Should you link out to and share your competitors’ content?

Should your brand share and link out to your competitors’ content?

Yes.

Here is why.

To provide the best customer experience on your websites and social media channels, it critical that you become the go-to information source for them and treat information like a product.

Thanks to the internet and mobile devices with web services, customers are now in complete control and can filter out the noise or messages that do not benefit them. Anytime. Anywhere.

As a result, brands need to build strong relationships with their audience by providing them with consistently valuable, relevant, and helpful information.

Whatever the source is.

With the rise and popularity of content marketing, it is important to treat information like a product. If you do so, you will be able to sell, cross-sell and up-sell more products and services, helping you drive business growth.

With the rise of social media and content marketing, you need to report on our industry like the traditional media or modern online media sources do in many different mediums: text, video, images, etc.

Your competitors are more than just your traditional competitors. They are now your trade publications. The traditional media. Or any media outlet or blog or online publication that talks about your industry or the products and services you sell.

Your company should become a media company and tell their stories; not beg the media to cover your stories.

Become the Media

It is not as simple as saying “let’s become a media company” but it is the process of creating a more agile, adaptive and real-time approach to content marketing.

Take tips from professional journalists to create stories that don’t promote your products and services and master the fundamentals of content marketing.

It is mindset shift so it is important to learn the six steps to transform your brand into a media company.

As Progressive CMO Jeff Charney says, your brand should have “the breadth of ESPN, the innovation of Netflix, and the original content programming of HBO.”

ESPN-Netflix-HBO

5 Reasons You Should Share and Link Out to Your Competitors

Why would want to give a competitor free publicity? Why should you link out to and/or share their content? Won’t it drive website traffic away from our brand and we may potentially lose clients or prospects?

Sharing or linking out to your competitors may feel counterproductive.

After all, they are your competitors for a reason.

However, sharing or linking out to your competitors can work to your advantage.

Here’s why.

1. Google Determines What Your Company Is All About and What Industry You are In

As much you would like to believe it, you are sometimes not going to have the best content so it is important to share and link to other great pieces of content. Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy EggHello Bar, and KISSmetrics, links to his competitors multiple times a week and he says that is ok to give them traffic because he is doing what is best for his users.

In this video below, he explains how he puts his users first and ensure they get a great user experience from his website so they come back. In fact, 40 percent of his monthly traffic is from repeat visitors.

Neil also says that Google determines what your website is about when you link to your competitors and other sites within your industry. This linking helps Google determine where to rank your website. By linking to competitors, they may link back to you, boosting your search engine rankings.

2. You Display Confidence About Your Company

Sharing your competitors’ content can show your social media followers you are confident in your company and the products and services you are selling.

Companies who consistently create great content are not worried about sharing a competitor’s article because they are confident in the value they provide their readers through content creation and content curation and become that “go-to source of information” that filters out the noise on the Internet that has so much content. Your company is now a media company so you need to report the stories.

3. People Already Know Your Competitors

Look at your company page on LinkedIn. It shows you similar companies (aka your competitors).

If you Google your company’s competitors, you get sources like Hoovers, G2Crowd, Owler and Alexa , to name a few.

Forsythe Competitors

Your clients or prospects most likely will ask industry analysts like Gartner and Forrester about your competitors or similar companies anyway.

By sharing and linking to your competitors’ content, you can control the conversation while looking confident in the fact that your brand has nothing to hide.

4. It Makes You More Trustworthy and Increases Loyalty

Building trust with your audience is built up over years. To keep earning that trust, you need to share and create valuable, relevant content daily. That way, your audience will keep coming back for more information and become loyal to your brand because you provide helpful and insightful information.

Companies that provide value and insights are winning their customers or clients over. In fact, 74 percent of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to bring value and insight and 82 percent of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor.

Your competitors are your competitors for a reason. They create content like you do and sometimes, their content is worth sharing because it is helpful and informative.

The key is to provide consistent content that your audience can consume, whether it is your content, your competitors’ content or someone else’s content.

5. It Makes You Better at What You Do

By sharing and linking out to your competitors’ content, it makes your content better.

The goal for of your content is to help your audience. So it critical to understand what you are up against and what your clients or prospects may be reading.

For example, you can ask yourself: What makes their content great? What makes it worth sharing? Can you use the idea(s) presented in their content and expand upon it?

People will be more likely to trust you if you talk about it in a way that you understand how it stacks up against your competitors.

Take Marcus Sheridan, for example.

Marcus SheridanImage source: Jay Paul for The New York Times

He is best known for his revolutionary marketing strategy of answering his customers’ questions.

Yes, all he is does is answer his customers’ question and … he writes about his competition a lot.

His swimming pool blog talks about subjects no one else talks about such as comparing swimming pools types, swimming pool companies and the best and worst of practices of pool builders.

Which Pool Manufacturer is Better.

He wrote an article about the two major fiberglass pool manufacturers in his industry. The article has been read thousands of times, it ranks first for many keyword phrases and most of the comments asked his pool company for tips on which brand to choose.

Sheridan’s bottom line: stop caring about the competition and start caring about your customers by answering their questions with your content and the content you share and link out to.

Conclusion

Be confident in your work and don’t fear your competition. By sharing and linking out to your competitors’ content, you can make sure your readers and followers are more loyal, it helps you become that go-to source of information, and increases the chance of getting traffic and shares back from your competition. Remember, if it benefits your community, share it.

Become that go-to-information source by sharing your competitors’ interesting blog articles, writing responses to their blog articles, allowing your competitors to write guest blog posts on your blog, and summarizing the most important news and best articles in your industry, including those written by your competitors.

The bottom line: to become known as an expert and thought leader in your industry, you have to have comprehensive resources and tell compelling stories, no matter the source.

Be confident. Show your audience that your brand is built around helping them solve problems.

It will give your competitors a reason to promote your content and your audience a reason to promote and recommend your brand as a place you must go for information.

When sharing and linking out to your competitors’ content is done correctly, it is a critical part of building your thought leadership online.

What are your thoughts on sharing or linking out to your competitors’ content?

Have you shared or linked out to your competitors’ content? Did you get push back internally or others in your industry? What reasons would you add to this list?

 

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