10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Blogging

10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Blogging
by Sue Anne Dunlevie

As a Coach, you probably have lots of competition in your space.

You see your competitors getting their blog posts featured on The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and all the other big sites. You see their social media presence taking off and their engaged audiences growing day by day. You see them launching coaching programs and products and creating their dream lifestyles.

You secretly wish that you would be the next It Girl Coach. You wish that all those visitors and customers would come to your site and buy your coaching and products.

Good news: You can use your competition to grow your own business by using them as a source of inspiration and learning from them.

In fact, here are 10 things your competitors can teach you about blogging and through that, building your It Girl Coaching business and brand.

  1. Define Your Unique Selling Proposition

What’s the #1 thing you need to build an engaged following for your blog?

You need to find your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

And to find it, you should research your competition.

After all, your USP is what differentiates you from your competitors. It’s what makes your Ideal Client choose your business instead of your competitor’s business.

Action step:

Make a list of your top competitors (big blogs in your niche). Read their blog posts and ‘About’ pages to see what their core topics are. Use 2-3 of these core topics and combine them with your own personality, experience, and background.

Simple as that!

  1. Engage With Your Audience

The most important part of your blog and business is your audience.

After all, your audience is the foundation of your business.

And to build your business, you can’t take your audience for granted. You need to engage with them.

But how do you create an engaged audience that craves your products?

Good question! To figure it out, you need to know what your competitors are doing.

Are they getting a ton of comments and shares on every post they publish?

Or are their blogs ghost towns?

Either way, you can learn from them.

Action step:

Head over to a blog in your niche that you know gets tons of comments. Read at least 2-3 blog posts very carefully. Are there certain words the blogger uses over and over again? Does she or he start or end the blog posts in a specific way? What are the comments saying? For example, they might mention what it is they loved about the post.

Rinse and repeat. Research at least 4-5 blogs that get both little and a lot of engagement.

  1. Brand Your Blog

Branding your blog is essential for your overall business brand.

But how do you come up with a winning brand?

Look around and see what’s already out there!

Your competitors are the best source of inspiration for your blog brand.

Besides, they can help you determine things like what opt-in boxes you should use and where to place them, what images to use in your blog posts and so forth.

Action step:

Choose 3 blogs that you think have winning brands. Study them closely. How are the blogs structured? What colors, images and fonts do the bloggers use? How do they position themselves? What opt-in boxes do they feature?

  1. Make Friends Online

There’s something you shouldn’t forget when growing your blog:

You need to network with other bloggers in your niche.

And to find the right bloggers to network with, you should check what your competitors are doing.

Action step:

Are certain bloggers in your niche frequently commenting on your competitor’s blog posts? Are your competitors engaging in conversations with particular bloggers and sharing their content on social media? These are the blogs you want to network with.

  1. Get Blog Post Ideas

Do you have a hard time coming up with ideas for your blog posts?

Are you wondering why some posts take off and get tons of shares and comments while some posts flop the minute you publish them?

Your competitors can help!

It’s easy:

Just check what they are writing about and if there are certain topics that are popular over and over again.

Action step:

Go to ýour competitor’s blog and check what posts get a lot of comments and shares. Write down the topics. Repeat until you’ve read 4-5 blogs. See a pattern? A certain topic that readers always seem to find interesting? That’s what you should write about.

  1. Promote Your Blog

Do you ever wonder why some bloggers manage to consistently grow their blogs?

One of the things they’re probably doing right is promoting their blog.

Use this for your own blog – check what your competitors are doing and what’s working.

Action step:

Check what your competitors with big blogs are doing to promote their content. For example, which social media platforms do they use? How do they present their blog content on that channel? Copy the tactics and use them on your own blog.

  1. Find Guest Post Opportunities

One of the best ways to grow your blog is to guest post on other blogs (like I’m doing here on Jessica’s blog).

But it’s not always easy find blogs in your niche that are worth guest posting on.

To find the right blogs, check where your competitors are guest posting. Which blogs have published their posts? What sort of engagement do they get from that blog (like shares and comments)?

If the blog is in your niche and your competitor is getting lots of engagement there, it might be worthwhile to guest post on that site.

Action step:

Search for your competitor’s URL and the words “guest post” on Google. Check what guest posts this competitor has written and the level of engagement the post got. Pitch sites with lots of engagement with your own guest posts.

  1. Figure Out What You Should Sell

It can be hard to know exactly what services and products your niche wants.

To help you figure out what it is you should offer, check out your competitors and what they’re selling.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t focus on what your Ideal Clients want – you should.

But your competitors can give you some ideas of what works and what doesn’t.

Action step:

Take a look at your competitor’s blog. Is she or he selling coaching or other products? What price points does your competitor use? Grab some ideas and start researching your own audience to see what works for your blog.

