A question that’s probably on your mind is, “How do I know which content to produce?

Well, there are two main ways to do this: You can try to figure things out on your own and engage in all sorts of experiments, or you can just simply allow your competitors to do your homework for you.

how-to-reverse-engineer-your-competitors'-best-content.jpgI hope you can see which path is the easiest. It should be obvious. If you are sending the very best content on your niche, your original content must be at the same level or better. Otherwise, your followers are not going to take the bait.

They’re not going to trust your brand.

They appreciate the fact that you’re collecting all this information, and they’re probably going to stick around and follow your social media accounts, however, you can’t count on them to do much of anything else. There’s really no incentive for them to join your email list.

Why should they? Your content is not that great. They only need to compare the kind of original content you produce with the other top notch third party stuff you’re sharing to see your weakness. Do you see the problem here?

If you want your brand to be credible, you have to produce top content. Thankfully, this is easier than you think. Simply reverse engineer your competitors.

Look at their most successful stuff. How do you know? Look at the social media indicators of their content. How many “likes” does their top content get? How many “shares“? Is there any other indicator that shows that this content actually has traction?

Maybe you should pay attention to the number of comments for that content. Maybe you would want to run a backlink checker on a piece of content and see how many other blogs or websites link to that piece of content.

This is how you measure the overall success of any single piece of content so you can use it as a “template“, if you will, for your own content. I’m not saying you should rip it off. Instead, I’m encouraging you to use it as a starting point and come up with something much better.

Focus on What Works

reverse-engineer-your-competitors'-top-contentWhen you look at your competitors’ most successful pieces of content, you are basing your own original content on themes and topics that actually work. They have traction with your target audience members. You’re not wasting money or time taking wild guesses.

This is one of the most common mistakes social media marketers make. They think that they have the best ideas regarding “hot” content in their niche, so they come up with all sorts of content that they think is just plain awesome, only to fall flat on their faces.

I’m telling you, for every 100 pieces of those types of original content, maybe 10 would gain any sort of respectable traction in your niche. It’s too expensive, and it burns too much time. Thankfully, there is a better way. You just need to reverse engineer your competitors’ most successful content.

Use that as a starting point. You can adjust them, you can modify them, you can come up with your own variations, but at least you get a head start. At least you’re in the ballpark when you start off. You’re not just taking random shots in the dark.

Learn from Your Own Success

reverse-engineering-your-competitors'-top-contentAfter you have started curating and mixing in your original content, pay attention to your data. It should tell you which of your content gets the most love.

If you notice that a handful of your curated third party content gets a lot of retweets, shares on Facebook, or any other indication of social media engagement, pay close attention to those pieces of content.

At some level or another, they struck a nerve. They caught your audience members’ attention in a very positive way. Find these successful curated pieces of content and create original versions of them.

Similarly, if you have many different original pieces of content, only a handful of them would be really successful. Pay attention to those. Find them. Once you’ve identified them, create more of them. Focus on the same themes and present similar information the same way.

The key here is to focus on what works and build on it. Ditch the stuff that failed. Build on your strengths. Create derivative cross-platform versions of your most successful content.

Once you have a clear idea of how to create content that has proven traction, don’t just keep reverse engineering it. While you need to continue doing that, you also have to do something else: create derivative or cross-platform versions.

For example, one particular type of blog post may do well on all your social media accounts. Identify its themes, pay attention to its patterns, and come up with another blog post. See if that works.

If you achieve the same level of success, you’re on to something. This is not a fluke. This is not a one-time thing. You have struck on a theme that your audience members readily enjoy.

The next step is to take things to a whole other level. Instead of just cranking out yet another blog post, create videos about that theme. Make specialized diagrams. Produce infographics.

Take these materials and share them on social media platforms that specialize in those formats. For example, for blog post URLs, share them on Twitter and Facebook. For videos, share them on YouTube. For diagrams and infographics, share them on Pinterest.

Drilling even deeper, look at your hottest blog posts, and strip out key questions and use these as leads or titles for tweets. Tweet the same content several times over the course of a week. Of course, don’t drop it all in one hour, but space them out. Still, when you use the right questions, you become very visible on Twitter. Pair these with the right hashtags.

The Bottom Line

how-to-reverse-engineer-your-competitors'-top-contentThe great thing about content curation is you save a lot of money, but you are also positioning yourself to build on your strengths. You focus on things that you’re doing right, and figure them out so you can predictably produce more successful content.

Now, this is not going to happen overnight. You have to keep experimenting until you find the right themes that consistently work with your audience.


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