Become a Content Marketing Secret Agent with Competitive Intelligence

Become a Content Marketing Secret Agent with Competitive Intelligence

Reader Comments (24)

  1. Being a secret agent on your blog is the one being you.

    Secret agents have tried many techniques and failed too.

    So don’t be afraid to fail.

    • Like Caleb Wojcik says: Successful Entrepreneurs Focus Better and Quit More Often
      I totaly agree with him, you find the cash cow and stick to it until you find something better.

  2. This stuff isn’t technically “wrong” I guess, but it’s focusing on distribution, and marketing, and not delight and wonder. Meaning this: if we did shit work, we’d never get traction…no matter how nuanced and perfected our Pintrest strategy is. We don’t (anymore) worry about our competitors because if we did, we’d not have our own personality and we’d sink down/play down to their levels.

    As a counterpoint…this (all of it) seems like something fairly stressful to add to an endless “to do list” and a lot of the 80% of stuff that “feels like work,” but makes a negligible contribution to your bottom line. I couldn’t handle doing it emotionally, so we just try to create the best work that we can do.

    A (not the) problem with content marketing is that it can create an insatiable beast that demands input all the time. . This is one more thing to add that won’t (for 95% of readers) produce results at the margin. (Yes, yes, there are edge cases, but creating a long to-do list and being competitor obsessed is lunacy.)

    • Hi Chris – I didn’t say we need to be obsessed with our competitors. I think we should take an hour or two once a month and look at what out competition is doing, because it will make our content better. We will get *more* traction if we add research like this into our regular schedule of creating great content, but I’m not saying AT ALL that our to-do list for content marketing needs to be one long, dreadful list of stuff we hate to do.

      But I believe it’s important that we take a teeny portion of our schedule, and do it. You can always opt out of doing it, of course! Up to you!

    • Chris, you have the luxury of making great videos for people who did the research to create books, software, etc. Don’t hate on the rest of us. 😉

      • Far be it for me to hate on anyone. Worrying about, tracking or monitoring competitors is for 8 figure companies. or, maybe, rotary club businesses. Gotta call it out. Most people will be hurt by thinking twice about their competitors. Ignore, transcend, figure out how to do it better.

        The “luxury” was focusing on my customers- what do they need, how do we create an awesome process around them. It’s a fun indulgence to send signals that I’m unhinged to my competitors, but beyond that they don’t really cross my mind much.

        • I only partially agree with you Chris because of the comment you made about figuring how to do it better, which naturally suggests that would have to know what you’re competition is doing in order to achieve this.

          It is smart business sense to at least have some knowledge of what is and isn’t working in the marketplace especially if someone else has gone to the trouble and expense of discovering for you.

          • In my “better” I was referencing us. We do a pre-mortem to start a job and a post-mortem to close a job. The post mortem looks to identify things that we can improve about our process. So I do care – and hear back – about our company and its place in the market, but the information finds me, I don’t need to seek it.

            We could be bigger, but I’m waiting to have a tight process, and perfect execution before I really turn on the ‘marketing afterburners.’ We are happy to develop and perfect our process in relative obscurity.

    • I agree with Chris. Lately, my partners and I have been more focused on being who we are, as a company and we have stopped the social media check list. We realized, we couldn’t be everywhere… what we did do was set up more “real world” meetings with people (face to face). As a result it has increased our business and we’ve made new friends.

      To check out our “competition”, seems too much. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be aware of them, but to analyze them in such a way seems like a lot of work, that may or may not contribute to generating business. If you know your market, your customer, you shouldn’t have to do this.

      I guess I’m just tired. Seems like an online business is becoming a lot of work these days; pin this, share this, tweet this… sometimes, all it takes is a cup of coffee with another human being.


  3. You can keep eye on your competitor as a customer, or you can make anonymous surveys to track which competitor working best in the market and what you can learn from them to increase your ability of sales.

  4. I am always looking out at what bloggers in my niches are writing about, there have been plenty of times when I have actually got killer ideas for blog posts because I’ve seen another blogger covering the subject. 🙂

  5. Oh ya spying is absolutely necessary. Although the word “spying” smells fishy, it is good and in general healthy for any niche and business. That’s how the market as a whole can improve since everyone wants to create content and outperform their competitors.

  6. Taking that approach to keeping an eye on competitors is verging on stalking I think. I do think it’s important to know what your competition is up to generally, but if you worry to much about what they’re doing then it will inevitably take a toll on your own output. At a rough estimate, maybe limit ‘spying’ time to 5% of your time?!

  7. Mark – I’m definitely not saying that you should spend all day, every day researching what your competitors are doing. But we’re doing a disservice to ourselves as business owners if we don’t keep an eye on our competition for a couple of hours a month. It can only help our business (as long as we keep this research in balance with our main job as content marketers – creating great content.)

  8. Its always important to keep tabs on your competitors to not only learn what they are doing right, but to also learn where they are going wrong.

    Facebook is a fanstic way of researching bigger companies as customers will constantly provide feedback on likes and dislikes.

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