Bloggers and marketers often talk about competitor research, but are you doing it regularly?
Are you implementing what you discover?
Your business decisions should be guided by what your audience wants, not what your competitors are doing. However, competitor research can be a quick way to create lists of podcasts to pitch to, websites to guest post on, keyphrases to target, and more.
Let’s explore 5 really simple ways to research your competitors and turn that into actionable next steps.
1. Competitor press coverage for pitching research
Are you failing to get your business covered in the media? Maybe you’re not sure what publications and journalists you should pitch your business too.
An easy way to find relevant outlets and journalist contacts is to search your competitors in Google News.
If you have a blog about blogging, for example, you might want to see what outlets Create and Go is getting covered in. You can search the name of the blog, as well as the founder of the blog so that you make sure to pull up as much of the company’s press coverage as possible.
Then create your list of relevant publications and journalists, and pitch yourself as a contributor or source.
2. Competitor blog monetization
How do your competitors monetize their blog?
When you know what products and services they’re selling, and how they include these in their content, then you can learn a lot for your own marketing.
Take a look at the blogs of your top competitors to discover…
- How and where they link to paid products in posts
- What affiliate links they include in content
- How they use their blog to get more options to their email list
- What they include in the sidebar
- How they use author bios to sell paid products
For example, Elna Cain of Freelancer FAQs uses her author bio to divert traffic to her paid course, while the rest of the blog is kept very clean and sparse with no other visible links to paid products.
Discovering how other bloggers are sending traffic to their paid products can inspire you to maximize the profit from your own blog.
3. Competitor podcast interviews for podcast research
The great thing about being a guest on podcasts is that you can access your target audience without having to worry about building up media relations with journalists who get hundreds of pitches in their email inbox every day.
Maybe you want to get featured on podcasts but aren’t sure where to start.
The easiest and fastest way to find the perfect podcasts to be a guest on is to discover what your competitors have been featured on.
While there are so many great tools for competitor analysis, one of the best tools at your fingertips is definitely Google.
Consider what freelancers, marketers, or bloggers offer a similar service to you. Some of these people might even be your collaborators, referral partners, or friends.
Do a Google search for “[name] + podcast interview.” In the search results, you’ll find what podcasts they’ve been a guest on. You can click through to see if the podcast is relevant to your business.
4. Competitor content for PR pitch ideas and blog headlines
Are you struggling to come up with ideas for headlines?
Whether you need headline ideas for your guest post pitches or for your own blog, sometimes you feel tapped out and don’t know what to write next.
Take a look at your competitors’ blogs and see what inspires you.
Of course, you don’t want to copy the headline word for word, but you can see what topics and headline structures they are using, and then turn these into your own ideas.
5. Competitor keyphrase rankings
Millo.co is a popular blog to learn how to start and grow your freelance business. If you want to start a blog about freelancing, you’ll of course want to SEO optimize your posts so you can get search traffic to your content.
But it’s hard to know what keyphrases to actually target.
To find out, use an SEO tool like Ahrefs or similar and search your competitors’ domain names.
You’ll pull up a list of every keyphrase that the website is currently ranking for.
Search through the list of keyphrases for search queries with a low keyphrase difficulty. These might represent a great opportunity to get search traffic.
Rinse and repeat this method for all of your top competitors, and you’ll easily pull together a list of great keyphrases to target with your own content.
As marketers, it’s easy to get stuck in the comparison game. Don’t let competitor research make you feel bad about what you haven’t achieved in your business. Instead, turn competitor research into clear action items for your marketing and PR campaigns.
Dayana Mayfield is the founder of Pitch & Profit, a digital PR training program that helps small businesses set up the perfect team process for online publicity.