Businesses can sometimes come so close to the trees that they can’t see the forest. In this episode, Ken Courtright pulls you back as he provides the four platforms you can use to give you an advantage over your competitors. These four tools will help you get information on your company, on your competitors, and your industry. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to become a top business.
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4 Spy Tools You Must Use 2
I’m right in the middle of a five-part series on an OTSW. That is the opposite of a SWOT analysis. For those who don’t know what SWOT is, I have taught for many years that you grow your company by looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I do it diligently. I’ve been corrected as my wife and I are going for our executive MBAs at Pepperdine. I’ve been corrected by some of the greatest strategic minds in North America, that the biggest companies are doing OTSW and not SWOT. I explained in episode 433, what the huge difference between a SWOT and OTSW is. Although it looks at the same things, it looks at them in a different order and it looks at them completely differently.
I look at OTSW, the O and T are three times larger than the S and the W. They’re three times more relevant. They’re three times more important and it is what it is. The OTSW is forcing me to recut a lot of my most downloaded episode. This episode is titled The Learning Organization. That’s a line stolen from the famous book, The Fifth Discipline. If you have not read that book, it’s about an inch–and–a–quarter–thick, absolutely amazing. The concept is that the fifth discipline of any organization is to become a learning organization. You’re constantly in the pursuit of knowledge. Your intellectual property is through the roof and that is what gives you the ability to see the OTSW in a different way and react faster.
What I want to do is provide four platforms, physical things you can go into to give you an advantage over your competitors. What are four different places you can get information on your company, your competitors and what the world sees about your industry that maybe you and your management are so close to the trees you can’t see the forest? The first thing I want you to do is to go to a website called BuzzSumo. I want you to put the three most relevant short–tail phrases into BuzzSumo. It’s going to show you the twenty most viral pieces of content in your industry on those phrases.
Let’s say you’re in landscaping. Number one, I would put on landscaping and see what’s the most viral piece of content with landscaping. Maybe I would put the word lawn mowers or fertilizer. Whatever one or two-word phrase is very important to you, put those in. I would do up to ten of them and then I would assign to someone, a junior associate, a virtual assistant, an intern to go through those 200 articles. See if there is a theme of an upcoming trend or a falling away anchor part of the business or a falling away mindset about landscaping or a methodology of trimming trees.
The fifth discipline of any organization is to become a learning organization. You're constantly in the pursuit of knowledge. Click To Tweet
If you do this and you do ten phrases and you get the twenty most viral pieces of content for each phrase, you are going to notice one or two threats that you did not know exist in your industry and it is going to shake you to the core. You’re going to quickly realize that you have not been reacting fast enough or there’s an opportunity that you have not been pursuing strong enough. What I want you to do is put those same phrases plus another 10 to 30 phrases into something called Google Alerts. If you’re in landscaping, I’m going to set up a Google Alert just for the word landscaping. Google is going to send you an email anytime a major publication worldwide publishes something with the word landscaping in the title.
I wouldn’t do a single word with Google Alerts unless it’s your company name or your personal name, but I would do more three-word phrases like landscaping ideas or top ten landscaping tips. You’re going to set the alert to as it happens. This way, the moment any major publication, New York Times, WebMD, something big and there are hundreds of millions of publications in Google’s database that they consider major. What they weed out is a blog with five posts or less. Any magazine out there is going to get caught. Any of these major phrases or part of the title of an article, Google is going to personally alert you with an email of the article. You’re going to do the same thing.
You’re going to start staying in tune with your industry and your space because it might be a while since you’ve been to a conference or gone to school and the world might be changing right under your feet. What I want you to do is go to SEMRush.com. I want you to put your company name in the top bar and click enter. It’s going to do a diagnostic. I want you to drop down about six inches. Look at your top ten competitors. Once you know the three largest competitors and you’re sure they are the three largest competitors, I want you to open up two more tabs and put SpyFu.com into there. I want you to put each of the three competitors into SpyFu and hit run. SpyFu is going to show you how these companies market their company.
Spy Fu is going to show you what content they write on their website, how the websites are built. That’s going to give you an outline of a scan of your competition for how they see themselves, what they see as important. If you see one of your competitors is spending $40 a click on a certain phrase to get traffic to their website. They’ve been doing it for a few years because SpyFu will show you that, then you obviously know that’s a profit center for them. You might not even be on that profit center, and you might want to jump on that.
The next thing I would do is open Archive.org. I would put each of the three competitors’ websites in there. It gives you a historical scan of what their websites looked like going back since they started, it could be even many years. The area I like to look at the most on a larger competitor is the press room because in there they brag about the CEO they hired, the manager they fired, the division they bought or the smaller company they bought. When you get to read the history of the last several years of your biggest competitors, you can begin to read the mind of your competitor.
If you get the SpyFu Diagnostics and it shows you upfront exactly what your competitors are buying in keywords, what they’re marketing on and how they’re marketing, then you get to look at the backend. You see what they used to promote on their website several years ago and what they currently are promoting. You can see the divisions they’ve stopped, the products they’ve stopped selling because they used to talk about them and they don’t talk about them anymore. You can literally read the mind of your competitor and if you can map them, you can even forecast and put on a map the direction they’re currently heading. It is absolutely amazing. If you’re a learning organization, which is the fifth discipline, you’ll do this every January for all your major competitors. I hope this helps. Take care.
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