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Analyze Another Blog (with a Twist) From Problogger

By Jun 6, 2011 May 16th, 2012 25 Comments

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The assignment for Day 4 of our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Summer Challenge sounds easy enough: Spend 15 minutes analyzing a blog in your niche. Darren from Problogger suggests looking at things like that blog’s content, reader engagement and design. He cautions us not to fall into a trap of replicating others but rather to remain unique and keep the focus on our own blog.

Searching for a Niche Group It’s a great assignment that packs a big punch. But let’s give it a twist and toss in some extra usefulness AND awesomeness. You can get as much value at also taking analyzing blogs OUTSIDE your niche and even—gasp—corporate and non-profit blogs.

Taking a Look Outside… Your Niche

By looking just in your own niche, you box yourself into a certain way of thinking. You do “this” because everyone else does it and “that” because isn’t that how you’re supposed to? Well, looking outside your niche can help you bring in a fresh approach to your own niche.

During my 11 years in the marketing field, I’ve worked in four industries: ad agency, sporting goods (golf), credit unions and enterprise software. Why would a credit union hire a golf industry chick? Because I brought a fresh perspective. I wasn’t so entrenched with “it’s how we always do things” like someone who worked in the industry for years might be.

The same can be said for you when you look outside your niche for ideas and inspiration.

So, once you complete Day 4’s task as is, start digging around elsewhere. What are some of your favorite outside-the-niche blogs or company blogs? If you can’t think of any, did you fan a company’s Facebook page recently? If they have a fan page, they probably have a blog too.

As you looked at a blog inside your niche, Darren said to ask yourself questions like:

  • What topics are they covering?
  • What topics generate the most conversation?
  • What options do they give a reader to subscribe?

For digging around outside of your own niche, it may not be as obvious what to look at.

Here are a few suggestions:

About Us Page


After your homepage, your About Us page is hand down the most important page on your blog. Take a look at some other blogs. How do you they layout their page? What do they say about themselves and their blog? Do they encourage readers to subscribe from their page?

How the Blogger Works with Brands


Is this blogger working with brands? A different industry could be partnering with bloggers in a completely different way than within your niche. You can take some of those ideas, tweak them for your own niche and pitch to one of your favorite brands. You may just get a paying gig from it.

What Does Their PR/Advertising Page Look Like?


On Cool Mom Picks, they include an FAQ that’s clear, yet written in a fun, down-to-earth way.

Blog Topic Ideas

Yes, even from a completely unrelated blog! For the most part, corporate blogs are written by professional writers who have a knack for crafting attention-grabbing headlines. Use that to your advantage. For example, take a look at Evernote’s latest blog post:

See the blog title at the bottom? It says “9 Things to Capture from your Twitter Stream and Apps to Help you Do It.”

Use key elements of the headline (like “9” and “capture”) as a springboard into a post idea for YOUR niche.

How a Company Blog Highlights Its Audience


Looking at company blogs may seem completely irrelevant to a personal blog but they definitely aren’t! Good company blogs highlight their fans, customers, members or donors. For example, non-profit Charity: Water’s blog did a post highlighting a cute little donor:

Could you highlight a special email from a reader (with their permission, of course)? Interview a top commenter? Something else? On Momcomm, I recently started Momcomm Mashups where once or twice a month I ask a question on my Facebook fan page and compile 10-15 of the answers into a blog post. I include the blogger’s answer and a link to their blog. It’s a great way to give back that also benefits other readers as well.

Go With the Flow


Take a bit of a go-with-the-flow approach and see what catches your eye. For example, I was drawn to Charity:Water’s header.

The first thing that catches my eye (besides the graphics) is the name of the blog. Charity:WaterLOG.

Ooh, clever! So what can you do with that? If you were working on launching a new weekly series or a newsletter for instance, this could give you the idea to play off your blog name or tagline in naming your series or newsletter. I’d like to say it gave me the idea to call this section “go with the FLOW” but that was just a coincidence. *chuckle*

Now Get Analyzing!


Wow. In any other industry “analyzing” would sound SO boring but we all know blogging is anything but boring! Complete Day 4 as is… then step outside your niche and find a new perspective. You never know what ideas and inspiration you’ll find.

