The great thing about social media is that it’s fairly easy to find your competitors’ content. It’s actually a breeze. Take the case of Twitter. In Chapter 3, you have a massive list of all your competitors. Type in their brand names into Twitter. I will bet you that at least a few of them would show up. They would have their own social media accounts. When you go to their accounts, there’s a good chance that they are sharing their content.
Check out their content. Track down as many competitors as you can on social media and check out the kind of content that they are sharing. Also, if your competitors are mostly blogs, check out their posts. Often times, there are social engagement signals right on the content itself. They have indicators for how many retweets they have, how many Google +1s, and how many Facebook likes.
Keep track of these social media signals. Understand what they need.
Study Your Competitors’ Content Patterns Thoroughly
Now that you have fairly familiarized yourself with your competitors’ content, the next step is to drill down. Go to all your competitors’ website again and look for content they have posted on their site and look for social media signals. Alternatively, find their social media accounts and look for their content that way. What are you looking for? When processing as much of your competitors’ materials, try to find a short list of the most common topics they keep talking about. Again, the essence of reverse engineering is to let your competitors do your homework for you. There’s a reason why your competitors tend to talk about a fairly narrow range of topics.
Believe me, it has nothing to do with them not having anything else better to do. Instead, they keep talking about the same fairly narrow range of topics because their audience members are interested in those topics. These are hot topics. Your job at this point is to look through all their content and come up with the most common topics that they talk about.
After you’ve done that, check your work by looking through their content to see if the social media signals confirm your suspicion. For example, if you are in the painted war game figurine niche and you notice that a lot of your competitors are talking about Roman legionnaire figures, this might be a fluke.
This might be a statistical accident. To make sure, look at the social media signals. If it turns out that a post on Roman legionnaire military figurines get a lot of Google +1s, or retweets or Facebook likes, that’s an indicator that that’s actually a hot topic. This must be the case regardless of the website. So if you notice that among your competitors, as long as they talk about Roman legionnaires, their retweet levels go up.
That is a slam dunk. That is a red flag. You should write down that hot topic. If you’re in that niche, then you must talk about Roman legionnaires because your niche audience is truly interested in that topic.
What Makes Your Content So Special?
By this point, you should have done a thorough analysis of all the content of your competitors and have pretty much boiled them down into a fairly narrow range of common hot topics. These are cross referenced or verified by all sorts of social media signals. They get a lot of retweets; videos about them have a lot of thumbs up and comments on YouTube; the picture pins made out them get a lot of re-pins on Pinterest; they get a lot of retweets on Twitter. Whatever the case may be, these common hot topics that you have discovered from your competitors get a lot of social media signals. Make sure that this is the case. You don’t want to find yourself barking up the wrong tree.
The Hard Question: What Makes Your Content So Special? We’re going to go beyond brainstorming and look for tried and proven examples of how you can make your content at least appear more special than your competitors’ materials. How do you make your content at least look special enough? Here are just a few ideas. These are not, by all means, the complete list of ideas. Feel free to come up with your own, but I’ve given you these just to get you started. I just want you to jog your mental muscles so you can come up with your own version.
Up to Date
One way you can distinguish your content from your competitors is to make sure that your stuff is fully updated. Now that you have looked through your competitors’ content, you probably would notice that some of that stuff is simply too old, no longer applies, or is completely bunk because times have changed.
For example, in the SEO niche, information goes bad quickly because Google’s algorithms keep changing. The tips and tricks that may have worked in the past probably no longer work now. Accordingly, if you offer SEO tips that work in the current year, then people would probably want to pay attention to you instead of reading SEO tips from ten years ago.
Another way you can beat the competition is to offer longer content. As the old saying goes, the more the better. Well, for the longest time, people just had a hunch that if you offered longer content that somehow, some way, this performs better. Well, according to statistical analysis by major marketing bloggers as well as marketing firms, it turns out that blog posts that are longer than 1,500 words tend to get a lot more love from search engines. But this solution actually creates a problem.
People have short attention spans. You probably suffer from it yourself. How can you get more love from search engines by offering longer content without losing your audience?
This is where formatting comes in. You format the long form text in such a way that it doesn’t look like a chore to read. Maybe you bold font of certain keywords so it’s easier for people to scan. Maybe you add enough spacing so it doesn’t strain the eyes and it doesn’t feel like work reading your stuff. Whatever the case may be, you need to pull all sorts of tricks to get the person reading your stuff to dwell on your stuff despite the fact that it’s at least 1,500 words.
Better Explained Concepts
One major reason why people look for niche content in the first place is because they have concepts that they have heard about. They’ve come across all sorts of ideas. But since they are not really experts in the niche, they’re confused at some level or another. When your stuff explains all these otherwise confusing concepts, you stand out. People are more likely to pay attention to you because you do something that other websites can’t or won’t do. You actually explain stuff in such a way that people do not have to have a PhD to figure out what you’re talking about. This is a big deal.
Easier to Scan
Believe it or not, people no longer read on the internet. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s absolutely true. In fact, if you need proof, I just want to turn the question to you. When was the last time that you read each and every item you click through on Facebook? Chances are, it’s been a long time. Chances are, you feel that you just don’t have the time of day to do that kind of thing.
