Competition is only natural in the world of blogging.
We’re constantly competing for more eyes on our pages, working tooth and nail to establish a readership that’s hungry for what we have to say. Likewise, there are numerous tactics we can employ in an attempt to stand out amongst our competition.
When starting a blog, Neil Patel suggests a variety of ways that bloggers can make their voices heard and prevent themselves from getting lost in the crowd. For starters, Patel recommends that bloggers…
- Carve out a specific niche, narrow enough to target your traffic and readership yet broad enough to cover a wide variety of topics
- Lockdown their keyword strategy early on to ensure that each post has a purpose in terms of SEO
- Create content that works to solve problems and answers questions within their niche, giving their sites a stronger sense of authority
Such advice is incredibly sound and essential for newbies trying to make their way through the blogosphere. However, what’s a company blogger to do when they feel like their space is completely crowded? What happens when we feel like we’re staring up at a giant when we look at our competition?
Setting yourself apart from the competition seems like a no-brainer, right? The fact remains: competing against blogs with bigger budgets and larger readerships can be quite daunting if you’re strapped for resources and ideas.
Therefore, the solution to building a larger readership in a crowded field is perhaps best found in tackling your competition’s traffic versus taking their site head-on.
Smart competitive analysis can go a long way when it comes to building your readership, driving more traffic to your blog and coming up with content ideas that your competitor isn’t taking advantage of. So, how do you get started?
Play the Role of Spy
Keeping an eye on the competition can take many shapes and forms; likewise, there are a number of tools available for you to effectively spy on competing blogs. Either through social media or search results, consider the following free resources (with some paid options) as a means of playing the role of a spy.
Google Alerts - Harnessing the power of the Internet’s premier search giant, Google Alerts sends email alerts letting you know when a particular brand, site or topic is mentioned online. This is incredibly useful when tracking particular keywords in your niche, as well as whenever your competition potentially breaks a story.
BrandMentions - This tool allows you to monitor brands and keywords on the social network, including tweets and Facebook mentions, allowing you to learn exactly what your audience is saying about your competitors and your own company.
SEMrush - Ever wonder what keywords your competitors are ranking for? SEMrush provides an analysis of your competition’s organic keywords and rankings, allowing you to harness content ideas and see where your blog stands SEO-wise.
Moz’s Open Site Explorer - Backlinks are incredibly powerful when it comes to beef up your blog. This tool by Moz provides insight into who’s linking to your competitors, therefore allowing you to know where most of their backlinks are coming from. Again, this allows you to size yourself up and scope out a larger audience you may consider reaching out to in the future.
Naturally, the usefulness of these tools comes from how you use the information available to you. Thanks to the transparency of the modern web, there’s plenty you can learn about your competitors in a matter of seconds that can help you revamp your long-term blogging strategy.
Keen attention to your SEO strategy is key to taking traffic away from your competitors. Assuming that you know who your competitors are, what keywords they’re targeting and what their backlink profile looks like, you can begin the process of content ideation. For starters, consider…
- Which competitors you can realistically outrank based on your research, comparing metrics such as backlinks and traffic versus your own
- Which keywords are perhaps out of your reach in terms of your competition; likewise, determine what keywords your competitors aren’t using within your niche.
- Sites you could reach out to in regard based on the backlinks of your competitors, either through guest posting, blog comments or social media outreach.
Understanding your competitor’s traffic is crucial to building your own as you reach out to an audience that perhaps doesn’t know you exist. Now, how can you bring those users to your blog?
Crafting Better Content
The advice to simply “write better” than your competitors seems like common sense; however, the principle of 10x content is transforming the way that bloggers think about their posts.
Introduced by Moz’s Rand Fishkin, the concept of 10x content is rather straightforward: that is, craft content which is ten times better than what’s already out there.
While “ten times” may be a vague metric for improvement, consider the top three competitors in your space and take a look at their recent posts. What are they missing? Are they giving your audience everything they want? For example, consider writing content that’s ten times…
More Engaging - While your competitors may offer meaningful content, what does it mean if it’s boring its audience to tears? Build a blog that speaks loudly with juicy headlines, a distinct voice, and eye-popping imagery to pique the interest of readers.
More Specific - Is there something that your competitors are missing in terms of a topic? Are they stuck on the bigger picture? For example, Neil Patel recommends writing about a niche within your niche as a means of targeting readers that may otherwise not be addressed.
More Helpful - Allow your blog the opportunity to be an innovator in your space by writing the how-tos and helpful content that nobody else has covered yet. Go in-depth and work to write meaningful content rather than just posts for the sake of posting.
Compelling content can help your blog rise above the rest over time, granted you’re consistently crafting pieces that educate your readership and fill the blogging void that nobody else is working toward.
At the end of the day, all blogs are on a relatively even playing field when it comes to building an audience. Using what you know about your competitors can help inspire better content and ultimately retarget traffic as visitors seek out what you have to say.