When you are looking to create great content for any project one technique that is always successful is that of finding great content that has already had good traction. It is very hard to create brand new material so seek out others in your niche that have already produced some top content, put your spin on it and recreate it.

One way of measuring the success of content that others have produced is by looking at their site and analysing how many links and social shares each piece of content they have created has. Done manually this is a long and drawn out process and it is easy to miss content that is buried in the archives of a blog. In order to speed this process up and get a better overview of the competition and related sites utilise the power of Social Crawlytics. This is a great online tool that will crawl a site and display all the sites pages in easily digestible tables and graphs, ordered by the amount of social interaction that they have had.

Social Interaction Reporting

Visit https://socialcrawlytics.com/ and sign in – you can create an account, but using your Twitter account to sign in is much easier and will help you get more out of the tool later on.

Once you are signed in you will see the following screen:

social crawlytics

All you need to do is enter the web address of the site that you want to crawl and leave the other settings as they are, unless you are crawling a large site. I always include the sub-domain crawl as a lot of sites sit their blogs on sub-domains. Once you have set this up how you want it for your crawl click “Forward”.

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The next screen is the schedule settings for generating the report.  If you leave them blank the system is meant to generate a report straight away. However, I have found that this isn’t always the case and if you schedule a report for a few minutes in the future it is more reliable. I also change the settings so that the report isn’t repeated, generally you will only need the report generating once to get the content overview that you require.

 

Finally you will need to enter your email address so that you will be notified when your report is generated.

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Once you have generated your report you will see the following screen.

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This will show you all the different social shares and relevant information about the site you have run a scan on broken down by page/URL.  You can order this by any of the different social networks shown simply by clicking on the top of the column. For the purpose of content research it is best to order by the total shares, with the largest at the top. You can then dig deeper into individual pieces of content by clicking on them and getting an overview of the page and the content. However the best method for dealing with the data in the report, especially when dealing with multiple competitors, is to click on the “Action” button and select “Export to CSV”. Once it is in Excel you can then further manipulate the data and merge multiple reports (competitors) into one and simply sort it by total shares. This way you can get a clear view of the most popular content across your competitor’s sites. You can also get an idea of themes and topics by doing this work, which will allow you to scope out a content calendar and work around relevant themes that you know are already popular.

Important Section: Influencers Report

As the outreach element of any content creation is imperative, the Influencers Report section is really useful and worth a separate mention. You have to request access to it with a Tweet, but it will allow you to see what influencers have engaged with the content and gives you the opportunity to target them when you create something similar.

Side Note

The great thing about Social Crawlytics is that if you need more credits for more reports then you can simply pay with a tweet. This is a simple process that will help keep this popular tool going and doesn’t cost money when budgets are tight.

Taking Your Research a Step Further

The next step in the process of creating great content is to take the URLs of the top content that you have decided to recreate and run the URL through a tool that will identify any links to it. A tool that is often used in the Lab is Open Site Explorer. The process is very simple and will help you build an outreach list for getting your content placed once it is created.

Visit http://moz.com/researchtools/ose and copy and paste the URL of the page you want to identify any links to. The amount of links pointing to that URL will vary depending on how popular the website is and how strong the content is.

Open Site Explorer 1

Through the simple process outlined in this post you can find content that works in any niche and you can create a list of accounts to outreach to on social media and also a list of websites to outreach to. That way your content is getting the best possible exposure and actually working for you by generating more traffic and ultimately more authority for your site. Content doesn’t need to be hard work, boring or created purely for the sake of it. Find something great and make it work for you too!