What makes it even more interesting is that your competitor’s influencers share content too and you can watch for that as well. You can see who is spreading the word for your competitors and helping THEM grow! That is gold, is it not?
3 actions you can take
It’s not what you can discover that’s so special (although it really is), it’s what you do with the data that counts. So here are 3 things you can do when you know what your competitor is up to:
1. Watch for your competitor’s top content and dissect what makes it work and what doesn’t. When you’re confident that you have nailed what makes one of their blogs work better than another one you can incorporate the winning approach in your own content (your marketing team should have a ball with this).
2. Pay attention to who your competitor’s influencers are; the people who share your competitor’s content so they can reach their target audience. You can add them to a watch list of potential influencers of your own brand and regularly look for non-poachy ways to start and grow relationships with them. If you learn that one of their influencers is the CEO’s husband, well, you know.
3. Learn what hashtags and communities your competitor’s influencers use to get the word out and spend some time in those online neighbourhoods yourself. Use their tags occasionally and visit the blogs they visit. It’s a great way to get to know what interests your community.
Added bonus: if you know the sentiment (positive, negative) that people feel towards your competitor’s content you can think of ways to get more positive content into the same online communities. Sleeze alert: there is a huge risk of coming across as tacky if you don’t think this through with some respect for your competitor and their fans.
You can do it simply by paying attention and creating a scheduled time to regularly look at your competitor’s content. We actually use a tool called Measurely to run discovery campaigns that give us this and a bunch of other super valuable data for our clients. But if your brand community is still small you should be able to handle this with some regularly scheduled snooping and gathering of info into a spreadsheet.
It’s worth it. Your competitors are sharing content that they hope will interest the same people you are. Why limit the data you gather and learn from to just your own when you can learn from theirs too?