The Other Guy: Using Competitor Research To Improve Your Content Strategy

The Other Guy: Using Competitor Research To Improve Your Content Strategy

Do you have a content strategy? I don’t mean a general plan about how often you will post, and how much. I mean a really solid, complete and comprehensive strategy in place that addresses all of the major concerns involved in running a blog.

A content strategy will plan not only when you post, but what those posts will contain. It will have possible themes, ways that it ties in with social media, types of content and how it can be tied to, or dominated by visuals. Most importantly, it will have an explanation of how such a strategy can help your blog grow, and in what time frame you want to begin to see progress.

Of course, progress could mean any number of things. Maybe you want greater consistent traffic to your blog itself. Perhaps you are more concerned with social media engagement and sharing. You could even be hoping to gain viral recognition as a goal, or to generate a real profit through passive means, such as affiliate marketing or PPC.

Whatever the case, a great way to strengthen your content strategy is to know what the other guy is doing. Competitor research will both show you what you are up against in terms of drawing public interest, and present you with some new ideas to implement on your own blog.

Use Competitor Research for Content Marketing Inspiration

There are several ways that you can use competitor research to begin to strengthen your content strategy. The first thing you should do is isolate your biggest contenders, and then figure out the biggest names. This will make up two different lists to check out, one that is more of a shining example of the industry’s biggest traffic generators, and the other who you are pitted against personally.

You should be able to find out the following details from each list, and use that to customize a more targeted and thorough strategy for yourself.

  • Theme Days: One of the popular methods that well known blogs (which are not news blogs, for example) gain exposure is by having theme days that help to brand them. But not all theme days are created equal, and you might have attempted this with lackluster results. The other guys might have stumbled upon a more successful method that could give you a spark of inspiration. Take some time to go over various blogs that do theme days, and then figure out what those successful ones have in common. Use this information to create one of your own that takes from their ideas, but firmly targets your own readership and their interests.
  • High Ranking Content Topics: Some topics are more read than others, we all know that. But with the changing tide of interest, it is usually style that remains consistent, not substance. For a look at what is currently popular, you only have to look at what is ranking high in traffic at other blogs. What posts are being shared the most? What comes up in a Google search? How many comments, or other proofs of engagement are there?
  • Find High Ranking Keywords: Just like content subjects, keywords are important. What is it that your competitors are ranking high in? What are they exploiting for their SEM and SEO? Find out what is pushing traffic their way, and then start trying to really nail those particular keywords home. You may find yourself getting some of their traffic.
  • Find Opportunities For Guest Blogging: This is a whole other tactic, but one you might wanna try. Go to another blog that is more successful than your own, and has a larger viewer base. Then ask them if they will take a guest post, making sure to give them a proper pitch. Guest posting is still a fantastic way to drive people to your blog, while offering valuable content and establishing you as an industry expert. You can end up with a wide array of new readers, many of whom will become dedicated followers of your blog using this tactic.
  • Discover Where They Are Lacking: Is there a topic in your industry that you know gets people’s blood up (or at least peaks their interest), and you don’t see it being properly addressed on another site? It is time to start filling in the gap and talking about what other people aren’t. This is a great way to create fresh posts on a topic that hasn’t been done to death. All while differentiating you from those other blogs and maybe poaching some of their readers.


Researching competitors is the perfect way to begin building a better, more solid content strategy for your own website. With this strategy in place, you will see your site beginning to grow. That is the first step towards real profitability, and we all want to monetize our blogs, right?

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By Jessy Troy

Jessy Troy is the social media enthusiast and writer tweeting as @JessyTroy


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