Is “Stealing” from Your Competitors a Bad Thing?

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SEPTEMBER 2017

Safe Ways to “Get Inspired” by Your Content Marketing Competitors

Stealing is bad. That concept has been pressed into the minds of most people since childhood. That is why it is not surprising that the same principle applies to stealing from competitors – especially within the digital age of content marketing. However, just because you cannot steal from your content marketing competitors does not mean you cannot borrow from them. Keep in mind that you can get inspiration from anywhere – including your very own competitors. Here are several legitimately “steal” inspiration from the competition.

Use Their Old Topics to Create New Content

There are only so many “original” topics that you can come up with on your own regardless of your chosen niche or demographic. Chances are that you will resort to pulling inspiration from different sources to find new ideas and topics. Why not use your competition as sources for these ideas? This does not mean you should visit a competitor’s website and copy each of their topics line by line.

Even if you create fresh content to go with those topics, it would prove to be valueless to your target audience – especially those who have already read similar content from your competitors. The key is to use the core of the competition’s content strategy as a basic foundation on which you build your own fresh content with a fresh new spin.

Use Their Strengths to Address Your Weaknesses

Another way to legitimately “steal” from your content marketing competitors is to study how they execute their content marketing strategy closely. You will specifically focus on the areas in which your own strategy is weak to see exactly how they were able to turn it into a strong point for your own brand or business. There may be certain aspects of their content marketing strategy – such as marketing, keyword identification and usage or even content development – in which you either have limited experience or limited success. Focus on the competitors who have succeeded in the areas in which you have failed to provide you with a solid model to follow with hopes of getting better results.

Improve the Quality of Your Own Services

As of right now, you may assume that your offered packages, products and pricing are acceptable and highly competitive. However, the most effective way to determine if you have a competitive edge within your niche is to study your competition. Examine the packaged services and products that they offer. Compare their lineup with your existing lineup of services – honing in on the added perks and details that you may operate as major selling points that you have overlooked for one reason or another. Studying the “bells and whistles” offered by your competition may help you to craft your own products and services accordingly. Perhaps there are bonuses that your competitors offer their customers that you can also offer to become much more competitive. This is not necessarily stealing from your content marketing competitors. You are simply matching the types of product and services offered to be able to provide more value to your client’s investments.

Network with and Learn from Competitors

Another effective yet legitimate way to “steal” from your competitors is to network with them as industry experts and professionals. Think about the growing number of forums, discussion boards, social media groups and networking panel meetings in which you can participate. Out of respect, you should not dive into these types of groups and networking opportunities to steal clients and customers from your fellow colleagues. However, you can expand your own arsenal of ideas and increase your ammunition for brainstorming sessions by paying attention to the tips, tricks and thoughts shared by your competitors.

Whether they are speaking of how they addressed a certain topic or even highlighting the red flags of content marketing that you should avoid, there is more than enough insight that you can “steal” from your competitors just by offering a listening ear without any malicious intentions.

Invest in Professional Assistance

Perhaps you are still stumped when it comes to effectively using your competitors as inspiration. Fortunately, our team at Iris Content can handle the “dirty work” on your behalf. Our team of experts will thoroughly research the ins and outs of your particular niche or market – including what the high-quality contributions made by your competitors. Contact us today so we can use this insight to create an effective strategy for your brand that will make your content marketing competitors want to steal from you.

Like what you see? Over the next few days, Iris Content will offer each industry its own specific report in a short blog and starting October 1, a series of larger state of the industry reports will be available for all relevant industries that have an online presence. If you are interested in trends in content marketing and what your specific industry should publish to stay relevant and improve ROI, come back for more professional reports from our team of expert writers.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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