In the internet age we live in, monitoring the competition has never been easier. What used to be an undertaking more akin to international espionage can now be as simple as clicking the “follow” button.
But, this is a two-way street. It’s just as easy for your competition to keep tabs on your business as it is for you to keep tabs on them. So, how can you use the tools at your disposal to monitor better than your competition?
To monitor better than your competition, you need to have a concrete goal, a reason for monitoring in the first place. While monitoring can be used for many reasons, today we’ll focus on competitive monitoring for the purpose of generating content ideas.
Competitive Research vs. Competitive Monitoring
Before we delve into the best way to use competitive monitoring to generate content ideas, we must establish the difference between competitive monitoring and research.
Competitive research is typically an event, meaning you are undertaking the research for a specific purpose and the research has a defined end-point. On the other hand, competitive monitoring is an ongoing process. You might perform competitive research quarterly or monthly, but you probably aren’t performing competitive research every single day. Why not? It’s time-consuming, and you have your own business to focus on. However, competitive monitoring can occur daily, as it can be as simple as checking your social media feeds.
Why to Monitor for Content Ideas
Keep in mind, monitoring your competition for content ideas does not mean copying their content in any way. You are monitoring for ideas, inspiration, and understanding.
When you’re keeping an eye on the competition’s content, you’re getting invaluable insights into what they think is important and who exactly they’re targeting. Your own understanding and perspective on your target market becomes more focused. At Right Intel, we are constantly refining our approach and position as we see how prospects react to our own and competitive content.
What to Monitor for Content Ideas
In order to effectively monitor your competition for content ideas, it’s important to know what to look at. You can start by watching your competitors’ RSS feeds and social outlets and use tools like right Intel to get more sophisticated in your monitoring. As you set up your monitoring, here are three things to look out for.
First, see if your competition is promoting third party content, i.e. content from sources other than their blog and owned outlets. This allows you to see who they see as trusted sources of information. Could their trusted sources be your trusted sources?
Second, monitoring social channels allows you to absorb what tone, language, and syntax your competition is using to communicate with their target. Is it similar to the language you use? Does it gain a better, worse, or same response from the audience as the tone you utilize in your posts? With Right Intel being a SaaS offering, we watch to see if competitors pitch themselves to be a tool, platform, software, or engine.
Third, by monitoring social channels, you are given an immediate assessment of the success of the post in question. Keeping an eye on social triggers, like comments, likes, and other social activity taking place on the post, means you’re able to see what content is resonating better with customers. In a way, you can let competitors do some A/B testing for you.
What to Do With Gleaned Ideas
The content you create based on the knowledge you glean from the competition is only limited to your imagination. Some options for content are:
- Response to their position
- Expanded insight
- Round-up post featuring competitors’ curated content
The type of content you create will vary depending on what inspired you in the first place. It may not even be directly related to the initial inspiration; maybe the competition created an awesome infographic that led you to have a light bulb go off in your head about a white paper you could create.
Monitoring the competition for content ideas does so much more for your company and brand than just create a source of inspiration. It allows you to more effectively take control of your target marketing with content that resonates with them.