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Competitive Enablement

Building Your Competitive Intelligence Newsletter: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Sending a competitive intelligence newsletter is the most efficient way to communicate competitive intel and insights to your team.

When done right, your audience looks forward to reading it every week.

But if you fumble and make some common mistakes we’ve seen, your competitive intelligence newsletter risks becoming just another newsletter.

Here are some of the key aspects of a successful competitive intelligence digest according to the experts.

Competitive intelligence newsletter tips

Set a regular delivery schedule for your competitive newsletter and stick to it

One of the biggest mistakes competitive enablement experts make is not following a regular cadence for their newsletters.

For your newsletter to be successful, you need to build an engaged audience. And if your audience never knows when to expect your newsletter, you won’t build a following.

This doesn’t mean you have to send one every week — monthly or bi-monthly can certainly be regular enough.

But whatever delivery you choose, make sure you stick to it and deliver it on the same day.

Don’t over-structure the format of your newsletter

Building a competitive intelligence newsletter template can be useful for getting your first newsletter off the ground.

However, if the overall structure becomes too rigid, you might feel compelled to include stories that don’t actually deserve to be there, simply because you want to check a box for your template.

Competitive intelligence newsletter best practices

That’s why competitive experts like Nick Larson from Staffbase recommend keeping the structure of your competitive intelligence newsletter fast and loose:

“If you have a really specific format then sometimes that forces you to reach for stories that aren’t important. The way that we’ve approached it is just putting in the five to seven stories that are the most important to to our reps at that time.”

Nick says that some kind of structure might be necessary if you find yourself with an abundance of content; but cautions against overdoing it.

Highlight internal content and shout out your coworkers by name

It’s easier than ever to collect publicly information and data. Ironically, it’s harder than ever to draw actual insights from that information.

Brandon Bedford, Competitive Enablement Manager at Klue, says that’s why he makes sure to include internal content in his competitive intelligence newsletter.

“I always thought there would be a ton of intel research and things out on the web that will be really valuable. But the content that resonates most in terms of our newsletter is actually internally shared content.”

(Check out the full conversation with Brandon Bedford and Nick Larson on the Competitive Enablement Show)

Brandon combs through Slack and stories shared in Klue’s CRM to find more nuanced pieces of competitive intelligence.

He looks for wins and losses against competitors, as well as other data that helps give his sales and product teams actual insights.

“These kinds of stories aren’t being scraped from the web. The internal stories I’m finding are the things people are really interested in hearing.”

And when he uses internal stories in his newsletter, he makes sure to shout out the team member or members who made it happen.

See real life example from one of Klue’s intel digests below.

competitive intelligence newsletter example

Build newsletters tailored to specific departments, just not right away

You gotta crawl before you walk.

Start by building the foundation for your competitive newsletter. Get a feel for where to collect intel and what kinds of insights resonate most by sending one newsletter to a broad audience.

As Clara Smyth, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Slack, put it during an episode of the Competitive Enablement Show, it was this first newsletter to a broad audience that built trust.

But once you get a knack for it, you can start to tailor your newsletters to specific audiences within your organization.

Building competitive intelligence newsletters

“You can have a product focused newsletter, you can have a sales focused newsletter. I started one generically where I included everybody and then later on specified. But that newsletter one built trust within the organization and two it, allowed people to raise their hand and say, I want this in the newsletter. “

It would be a mistake to start with several different newsletters, especially if you’re just getting your competitive program off the ground.

But separate newsletters for different functions and departments should definitely be a longer term goal.

Don’t include a story in your competitive intelligence newsletter if you can’t answer the ‘why’

Why is this story important?

Without the right context and explanation of why a story in your newsletter is important, you’ve wasted valuable space and impacted the credibility of your newsletter.

You need to go beyond the facts and provide an insightful point of view of why something is important.

Facts vs. Context vs. Insight

  • Competitor X hires new Chief Product Officer” — That’s a fact but it’s missing context.
  • CPO is hired following a funding announcement in which the CEO said the funds would be used to invest heavily in product” — That’s context, but there’s no insight.
  • CPO previously worked in social media monitoring; hire signals that competitor X is looking to tailor their product towards social media monitoring, a weak point in their current product offering. This could be a differentiator for them.” That’s the facts, context, and actionable insight.

“If you just share that a senior member of the leadership team of one of your competitors has left their job, that’s great. But what does it do for me as a sales rep? So that’s where it’s really important to add: Here’s why this is important and why knowing this is going to help you sell better against this competitor,” said Nick Larson on an Episode of the Competitive Enablement Show.

Both Brandon and Nick agree that if you can’t answer why a piece of intel is important, it doesn’t belong in a competitive newsletter.

7 tips for building your competitive newsletter

Your competitive newsletter might not be perfect right away. That’s normal.

But if you follow these 7 tips, you’ll build a solid foundation for the newsletter and your competitive enablement program.

  1. Set a regular delivery schedule and stick to it.
  2. Aim for a minimum 3 and maximum 7 stories per newsletter.
  3. Scrap a story if you can’t answer why it matters.
  4. Keep the format loose; don’t include a story just because you’re tied to a particular template.
  5. Shoutout your coworkers when they share intel that makes the newsletter.
  6. Share your newsletter directly to your internal messaging platform.
  7. Develop newsletters tailored to specific teams and/or departments.

Now, your competitive intelligence newsletter can stand out and avoid being just another newsletter.

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