Why Expert Writers Always Spy On Competitors' Business Blogs

January 5, 2018

by Kelly Landers

When’s the last time you peeked your head out to see what the neighbors next door, kitty-corner and across the street were doing? Perhaps one’s mowing the lawn and someone else down the block is tossing back an ice-cold tea and relaxing on a porch swing. While you may not be in direct competition with your neighbors, it’s still important to check in from time to time in order to keep up with the goings-on and gossip of the neighborhood – and the same goes for creating business blogs.

Successful content development strategies require you to know the who’s who of your industry. Who’s coming and who’s going? Who’s making waves and who’s putting up fences? Getting to know your competition will help you effectively compete in the e-commerce landscape. Here are a few key steps all expert writers take to turn the heat up on the competition.

1. Expert Writers Conduct Simple Searches

By now, you probably have a few main keywords you’re trying to rank for on search engines. Use this list to your advantage. For example, say you’re a retail site that exclusively sells vacuum cleaners and you’re trying to target allergy sufferers. Type “vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters” into a search engine and see which websites pop up first. Most – if not all – of these sites are your competition, as they’re vying for the same keyword.

You’ll also want to note the number of pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements that appear in the search to gauge how competitive that particular keyword is. If you find little to none, you may have an easier time achieving higher rankings among the competition, but fewer people will come across your site because of the low keyword search volume.

2. Expert Writers Uncover All Their Competitors

Direct competitors are easy to define, because they offer an almost identical product or service. For instance, a treadmill manufacturer directly competes with other treadmill manufacturers. Alternative competitors in the treadmill marketplace may be manufacturers of similar workout equipment, like rebound trampolines, ellipticals or exercise bikes. Last, but not least, third-level competitors may offer relevant, yet not directly related products, such as energy drinks, workout clothing and sports gear.

Take some time to become even more familiar with your industry. Read blogs from industry leaders, follow relevant businesses on social media and engage in online forums. Familiarizing yourself with key players will help you uncover the competitors you’re able to compete with and those that may not be worth the extra effort.

3. Expert Writers Spy On The Competition Using Blog Metrics

You may be sitting on a gold mine of data ­­and not even know it. Monitoring tools can automatically collect a wide range of valuable information, but if you aren’t utilizing any online tools right now, you may be missing out on quality data.

Take Google Keyword Planner, for example. Available through Google AdWords, Keyword Planner can be used to find keywords that rank high in search results for your competition. If you have a competitor in mind, simply select a landing page from their site and input the seed URL into Keyword Planner to draw out keywords. You can then use these keywords in your own blog posts to begin working your way up the search results.

4. Expert Writers Decrypt Their Competitors’ Content Marketing Strategy

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Once you’ve become familiar with who your competitors are, it’s time to decode their content marketing strategy. Visit their social media channels, download an ebook and check out their blog. Ask yourself: what are they doing, and is it working for them?

Note the average length of each blog post, the frequency of posting, what they write about and the style they use. Next, see if they share each post to social media and uncover how they engage with their audience. Now that you have a good feel for their content marketing strategy, take a closer look at what makes their content successful – or not. Is there a certain topic that garners a lot of engagement? What types of pieces are shared most often? The more you dig up on your competitors’ business blogs, the better you’ll be able to compete for top SERP rankings with targeted blog content.

5. Expert Writers Devise a Similar, Yet Different, Content Development Plan

You’ve uncovered all your competitors, decoded their marketing content and have a fairly solid understanding of their strategy. Now, it’s your turn. Take the topics you’ve uncovered and tackle them from a different angle. Browse the comments section to see if there’s important info your competition left out and write a blog post addressing that, offer a fresh take on a common subject or write a step-by-step guide – the options are endless. Remember: when crafting your own content development strategy, you have to find ways to stand out from the competition while delivering high-quality content that your audience actually wants to read.

Great content filled with SEO-friendly keywords can be difficult to produce on a consistent schedule. If you find yourself falling behind, it may be time to turn to Virtucom Group’s monthly blogging subscription packages. We’ll come up with fresh topics on a regular basis to help your business blog beat out the competition, month after month.

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