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Great Content Can Help You Beat Your Competition

05/15/2014 04:54 EDT | Updated 07/15/2014 05:59 EDT

Competition is the nature of business. Big or small any competitor is capable of taking away your customers or clients -- especially in today's global, connected market.

It's a battleground, and your goal is to win the war.

With that in mind, are you focused on the strategic communications your competitors are doing right? Have you adopted a "me too" approach when it comes to selecting communications channels?

Well, you shouldn't. You would be better off doing the opposite: examining their communications weaknesses so you can stand head and shoulders above them.

Here are four great places to start:

1. Thought leadership: Have your competitors taken a stand on an issue? Have they initiated research on a topic and communicated it with a white paper, press release or other written materials? Has their leadership in a specific area put them in the spotlight with media and customers? If they aren't thought leaders, now is the time for you to become one. Find your niche and tell your audience something unique and of perceived value, without outwardly selling your product or service. If you earn a reputation as a thought leader, your key stakeholders and media will put you top-of-mind, rather than your competition.

2. Media coverage: Are your competitors in the news? Are they generating earned media coverage in targeted, well-read print, TV, radio and online outlets? If not, that's a strike against them. If they are, take a look at the stories or interviews. Are they getting the right messages across? Is their spokesperson credible? Are they telling the audience something that is new, or that solves one of their problems? If not, that's another strike, and it is a clear opportunity for you to bring your message to media, and ultimately, your target audience.

3. Social media: Are your competitors active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or other social media channels? Is their presence strong with thousands of followers/likes, customer engagement and solid content? If not, step in and take the lead. Implement the right social media strategy to get in front of their prospects, generate new business, connect with stakeholders and influencers, and spread your message.

4. Blogging: Do your competitors have a blog? Do they post to it regularly? Does the content sell solutions, or products? Blogs are a strategic way to communicate your messages to a vast audience. If your competitors don't have one, or aren't doing it right by offering quality content focused on solutions, now is the time for you to fill that gap.

There is no science to beating the competition. However, identifying the gaps in their approach to communications is a good place to start.

To put it simply: find the gap, fill it, and reap the rewards before they know what hit them.