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One-up your competition by putting a spin on their best hits

By   |   April 12th, 2017   |   Reading time: 4 minutes Digital Journalism

Want quicker content wins on social media? How putting a spin on your competition’s content wins can lead to your own success.

You know when you think of the perfect thing to say to someone, but only after the conversation has ended? The French call it “L’esprit de l’escalier,” for we often only think of that perfect response later, like when walking down the stairs. 

What about when it comes to content? Do you ever see something written by someone else and think, “I thought of that — I should’ve written that story.” 

To quote what probably isn’t the healthiest mindset: don’t get mad, get even.

How? Take the story, make it your own. What is unique to your publication or brand that will offer a different, and potentially more intriguing angle? 

This idea sounds only slightly devious. Plus, the bigger question is how can we find those stories worth putting our own spin on? Let’s start by going into NewsWhip Analytics, our time machine into social media virality.

We can start by entering in our competitors to find the big hits from the past, and what resonated with the audience that you’re competing for? Let’s input some competitors around travel publishing.

publisher input

Since the Huffington Post and other general news publishers cover other topics in addition to travel content, we can add a topic filter to make sure we’re only looking at relevant content. We could even look just at a specific keyword, like “Budapest” or “beaches”, if we wanted to get very focused. 

filter topics analytics

We can then sort the content by the top 100 hits, for whatever time period we want to examine. We could look at the last several days, or go back and look at data from 2014 to revisit old viral hits. 

Once we identify these stories, stop and consider the personal, branded touch that your specific publication could put on a similar story.

We looked at the top stories in March 2017 for the above publishers, ranked by their engagements across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Travel top competitors

There’s a broad range of stories that did well in March 2017 for these publishers. Let’s pretend we’re a publisher just focused on travel to Iceland. Based on how these top stories did, we might want to do a spin with celebrities who love Iceland, natural phenomena, pop culture tie-ins, and current issues in society, like travel bans and women’s rights.

The millennial travel publisher Afar, saw one of its most engaging articles on social media last month come from focusing on women and travel.

By taking into account the social data on these stories, you also have some performance indicators of how well your take will do in comparison.

Are there other native platforms that we can take this content to? We could also sort this content table by platform. There might be engagement wins on LinkedIn or Pinterest that we can spin for our own purposes.

travel linkedin stories

For LinkedIn, articles focusing on specific places and hotels has been most successful in March. Again, what can your publication do that’s unique? Maybe you’re focused on vegetarian travel — you could focus on the top vegetarian venues and hotels. This could also lead to your stories getting noticed by relevant companies, since this is the content doing best on LinkedIn.

There are other variables we could look at too. We could broadly analyze an entire topic or region, to drill down into the content that’s resonating there. 

We could also drill down into specific content types, such as the best Facebook videos, for example, from some top travel-focused Facebook Pages.

video travel Facebook

What are the wins that we’re seeing here? Visually stunning travel destinations saw engagements, along with food-focused travel content. As evidenced by INSIDER travel, quirky places can draw attention too. 

Now that you know what the most successful content trends are from your competitors, how can you put a spin on it? Last week, we looked at the content types that do the best for specific verticals.

By keeping an eye on your competition’s top formats, and content trends, you are well-placed to know what will work best for your audience and differentiate your own reporting. Over time you can watch how these trends shift in their effectiveness and pivot quicker.

This will keep you from having that “l’esprit de l’escalier” regret.

Try NewsWhip Analytics to speed ahead of your competition on social


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