Well, welcome to the club. That’s how most people feel. Instead, people scan. So, when you’re on Facebook and you are swiping down, you are actually scanning for keywords. And when you see the keyword, you stop and you dwell on it a little bit and you scan some more. The same applies to search results. This is especially true if you are consuming content through some sort of mobile device that doesn’t really have that big of a screen. It turns out that the more mobile the internet becomes, the less likely people are to read.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have stopped reading altogether. Instead, they scan. So they’re just going through the materials and they’re quickly going through the keywords looking for a keyword that stands out. And when they see that, they slow down.
If you want to make your content special, you have to take advantage of this. You have to understand that this is happening, regardless of whether you like it or not. You have to format your content so that it’s easier to scan. This means you’re going to use subheadings, use short paragraphs, and use bold fonts to draw people’s eyeballs to key parts of your content that you think are important to your readers. Multimedia and Bells and Whistles
If you just offer plain text, chances are, your target audience will get bored. They will get tired. I mean, how many letters can you process in a day? If you lose their attention, they probably would bounce out of your website. That’s how things normally work. To keep them engaged, you have to mix it up in terms of the media you present. While you’re still presenting at least 1,500 words per blog post, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re just going to offer words.
You can split this up into sections using pictures, diagrams, short videos, teaser videos, or infographics. There are actually so many ways you can add a multimedia element to your text content to make it vastly more entertaining.
Offer More Comprehensive Information
Throughout your search engine research experience, you probably already know that a lot of the content out there is actually very shallow. You’re just looking for a certain topic and when you find it, it’s presented in a very stripped, very basic way. In fact, given how Google presents snippets, a lot of these websites are actually losing out because they present the most relevant information right in the snippet. This is a problem for these websites’ income because the visitor no longer needs to click through.
They’re looking for a fairly restricted and shallow piece of information. Google’s search snippet feature isolates this information so the searcher doesn’t even have to click. They get the information, and they get out. This is a serious problem. You have to offer comprehensive information. So instead of just shallow information, you draw the reader deeper and deeper into the guts of your content.
Because the more they click through and the more pages they consume, the more you convince them of your website’s value. This can lead to them clicking on offers, and this can lead them to click on ads There are just so many other things they can do. The key is to get them to dwell on your site.
That’s going to be very hard to do when all your posts are just essentially very shallow. You have to have comprehensive information so as to get them to click on one link after the other and they go through one article to one blog post after another. The more you get them to dwell on your site, the higher the likelihood they would consider you credible. And if you get them to stay long enough on your site, they might even join your mailing list or concluded you’re authoritative to trust so they end up clicking on an affiliate link that you feature.
The Bottom Line: Your Stuff Must Blow Away Your Competitors Now that I have stepped you through the most common ways to make your content extra special, let me bring it all together. It really all leads to one conclusion: you must be the best.
If you don’t play the game this way, there is a strong chance that you’re not going to last all that long. Let me tell you, unless and until you can master traffic generation, you probably won’t have a shot at success if you do not pay enough attention to your content. Your content must be the best because in the beginning, you’re not going to get that much traffic. Whatever traffic you do manage to attract must find your content compelling enough for you to start generating some sort of organic brand. That’s not going to happen if you drop the ball as far as content quality is concerned.
The good news is, being the best is actually quite easy. How? Just look at the process I described. When you go through reverse engineering, you already know where your competitors are. You have a clear idea of what they’re doing, what their strong points are, as well as their limitations. This enables you to come up with some sort of framework or some sort of game plan to step up their game. In other words, you build on their strengths and you try to solve the problems that they’re struggling with.
The Secret to Content-Based Affiliate Marketing
A little bit of a caveat here. Not all niches are conducive to content-based conversion. Content-based marketing is just one example of a conversion platform. There are many others. However, if you have selected content-based affiliate marketing by using some sort of content conversion platform, let me let you in on a secret. Here is the secret: you don’t have to create a huge amount of content.
Seriously. A lot of marketers are under the impression that if their niche industry standard involves blogs, they have to blog every day or create a tremendous amount of content. This is not true. You can actually make a lot more money with less content. In fact, depending on your niche, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the amount of content, posts, articles you have and the amount of money you make. The less content, the more money. Well, there’s a missing ingredient. You have to be clear on the connection. You’re not pumping out a lot of content, but you have to make sure that your content is top notch. That’s the first part. Your content has to be the best or must be perceived as the best in your niche.
The next ingredient is promotions. In other words, you can’t just promote the very best content and hope for the best. That’s not going to work. You’re going to have to publish less materials, while making sure that it’s the best material you can come up with, and then spend the rest of your time promoting it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay for traffic. You can promote it by sharing it on social media, forums and other sources that I will discuss in a later chapter.
Another key part of this equation of creating less content while making more money is to work consistently on optimizing the content you already have online.
In other words, you know that you only have a few pieces of content up. Don’t just publish them once and never touch them again. You’re going to have to keep optimizing them so they convert better. The first step of optimization, of course, involves some sort of secondary content that your primary content links to. That’s how you can track progress. So if you notice that your initial content has a high click through rate, that’s a good sign that you can fully optimize the value of that initial content.
But this means that you then must pay attention to the “receiving page” or landing page. You have to optimize that so that people would want to click on your affiliate ads, your mailing list form, or whatever it is that leads to conversion.
Do you see how this works? The great thing about this is that each step of the way can be measured. And this all happens in the context of you publishing less content, promoting that content more, and maximizing conversions. If you’re able to do that, then you have carried out the secret. You work less on creating content while converting more of your visitors into cold, hard cash.