Tag : google alerts

The Essential Guide to Spying on Your Competitors


Competition is a great way to make yourself a better marketer. You might be satisfied with your own results, but looking at a competitor can inspire you to keep trying. And why not let your competition help you become even better?

Today I’m going to share my best tips for spying on your competitors and using their successes and failures to improve your marketing strategy!

Find Your Competition
You’ll have to locate your competitors before you can draw any comparisons. But how do you do it?

Go to your preferred search engine and put in any keywords that someone could use to find your business. The brands that come up in that search (especially the ones that are outranking you) are your competitors.

For example, if you’re marketing for a home aide service, you would look up your city and some keywords from your industry. if you’re selling a product, include words that describe that product to help you find your competition!

Start Spying
You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to checking on your competitors. Use Google Alerts to set up a regular notification when anything new is published by or about your competitor. Just to be safe, you may even want to put an alert on their CEO.

If you’re receiving a lot of notifications about them, they’re probably sending out regular press releases or email newsletters. I recommend signing up for their email marketing pieces – it’ll help you see what they’re sending and how often! This can be a great way to see what they’re telling their audience. Even better, you may find gaps in their content that you can fill!

And of course, there’s the simple method of just following their social media accounts. Take stock of what they’re posting and how their audience is responding, and you’ll be ready for the next part of your social media recon plan!

Run a Competitive Analysis
To see how you stack up to your competition, you’ll need to compare. That means looking at a few key metrics!

How many followers are they getting, and how long has it taken them to amass their following? For example, you might be intimidated by their 50,000 page likes, but if you only notice that number growing by one or two per week, then you know they aren’t doing much to expand their audience.

It’s also smart to remember that followers don’t always translate to customers. What’s their engagement like? See which of their posts are getting attention and which are being ignored. This will help you determine what should and shouldn’t go in your content mix!

Keep Tabs
This isn’t something you want to do once and ignore for the rest of the year. Compile all your information so you can check back in and update your numbers. This will let you track how effectively you’re using their own strategy against them!

Start by creating a spreadsheet. Put in the name of each competitor and links to anywhere they have an online presence. Record monthly intervals of things like their follower count. Engagement is harder to assign a hard number, but maybe set up a numerical system for yourself: a zero if they’ve had next to no engagement that month and a ten if their audience just can’t get enough in another month.

This whole process will save you time as you check your competitors’ social media channels and see how they’re stacking up to your own!

Stay Informed
One of the worst things you can do is shove your head in the sand and pretend that your competitors’ actions won’t affect you. Keep on the ball, see what your competitors are doing, and you’ll be one step closer to leaving your competition in the dust!

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The Essential Guide to Content Curation

The Essential Guide to Content Curation

Managing an effective content marketing strategy is challenging. Between sharing the latest news, monitoring your competitors, and creating your own content, you might feel like you’re not sure where to start.

The good news is that you’re not the first person to need some help, and there are industry best practices to help you avoid the common frustrations. Now, I’m going to walk you through how to handle all your content curation responsibilities!

Gather Information
Before you share or write anything, you need to know what people are saying around your industry. One great source of information is Feedly, which will give you a variety of sources relevant to whatever keywords you search.

Another resource is Google Alerts, and it offers some unique advantages. Like Feedly, it lets you track certain keywords to see what’s new on those topics. Google Alerts, however, will send notifications about new content in these areas, which can be surprisingly helpful.

Say, for example, you sell glasses. You’d probably track phrases like “eyewear” and “optometry.” But why stop there? You could also track a competitor or their CEO. This way, you’ll be able to learn from their successes and mistakes. Similarly, make sure you’re signed up for any newsletters or eAlerts they distribute.

How does that help? Well, once you’re aware of what your competition is doing, you can see how it’s working. What kind of content are they posting? Maybe they’re posting five blogs a week, but is that getting them engagement from their audience? Determine what is and isn’t working for them, then build your content strategy on the back of that information!

Develop a Content Mix
As you might imagine, posting the same type of content every day is going to bore your audience to tears. That’s why you’re going to need to plan out a compelling content mix.

You’ve looked at your competitors, and what did that information show you? Were they sharing news related to your industry that customers would find appealing? Did they offer unique insight in the form of regular tips or advice? Look for alternatives to promotional content, because too many promos are going to make your brand look overly sales-y and less relatable.

How do you find the right promo ratio? You experiment. If your competitor saw a lot of success posting three promotional pieces a week, see how your audience responds to four. Viewer engagement and clicks on your posts will quickly tell you what you’re doing right and what needs to change.