  1. Figure Out What You Should Buy

Most bloggers with big audiences have bought at least one product that’s helped them grow their blog.

But not all products are equally useful.

You need to find the right ones to be sure that you get what you pay for.

To figure it out, check what products your competitors buy.

Normally, they mention them on their blogs or they might have given a testimonial.

If your competitor is successful, you know the product is worth it!

Action step:

Thoroughly read your competitor’s blog. Does your competitor mention or recommend a product? If you already have a product in mind, check if one of your competitors has given a testimonial.

  1. Learn From Their Mistakes

Until now, we’ve looked at how you can copy tactics and get inspired by your competitors.

At the same time, your competitors can teach you what not to do.

For example, they might share blog posts where they highlight their mistakes.

Or you might notice that something they’re doing isn’t working.

Action step:

Keep your eyes open – are your competitors sharing stories about their own mistakes? Or are you noticing that their engagement drops when they publish certain posts? Start learning from their mistakes!

Sue Anne Dunlevie-bioSue Anne Dunlevie takes the guesswork out of building a profitable blog. The owner of Successful Blogging, she has been passionate about business since she started her own toddler daycare group at her swim club.  After 27 productive, rewarding, but stressful years in sales and sales training, blogging has provided her with the freedom to reinvent her life and set a more enjoyable pace (while also working in her yoga pants!).


  • Abhishek Kalra

    April 9, 2016

    Hi Sue Anne Dunlevie,
    Your post is really worth reading. I learned many useful things from this post. I also personally believe that finding opportunities for guest posting and branding a blog is the one of the best thing that our competitor can teach out.
    Thank you!

  • Susan Dunlevie

    April 8, 2016

    Hi, Daniela,

    I was telling my students today on our Group Coaching Call how we met and why we now have a mastermind together – all due to you!

    So glad you are in my online life.

    Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  • Daniela Uslan

    April 7, 2016

    Great post, Sue!

    It’s so easy to look at competition as a negative, but you’ve listed some great ways to turn it into a positive, by learning what other bloggers are doing well and who is interacting with them.

    I especially like what you said about making friends online. You are one of my best online friends, so I know you’re great at making them!


  • Sue Dunlevie

    April 7, 2016

    Thanks so much, Jessica!


  • Sue Dunlevie

    April 7, 2016

    And thanks so much for your lovely comment today, Jane!


  • Sue Dunlevie

    April 7, 2016

    We are best business friends, right, Tor? I cannot believe how much you have grown in the last 16 months – it’s unbelievable. Now you are teaching my clients this week :)

    Thanks for stopping by Jessica’s awesome blog today.

  • Sue Dunlevie

    April 7, 2016

    Wonderful point, Minuca. Competition is not a “real” word in the blogosphere – bloggers are the friendliest group in the world and help each other all the time.

    Blogger outreach is the biggest thing I teach my clients and I was using the word “competition” to get some comments flowing!

    Thanks so much,

  • Sue Dunlevie

    April 7, 2016

    And I SO appreciate you popping over to Jessica’s blog to read and to take the time to comment and be “sassy”, Dre!


  • Jessica Nazarali

    April 6, 2016

    Thank you for wonderful post Sue!!

  • Andrea Beltrami

    April 6, 2016

    There is a LOT to be learned from our peers {or competitors as you’re calling them here} successes and failures. This day and age there is little to nothing that hasn’t been said or done, so why re-create the wheel when you can be off and running with a little head start.

    Lots of EPIC tips here, Sue…as always, you hit this bad boy outta the park.


  • Minuca Elena

    April 5, 2016

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for thanking the time to write this post. You’ve selected some things that seem obvious but aren’t in reality. In blogging, we should learn from people that are most successful than us in our niche. I like the action step because a newbie needs some guidelines to know what steps he should take to replicate strategies that work.

    My only observation would be that you use the word competitors a lot. It makes me think about rivalry and it kinda contradicts number 4 of on your list. If somebody sees other bloggers from his niche only as opponents, he won’t be able to make friends or promote anyone else content beside him.

    What do you think?


  • Tor Refsland

    April 5, 2016

    Hey Jessica and Sue!

    Jessica, needless to say, you picked a great guest writer in Sue :)

    Sue, I especially liked your bullet point #4 – Make Friends Online. That has definitely be the key that helped me getting featured on 158 blogs in my first 14 months of blogging.

    Sue, you were the first awesome person I got to know when I started blogging, and you have become one of my best friends.

    Keep rocking Jessica and Sue.



  • Jane Tabachnick

    April 5, 2016

    Great advice Sue. There’s gold there in them hills!! Thank you for highlighting how to take competitive intelligence and use it to grow our own business.

  • Sue Dunlevie

    April 5, 2016

    Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Jessica!