How Your Competitors’ Content Can Influence Your Content

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It can be a challenge to develop new content ideas that are unique, fresh and can bring your business to the forefront of your audience’s attention. Even if you have a team who can spend days brainstorming and planning a comprehensive strategy, sometimes it feels like the well has dried up and you have nothing new to offer your customers.  So, what can you do? Look at the content your competitors are producing. Yes, you read that correctly! Here are a few ways you can leverage your competitor’s content to craft up something better.  And let’s be clear – we are not suggesting you copy what they are writing or doing, but simply, use it for inspiration for your own, unique content.

What’s Missing?

This may seem counter-intuitive, to read through what your competitors are saying to get inspired for your own content – but it’s not! Explore their website, read their blogs and their resources – and as you go through each piece of content, ask yourself, “What is missing?” If you can identify some areas where your competition is lacking content or answers to key questions, then there you have it! You can fill the gap with your very own content and fill the need of customers seeking those answers.

Take a Different Approach

Another question to ask yourself as you’re reading through their content is, do you agree with what they are saying? Whether your answer is yes or no, take this as an opportunity to take a different stance on the topic. Play Devil’s advocate and try to spark an interesting debate about the topic – just be sure to have the information and stats to back up your argument. For example, there are numerous blogs out there about the benefits of posting to social at certain times of the day – while we agree to an extent, we thought that we would argue the opposite – that the time you post to social doesn’t really matter for some platforms. A healthy debate never hurt anyone and it’s a great way to drive engagement if you can get people to talk about it and take sides.

Make It Better

This may seem like a difficult task to begin with – if your competitor already has a great piece of content out there, how can you really make it better. Their information is accurate, they make a good point and the content is fairly engaging. Well, how does it look? Is it designed well? Could you make it something interactive? Could you make it easier for people to read, share and engage with? Obviously, you’ll create the content from scratch, but the overall idea is very similar. But, what will really set your content apart is the fact that it has a fresh design and a unique user-experience unlike your competitor.

View their Social Profiles

Okay, now that you’ve gone through their website along with their resources and blogs, it’s time to check out their social media profiles. Sift through their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and see what their customers (your potential new customers) are asking! Use those questions as a springboard for content for your site. If your potential customers have questions and are asking about them on social media, you best believe they probably are searching for answers on the web. If you can create content that answers that question, you have the chance to be found and possibly acquire a new customer! Also, you can see which of their posts seem to get a lot of interaction. Did one topic get a lot of likes or comments? Then use that topic as a springboard for the above questions (is something missing, can you take a different approach or can you make it better).

It’s Not Guaranteed

Let’s just be clear and say that even though you have similar target audiences – just because you take a piece of their content as a starting point for your own content, it’s not guaranteed that your content will go viral or do as well as theirs did. This is just our friendly disclaimer that sometimes content does well one week and not so well the next week. It’s a mix of factors that affect the success of content (we will discuss that at a later date). Remember – content is a long-term game. You can’t expect results overnight, but keep writing and the results will come.

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Vicky Simpson

Director of Content Strategy
Vicky Simpson is the Director of Content Strategy at Customer Magnetism. Her days are filled with brainstorms, content creation and promotion. When she's not being creative for CM, she is baking cakes or walking her dog!

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