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Keeping a close eye on your competitors is something that most businesses do regularly. You can’t afford to operate your website in a vacuum. You need to stay on top of new developments in marketing, the best strategies to attract new customers and you need to stay abreast of what your competitors are doing.

Knowing the type of content competitors are producing and how they are using it to generate business can help you be more strategic with content development and stay one step ahead of your major competition.

Here are 10 things that your competitors can teach you about content:

What not to do:

Performing competitive analysis can teach you a lot about what not to do with your content. It can help you eliminate content ideas and strategies and help you become more focused on content that will provide your customers with more value.

Untapped opportunities:

Competitive analysis gives you the chance to identify untapped opportunities and come up with new content ideas you may have missed internally.

Keyword focus:

Do your competitors have a higher search ranking than you? Perform an SEO audit on their site, identify the keywords they are using and make note of how they are integrating them into their content.

How to differentiate:

Studying your competitors’ content can help you gain a more detailed understanding of their business. This can help you refine and develop content that helps you better communicate what makes you different (and better!) than other companies in your industry.

Where to publish:

Where do your competitors publish content online? Do they have a blog? A resource section on their website? Where do they publish offsite? Which third party content sites do they use to publish content? You always want to be where your competitors are.

When to publish:

Timing plays an important role when publishing content online. To ensure your content reaches the biggest audience possible, you need to publish when your customers are online. Take note of the days and times your competitors post content.

Topics that resonate with your customers:

Which topics and content create the most engagement on your competitors’ blogs and social media feeds? Are there topics that you overlooked or could write more about on your blog? Dig deeper into the archives of their content to see if there’s a topic you can revamp and offer a new spin on.

How to use content to fill your social media feeds:

Do your competitors have more followers than you? Do they get more engagement? Study how they use content to fill their social feeds. Do they use facts, stats, humor and questions? How can you use their approach to your advantage?

Effective strategies to create content:

Do your competitors have someone creating content internally? Do they use one or more freelance writers? Can you take a cue from their actions?

How to re-purpose content in creative ways:

You don’t always have to recreate the wheel each time you create new content. Repurposed content is an effective way to get more use out of a piece of content, and if you are struggling to come up with ideas how to use your content, your competitors may be able to spark your imagination.

Here’s a Timely Example of putting this into practice…

Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update this past April is a great example of what your competitors can teach you. If the competition isn’t mobile-friendly (and you aren’t either) it’s an opportunity to get a ranking boost and knock them out of the search listings by being the first to go mobile.

Google’s Panda 4.2 has also started to roll out this month. Are you seeing any peaks and valleys in traffic or rankings? Use this information to your advantage. Continue to provide top-quality content that users want to read and share, and you’ll continue to see better rankings and more qualified traffic to your site.

How often do you perform competitive research? Do you use your competitors to get content ideas? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

By Felipe Rinaldi

Felipe is an entrepreneur, graphic designer and web developer. Born in Brazil, moved to Canada in 2007, where he now helps Toronto based marketing companies with their development projects.

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