How Should you Research your Competition?

researching your competitionThese days, everyone’s a publisher.

Have you ever looked at your competition’s website or blog? Have you ever tried to gage their social media strategy? How did it compare to your inbound marketing efforts?

Maybe they’re doing nothing at all. No blog. No social media presence.

If this is the case, you still have to stand out from the mass amount of content online. But you can create content that distinguishes itself from the rest.

Give 'em What They Want

By giving your audience content they want, you help establish yourself as the brand expert. Especially if your competition doesn’t produce any content of value.

What looks better to a customer? The company that has no presence and offers no help? Or the company that provides beneficial information in an appealing way?

Maybe your opposition has a heavy online presence. That’s where researching your competition to stand out comes into play.

Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Don’t copy your competition.

Figure out where they are lacking (or what they aren’t doing yet) and start providing it.

There is no generic strategy for competitive research. The goal here is to figure out what they’re doing to repurpose it into your own and make it better.

It’s important to distinguish who you are contending with online. It may or may not be the same as your physical or local competitors.

Start by taking note of their campaign’s tone. Do they seem to be changing direction often? That might imply failure. Slight and sparse changes generally mean success.

Strategy

Pay attention to their social media strategy.

How often do they respond to customers? How active are they in posting, and where are they posting?

From there, narrow down what keywords they are using. Pin point what language they use and the important words they are using to target customers.

Compare yourself with what you’ve found. How do they rank in Google compared to you? What are the keywords you’ve compiled and how are they different from the keywords you use?

Does your website visually stack up to theirs? Are you using the same acquisition techniques to drive traffic to your website?

If your competition has a content strategy, figure out what is working for them and isn’t. Look for content that gains plenty of shares, comments and likes. Notice how often they post and what they are posting about.

Tools

It’s become increasingly difficult to survive online. Without monitoring yourself and those you’re up against, it’s impossible to know what you need to do to succeed.

Search Engine Optimization is a great tool to use in researching you competition, but we’ll get more into the specifics of SEO later in its own blog series.

Google alerts is a basic tool you can use to get started monitoring the competition and specific phrases. RSS feeds are a great way to subscribe to track competitor’s blogs without having to frequent them individually.

There is a lot to learn, but the best starting point is finding brands you can learn from and paying close attention.

 

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