How to research your competition and generate great content

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How to research your competition and generate great content

Everyone wishes they had a magic ball to look into to ask what type of content their users want to read.

The great thing about the internet is now we do! There are a number of different ways to use free tools online to see what content is resonating with different audiences. You can also see what successes your competitors are having. Knowing what type of content has worked for your competitors or companies you aspire to become like is a strategy windfall.

Using this type of research you can guide your team on what types of content to create, what headlines to use where content should be shared.


Buzzsumo is an amazing tool that is free and offers a plethora of data on your competitors.

Buzzsumo has an amazing content creation machine. Above you can see that I searched buzzsumo for Searching by domain is a powerful feature of buzzsumo that let’s you see what the most popular content on a particular domain has been. This can tell you what has worked best for a direct competitor or what has performed most poorly.

The most popular article on the hubspot domain in the last year was “20 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Pinterest Features You Didn’t Know Existed (But Totally Should)” To the right you can also see where this post was shared. Facebook was the clear winner more than doubling the amount of shares on twitter.

You do need to take network shares with a grain of salt though. Each network is different and has a different type of audience an involvement. Just because facebook did well in the example above, does not mean your facebook audience may resonate with this content the same. Also we don’t know whether this content was a paid promotion or picked up by an even large blog on facebook which promoted it.

That example shows how to see what is the most popular piece of content on a single domain and where it’s popularity came from (which social site).


How do you find out what type of content your audience is interested in. What do you write about?

Buzzsumo’s real power is in using search terms over searching a particular domain. I may know what types of topics I want to write on, but I don’t know what around those topics is currently popular. Crafting posts around already popular topics is a good way to ensure your content is in line with what people are looking for.

I did a search for social media analytics. You can adjust your search criteria using standard boolean operators. You can also filter your search results to only show content in the last 24hrs up to a year. In addition to filtering by date you can filter by the type of content. Articles, infographics, videos etc..

So we’ve established that I want to write about analytics as it is my strong suite. I’ve done a search in buzzsumo and found that two of the top posts reference google analytics. Sounds like my next article would revolve around using google analytics to analyze social media effectiveness.

You could also write a follow up to the above references articles. Providing a unique or personal point of view on an existing piece of content is a quick way to get posts published. They are quicker than how to articles. Plus is gives your reader insight in to how you think and let’s them know what you’re reading.


Set up alerts with Buzzsumo to stay abreast of topics and competitors

Buzzsumo is an amazingly powerful research tool, but who has time to constantly check up on it? You can set up alerts with Buzzsumo to notify you about changes to topics you are interested in or domains you are monitoring.