binoculars looking at a city scape

Six steadfast steps explained:

Step No.1:

Conduct and document an online review of your sector

aka – check out your competition

This step is a must for whatever kind of media you are creating content for, both online and print.

Whether it is a display ad or an article for a newspaper or magazine; a web page, a printed brochure, an online newsletter, or a blog, you need to look at the platform you are creating content for, and check out what your competitor businesses are saying, and how they are saying it.

Feel free to nab ideas, or ‘find inspiration’…if that’s what you prefer to call it. Of course, you are not looking to duplicate someone else’s work. But if you break what you see into elements, and you see an element you like, then make it your own. Use it.

Here are some examples of elements that you may find worth nabbing –

  • A strongly visible customer testimonial
  • A header image that shows a happy client
  • A strong, clear and memorable statement of what this business does
  • A well organised list of services or products
  • A bold and clear call to action, such as a sign up or ‘contact us’ button, or telephone number

Guarded and fierce competition is out. Happy and enlightened co-operation is in.

Keeping an eye on your competition has always been a key marketing strategy, but with everything going online this part of the process has renewed significance.

Having a website makes it easier for both customers and competitors to find out about your business. It is now easier to access information about other businesses, because of the speed of search, and because of the pressure businesses are under to provide more transparency.

You can usually find price lists; lists of products and services, portfolio info, information on processes, and terms and conditions, all without having to contact the business you are reviewing. Online has turned us all into super sleuths on any given topic.

You are probably going to feel compelled to provide all this kind of information online about your business, and your competitors will probably be checking you out, and nabbing ideas from you.

Rather than ‘Competitor’ I like to use a term I ‘nabbed’ from one of my favourite Web Copy gurus, Joanna Weibe, Copyhackers. The term is Co-opitor. Which is co-operation + competitor.

Since the first dot com bubble of the 1990’s there has subsequently been a do or die shift in information display. Instead of being too worried about people stealing ideas from you, business is advised to embrace openness and idea transference. For better or worse ….welcome to the era of ‘sharing’!

I like to think this culture shift has undermined the ‘slippery pole’ syndrome. In the new online arena a competitive or protectionist mind set can actually hold you back.

Print media has always been characterised by the ‘authoritative’ voice. By contrast, the online catch cry is ‘Join the conversation’. It isn’t always the most authoritative voice that wins the bigger audience, but if your competitor has a bigger audience than you, then by ‘joining in’ with their conversations online, you can access their audience.

Joining the conversation means first listening (or reading) what is being said. So before you jump in online, review other websites and web pages that are associated with your business, and take note.

The Open Copy Co-opitor Review and Report

I start every web copy development or redevelopment with my Co-opitor Review and Report. Which is basically a sector review for the business type that I am collaborating with.

Click here for total step by step how-to on my Co-opitor Review processes, plus free worksheet downloads to get started today.

Click on a step below if you want to read more on how and why….and if you want to download the worksheets I use at Open Copy.

2Conduct and document an appraisal of your existing content assets

3. Develop (or revisit) your Brand Positioning Table

4. Develop a Message Strategy and Action Plan  

5. Consolidate your Branding Blueprint Folder

6. Develop your new creative assets

high heel bootsClick here to go back a summary of my 6 Sturdy Steps – Starting from Scratch.