, and they were my heroes, and in a way a mentors only they didn’t know who I was. Some of the things that helped me to quantify what I wanted to achieve as a blogger was to assess what made compelling content, and analyze the the quality of their posts. Then I aimed to get my content’s quality to that level in my own unique way. Other things that are helpful is looking at heroes and note how much interaction, comments, tweets on their posts as a way to set goals. Observing how other bloggers do their business will give you inspiration as to how to build your own.  Just keep in mind when setting goals, to break them down into achievable benchmarks. That way it’s easier to map progress and, pretty soon you might find that you’re  accomplishing things you never thought possible.

 

Never stop competing

There’s an old saying, “If you’re coasting, that means you’re going downhill.” While it’s important to take breaks to avoid burn out. Even if you’re content where you are, in order to stay fresh, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in your niche, and keep your skills current. What’s more, being the standard in an over-saturated niche may not be enough get to the top. Do what you can to stand out, because your competition will push you to keep trying.

 

fashion

 

 Image by Yuri Arcurs via Shutterstock.com

 

Comments

  1. I totally agree. There are some many bloggers that I admire and I have also learnt a lot from them. I never stop learning.

  2. Very good article. It reminds me to be on top of the game, everyday.

    Thank you!

  3. Myrna says:

    Great article!!!! Im glad I’m not the only one who takes breaks . I love blogging however when ur a wife, a full time employee and student it gets overwhelming . Although I live blogging it sometimes has to take a back seat for me to keep my head above water!

    XX-Myrna
    Http://mybeatboutique.blogspot.com

  4. Great article! Competition is what keeps me going daily.

  5. This is so helpful and true. This will help others stop them from beating themselves up when they think they don’t have a chance in blogging fashion.

  6. Aves Gry says:

    Great article! It is a good reminder to keep pushing and to not get intimidated.

  7. This is a great reminder to step up my game!

    While I agree that competing with other bloggers helps us raise our standards, I also find I’m competing with myself. This means that I need to be constantly trying to do better than I have in the past. This way, I’m encouraging my own progress, not stagnation. Taking a break and regrouping helps reinforce this attitude as well.

    Great tips :)

  8. Shin says:

    “Competing will make you a better blogger, comparing will make you a bitter blogger”. My favorite line of the article! I completely agree with you!

  9. Amber Rose says:

    I take the competition between blogs very seriously, but one thing I do loathe more than anything are bitchy competing bloggers.

    You have to find that balance. The blogs I envy, and see as ‘competition’ and most definitely also blogs that I admire and strive to imitate. Paying close attention to superior blogs that you admire, if a great way to improve your own.

    I do NOT mean imitating content but rather, do they have a great layout, regular blogging schedule, excellent quality photographs, an honest and lively writing voice?

    I do get intimidated very easily though, but my best method of not letting myself give up is by going back and reading the oldest posts on a successful blog, and seeing how much they have grown. If they can do it, so can you!

  10. Bhakti says:

    Awesome post …. Soo true .. Competition should motivate … Very inspiring post ,,,

    I really gt inspired. :)

    Xoxo
    Bhakti

    Do visit my blog if you like

    http://bhakti-pinkandeverythingthatgirlswant.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/soul-to-sole-footwear-dictionary.html?m=1

  11. Raj says:

    I really needed this post today. I’ve been going through a bit of a slump an doing some comparing, this totally shook me back to reality and why I started to blog.
    And thenk you to The Zero Winter for your lovely comment, I’m back to competing with myself!

    Raj

  12. I think that pushing your photography to be more and more like Vogue magazine does not need to be the end goal for bloggers!! I know it is a deep-seeded thought in the fashion world, that images need to be perfect. But I purposely don’t do “perfect” photography because I am trying to send a message to women of inclusion and relatability. I think the obsession with perfect photography is unhealthy. I’ve pledged to never use Photoshop, do model poses or photo shoots. We have a unique opportunity as bloggers to be different that major fashion media and I think that starts with photography.

  13. Maggie says:

    I really appreciated reading this. For a while I was coasting with my blog, I got very comfortable in writing what I want, how I wanted it but since I started gaining a readership, I find that I am learning to improve my writing in ways that other readers can enjoy it as well.

  14. Jennine, this is such a great post and sends out a really positive message that I wish more people would get behind. I’m continually discovering so many blogs that inspire and spur me on to make my own better. I bookmark them and on the days that I’m struggling or feeling un-motivated I go and look at them again – it really helps! xx

  15. Dea Win says:

    Great article. I’m typically so blog involved that I don’t remember to look for competition…lol

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