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From the Trenches

Borrow, Adapt, Excel: How to Leverage Your Competitors’ Strategies for Marketing Success

Right Source | June 3, 2024

Standing out isn’t just a marketing goal — it’s a necessity for your brand. And the key to your next breakthrough may be hidden in plain sight, nestled within your competitor’s playbook.

Welcome to the art of strategic imitation. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the tactics that are making your competitors thrive and show you how to adapt and enhance them for your own marketing success. Let’s explore how companies inject personality into their content, the secret to their prolific output, the levels of expertise they cater to, and their innovative use of content types.

We’ll also uncover the elements that make their content irresistibly clickable and the creative strategies they employ to engage their audience on a deeper level.

Ready to transform your content marketing approach? Let’s get started by dissecting and repurposing the strategies of the best in the business.

1. What are they doing to show their company’s personality?

B2B content marketing is typically educational in nature — but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Just take this blog post from HubSpot for example: How AI Image Misuse Made a World of Miscommunication [Willy’s Chocolate Experience].

They skillfully blend educational content with humor, showcasing the company’s lighthearted personality.

Your audience might not connect with a Willy Wonka reference specifically, but there’s a valuable lesson here: What personality traits are reflected in your content? How can you infuse more of your company’s unique character into it?

Remember, showcasing personality isn’t just about being funny. Your company could highlight its philanthropic efforts on social media, feature employees who volunteer, or share stories that align with your brand values. Whether your brand is innovative, opinionated, humorous, or something else, let that shine through in your content.

2. How much content are they putting out — and how?

Some companies seem like content machines, consistently producing blog posts, eBooks, webinars, videos, quizzes, and more. It’s natural to wonder: How are they managing this?

Take a closer look at where their content comes from. Are they leveraging guest bloggers? Do they curate lists of interesting resources for their readers, like industry influencers to follow on Twitter? Do they syndicate content from other companies, adding their own commentary?

Understanding how your competitors generate so much content can spark ideas for your own strategy. What new content types can you introduce or curate to keep your content machine running smoothly?

3. What level of content are they delivering?

Creating relevant content doesn’t mean you have to come up with something entirely new and novel nonstop. Take, for example, a blog post I saw recently titled, “What is a Bounce Rate? (And How Can I Fix Mine?)” It’s a simple topic, but incredibly useful for someone new to marketing analytics.

The strength of your content largely lies in its variety. The example blog post  above is just one of many that cover a wide range of topics on the company’s website — from in-depth analyses to broad overviews, from basic concepts to expert-level insights. This diversity is what makes their website a go-to resource.

Consider how you can diversify your content to appeal to a broader audience. What types of content can you add to cater to different levels of expertise and interest among your readers?

4. Are they capitalizing on new or different content types or being innovative with old ones?

Most of your competitors probably create at least some kind of content — blog posts, some case studies or success stories, possibly a gated asset of some type like a webinar or white paper. But are any of your competitors doing something truly unique in your industry — something that makes them stand out?

If your competitors are using video, look at how they are using them. Are they producing 90-second videos with talking heads, or do they have a whole series of 10-second whiteboard how-to videos that make you want to jump right to the next one?

And are any of your competitor companies creating interactive content? Are they getting more information about their prospects and customers by using assessments, quizzes, and interactive infographics and eBooks?

How can you take something you already have and do something more creative with it to make your company’s content stand out?

5. What’s making you click on their content?

One minute you’re on your competitor’s home page to do some quick reconnaissance, and the next, you’re seven articles deep and about to download your second eBook — and wondering why their content is so much more engaging than yours.

To figure that out, step back and analyze what specifically draws you in. Are their headlines irresistibly clickable? Do they present topics in a uniquely interesting way? Are they discussing recent news or new research with a bold, controversial stance? Or perhaps it’s the stunning design and visuals that captivate you?

Don’t just admire their content — understand why it works. Identify the elements that make it compelling and find ways to incorporate those strategies into your own content.

6. What are they doing to engage people further?

Engaging readers isn’t always about providing them with educational content directly related to your service or product or industry. Is your competition consistently providing some type of unique content that seems largely unrelated to their service offering? Are you wondering why they would bother with that?

Cleveland Clinic publishes a blog that centers on — you guessed it — healthcare. But among the posts about colds in toddlers and living with diabetes, they also regularly post recipes. And while those recipes probably won’t directly drive people to Cleveland Clinic for doctor visits, they provide value to readers and promote higher engagement.

Several years ago, Lowe’s Home Improvement stores launched a series of videos called “Fix in Six” that became more popular than the retailer ever expected. And while the pieces were certainly about home improvement, they also showed users how to do things like make a watering can out of a milk jug or line a paint tray with tin foil. All tips that could save you a trip to Lowe’s, not drive you into the store. Lowe’s was just helping — and in turn engaging — its audience.

What creative tactics do you have to offer that might just be helpful to your audience — and make them think your site is that much more useful?

Of course, this is only the beginning. It’s not enough to simply copy what your competitors are doing — you should take what they’ve done as inspiration, then figure out how your company can add to and improve upon those ideas. That’s what will make you, as a content marketer, great.

If your idea well is still feeling a little dry, download our checklist “10 Ways to Generate New Content Ideas.” And if you need help with your content marketing strategy or execution, contact us.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published on April 14, 2017, and has been updated to maintain its relevance.

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About Right Source:

The Marketing Trenches blog provides thought leadership from actual marketing practitioners, not from professional thought leaders. Designed to help business leaders make more educated marketing decisions, our insights come directly from our experience in the trenches. You can find more from Right Source on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.