Blogging Strategy: SWOT Analysis
The Art of War is one of the oldest and most famous studies about strategy. It was written by Sun Tzu, a Chinese general, and below you will find one of the most important points on the book:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Having a clear understanding of both internal and external factors is essential for a successful strategy, be it military strategy, business strategy or blogging strategy. The SWOT analysis is a simple yet effective tool for understanding those factors. It will highlight the Strengths and Weaknesses (internal) as well as the Opportunities and Threats (external) for a certain company or project.
Strengths: the first step when performing the SWOT analysis is to define your strengths. If you are not sure about those, just ask yourself some questions, including: “What makes my blog unique?”, “What compliments have it received from readers?, “What articles were linked from other bloggers and why?”.
Example of blogging strengths:
- expertise around a certain topic
- web designing skills
- creativity or innovative ideas
- a network of influential people
Weaknesses: once identified the strengths you will list the weaknesses of your blog. Weaknesses can emerge from problems that you faced over the past, for instance if you messed your blog database and lost some data your programming skills could be considered a weakness. Alternatively you can also think about competencies or areas that could be improved.
Example of blogging weaknesses:
- lack of technical knowledge (i.e. html, PHP, databases)
- lack of blogging knowledge (i.e. pings, trackbacks)
- poor writing skills
- poor online marketing skills
Opportunities: after analysing the internal factors you will need to tap the external environment, which comprehends other bloggers, websites, readers and pretty much everything that is not under your control. Opportunities usually emerge from changes, therefore you need to pay attention to what could possibly change in the near future and how your blog could benefit from that.
Examples of blogging opportunities:
- joining a blog network
- joining an advertising network
- creating a new meme
- exploiting a new niche
- leveraging a new service
Threats: the final step on the SWOT analysis is the evaluation of possible threats. The threats can appear either from external changes or from internal weaknesses that have not been protected.
Examples of blogging threats:
- technical problems (i.e. server downtime, loss of data)
- your topic becomes obsolete
- SEO problems (i.e. Google drops your blog)
- lack of time to blog
The SWOT analysis will give you a clear understanding of the internal and external factors affecting your blog. Once the evaluation is performed you will be able to focus on your strengths, improve the weaknesses, benefit from external opportunities and protect yourself from possible threats.
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15 Responses to “Blogging Strategy: SWOT Analysis”
the big challenge that we’ve witnessed over the years is this: people seem to focus on the SWOT during strategic planning, however, during the rest of the year, they focus solely on the S and O and leave out the weaknesses and threats. it’s as though they want to ignore or suppress comments or observations which are ‘negative’ in nature. the net result of focusing only on the S’s and O’s and that’s what they end up with.. a So So business.
for more on this concept see http://www.davidmcorbin.wordpress.com. i’d love to see your comments.
I like to combine SWOT and Porters five forces, by doing this things like threat of new entrants become threats worth considering. While innovation or subject matter knowledge can be a strength.
Niches are opportunities, things like SEO skills are “Also have skills” for anyone operating on the web. What was once a unique skill, now SEO is a skill for all blogers.
Strengths become things like determination, passion and unique desirable perspective.
SWOT is one of management method that is applied in blogging.
Mike Morrison – SWOT and business skills
The principles of SWOT to a blog are sound sense, a Blog after all is a form of store front.
However most writers on SWOT look at factors like Strengths and opportunities in the context of what is unique to a given individual or organisation, rather the the ‘whole world’ of blogging. For example:
# exploiting a new niche
# leveraging a new service
these are only opportunities if they are a potential strength to you and others do not have an advantage over you – money, resources, skills etc.
The more unique your offer the better you will stand the test of time – just look at the many, many SEO blog sites – all copying from others – sure in time the market will flatten out – the race is how of the 1000s can get seen by the most the fastest –
having a USP such as SEO in a particular market or niche is a strength – as you build your name so you build your following – specialise!
Thanks for starting the debate.
0fThank’s.4i I compleatly agree with last post. ahw
When I started out blogging on TechBuzz, I didn’t even have a wildest Idea of SEO. I simple ignored the style factor, but lately, I have realized that style means everything (atleast in attracting readers)
Down Time is yet another reason, Last year I bought a cheap webhost for 20$ / year!!
He put me down for almost 1 week.. My lost nearly 200 readers 🙁
Luckily! I have a better host now. Nice post Daniel!
It is nice to see that more bloggers pay attention to Ã¢â‚¬Å“traditionalÃ¢â‚¬Â marketing methods that have been working successfully for a long time, so congratulations on approaching this subject!
As it has been said above, swot analysis is great instrument that can be ported to blogging activity.
I have written myself 2 articles about why this is useful for blogs and how important it is for making long-term decisions. You may check it out if you have the time.
Lars, I agree with your point. The SWOT analysis must be precise, and it must be carried only there are defined objectives and goals.
Jason, thanks for the nice words.
It’s definitely nice to see a traditional business approach applied to blogging!
The SWOT analysis is a powerful thing when used correctly. Good job Daniel!
What a coincidence! Just these days in my marketing class I am doing a SWOT analysis on a local company, so it’s a little coincidental for me that you decided to write an article about it here.
I agree that the principles of a SWOT analysis can be ported over to blogs, and if you are able to do a thorough and well thought through analysis. One possible danger though, is the fact that most bloggers are very passionate about their own blogs, and might have a hard time seeing the realistic facts when it comes to weaknesses, and on the other end overrate the strengths and opportunities.
For a SWOT to be a valuable tool it is crucial that it is done in an accurate and precise way, or else it will be of no value to you. Just thought I’d point that out 🙂
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