Ok, so maybe stealing is too strong of a word, but the great thing about digital marketing is you have access to so much data when putting together your own content strategy. A lot of this valuable data comes straight from your competitors. That data can help you make better decisions on your digital strategy, especially around what content to publish and how you can make it more successful.
Here are some examples of what I mean.
Getting Data Quick
There is a bunch of data you can get with very minimal effort that can help guide the sort of content you publish.
1. Most shared content
Knowing what content from your competitors is getting shared most across the different social networks will help you discover topics that could potentially be successful for you. This data is readily available from tools like socialcrawlytics.
If you export this data to excel you can quickly see:
– What type of content is getting shared the most
– What social networks are proving most successful for your competitors content
– If the URL structure contains information like “topic” or “category” you can filter to only look at these URLs and figure out what topics/categories are performing best for your competitors.
2. Most linked to content
Why not look at what content from your competitors is attracting the most links. This again provides you with some insights into what content types and topics may be working for your competitors. Using OpenSiteExplorer from Moz you can look at the top pages that have attracted external links.
This provides more data that will help you make the right decisions about the content you should produce for your own audience.
Scraping Your Own Data
Getting information like the above examples is great, but you can get even better data if you know how to retrieve it yourself. Using free tools like Import.io, kimono labs, OpenRefine and sharedcount you can start to gather real insights from what your competitors are doing.
For example, if I was a competitor in the marketing tool space, I might want to look at data from both Moz and HubSpot to help me make better decisions about my content and help make my blog more successful.
Most shared authors on Moz.com 2014
If I am looking for contributors to my blog I would like to know who is already producing great content that is getting a lot of social shares on popular blogs like Moz.
Most thumbed up authors on Moz.com (all time)
Another great data point I would like to know is what authors are getting the best feedback on their content. Luckily Moz have a thumbs up feature that users can use to say – this content is awesome.
Most shared categories on Moz.com (all time)
Something else that would be useful information is what categories perform best on Moz. Again we can get this data easily.
You can pull all sorts of competitive intelligence on your competitors sites using these tools or I could pull the same data for lots of the top blogs in my industry. Maybe I want to create a list of top authors for blogs across my industry. I could start to identify authors who are contributing content across multiple sites in my industry that are getting a lot of social shares.
Or maybe I want the answer to really obscure questions, like what number performs best for HubSpots blog posts that are in a list format.
I know “HubSpot” is not a number, you need to ignore that, there is something funky going on with excel.
This chart shows what numbers used in blog titles get, on average, the most social shares.
There is no end to the amount of useful data you can extract from your competitors sites if you know where to look. This data can not only help you make better decisions on what topics to publish for your audience, what experts to work with, but also how to better promote that content.
Do you want to know more on the content promotion part? Well I am going to be talking at Inbound 2014 on “The Art and Science of Content Promotion”. If you are going to be about Boston the week of September 15th you should come join me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kieran Flanagan has a proven track record in helping SaaS businesses, from start-ups to enterprise-level grow their traffic, users and revenue. He is a thought leader on growth marketing and speaks at events across the globe on the topic. For more frequent updates follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.