There are no original writing ideas left. All ideas that come to mind have been already covered by someone else, one way or another. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you can’t try writing something 10x better than the existing content and make this topic your own.
Here’s an interesting approach that helps me analyze my competitors’ best articles to write better quality content then they do.
About the approach
I’m positive the analysis of my competitors always works wonders! To write an article that stands out, you should analyze the best existing content and only after that start writing your own article. Here is the plan:
- We find the idea for the article
- We find the existing content
- We gather information about best articles
- We choose keywords we want to rank for
- We write the article that is 10x better than the existing content
So let’s start!
#1 Find the idea
First, find an appropriate topic for your article. Start by asking yourself a question: what am I an expert in? Since we want to write something that is much better than the whole Internet’s best content on this topic, it should be something you’re best at.
So let’s think. For instance, I’m an expert in digital marketing (kind of). Digital marketing consists of content marketing, SEO, PPC, SMM, search analytics, email marketing, guerilla marketing, etc.
Today I feel like writing about email marketing strategies. What can I say about email marketing? It could be something on how to create text for the emails, how to come up with the subject line that increases conversions, how to measure the effectiveness of the email campaign, how to use automation tools, etc. Let’s imagine that I decided to write about email marketing strategies I use in my work.
I think you got the idea. Come up with a large subject and narrow it down to the specific issues. Once you come up with an approximate idea of what you’re going to write about, go to the next step, which is:
#2 Find the existing content
Now let’s go further and analyze existing content. Google your main keyword (email marketing strategies in our case) and explore the top-10 results.
Of course, we all know that well-written content is not the only factor Google factors in when deciding what to show in the top. There are more than 200 factors, and sometimes top articles aren’t “top” by quality.
Thus, we shouldn’t rely only on the soulless Google bots (apologies to all bots reading this article). We’ll check what people think as well. I suggest using the BuzzSumo tool to find most shared content by the keyword.
Here you can sort results by Facebook engagement and see the most popular content with a lot of shares.
#3 Analyze it!
Now it’s time to use your analytical abilities. Choose at least 5 top articles from Google and 5 from BuzzSumo and start gathering information about them. You can also analyze it separately and decide what content is the most shareable and what content usually appears in the top-10 results.
First of all, read all these articles and think if there are ways to improve them. What do you like about these articles? What would you add to make it better? What would you remove to make it better? Write down all your thoughts and use these notes when writing your post.
Also, there could be a lot of factors to check:
- Article length
- Article headline
- Blog traffic
- Number of images and screenshots
- Number of sections/ article structure (how many subheadings, bulleted lists, notes)
- Who the author is
- Article layout
- Article format
- What benefit it brings to the reader
- Number of tips/steps/stages
- Meta tags, keywords, backlink profile
- Is there something unique and specific
- Is there something you can use for your business (template, example, etc)
- Any other factor you want
I suggest creating a spreadsheet to have all information together in one place. Here is an example of such spreadsheet:
After you decide on the topic go and
#4 Find the patterns
Now think deeply and start finding the patterns. For instance,
- 12 out of 20 articles I analyzed have numbers in the headline
- 2200 is an average length of the top article
- 14 out of 20 articles from this list somehow deal with statistics; It’s clear that when you talk about how you can increase ROI, CTR, open rate, effective strategy, etc, you’re expected to prove your point with some numbers.
- 5 out of 10 have real-life examples. It’s also really important for every article.
- Not all authors of these posts are thought leaders. Well-optimized and a great-written article can appear in the top without a famous name.
- The number of images, subheadings, steps doesn’t change anything. Having said that, if you try to analyze more than 20 articles, you might find some patterns. And, of course, you always need images and subheadings to break the chunks of text. But it doesn’t matter if there are 10 or 15 of them.
- Almost all blogs have high traffic (from 20K to 5M)
Of course, it’s just an example. If you decide to make a real analysis, you’ll find much more useful patterns, analyze best practices and implement it in your articles. All this information will help you take the best ideas from your competitors and combine them in your post. Also, you’ll be able to see their mistakes and avoid them in your strategy.
#5 Choose keywords you want to rank for
Your article could be million times better, more comprehensive than the existing content, written in your unmistakable style, but it doesn’t mean it will be the best article in the search. I mean It could be the best, but it also has to rank high to get noticed by the reader.
To compete in search, you should choose the main keywords you want to rank for and make the further analysis. Most SEO tools give you a huge list of keywords you barely can read in full, so I suggest using tools that have a keyword clustering feature. This one helps make sense of this keyword mess. I’ll go with Serpstat. First, you should go to Keyword research > SEO research > Keyword selection, and export all messy data the tool will return.
After that, go to “Tools” section, choose Keyword clustering and insert keywords you’ve exported earlier. After that, you’ll choose relevant region and settings.
Here you have all keywords broken into semantically related groups. Choose the group you want to use in your article and launch text analytics (TA, the top right corner of each group). This tool will recommend you what keywords to use in Title, Description, H1, body.
Recommendations are based on top-10 search results of all keywords. Thus, this tool analyses your best competitors and tells you what keywords to use to surpass them.
Few tips to write better content
- Longer than the existing articles. For instance, see that top-1 article is “10 email marketing strategies to try”, create “25 email marketing strategies to try”! Thus, your article will be more useful than the existing one. Also, there is a study by BuzzSumo showing that longer content usually gets shared more than other:
- Create a better headline. Your headline should be more catchy than the existing article’s headline. So instead of “10 email marketing strategies to try” you can choose “25 experts’ proven strategies for email marketing” or “25 email marketing strategies to improve your open rates by 33%”. People love stats and numbers!
- Analyze their keywords and use them in your article. Text analytics feature can help you with it. Without keyword research, your perfect article might never be noticed.
- Grab all strong points from analyzed articles. After the analysis of 10-20 best articles, you’ll be able to say what’s right and wrong in these articles. So what’s to stop you taking all good ideas and combining them in your post?
Analysis of the existing content is a must in case you want to write something better than that. After doing a little research, you can find out how many words long your article should be, what are the common things best articles include, what format will fit this idea, etc. So there are 3 crucial points you should keep in mind when writing the article supposed to be 10x better than other articles on this topic:
- Analysis of the existing content can help you find patterns and understand what formats, structure, words number, etc work well with this topic. You can find strong points and interesting tricks in your competitors’ articles and grab some of them to your post. Also, you can avoid their mistakes, analyze their weak spots.
- Reading a competitors article is not enough. You should structure the data properly. Use a spreadsheet to keep all data together and see the overall picture.
- Remember about keyword research. You can take best out of competitors’ articles and create a perfect piece. But without keyword research, your article won’t be ranking in top-10, and you risk going unnoticed. Use SEO tools that include competitor analysis features and analyze keywords your competitors rank for.
Now go and create your perfect piece!