Who is your competition? Everyone in every niche has a competitor. Even if you don’t have someone in your niche that offers the same products / services / information as you do, there’s always someone you compete with in search engine rankings for your keywords. Know who they are.
What makes them a competitor? Are they offering the same things you are to the same audience, are they competing with you for the same keywords, or are they a friend that you compete with for fun?
How do they describe what makes them unique? What words and tone of voice are they using to convey what they do? How does their description differ from yours? Do you need to adjust your branding to make your description more appealing to your audience than theirs is?
What do they offer? What services, products, and information do they offer to their audience? Do they offer anything you don’t? How can you adjust your branding accordingly so what they offer seems outdated, inferior, or irrelevant?
Do they charge for what they offer? If so, how does their pricing compare to yours? Do you need to tweak your brand to look more / less expensive than what they offer, or look like a better value for the money?
Are they marketing to the same audience as you? If it appears they’re marketing to a different audience, you might need to re-evaluate whom your audience really is.
What are they better at than you? Take an objective look at their business, their services, and their brand. What do they do better than you? How will that affect your branding? Do you need to compensate for that weakness, or display it proudly?
What are you better at than them? Which of your strengths can you emphasize in your branding to give yourself a competitive advantage?
What colors do they use in their brand? Pay attention to the colors your competitors are using. If they’re all using similar color schemes, it could be because your audience prefers those colors. You also want to make sure you don’t use the exact same colors as a competitor and confuse your audience about who’s who.
What kind of Internet marketing presence do they have? Do they seem to be everywhere, or do they barely have a functional website? Does that make it easier for you to launch your brand online, or more challenging?
How active are they in promoting their brand? Is their brand a household name in your industry, or has nobody heard of them? How can you position your brand as the leader in your niche?
Does your niche have a national or regional trade association? Are they a member? Trade associations are great sources of research on your niche. Many of them have online membership databases that let you view the websites for each member, giving you a wider sampling of data.
What is their value proposition? Is the value they provide their audience obvious, or is it difficult to find? Can you do a better job of conveying value to the same audience with your brand?
What are they really selling? Just like you, what they offer and what their audience really wants may be two different things. Does it look like they understand this point, or is there an opportunity for your brand to outshine them in this area?
How strong is their relationship with their audience? Is their audience highly engaged with them, or is there an opportunity for your brand to take the top spot in their audience’s mind?
What emotional need do they fill for their audience? Are they satisfying the core need their audience has, or is there room for your brand to provide a higher level of satisfaction?