So much of today’s marketing efforts are based around developing a business blog, your online platform, to generate leads. More businesses of all sizes are attempting to conquer their market by leveraging the strengths of a business blog.
Blog competition is expanding into many markets, from traditional technology markets to consumer-facing industries, like HVAC installers and card dealerships.
There are a lot of gurus that lay out rules. These rules don’t begin to explain many instances where businesses come to blogging after their competitors already have an established online platform.
I call these latecomers ‘dethroners’
Key elements of business blogging
A business blog is a platform through which you publish useful, informational and educational content to connect with their target market. The trouble when you establish a new blog is your blog’s ability to rank well in search engines is tied to how popular it is.
This is the Catch-22 faced by new bloggers.
The more people reading your blog, the more attractive it is and the faster it grows. For your blog, this means the more people reading and subscribing to it, the more people that will want to read and subscribe to it.
A quality blog can help your company grow its market share and have an even greater effect on demand for your product than its price.
If you aren’t the first from your market to develop a blog you have two ways to quickly attract readers from your competitor:
- Incentivize users to read and subscribe
- Differentiate through technology
Complementors are people who work to build new solutions, products, tools or create content for your blog.
The most successful blogs recognize the importance of complementors early on and take steps to attract them.
The most common form complementors take are individuals who create tools, conduct training, and creation documentation or content.
Overcoming your competitors
If you’re looking to overcome and dethrone a competitor’s established blog, the first common approach is to use superior technology to defeat your competition. If you are able to find technology and tools to more effectively grow your subscriber list, like WordPress plug-ins, than start using those tools.
The second approach is called platform envelopment. With this strategy, your new blog gets the support of a larger, more developed, but slightly related blog. Bundling the offerings of a new blog with those of an older, more established one will bring more credibility to the new blog and will make it easier to grow your audience.
4 lessons from Apple, Google and Facebook on how to dethrone a competitor
1. Find a small segment of a larger market and start building from there
How can you dethrone a powerful, established blog? The process starts by focusing on small segments or market niches within the larger market you are trying to compete in. By focusing on a smaller market niche, your audience will have more in common with one another than the readers of a larger blog with a wider focus.
When readers in this smaller niche engage with one another through your blog, their shared needs and experiences will have an exponential impact on the rate at which your blog grows its readership.They key to success with this market micro-niche approach to blogging is examining all of the niches within the larger market and identifying a group of customers with the most in common who are being served the least by your major competitor.
Blogs looking to use the strategy can take a lesson from Apple’s launch of the first iPhone. When the first iPhone was launched, smartphones were pricey, high-end products. The established competitor in the market was Blackberry and its devices were tailored toward business users. Apple noted the lack of a high-end smartphone for the consumer market.
Facebook also used a similar approach when dethroning past competitors MySpace and Friendster. Facebook started by focusing on small segments of tight-knit alumni communities. The social network famously spread from school to school until it had millions and millions of users.
2. Leverage existing networks
Explore your competitor’s social networks – find out the networks they have a presence on and find out which networks it is managing poorly. These insights can give you an ‘in.’
If you find your target market or niche likes Facebook, but your competitor’s Facebook page is lagging – take advantage. Buy some Facebook ads, follow the Facebook Fan Page marketing best practices, and you will reap the benefits.
3. Spot emerging trends
Producing a superior product or delivering a the highest quality service have always been the cornerstones of a sustainable competitive advantage. Companies who have successfully dethroned competitors have done so by being able to spot emerging issues – they are able to service their target market’s needs today and understand what they will need tomorrow.
By preemptively addressing arising concerns, the your blog can start to create a unique value proposition that not even the established and dominant market players can offer.
Apple’s iPhone originally predicted several changes in the smartphone market and designed its original offering to meet needs and demands that were yet widely known or understood – for example, it developed a touch screen and had larger keys. Google did something similar when it launched Gmail in 2004 – it offered larger amounts of storage than Yahoo! and Hotmail.
4. Make attracting complementors as easy as possible
There are three ways to attract and recruit complementors:
- Offer technical support
- Working with them
- By clearly establishing rules and expectations
The most common approach to complementors in blogging is the guest post. Up and coming bloggers will turn to other blogs with the goal of establishing a link between the two and using one another’s blogs to drive traffic.
Bloggers will always face fast-paced marketing challenges because the blogging’s barriers to entry are so low. If you are able to enter a market late and use these steps to dethrone an established competitor, you will find yourself the industry leader.
Once you become the dominant blogger in your field, fending off competition is a continual challenge. Maintaining your dominance requires paying careful and close attention to the needs of your readers and your complementors.