The online space is becoming saturated with businesses and entrepreneurs trying to learn every trick in the book to stand out from the crowd. If you are trying to gain traction with your own business, then you already know how difficult it is to be “seen” by your potential clients and customers. Learning about SEO, content marketing, content creation, and website development can become a huge learning curve and take precious time away from more important aspects of your business if you are technologically handicapped.
Hopefully this article can break down just one small strategy for you to implement to produce better content and become more visible online. Reverse engineering a competitor’s content marketing means you are going to check out their final product and work backwards to determine how they ended up getting there. With that information, you can essentially “copy” their blueprint to set up your own content in a way that will gain followers and compete better with those in the same niche or industry as you.
Remember, the key is to copy the general idea of their methods, but to still be original in your own thoughts and creative abilities. With that said, here are five steps to reverse engineer your competitors content marketing plan.
Know your competitors.
Hop online and start to Google keywords that your potential clients would search for. Discard websites that are news, chain companies, retailers that offer a variety of products, and large established businesses like Amazon. These competitors are not on an equal playing field as you. Once you have picked three sites that seem to offer similar services/products as you, skim through their websites and start to take notes.
Search keywords and backlinks.
Pay attention to the keywords used on the website. If your competitor is receiving a lot of hits online, they are probably using the right words to attract their target audience. Take note of these. Using keyword research tools effectively can help you pinpoint what keywords you should target based on overall competition & average monthly search volume. In addition to keywords, you want to pay attention to backlinks.
Backlinks refer to links on a website that send the viewer to another site, hopefully yours. When another website hyperlinks to your website (and that website is established and reliable), your website is rewarded with higher search engine rankings. People used to receive good rankings when they commented on blogs using their links; however, search engines caught on and that no longer works. Also, you want to make sure not to advertise your website link on a web directory that is full of spammy links. That could hurt your rankings more than help them.
When it comes to your competitors site, there are ways to find out where the backlinks are coming from. One such website that helps do this is Moz (www.moz.com). Another one is Majestic (www.majestic.com). You can obtain a small amount of information by visiting these sites, or you can sign up for a free trial and get more in-depth information on what websites are referring others to your competitors. Then you can look at building relationships with these sites so you can obtain backlinks as well.
Once you have written down who your competitors are, what keywords they are using, and where they are getting backlinks from, then you can analyze their content. You want to see which pieces of content are receiving the most attention. What general topics are they discussing that others enjoy reading about? How long are the articles they publish? How often are they pushing out content and do you notice a trend if some days are more popular than others? Their posting habits provide a template to guide you.
Subscribe and follow.
Need to find out more about your competitors marketing methods? Become a subscriber yourself. Sign up for their offers, e-mails, and maybe even pay for their services if you feel so inclined. You will learn exactly how they operate when it comes to the types of freebies their clients sign up for, and what kind of content and how often they are emailing their subscribers. Paying for a program of theirs may offer insightful information to help you shape something even better for your clients.
Lastly, take all of your newfound knowledge and go create your content. Use your competitor’s success as a guide to your own. Remember, it’s not about copying what they are doing, but about using their experience to your benefit and creating something similar in form but unique to your own business. When done effectively, you can drive targeted traffic with less trial & error.
Owning an online business can be overwhelming at times when it comes to all the nitty gritty details. Whether you decide to hire someone else to take over these tasks or you decide to learn more about them on your own, hopefully this quick read gave you the information to get you started in the right direction. Happy reverse engineering!