Content Marketing continues to grow like gangbusters.
From HubSpot Statistics:
- 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing
- WordPress users produce over 70.5 million new blog posts and over 52 million new comments monthly
- 66% of marketers surveyed used blogs in their social media content.
Why are so many investing in content marketing?
- Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising
- Over ¾ of internet users say they read blogs regularly.
- 72% of marketers said that having a good content strategy was a major key to their success
If you’re creating content, it’s critical that you’re creating content that is better than the competition.
Here are some ways to do that…
1. The Skyscraper Technique
Brian Deen published The Skyscraper Technique a few years ago. He broke down something fairly simple that works. It works in any form of content marketing. From blogging to video to audio.
The basic idea is this:
- Step 1: Find link-worthy content
- Step 2: Make something even better
- Step 3: Reach out to the right people
It seems obvious. It’s simple. But it’s not easy.
If you’re looking to beat your competition it will take effort to research the content they’re creating. Then you have to dig deeper and find the content they’re creating that is ranking well and doing well on social media. Then you have to take it even further and figure out how to create better content.
And “better” can mean different things. Let’s say you’re a mechanic. The competition down the street has a great video on how to change the oil in a pickup truck. Your “better” content could mean better video production. It could mean creating a faster and more effective way to change oil. It could mean creating a video, podcast and blog post on the topic.
This technique works. You have to commit to it. You have to work on the process of getting better and over time you will see results. Maybe not every time, but a good portion of the time.
As of this writing, Ed Sheeran is a top 3 recording artist in the world. He probably fluctuates between the top five depending on what song is popular at the moment.
A few other successful pop artists have commented on the fact that Sheeran seems to be a songwriting and recording machine. The volume of singles he creates that do well on the charts is pretty astonishing.
Just looking at his discography here are the number of singles released by year:
- 2011: 3
- 2012: 3
- 2013: 1
- 2014: 3
- 2015: 2
- 2016: 0
- 2017: 4
- 2018: 1
- 2019: 5
An amazing 10 of those have reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s one of the most difficult charts to reach the top 20 in the music world. Some of the most successful artists have only reached that level a handful of times.
Sheeran isn’t the only one. A few artists seem to have identified volume as their key to beating the competition when it comes to gaining the attention of the music listening audience.
Volume, or Quantity, is a tricky thing for some people. Many want to believe that they should only release quality content. Obviously that’s the goal, but I’d like to know how you’re going to improve to the point of quality without releasing quantity.
Yes, there is a point where you can overwhelm the market with your content. Yes, there is usually a normal cadence for releasing content in your industry and your platform.
But in general, most aren’t releasing enough. And that’s an opportunity. If your competition is releasing a certain number of pieces, aim to double that number.
You’ll learn to create better content. You’ll learn faster. And you’ll give people more of what they want.
That’s a win anyway you look at it.
3. Overlooked Questions
No matter how well the competition is doing, there are always overlooked questions that can be answered. You can look in the comment sections of blogs, YouTube videos and other areas. Even forums and message boards. Anytime you see a popular piece that has questions, it’s an opening for you to fill in the gaps.
Let’s say you’re the mechanic again… You see that your competition releases a great video on changing oil on a 2014 Ford F-150. In the comments on that video you see questions about how to do the same on a 2004 F-150 and a 1994 F-150 and a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and so on.
All of those are opportunities for you to create content that you know is in demand. Your competition may or may not be planning on doing content on those questions. Either way, you have an opportunity to provide value.
Every person and every business has unique stories. How you started your business. How you got into your business. What happens to you on a day to day basis. All kinds of things.
Your competition may be doing pretty well with their content. But perhaps it’s a little bland. You can make better content by injecting your personality into the content you create.
Do it by telling stories. You can still share how-to information and things like that. But add stories and examples. This will connect with readers and make them feel like your content is better.
Like stories, interviews can often provide unique (and better) content. And it’s an often overlooked area especially in blogging. It’s pretty common in audio, but there is no reason it can’t be common in blogging. Especially in a competitive industry where everybody is writing list posts or how-to posts and things like that.
Identify 100 people in your industry that you can interview. Reach out to them all. Followup with the ones that don’t reply. You can probably get a good number of them to answer a few questions that you can turn into content.
If you’re struggling to identify unique content you can create: Document.
It’s what Gary Vaynerchuk does in the marketing and business world. It’s made him very unique. It’s made him create an incredible amount of quantity. There is an incredible amount of value and quality in what he creates.
You can do the same. Maybe not to that level, but it’s certainly a way to beat the competition that is just doing the regular run of the mill content strategy.
7. Branded Content
If you struggle to create content or if you don’t have the time, look into branded content. Sponsorships are an example. Partnerships are an example.
I just wrote about how Ashworth Clothing sponsored or partnered with Fred Couples early in his career. It worked out very well for both of them.
Fred was creating the content by playing golf and being his natural, cool self. Ashworth knew that they could try to create content on their own, but they probably couldn’t get as much attention as if they sponsored players. And especially a player like Fred Couples.
Identify people that create great content. See if they have an audience that you want to reach. See if you can put together a deal that will be appealing to them so they continue to create their content, but with you as the brand behind them.
While your competition is creating their own content, you’re going to the best content creators and partnering with them.
Better is a tricky thing. Does it mean more words? Does it mean better production value? It could mean a number of things. It’s up to you to identify what better is for your situation. Or you could try a few things and focus on testing and testing until you find your lane that works. The tips here should help you get a great start on beating the competition with your content marketing efforts.