Remember that, ultimately, your viewers are coming to your page to create value for themselves, and your content should reflect that goal. You may want to spend an entire week talking about your new frames, but your audience wants to learn more about how to take care of their contact lenses. If you want to keep their attention, you need to meet them at that point of need.

Work Smart, Not Hard
One piece of advice that content managers often find surprising is that you should recycle your best content. It can sound sacrilegious to people who have been told all their lives to always create completely original work, but if a piece of content does well, why not make the most of that great article or blog you created?

Of course, you don’t want to just post the same story verbatim. Update it a little! Try experimenting with new headlines or images to freshen things up. If you’re feeling like the article could be better-structured, then by all means, move things around. This will all still take less time than writing and posting entirely new content.

As a rule, you want to wait at least two weeks between an initial publication and recycling that post. This way your readers won’t feel like you’re sharing the same thing over and over, but you’ll still get to members of your audience who missed it the first time around.

Know Your Stuff
Above all, the most important part of content curation is that you need to know what you’re talking about. Whether that’s reading and sharing industry news or creating compelling blog content, compiling information is going to make you a much more effective marketer.

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The Essential Social Media Manager Tools

The Essential Social Media Manager Tools

You’ve set up your social media pages and you’re ready to get posting, but you’re quickly finding that keeping up with all these different platforms is next to impossible. It’s a common feeling among social media managers, and there is a solution!

In a word: tools. There are plenty of great resources out there to make your job easier and let you get ahead on your social media strategy!

I’m going to share the social media management tools that my team uses every day to make sure our clients’ pages are running smoothly and getting them closer to their goals!

Nobody has the time to go through and publish each individual post at just the right time every day. So what’s the solution? Scheduling tools! These little guys can let you write up a bunch of content, then schedule it to post at specific times on your preferred platforms:

  • Hootsuite: This is one of the most intuitive scheduling tools out there!
  • HubSpot: If you want a scheduling tool with all the bells and whistles (including monitoring your content’s performance metrics), this is the program for you.
  • Buffer: While not quite as well-known as the other items on this list, it’s a great program if you find that the other options aren’t suiting your needs.

Instagram is notoriously finicky for its scheduling, which is why you should consider using a tool that’s optimized for Instagram. I’d suggest:

Need to find stock images for your visuals? I’ve got a few resources that have always done right by us:

  • Pixabay: Want a huge, international stock of public domain photos, graphics, and footage? Look no further!
  • Unsplash: More than 70,000 photographers post their content here, all copyright-free under the Unsplash license!
  • Pexels: Another great source for public domain photographs!

You’ve got your images, but how do you alter them to create your own unique, branded visuals? Try these tools:

  • Canva: This is a great tool for beginners, as it’s popular among professional and rookie graphic designers alike!
  • Photoshop: If you’re comfortable using more complex programs, this tool should be right up your alley!
  • Animoto: This is one of the top platforms for creating video slideshows and other short, moving content!
  • Ripl: A comparable product to Animoto, Ripl makes it easy to create animated visuals!
  • PicMonkey: Want to go back to basics? PicMonkey is a no-fuss image-editing program that’s also great for graphic design!

Writing up heaps of copy and content is no walk in the park! Creating content takes time, which is why I recommend not just creating original content for your business but also curating content from other sources. Instead of searching the internet for hours, these tools gather the content into one spot for you!

  • Feedly: Feedly lets you search by topics and pulls up great, usable content to help springboard your ideas!
  • Grammarly: To proofread any technical issues you may have missed!
  • Google Alerts: Set up alerts on industry-relevant keywords to make sure your writing is current and following trends in your field!
  • Hootsuite Streams: Track keywords and hashtags to see what others in your industry are posting. If you know what your competitors are talking about, you can figure out how to fill in the gaps they’re missing!
  • Hashtagify: Not sure what hashtags will get you attention? Use Hashtagify to track the impact of a hashtag and see what’s best for your posts!

When linking to another site, it’s important not to include the full URL. Many link shorteners allow you to see how many times the link has been clicked, which can help you track how your audience responds to content. Use any of the following tools to get shortened, convenient URLs for your posts:

Don’t Feel Overwhelmed
Being a social media manager is stressful, especially if you’re not using the right tools. Skip that anxiety and use these resources to make sure you’re not only doing your work efficiently, but as easily as possible. No social media manager can be successful without a little extra help, and that includes you!

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