Where Can You Find Your Competitors And Why Do You Want To?
There are a lot of things to think through before you start shooting your video. Obviously, you want a topic that will be marketable and successful. Don’t just follow your intuition and say “I know this will be a big hit.” Trust me, I’ve done that more than once and it doesn’t work. You need enthusiasm, yes, but you also need sound business sense.
Previously we talked about the importance of identifying your target market. You also need to research to see if there is a need for the information you want to share and ask yourself, “Is video the best way to provide it?”
Then you need to find your competitors. You have to look for all types of established competing products that are already available – books, online course, eBooks, audio programs. You want to know where to find the information that is on your topic and not just who is buying it but who also is delivering it. Why?
Competition can tell you if there is a viable market already established. If you find people who are already successfully selling videos on your subject that proves that demand exists for this topic or they wouldn’t be in business. The longer they’ve been doing it, the better the indication that this is a good niche or else there wouldn’t be a consistent demand.
Getting to know your competitors’ products is also important in determining your approach and the intent of your video. When we were writing our book proposal for what became Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos to Focal Press, there was a section we had to complete that really brought this home to us. We had to go out and find all of the other books that were on the same subject along with the publishing information, i.e., date published, publisher, brief synopsis, etc. That was one of the most time consuming tasks we had to complete and I told the editor that. She apologized but I quickly jumped in to let her know that I appreciated doing the exercise because I came away with a really good sense of what other books were available but most importantly, how we can deliver something unique with our book.
Through hours of research, we discovered that there were hundreds of books on marketing, dozens on general video production, a few on getting your film into the hands of distributors but only one (unless you also count the one on how to shoot a sex video with your spouse) that dealt with all of these topics in a single book. The book we found was a few years old and didn’t address the new business strategies that have cropped up in delivering video on demand and internet and social media marketing. We also found a few videos that were much more targeted to making how-to videos rather than setting up a business in video publishing. So we knew what wasn’t available and how to deliver it and can truthfully say that this is the only book of it’s kind that is selling today.
The other exciting outcome of doing all that research is that we got much better at it and found some great places to go looking that we shared in our book.
Where can you find your competitors?
Well, you can use the internet and do an extensive search. Use Google but don’t stop there. Use other search engines like Bing, Yahoo and Ask. You’ll also want to search beyond the first results page of Google. Amazon.com is also an incredible resource and don’t forget BN.com (Barnes and Noble online), YouTube and sites such as Netflix.
Before you begin to do your search, come up with a string of keywords you feel people would most likely be searching on that deals with your topic. As you research, make sure you take copious notes and when you discover a competing product, make sure you write down all the background information you can find. For example, you want to know the publication date. If you find the only competing video on the subject is 20 years old, there may have been a lot of changes that you can add to a newer video program. Also maybe the publisher could be a potential client or distributor. Read the reviews on similar products to see what people are saying. Look at competing books Table of Contents to see what they cover.
Off the internet, a visit to your local public library’s periodical section or your local bookstore’s magazine rack is also a good place to find information. Peruse the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other large newspapers. Look at the ads at the back of publications that deal with your subject. What type of information products are listed there?
Once you have all of that information, now your task is to find your own unique place in that niche and market. What can you deliver differently? What will be your unique selling proposition (USP)?
Your USP will be the answer to another question your customers will be thinking, if not outright asking, “Why would I buy this video and why would I buy it from you?” In other words, what is it about your video that is unique, will solve my problem and why are you the person to deliver that to me?
One thing to keep in mind if you don’t find any competition, that may not always be a good sign. Others may have tried to produce something along the same lines but found no market. So before you get too much further along with your video production, you want to make sure you’ll have a viable market to sell to.
So you see competition isn’t just a bad thing to be avoided at all cost. In fact, being ignorant of who and what you’re competing against will go against you. It is necessary to educate yourself so that you know not just what is available, you’ll want to know if anyone is making any money off of it and how you can deliver something that others will buy.
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