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When it comes to competitive research, which strategies or tactics should you use? What’s the best way to get the information you need about your competition to take them on head on?

I’ve identified 4 must-use competitive research tools. Before you do anything else, you should first:

  1. Subscribe to the top blogs in your niche – Click the RSS button, or subscribe by e-mail, but you should be reading the top blogs in your niche every day. Pick the top 5 blogs and subscribe to them. If the top blogs are not also the top competitors, then subscribe to the blogs of your top 3 competitors as well.
  2. Create Google Alerts – Google Alerts is an essential tool. Create Google Alerts for the top 20 or 30 keywords you want to target with your content.
  3. Join the top online communities in your niche – Pick 3 to 5 of the most popular online communities that serve your niche and join them. You don’t have to interact. You can simply browse the threads to see what people are talking about, then you can address the most popular topics on your own blog.
  4. Subscribe to competitors’ newsletters – Set up a ghost e-mail address and use it to subscribe to the newsletters of your competition. Read them as often as you can.

The only thing these 4 competitive research methods cost is the time it takes to read and set up subscriptions. Still, they are essential tactics you should implement before you do anything else.

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