I wrote the following post over a year ago. And I have additional thoughts:
“What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Not an uncommon question in the web world. I was reading a new book the other day in which the author urged her audience to use this metric–competitors’ websites– as a key way to measure my/your content and online strategy. Hmmmmm. Halfway down the page I had this scrawled in the margin: “Disagree.”
Why? While this is a valid strategy, it is not a sole strategy. I was disappointed she didn’t push this further.
My competitors, your competitors–they are good sources, but not necessarily trustworthy.
“Don’t follow me, I’m lost too” comes to mind here as does my mother’s voice from childhood, “If so-and-so jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you follow?” Good point, Mom.
My margin comment continued: “More steps to the analysis” and for me, here are a few:
- Trust competitors to “show me the way”?! I’m going to be skeptical, thanks: Check competitors site content for ALL of these things: meta tags, h1, h2, keywords/phrases, navigation, text links (on-site and off-site), etc. Explore backlinks, use a site like Compete.com to check their traffic….
- Hit the keyword tools to test keywords and phrases–some of what competitors are using + your own list (including hunches). Don’t trust your competitors too much. Find out what language real people are typing into their browsers and searching with in your niche, market and/or industry.
Checking in with competitors is a must, but trust?”
To this I add…
In some business niches the recycling of same tone, voice, and style is downright mind-numbing. And yet, business owners believe sincerely that they are different and unique. If you’re so “unique” then why talk to your customers and clients using the same words, and voice. Use what you learn of competitors to build a language and communication strategy that is more distinctive.
What others are writing, the keywords they’re using, the products and services they’re providing, the new slogan or promo they have may not be your most trustworthy source.