I admit: Competition can be a great source of inspiration.
Observing how they develop the product, run the business or what tricks they use to acquire more clients could help spark new ideas and lead to greater growth for you.
It’s so darn easy to get over-focused on competitors, blindly follow what they do and end up like a cheap imitation.
And content is no exception here.
I see companies replicating their competitor’s topics, categories and content formats, and even imitating their writing style.
What’s interesting is that they do it in the hope of actually overcoming that particular company with content, stealing their audience, and attracting their users to their product.
And naturally, they fail.
Because you see:
The only way to create better, more engaging and relevant content is by being unique.
You need to set your content program to represent you, your company’s goals, and your audience’s needs, right from the start.
And in this post, I’ll show you three questions you need to answer to help your content stand out from anyone else.
And before you ask, yes, we ask every new client to respond those three questions before we begin planning their strategy too.
Keep on reading and you’ll find out why.
So, let’s begin.
Question #1. What Are Your Specific Objectives for the Content Program?
OK, this may seem like a trivial question.
After all, is there anything else you’d like the content program to deliver than more users, leads, connections, and authority status for your brand?
But here’s the trick, these are all vague goals you can’t measure. After all, if you generate only one lead a month with content, a single new email address would have doubled your results.
But would that be enough to call the strategy a success?
So here’s something to remember:
Objectives you set for your campaign will affect every decision you’re going to take with it.
They give you a long-term vision, motivation, and focus you’ll need to move the strategy from “oh crap, we need more leads” to “dammit, what are we going to do with so many?”
However, for that to happen, you need to set specific objectives.
Vague goals will provide only a rough guidance. Specific ones, however, will take your business from where it is now, to a stage where you’re finally reaching the business’ objectives, with content.
Question #2. What Value Are You Looking to Provide to Your Audience?
SaaS companies use value proposition to differentiate themselves on the market. It helps set them apart from the competition and makes their brand memorable to potential users.
But they rarely consider doing the same with content.
The value you provide will differentiate your content from hundreds of other pieces that will be published on the same day as your post and most likely, on the same topic too.
It will make it memorable and help readers recognize your content, associate it with the benefit they’re getting from reading it, and ultimately, help develop a deep connection with you.
After all, a value is a single reason you follow your favorite blogs, and almost religiously share their content, often even BEFORE you open the post.
And so, you need to decide what value you’re going to provide your audience through the content program.
This will be the key idea you will help your users with.
For example, one of the companies I write for, AdEspresso, aims to help their readers get the most from their Facebook ad campaigns.
Another of our clients, Wisepops offers their audience inspiration and creative ideas to help them convert more web visitors into leads and customers.
Kissmetrics provides data-driven marketers with insights to help them use information to achieve greater market results.
And yes, those blogs post on other topics too. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that no matter what topic they choose, they always write it to provide that one, specific value.
Question #3. What Is Your Deepest Dream for the Content Strategy?
The final question isn’t about visitors, audience, leads or anybody else.
It’s about you.
It’s about that one, intangible benefit you really want to get out of the content program.
It could be to become your audience’s go-to resource for specific information.
Or to beat the competition with content and dominate the market.
Perhaps your dream is to become a leading figure in the industry, a mover and shaker, so to speak.
Whatever it is, be clear about it.
Understand your deepest motives for launching the content program.
Knowing it will help you gain focus with every content related decision you will have to make.
You will be more aware of how every decision affects that outcome.
And here’s the catch:
Because this is your deepest dream, it will affect the way you plan and run the strategy, and naturally set your content apart from the competition.