Learning has no age bar. In the world of content marketing, the same theory could be applied. You may be an original thinker, but there’s no harm to learn from competitors!
Why is it important to know your competitors?
Yes, you read it right. Competitors. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy competition, and if a competition imparts mutual knowledge, then we should welcome it with an open heart.
If you think this is a negative thing, then it’s time you change your thoughts. You should not have to place yourself in the exact shoes, but you can always maintain your knowledge sharp by understanding your competition. Try to analyze who are your competitors and how they are smelling the success. Observe what they do on their social media profiles, what updates do they make on their websites and blogs, and apply the same and improvise it in your strategy.
Below we would talk about some of the significant lessons of learning from competitors that will give your business a professional edge.
1. Creating Valuable and Relevant Content
It is futile to waste your precious time creating content that has numerous loopholes and gaps. So in this case, when you run short of content ideas, there’s absolutely no shame in studying your competitor’s content. Rather it can help you gain insights into the trending topics around you. To maintain this relevancy and fill with a current story in your content, get to grips with Newsjacking. Newsjacking is a common trend and a useful tactic to tap into the relevant and hot topics.
Social Media giants like Facebook and Twitter are flooded with these kinds of trending topics. You just need to skim through the trending news flashing by. By creating quality content on topics that are already garnering lots of engagement, you automatically extend your reach and build more audience. However, you have to be judicious enough while discerning the trending topics. Your audience will be more welcoming if you publish a content on a new galaxy discovered in the space, or Google’s latest algorithm, rather than a brutal terrorist attack and shooting.
As per the renowned brand Woolworths Ltd, the backlash to a content which is ethically and morally wrong can be incredibly brutal and fast.
2. Improving your Social Media Skills
When it comes to handling social media profiles, many companies take their eyes off the ball. Whereas maintaining the social media pages, reverting to the customer comments there, fall under the utmost etiquette. But unfortunately many companies fail to live up to the expectations of their customers as far as customer service is concerned.
Observe how fast and agile your competitors are on their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages while responding to customer queries and comments. See how effectively they maintain the brand engagement on the pages. You can implement the same insight and tactics to manage your customer service strategy as well.
3. Adding Personal touch in your Content
Content Marketing is all about a human touch. Most often the mechanical approach in the marketing pitch turns off potential customers. After all, people expect to connect, chat, engage and express with a real person and not a robot. Scripted and generic responses on your website that are dry and emotionless will immediately put your customers to sleep.
On the other hand, instilling a little personality into your content can go a long way. It will keep the conversation alive with your readers. Writing content that emotes personality can be a little precarious, but if you follow the below tricks, you can reap more benefits than your competitors.
- Add humor to your responses
- Take a story-telling approach
- Make fun of yourself
- Ask questions
4. Embracing Visual Techniques
It is more likely to implement visual contents like Images, Videos, Infographics, and Motion Graphics, to generate higher engagement than plain text. Watch out for the visual techniques your competitors have already adopted. Analyze, improvise and apply in your content marketing plan. Top brands like Red Bull, Coke, Lego, etc., have embraced visual content marketing since long and have seen phenomenal success.
It has been way easier now to create a high-quality video or photograph than it was two years back. Most of the iPhones are equipped with 4k video cameras, and there are myriads of smartphones with the ability to record high definition videos. So even if you do not have time to sit and create a professional visual content, just go around and take some nice shots and publish in your content. Nobody is bothered whether you publish a pro visual content or an amateurish one. What matters is the visual/video itself. Visuals add value to your content and help in getting across your message to your target audience in a fun way.
5. Showcasing Case Studies in Website
You would see, most of your competitors have showcased excellent case studies on their website. These days, case studies are immensely worthwhile from a content marketing perspective. Gone are the days of Yelp, Zomato and Glassdoor where you find ten negative reviews for a single positive review. How can your potential customer then judge and take a decision? They want to know exactly how your offerings could benefit them, and how you can add value to their business. By curating your case studies and concrete examples, you give them a better chance to choose you over the others.
6. Learn to create a Content Calendar
Consistency and regular presence are the pivotal factors to a successful content marketing campaign. To achieve this, proper planning and scheduling of regular posts are required. This ensures your business is staying fresh in the minds of your customers. If your competitor happens to be a master of this game, then keep a strong eye on their publishing schedule. How frequently do they publish new content? What kind of contents work best for them? Analyze these in full details. And then, create your own Content Calendar. A proper Content Calendar can help plan in advance and manage your content publication. Also planning your content in advance keeps you in a better position to tap your resources efficiently. As your customers keep on looking forward to your next post. And without a calendar or a schedule, it is more likely to fall out of the habit of a regular post, engagement, and blogs. This not only diminishes your reputation, the number of views and shares, but also your online image.
7. Re-purpose Content
Let’s face it. There are several occasions when we fall short for new ideas for our content. What should we do then? Sit back and ponder over it? Of course not! Dip into the competitors’ blogs whenever short on ideas. Take a look at the content your competitors have published. Take some ideas and inspiration and re-purpose the content with your own quirky twist. Use the content and turn it into a powerful piece of content.
But remember, duplicating a content is a strict no-no. It is not only massively unprofessional, but also harmful from SEO perspective. Google is very strict in its algorithms about content duplicity and can take severe measures against replicated content. Many offenders have already seen their search engine visibility plummet substantially.
8. Entertaining your Audience
Before you start creating any content, ask yourself, what aspects you want the content to accomplish! Do you want just to educate your target audience? Do you want just to make them aware of your existence? Or, do you want them to read your content out of interest, enjoy it, get entertained and then share the same with their acquaintances? Well, I believe it should always be the third option for you! So that being said if you do not have a set purpose in your mind, then you are wasting time by creating contents just for the sake of it.
The best content always educates, provides value, as well as entertains the audience. Hence it gets praised and shared. See the works of your competitors. If they are doing good in this then, of course, they have worked hard for it. Surely they are putting some entertainment factor in their writings which is why the contents are getting praised. Try the same. Put an entertainment element in your contents and see the magic happen!
9. Focus on Quality over Quantity
With the gradual evolution of SEO, quality is revered over quantity these days. The amount of content has become less important, and the quality quotient of any content is prioritized now. There is so much of information and Big Data that you have to be really efficient and coherent to come up with something that is well researched and insightful. Only then your content will find a larger audience who would willingly take the initiative to spread it all across the Internet.
If people are clicking in the direction of your competitor’s content, then it is evident that they have higher quality content than you. Start understanding this and get started now.
10. Growing your Network
You have been putting the same efforts and labor in your content marketing strategy as your competitor, but still, your competitor has more customer base than you. And why is that? Because while putting your efforts to create a successful content marketing campaign, you have overlooked the absolute need of a loyal network. Steady and loyal customers can be great brand advocates and act as influencers. Because people prefer word of mouth and personal recommendations over reviews.
So try to build a steady network of customers who would prove to be useful for broadcasting your content to the wider audiences. And who can deny the equation. More the word of mouth, the bigger the number of subscribers.
Don’t forget to share your views and comments as to which are those lessons that you have learned from your competitors!
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