How to Stalk Your Competition
First, let me state rather STRONGLY, I am NOT suggesting that you copy what your “competitors” are doing. That is just not cool. Never. Ever.
I believe you should “stalk” your competition to be inspired, improve your writing skills, develop your personal skills, grow your blogging network, and gain more traffic.
By reviewing how your competition writes their contents may help you identify problems with your own writing. Is your content long enough, are you solving the right problem, is your content written to engage, is your content written to convert?
Perhaps you’re doing an article series on a particular topic and you see that they have something similar that would fit nicely with your content. There are two ways to use this information 1) develop your own content to complement the content you’ve already written or 2) link to their site in your article to “add value” to your reader. And… there is nothing wrong with doing both! When you link to a competitor’s site they should receive a pingback that a link exists on an external site. If they follow the pingback they will hopefully read your article and in turn perhaps one day the link back to you.
Maybe they are doing something that adds value to their content that you are not doing yet. For example, they are embedding a really cool YouTube video within their content to add value for their readers. If you are not using video yet this could be the kick in the butt to inspire you to get in front of the camera (get over “stage fright” and improve “public speaking” skills) and to learn video editing so you can also add value to your own readers. (And… make money too since you can monetize your YouTube videos with ads!)
If you are not part of a small blogging group (I recommend 20 or less) that are of bloggers with a similar niche, I highly recommend you start one so you can “network with your competitors.” If you have similar content then you will be adding value to your followers and your readers by giving them more resources covering topics they are interested in reading. Also, when you share other bloggers’ content on your social media (which is a GOOD THING), you are able to post more since you have more content to share. When this happens, NORMALLY it helps you grow your social media. Win Win.Benefits of stalking your competition. Video + easy to do steps. #BloggerScopes #GetMoreTrafficClick To Tweet
Again, reasons to “stalk” your competition:
- Be Inspired.
- Improve Your Writing.
- Develop Your Skills.
- Grow Your Blogging Network.
- Gain More Traffic.
How to Stalk Your Competition
Below are a few suggested ways to “stalk your competition”
Set up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a great way to find out what’s being written on other people sites that you might not even know exist. For example I have a Google alert set up for SEO audits. I do this to see what other people are writing, what value they’re giving to the readers, and if they are providing any templates our checklist. If other sites are providing their readers and clients value that I’m not offering mine, this information might be useful for me to be inspired to create my own templates or products to help my readers and my clients. You don’t have to look at the Google Alerts daily, just take the little bit of time each week to go through and see if anything catches your eye for inspiration.
Join their newsletter or use an RSS feed reader
Remember that junk email address that you set up for Google Alerts you can use that to join their newsletter to see what they’re posting for inspiration, or you can use an RSS feed reader such as feedly.com to catch the highlights to see if there’s anything that inspires you to write. It also allows you to see how often they are publishing content to their blog and how often they send out their newsletter. With this information you can read the post to see what you like and you don’t like. Are they posting more than you? If so, is their social growth growing steadily? If the answer is yes this could be one of the reasons for their social growth. And newsletter. Don’t forget to check out that newsletter to see how they are crafting theirs. Does the writing entice you to want to click on the link and read the article (assuming they are not giving away the farm)? What value are they offering their subcribers that you are not?
When you’re reading your post, be sure to check out to see how many times the article has been shared on social media. Take note of Which social networks have the most shares. If Pinterest has the most shares is it because their image is awesome or perhaps they’re in a social bartering group. These are things to take into consideration. Which articles have the most comments? Is the article written to engage the reader to encourage a conversation? If so how does this compare to the way you write? How fast is a competitor answer their comments? How engaging are they with the commenters? Is it a simple answer or do they go more in-depth to feel for the reader to feel like they have a one-on-one relationship with the author.
Is your competitor growing faster on social media than you are? Do you know? I suggest that you create a spreadsheet not only to track your own growth but also the growth of your competition.
- If they are growing faster can you figure out why?
- Which hashtags are they using on the social platforms?
- How often are they posting on a social media network?
- Which platform has the most growth and those that have the most interaction?
- What can you learn once you answer all these questions?
TIP: Track more than one competitor’s social growth and how much they post. Who is growing faster? Use this information when looking at organic growth too. Whose site is gaining more organic growth each month within the search engines?
See how they are engaging on Twitter
If your goal is to work with more brands and perhaps you should be stalking your competition who is working with those brands on Twitter. Make a private Twitter list of your competitors’ accounts, which will allow you to see how often they post, how interactive they are, and how and gave their followers are with them. Also, you’ll be able to see which brands are having conversations with your competitors. Are these brands offering products that you enjoy and like to work with also?
TIP: If you have Hootsuite you can get the same results by setting up your feed streams.
I love competitive research. I use the SEO software SEMrush.com as it allows me to see which terms my competitors which keyword phrases they rank for and to see how my articles same topic. If they are beating me this is the kick in the butt I need to go and prove my article and to remark it to try to grab better footing in the search engines.
See who is backlinking to their site
When you run a backlinks report you’re going to be able to see what other sites are linking to them. Are these signs that might include your links to? If so reach out and let them know that you have a similar topic that their readers might be interested in. What’s the worst they can say? No. If that’s the answer you haven’t lost anything
There are lots of online tools for you to do competitive research with, as I mentioned SEMrush.com is my favorite. There are other such as BuiltWith.com, Moz.com, SimilarWeb.com, Website.Grader.com, and WhatWPThemeIsThat.com.
Another Thing to Stalk…
Don’t forget to check out their actual site to see what products and services they are offering their readers that may inspire you to develop something similar.
- What are they offering when subscribers sign up for their newsletter?
- Be sure to check back next month to see if they are offering a different freebie to subscribers.
- Are they making money from products and services? If so, then you may want to consider developing your own products and / or services to offer to your site visitors as an additional source of income.
Again, researching your competitors is not intended for you to copy what they are doing but rather who learn from their content development and marketing skills to improve your own.
If you were a brick-and-mortar business you would be scoping out your competition. Of course Walmart knows what Target doing and vice versa. If you walk into Walmart they normally have two carts at the front with the same groceries and a sales receipt showing how the shopper saved by shopping at Walmart over the other store.
A little “friendly competition” never hurts. Right?!
What suggestions do you have that are not mentioned? Comment below.
How to Stalk Your Competition