Why You Should Be Friends With Your Competitors

Why You Should Be Friends With Your Competitors

Being friends with your enemies is one thing... and in our experience (well, the human experience, let’s say) that can be particularly difficult. Being friends with your competitors, however, is another story entirely, and one you should know the beginning, middle, and ending to.

SEO, or search engine optimization, for those of you not so deep in the Inbound marketing world quite yet, works because of one very special, specific thing: links. If a website links to your website, that's like an A+ grade on a paper for you and your business. It's a vote of confidence unlike any other, and in the world of Inbound, that's what makes our world go ‘round.

Let’s just get this out of the way as ‘fact’ right now: relationships are everything. So we’re going to explain to you here, in this quaint little blog, a few important things… one, why relationships with other online marketing gurus are important, and two, how to cultivate them. Let's get started.

  1. The Why

This one will be short. Because, like we said, relationships are everything. If you’re an adult human with a conscience, you probably know this. This fact also means that your reputation is, bar none, incredibly vital to the success of your business. Reputations in the marketing world are built on a few things: face-to-face interaction, and content. So how do you make a relationship with another online presence? That’s easy. Get connected.

  1. The How

You’ve identified the content creators you enjoy most, maybe even envy, and probably aspire to be like. And that’s great! But there's more work to be done. You have to realize that connecting with other content creators who have 12k Twitter followers may not be the most solid idea. A good relationship, any way you slice it, will be meaningful and long-lasting only if the relationship is built on something genuine… in this case, that means that you legitimately enjoy someone’s website or specific work. Just because a content creator of sorts has a ton of followers on any given social media platform does not mean that they are a good fit for ‘friendship’ with you and your brand, nor does it mean that you necessarily belong in the ecosystem that is their reality.

So, how do you actually connect with these people? There are a few ways to do it. One, you can just reach out. Say 'hey, I love your work!' and see where that leads. If they don't respond, move onto the next one… we’re sure you have more than one content crush out there. Creating a solid relationship takes two to tango, and if you're inauthentic, that will come off clearly.

People create content that matters to them; content that is actionable and means something. So talk to people about what strikes you as impressive when it comes to their content, website, or brand in general. Getting a closer, more intimate look at why your ‘content crush’s’ work looks the way it does will take some prying, but that doesn’t have to be prying in a negative sense. Get curious. Seek answers to questions you want to know—not just because you want to use those answers to strengthen your own work (though that is probably part of it). Seek answers because you want to know how these content creators polish their work to the extent that they do. Any good content creator knows that content creation and curation is an art form.

Even prying effectively takes practice. As does letting people know about your work, and the fact that—hey, you’d love it if they linked your stuff in their own! This fact, of course, brings us back to SEO. If you don't have something worth linking back to quite yet, don't ask anyone to do so. Engaging others is a surefire way to gain positive, productive attention. But wait until your stuff is worth their while (hopefully that's sooner than later) but remember: you won’t get good links if you don’t have something worth linking to. Similar to building relationships—if it’s not built on something real, something authentic, it probably won’t work. It’s as simple as that.

Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing

Can-Do Ideas is a Digital Marketing agency specializing in Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales. We are located in New York City and Connecticut.

Photo attribution:
"conference room" by Benjamin Child is licensed under CC0 1.0
"batman & superman" by Aitoff is licensed under CC0 1.0

TOPICS: Inbound Marketing, Productivity

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