So I want to start a company blog and I looked at my competition and noticed they are all educating the market about the software because its an emerging market which I agree with needs to be done. So how can we differentiate ourselves in an early adopter market?
Marketing Blog Bloggers Blogging
Step One: quit look for your competition for ideas. You aren't going to do anything innovative if you are watching the competition.
Step Two: Don't assume your customers know who the competition is (especially in an emerging market).
Step Three: Generate whatever content you would find useful. As you gain customers they will let you know (through constant support requests) what they need to know. Do your best to accurately, succinctly, thoroughly answer their questions in whatever medium is most appropriate (e.g. a screencast for show how to use a feature, a code snippet for an advanced user, etc.)
Be relevant. Be useful. Be interesting. Be concise. Be intriguing.
Try a gimmick like funny videos ('Will it Blend' on Youtube from BlendTec) or games/contests to to make the processing of information more fun fun.
It all depends on the niche in this case, and your brand. Just because every one else is doing it doesn't mean it is right for you. Take a deep look into your brand and you will find the answer there.
There are several ways to grow your presence online, blogs and content strategies are only a small part of what you can do. Again it all boils down to your niche and what you want for your brand.
A mental exercise that always helps me for this is picturing your company 10 years from now if it becomes wildly successful, you're looking at the site and everything else. What changed?
I don't know all details of this particular case, so assuming your competition is teaching some concepts for current and future clients, and your strategy requires you to steal this particular market from her, you should seek some common marketing tactics, like:
That being said, I advice to use a different strategy. Why to fight directly against a established competitor in his own game? Better to create a whole new one.
I don't know much about your domain or what it is that you are aiming at - so I'll give you generic idea to help you 'nail' down your differentiation strategy:
'Start with company blog' - so what?
A: That will help people gain more information about what we do (for example) - so what?
A: They will likely call us/email us to inquire more about what we offer - so what?
A: Higher chances of them buying our product - so what?
A: Would generate higher revenue and increase market share - so what?
A: That would enable us to be a market leader for that product and be a leading brand - so what?
A: Increased growth - so what? (well we've reached the end goal)
Now this need not be linear, you can branch out and so on. But here's the crux of it: This lays out explicitly what is the value that you are going to gain out of it and what will the end users gain. You have a few assumptions: e.g. above: if they call/email about the product it could translate to direct sales or the product indeed satisfies a market need that will motivate them to try/buy it -things you may need to validate/monitor continually to respond to changing market (if at all)
Now none of the above 'benefits' can be realized automagically - you'll need some extra initiatives like having an online portal, call center etc., and you will also be able to say who'd be the critical stakeholders to help you with that. You should be able to identify them once you know what outcomes you are expecting (asabove).
Now that should give you the things as to 'what to do create value' i.e., differentiate yourself. If you find this model doesn't really add any value (self review) you know you probably have to probe deeper to know what all to do to chalk out the 'differentiation' strategy...
This 'model' makes things more explicit at the same time probing deeper into what's in it for me (and other success critical stakeholders including end users/consumers etc.,)
Hope this helps...