Be honest, how much time do you spend keeping an eye on your competitors to see what they are up to? You should never obsess over your competition, but you should be aware of what they are up to. One of the things we do during our planning sessions is to have a look at the client’s competitors. We go through each of their sites and look at what platform they are using, whether they are blogging, what social channels they use etc. This takes quite a bit of time and gives you some really good insights into what they are doing. You may be able to spot areas where they are doing well and areas where they aren’t which can be turned into marketing opportunities for yourself.
All this is fine when you are in the planning stages but doing this regularly, while very important, can take up a lot of unnecessary time. Time which could be better spent on your own marketing efforts. So, after our initial competitor audit, how do you keep up with what your competitors are doing without wasting time?
A simple method we have employed recently is to set up an RSS feed reader to monitor all our competitors websites. While we are checking their sites out during our own audit, I simply add their site’s RSS feed into a feed reader which will then show me any updates they make to their site without me having to visit their site on a regular basis. Simple, eh?
Any feed reader will do. We use the free version of Feedly which works very well. I’ve made a new category called “Competitors” and added all of their site addresses into that category. It’s now a simple matter of glancing at it a couple of times per week and I can instantly see any of their new updates automatically. There have been a couple of interesting things to learn from this already, the main one being that very few of our competitors are bothering to add new content to their sites. That spells opportunity to me!
Like I said earlier, you don’t want to obsess over your competition but it’s nice to be on top of what they are up to. Do you have any simple techniques that you use keeping an eye on your competitors? Leave a comment below to share it.