About Melissa

Melissa is a busy mama with 11 years of experience in marketing and branding. She blogs at Adventuroo, a blog about capturing the everyday moments in motherhood, and Momcomm, a blog where she shares can-do tips for blogging, writing and social media.

25 Comments

  • The funny thing is I am always looking at blogs outside my niche and I guess I didn’t realize how I could apply their ideas to mine. I usually only compare mine to my own niche. I can see I’m going to be doing a lot of analyzing today.

  • […] yet, you will after you check out her tutorial on using Hootsuite and her post on SITS about how to analyze blogs outside of your niche.   And since Ramblings of a Diva admits she’s a stalker, I bet Momcomm has a restraining order […]

  • Rose Marie B says:

    I enjoy blogs of all types and since I don’t know what my niche is yet, I haven’t pigeon-holed myself. Thanks for the insight and I’ll do some more studying.

  • trininista says:

    Somehow I let everything slide with my own blog – maybe because it was really just meant as a non-work outlet initially and more recently cause I just have not had the time to devote to it. At work though, I was on top of my bloggy game!

  • Debbie says:

    Loved this Melissa! What great ideas…I feel so inspired!

  • Polly says:

    I loved the “twist.” When I did this challenge before I looked at other dr. mom websites and got a lot of great ideas, but this post really encouraged me to look beyond those in my niche and see how it’s done. There are a few sites I absolutely LOVE like simplemom.net and lifeyourway.net and this post reminded me about the importance of studying all blogs while I’m trying to build mine! Thanks for the challenge!

    Polly

  • becca says:

    great stuff i liked to know how to get more traffic to my blog

    Everyday Life

  • Kristin says:

    I didn’t have a problem with this one; I spend way too much time analyzing other blogs and sites already! I may just take well deserved rest today instead ; )

  • Trish says:

    I have a short list of blogs I read for inspiration daily, but they are all in my own niche. I never thought of going outside of that. Great ideas! Thanks.

  • Michelle says:

    Great ideas! I analyze every blog and website I visit – it’s just habit for me. If I see something that I like, I tend to think about how I could incorporate a similar idea into what I do. There is a never ending flow of inspiration out there.

    Peace. 😉

  • I definitely need to work on my About page. I’m gonna do some blog-stalking and then figure out exactly what I need to have up there.

  • Luisa Morgan says:

    What a great article. Love all the samples and detail info you provided to us. Thanks for your hard work!

  • Michelle G says:

    This sounds like fun! I actually love to look at other blogs, within my niche (food/cooking) or outside of it, & I think analyzing can be fun too 🙂 Can’t wait to get started…

  • Laura says:

    So funny, I just started doing this over the weekend. Thanks for all the tips. Now it’s time for me to go in a little deeper.

  • Trish says:

    Fantastic!! I can’t wait to get analyzing!! 🙂

  • Kat says:

    Fantastic write up Melissa!! Love!

  • Jenny says:

    I’ve been looking into other ways to promote my site and even though it’s not really working out for me, I’m trying! And that’s all that counts. I’ve been extremely inspired by other blogs lately and I think I have found an all new niche as well which is awesome.

  • Marie Noelle says:

    This is so inspiring! I always look in my own niche too! I never thought of looking some place else but it’s really a great idea! Thank you so much for this post, it’ll help me a lot to do Day 4!

  • Manjusha says:

    I have always focused on websites in my own niche. I sort of feel that sites in different niches use different promotion techniques. What works for them needn’t necessarily work for us. Nonetheless, it is worth trying.

    • Melissa says:

      Manjusha- I hear what you’re saying! But some of my best ideas have come from other industries and applying it in a NEW way to my industry. So, while the idea itself may not work as is, ask yourself how you can tweak it or modify it to work for you.

  • Eva Gallant says:

    Interesting post; lots of food for thought!

  • Eve says:

    This is going to be a fun task! Sometimes we get so focused on our niche that we forget to look outside of it for inpsiration. Thanks!

  • Natalia says:

    Oh I can’t wait to start this task! This is so great to help us all think outside of the box!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Great ideas. I’ve always focused on blogs in my own niche (crafts), but it hasn’t occurred to me that I should branch outside of crafts to get good ideas for my blog! Can’t wait to start this assignment today and hopefully gain some fresh insight on blogging.