What’s your best advice for deciding how much time to spend on creating your own brand vs. monitoring the competition?
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1. Focus on What’s Best for Your Brand
“The most important thing about building a personal brand is to build the right one for you and your business. I wouldn’t worry about competitors or even other entrepreneurs as every person and company is different. If you see someone do something really smart or see them continually collecting speaking engagements, etc., perhaps then look at mirroring success, but overall, focus on you.”
Carlo Cisco, SELECT
2. Lead — Don’t Follow
“If you spend too much time investigating what others are doing, you’ll end up following their lead. People with great personal brands didn’t build them by spending all day watching other people’s social media. They observed the world, thought and then created content from an authentic position. Spend your time creating worthwhile content that justifies its own existence.”
Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.
3. Create a Comparison List
“Create a comparison list with your top few competitors so you know your strengths and weaknesses. Be thorough and include every feature, big and small. Once you have your list, there’s no need to spend more time comparing, because you can now focus on your strengths to continue widening the gap and fill in any holes you’ve found.”
Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
4. Make a List of Questions
“Monitoring your competition will eat up less of your time if you can streamline exactly what information is pertinent to you and what you’re seeking to gain from said information. Making a list of questions to ask yourself as a standardized guideline should provide you with a model that allows you to predict and plan how much time you need and want to dedicate to your competitive research.”
Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
5. Focus on What Motivates You
“Does monitoring your competition inspire you and give you great ideas? Great! Do it more often. Does it make you feel discouraged? Limit it, and focus on your own brand instead. It’s really that simple for me. Your motivation, passion and drive are the most important elements of your success, so focus on activities that feed them, and limit activities that drain them.”
Amine Rahal, Little Dragon Media
6. Create an 80/20 Rule
“It can be tough to balance the time you spend working on your own projects and studying the competition since both are extremely important. My rule is simple: spend 80% of my time actually working and making progress and spend 20% of my time researching competitors. This way, I’m not out of the loop, but I’m also not lagging behind.”
Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy
7. Learn From Others
“Evaluate your personal brand based on a cursory look at the competition. If you think yours is up to snuff, then monitoring the competition shouldn’t take up that much of your time. If you feel that a lot of work is in order, pay more attention, and see what you can learn from those around you.”
8. Use Analysis Tools, and Check Them Monthly
“I usually check my competition on a monthly basis to see what new campaigns they’ve launched, what market shifts may have occurred or how they’re complying with certain regulations. Checking on your competition on a daily basis is usually counterproductive because you want to be creating your own unique business.”
Shu Saito, Godai Soaps
9. Create Google Alerts
“Creating Google Alerts for your competition is a good way to monitor their activity without spending too much time searching the web and browsing profiles. You’ll get a Google Alert anytime they post something or are mentioned on the web, and you can quickly check it out instead of taking up too much time doing the digging yourself.”
John Turner, SeedProd LLC
10. Pick a Top Five
“To avoid spending too much time monitoring the competition, pick a top five. Choose only five of your biggest competitors or your biggest inspirations, and just check in on what they’re doing. This way, you’ll only be watching five relevant personal brands instead of surfing the web and checking out everybody.”
11. Don’t Bother Monitoring Your Competition
“When it comes to personal branding, the vast majority of people who spend time on it are doing it wrong, so why would you waste time monitoring them? Ask yourself: Is the competition experiencing significant growth/success as a direct result of their branding? Usually, the answer is no. Assuming it’s no, budget your time exclusively on creating content and finding distribution for it.”
Brandon Harris, NuMedia