Blog posts need to be interesting, relevant and appealing to your prospective target audience. But when you’re posting frequently, you may experience a writer’s block, or fail to come up with a stellar new and original idea every single week. But finding great ideas for a blog post doesn’t have to be as challenging as finding a unicorn. Did you know that you can be a little sneaky, dust off your digital magnifying glass and spy on what your competitors are up to? When you research what your direct competitors are writing about, it can give you essential and insightful cues about what kind of posts you should be including in your blog, and can subsequently lead to an increase of traffic.
Your competitors are bound to be ranking for certain keywords. Researching what these keywords are can give you insightful cues for new ideas on content. There is a fair chance that in your own research, you may have missed something. Identifying them in your competitor’s kitty helps you ideate on great new content ideas which may even allow you to garner some of your competitor’s traffic. A useful tool for competitor keyword research and analysis is SEMRush. This tool allows you to enter your competitors’ names and find out which 10 best keywords are leading to increased traffic to their website.
If you have a direct competitor, chances are that the audience they are trying to target is the same one that you are trying to woo yourself. If your competitor’s content is being shared by their target audience, yours might be as well. It is okay to snoop a little on their blog and find out what kind of posts they are featuring and which have received the highest number of shares from their target audience. A useful tool for this purpose is BuzzSumo, which allows you to enter the web address of your competitor and analyze their blog content. This allows you to learn which social media platforms acquire more shares for certain types of posts, which types of media get more shares than others, and which social media platforms get the most overall shares.
Tracking content-related conversations is another way to get an insightful cue into your competitors’ strategy. Tools such as Brand24 help you monitor mentions on websites, blogs, social media, forums and image sites. There are also filters which allow you to sift through the mentions and channel your focus on one particular channel, as opposed to all at once. This tool is also useful in identifying the influencers who are responsible for sharing the content of your competitors’ on social media. It also helps you identify the websites that the content is being mentioned on so that you may engage these influencers and build your own relationship with them.
The jury is out – backlinks are still critical for good SEO. You can gain a huge advantage if you concentrate your efforts on analyzing who links to your competitors and identifying the most valuable links. If authoritative sites link to your competitors, there is a chance they may link back to you as well.