Ever heard the phrase “good artists copy; great artists steal?”
A similar mode of thinking can do wonders for your content marketing. Of course, you should never out and out plagiarize, which is bad for your business from an SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint, not to mention a tad unethical.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with expanding on and being inspired by your competitors’ great ideas. Just look at pop art, for example. Where would Andy Warhol be without Campbell’s’ marketing team?
But before I digress further, let’s get to it and take a look at how to use competitors’ marketing strategies and materials to come up with your own ideas.
Repurpose Awesome Content From Your Own Perspective
If you’re not already repurposing your own content, you’d best go get started. I’ll wait. Got it? Good.
Anyway, one of the first steps to drawing inspiration from your competitors should be to read their content. When you hit on something where you think, “Wow, I wish I’d written that,” don’t stop there. Instead, read it again and think about how you could write a similar article in your voice, from your perspective. Maybe you reached a slightly different conclusion, or maybe there’s a spot where your expertise can bring something totally new to the table.
Whatever the case may be, try rewriting your competitors’ article from a different angle and see where it takes you.
Hop on the Bandwagon
When there’s a trending topic taking off, get on that bandwagon. While most of us like to think we’re so unique that we can come up with something totally unique that will go viral all on its own, the reality is that it doesn’t quite work like that. No one can know in advance what’s going to garner tons of share, but if there’s already a topic that’s whirling around the internet full steam ahead, use it to your advantage.
It’s a good idea to stay on top of what your competitors are writing about. If there’s a topic that seems to be doing particularly well with fans and followers, make a space in your editorial calendar and add your voice to the conversation.
Take What You Can
And give nothing back, as the pirates liked to say. You don’t need a parrot and an eye patch for this one, but you do need to be able to figure out those little, obvious things that are working well for your competitors.
Has a rival company hit the jackpot with keywords, bumping them up to the top of the search rankings? Find out what keywords they use, and use them yourself. Does a competitor have a website design that’s simply more user friendly than yours? Learn from their example and integrate some of those structures into your own.
Inspiration, Not Plagiarism
Again, I just want to reiterate that the key here is to draw inspiration, not copy and paste. If you find yourself wholesale stealing paragraphs from your competitors’ blogs, it’s time to put down the keyboard and come back to it later.
The difference between copying and stealing is, after all, the difference between a good artist and a great one.
Inspirational Quote Photo via Shutterstock
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