Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Geoff Livingston, a notable and award-winning social strategist, author of several books including his latest with Gini Dietrich, Marketing In The Round, and a friend. Enjoy.
Every business competes.
Whether that’s on a local, national or global scale, companies compete for customers. Perhaps competitors contend for online mindshare, too. That’s when it’s time to engage in competitive blogging to counter online.
You have a few reasons to do this:
First, blogging effectively against competitor names and keywords positions content for search engines. When a potential customer searches on Google, Bing or Yahoo! for the product or topic area, your blog should get sourced in the results. Hopefully, potential customers will click through.
Second, you want to be perceived as an industry thought leader. Industry thought leaders achieve their stature by rising above petty competitive actions — ignoring the competition or, worse, attacking them — to serve stakeholders with valuable information.
Last, but not least, content should be about your customers’ interests. You want to give them the best information possible. Thought leadership is earned through service.
Content marketing as a buzz word is neat, but their needs to be intent with an editorial focus behind it. Including the larger industry picture right sizes a company within the context of a customer’s perspective.
Karmic blogging has been a critical approach we took with Razoo and the Inspiring Generosity blog. When a competitor or someone in the larger industry like Blackbaud does something right, we blog about it. Research, leadership, etc., if our stakeholders will like the information presented, we blog it. We have our reasons, but I’ve never seen a competitor complain about a complimentary post.
Tips for Competitive Blogging
Gini Dietrich and I talk about competitive approaches to marketing quite a bit in our book about multichannel communications, Marketing in the Round. In fact, we close on the topic. So how do you take these lessons and apply it to competitive blogging?
Take the karmic marketing approach: Blog about larger industry trends, including what your competitors are doing right. Be complimentary. Demonstrate an attitude of growing the pie for everyone.
Make sure you link to them with critical keywords that are relevant to you and your product offering so inbound traffic has a chance to stick.
Say your competition undercuts you by positioning you inaccurately. It’s certainly happened to me. Respond, perhaps not directly, but address the concerns and misrepresentations clearly. It’s important to state the facts here. Whenever the issue comes up, show people the blog post that offers a clear picture of your offering.
Finally, let’s say there’s a new competitive offering that’s causing market disruption. Your company needs to respond and offer a competitive, or even better, more innovative offering . Blog about potential weaknesses in the product area, and see what your stakeholders have to say.
Perhaps your customers will give you insights you’d never have gained otherwise. This can in turn create avenues to innovate. Product marketing through social media represents one of the best ways to harness online data.
Again, take a karmic approach here, and don’t attack competitors publicly. Rather, address the issues and weaknesses their product presents.
It’s not the most comfortable discussion, but competition is a market reality we all face. I’m sure many of you have your own experiences with competitive approaches to social media. Please share them!
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Geoff Livingston is an author, public speaker and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop fantastic marketing programs. He brings people together, virtually and physically to build loyal networks for business, change and higher knowledge. He is the co-author of the new book Marketing in the Round which he co-authored with Gini Dietrich.