In almost any venture, whether it be business, sports, blogging or trying out for the school musical – if you're putting yourself to the test, you're going to want to analyze the competition. Sizing up them and you is important.
In marketing, they've got a whole matrix designed for exactly this, called SWOT analysis. Once you've identified an objective or a goal, you can use these four topics to figure out the factors (helpful and harmful, internal and external) that will impact your ability to achieve your goal.
- S is for Strengths (internal and helpful)
- W is for Weaknesses (internal and harmful)
- O is for Opportunities (external and helpful)
- T is for Threats (external and harmful)
The matrix looks like this:
So what does this mean for fashion bloggers? You can use this matrix to help you understand and maximize your blog business, especially as it relates to your network – those who might be “in competition” with you, and those who can help you. What brands do you want to work with? Which bloggers have careers you aspire to? Even personally, you can use SWOT analysis to take advantage of your talents and abilities and develop a strong direction for your career.
My suggestion is to actually fill out a matrix, and to get started, try asking and answering some questions related to each factor:
- What advantages to do I have as a blogger, as a person?
- What do I do well — better than anyone else?
- What unique resources do I have?
- What is my unique selling point, or niche?
- What could I improve about myself or my blog?
- What is the most difficult part of this business for me?
- What improvements could my business use?
- What do people in my industry perceive as weaknesses?
- Who do I know that could be helpful or inspiring to me?
- What trends am I aware of in this industry?
- Are there changes or developments in the industry I can capitalize on?
- What is missing in my peers' content or business that I can do better?
- What obstacles are in my way?
- Who is my competition in the industry?
- What is my competition doing that I am not?
From your asked and answered questions, you should be able to see your next steps in front of you. Now that you can see (visualize!) what you're good at and what needs work, as well as who your allies and your competitors are, you can begin to take action. Take notes on what your peers do well and look for shortcomings. Email contacts, friends and peers to set up meetings and coffee dates. Sign up for educational workshops to hone your skills. Keep your SWOT matrix somewhere you work, and check off successes seized opportunities – and cross out eliminated weaknesses and threats!
Wikipedia: SWOT analysis
This is a great tip, which in my opinion should be highly valued and once a year monitored in order to see evolution. Good old SWOT is perfect in any field.
this is perfect. new year..new beginnings, I needed an article like this to pick me up and pace me in the right direction. going to do SWOT analysis for my blog right now!thnx.xx
I think this way of organizing everything out could be very helpful. I love learning about marketing – something I know absolutely nothing about.
Great idea, makes me think about what I need to work on with my blog this year!
The majority of my competition (or rather, bloggers I aspire to) are full time bloggers and I work full time and do blogging in the evenings/weekend. I’ve tried not to focus on limited time to blog being a negative though, at least in my career I’m learning a lot about different types of blogging which is one of my advantages.
This is a great article. As a blogger and content manager I always am trying to think of how to leverage our articles on Health Beauty Life.com We are seeking Guest Bloggers for positive influential stories, so if any one is interested, feel free to send submissions here: http://www.healthbeautylife.com/submissions/ It is a great way to start the new year!
For me (if you’re talking about my main blog, anyway) the main competition are all bigger name publications with a bigger staff and much more funding. My site isn’t solely fashion and beauty-related, but food, travel and increasingly, arts/culture as well. While there’s more personal opinion than, say, The Toronto Standard, there’s also very few outfit pictures (the outfit pictures all appear in The DelectablyChic! Closet, which is a different site). I get contacted by PR people, but unlike my peers (e.g. Backseat Stylers, styleblog.ca, etc…), I’m not getting the kind of PRESS (i.e. from other sources) that I feel I should be getting.
Any advice for this?
Great idea- definitely going to fill one out now! xx
Good advice. Who knew that majoring in Business would ever come in handy? I thought the only purpose of sitting through those classes was to make us want to bang our own heads into the wall. :b
I think it’s important to recognize what your unique resources & strengths are, and how you can improve your blog (by observing and taking into account what other bloggers are doing differently)– but at the same time, I think it’s important not to compare yourself to other people too much, or think of other bloggers as “competition.” Sometimes that just leads to self-defeat and feeling inferior. We’re all unique, and I think we can all exist in the blogosphere doing our own thing. The girls who succeed are the ones who just seem to focus on themselves, try to keep blogging *fun,* and keep thinking of new things that they can do to entertain (or help) their readers.
Nice idea on the SWOT analysis.