Last week, I started you on the path to researching your bellydance competition. This week we are moving one to super sleuthing your competition. What do I mean by that? I mean by creative a competitive assessment. Do more of a market research competitor analysis. Don’t worry if it sounds daunting, I’m going to walk you through it!

1. PR coverage. I’ve noticed that this is something that only a few dancers think about. We don’t really reach out to local papers, magazines, etc. But what if we should? What if your competition is? Find out what journalists and papers your competition has been featured on and deal with the most. You can do this by looking up all the newspapers in your area and checking out the article list. There are also some papers that allow you to add listing for free to their website. Maybe this is the way your competitors are getting more people into their classes. Finding these things may be more work but it’s so worth it!

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1-2. Once you get a list, you need to narrow it down. What media oulets actually cover bellydancing or want to write about it? You need to find them and then the right person to talk to so you don’t get theh run around. If your competitor has been featured by them, it makes it easy! You can set up an alert in google for your competitor’s name so you find out whenever they are mentioned. You can add more specifics focusing on your niche and then when you get them, delve in to see what writer and paper are dealing with them the most. This way you don’t have to spend hours searching or sending out emails when you can send 10. If you want to get super sleuthy you can then only narrow it down to those that have the highest impact- ie rank the highest.

2. Crack their content. Monitor your competitors blog, social media channels, etc and see how they use their content. Go beyond what they are posting and when and see how they market. Let me get into this a bit more. Cracking their content takes knowing what their content is. For instance, do they have a blog at all? What do they write about on that blog? Is it on their website? Or is it through a third party? How frequently do they blog? If they aren’t blogging regularly, chances are it isn’t really a part of their content strategy. Once you figure this out, look deeper. Do they share their posts to social media? Do they put them out in a mailing list? Do they put it out there as a question to their followers? An answer? How do they get people to read and engage in their posts? If you start noting these things, eventually a pattern will emerge.

2-2. Once you have your list of questions from above and you’ve answered them. Take a look at the pattern. What is working? What things do they get a lot of engagement from or likes? Does anything stick out as having gotten them a client? Is it something that you haven’t considered? Perhaps you can approach it from a different angle? Or should you try a similar approach or topic of discussion and offer your own point of view? The best result would be to find a gap in their content. And if that gap corresponds to something that you can fill and have already created things for. Then that becomes your big marketing push since they would be behind you and aren’t prepared with the content.

2-3.Other questions to look at with the above is to take a look at the hashtags they use and how they engage with others. Is there a hashtag that they use that you don’t? Or seems to get used a lot by those who comment on their posts? When someone does like or comment? How do they respond? Do they do so right away? Do they use emojis? Does each individual get a response? It all seems small but all of these things go into figuring out their marketing strategy.

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3. Backlinks. Now this is something that I have seen change over time with marketing. The most common way dancers have used it is by having a list of other dancers on their site with their links. Now it’s all well and good to highlight your teachers, etc in that way, but is it actually driving traffic to your site? What you want is people linking to you without you having to do the same and because they want to. You can check and see who is linking to your competitors site. You can set up an alert for their website on the web and see these things. If you know what content they have that others are sharing and linking to will help you figure out what to create on your own site. Maybe their photos get a lot of hits- that could tell you to put more photos on your site. Then delve deeper- what kinds of photos? Studio, action shots? See where I’m going with this?

3-2. Sprinkle some keyword search engine optimization on the above. You can search keywords and see if your competition comes up. What pages of their website or what of their content comes up? Is it an article talking about that content that links to their site? Or maybe their site on it’s own. That tells you that that particular keyword is not only relevant but so much so that they’ve incorporated it into their website. Is there a keyword that seems to do well that they aren’t capitalizing on? Maybe they only have one piece of content dealing with it but it’s linked to a bunch of times. That would be something you could capitalize on.

4. Turn their bad press into your good press. Check out their reviews across sites. They could be on yelp, google business, Gigmasters, Gigsalad, thumbtack, etc. and maybe not all of their reviews are positive. Whether the review that was left was fair or not, this is a client that you know is already interested in your services. Maybe there was something the client was hoping for that they didn’t offer but you do. It could be anything from allowing children in class to a fire prop. You don’t have to be pushy but perhaps you can chime in. Typically people just don’t leave a review but also vent or discuss it on other social media platforms. Find them and comment on their thread. Offer yourself as another solution or perhaps be a bit more diplomatic and say that it’s not your competitor’s fault that they don’t offer children’s classes due to insurance issues at their location but that you do. It could be as simple as that! If you already have your alerts set up then you’ll be able to jump on the opportunity before someone else.

Of course, as with all of my other posts, there is so much more to sleuthing! It’s all about learning from your competition through reverse engineering and benefiting your business. Avoid as many mistakes as you can and flourish. Want to know more? Want help getting all of this started? Well, then you’ll have to sign up for my BellyMogul program!