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At this time of year many of us hunker down and hibernate – at least, we do in the Northern hemisphere and especially here in rainy old London.

This week I was laid low with a nasty bug that refuses to go away so I spent a lot of time doing what I often do when hunkering: I researched. Specifically, I researched my competitors in a potential niche I am working on and which has nothing to do with IM.

As looking to expand into new waters is also something many of you are doing right now, I am going to share with you the resources I used as so you get a roadmap – or at least some good ideas – to follow.

First of all, let’s look at how I spotted that niche in the first place. As you may already know, I’m an advocate of looking around in the real and print worlds as well as online for new ideas and I spotted this particular one by reading a round-up for forthcoming trends in 2017 in a Sunday supplement magazine.

Yep…I’d love to say I have some amazing piece of software or complicated process but that’s all it took to spark an idea. Then, of course, I started digging further to see if it was viable.

Before we move on to that, let’s look at how you can spot trends without leaving the comfort of that couch on which you are hopefully hunkering down…

One way is to not only read this but also download the 50 page pdf they’re offering in exchange for your email (I signed up and so far my inbox has not imploded):

Another favourite method of mine is to look at Pinterest’s most popular pins and boards:

As well as Amazon’s hot new releases:

And at Trendhunter:

Once you’ve decided on your product or niche, you need to look around at what your competitors are doing so you can optimize your site and do it better!

In this case, I started with SEMrush – there are paid options on this site but you can simply go and type in a competitor’s site address and watch as a huge amount of information is pulled up in front of you, including numbers for organic search, paid search and backlinks:

You also get to see the main organic search competitors so you can then go deeper into those if you wish.

Armed with the keywords you get from SEMrush, you can then enter those into Google search to find yet more competitors to spy on.

I am a huge fan of the Moz tools which allow you to gather yet more invaluable information including keywords and backlinks. They are all listed here and the no cost options will be more than enough to get you started and/or deciding that a niche is worth your while:

So what did I do with all the information I gathered using these tools? Simple – I refined my niche based on the keyword results which showed me that drilling down even deeper to a certain sub-niche would be a wise move.

I now know who my main competitors are and, armed with this, I went off to Amazon to trawl through reviews of books in this niche and make notes on what people liked and, more importantly, what they didn’t like so my content and products will be even better.

In the coming week, I will start to work on my new site, content and relating products as well as social media campaigns all based on the information I got for no spend other than my time…

And it’s well worth yours to do so as well because this kind of research means the difference between success and failure for all marketers!

After all that, your TED talk this week is about something else we all need to do – it’s an uplifting and inspiring one on how to live passionately, whatever your age:

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