It’s probably the single most common problem with content marketing; site owners don’t know what to write about. Every blogger, site owner and marketer is going to have writer’s block sooner or later, but don’t let that stop you for long! A successful content marketing campaign relies on the consistent creation and promotion of useful content. A small snag can easily derail your editorial calendar. If you find yourself scrambling to come up with new topics for your next blog post or article, why not take a look at the competition?

Why would you want to use the competition as a source of inspiration?

First off, your competition has the same online audience as you. If they are doing their content marketing right, they should be focusing on producing content that is interesting and helpful to their consumer, who is your consumer too! Which of your competitor’s blog post seem to get the most “love” (comments, Likes, shares, etc.) from your target audience? What information does these posts offer up that resonates so well with your target audience? Search for nuggets of information within those blog posts, expand upon them and turn them into your own!

You should also determine what kind of approach to content marketing the competition is taking—informational, educational or promotional? This will help you determine what niche the competition is trying to own and allow you to see the holes their content marketing plan is leaving behind. What are they NOT talking about that you think is important for your consumers to know? If you start focusing your blog posts on that, your blog will become the undisputed resource for related questions.

Remember—you never want to follow anyone’s content marketing plan step for step! You’ll always be playing catch-up, which means you’re two steps behind. What works for one company (even within the same industry) might not guarantee success for another.

Here are 5 ways you can get a feel for what your competition is writing about:
•Signup for the competition’s newsletter
•Subscribe to their blog’s RSS feed
•Follow the company’s Twitter account
•Check out their YouTube account
•Search document sharing sites for any published presentations

Keep in mind that you want to take your own, unique spin on the topic ideas you get from the competition! Don’t give anyone the chance to call your out for plagiarism or article spinning. Also, let some time pass between your competitor’s blog post and your own if they focus on the same topic. You don’t want your blog to be known for rehashing what everyone else is talking about without adding any unique perspectives or value.