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How To Reverse Engineer Content Strategy

You all know I love content marketing. Viral short-form vids, strategic SEO plays, email collection, long-form videos, etc…

There’s nothing better.

So, I’m going to show you how I reverse engineer social growth and organic content, and where to find what your competitor’s audience consumes.

For the sake of this example - let’s say I’m running an athletic apparel brand for runners.

Here’s how I’d reverse engineer content strategy.

1. Start With The Data

We’re going to look at Tracksmith. A competitor in the space.

I always start with a growth chart. Specifically, one from Social Blade.

And I’m looking for one thing: Outlier Growth

When a chart starts taking off like this - I take note.

And ask myself: Why did it spike?

This is where reverse engineering comes into play.

During the week of Jan 22nd - 29th Tracksmith gained 11.2k followers.

2. Find Their Best-Performing Content

Next, I use Viralfindr.

Because there I can insert a username and get all top-performing content in one place.


Here I’m observing:

  • Content Types
  • Content Formats
  • Content Purpose
  • Content Story

And then I’m looking for common denominators.

For Tracksmith, five out of their top six posts are:

  • IG reels
  • Branded storytelling
  • Awareness driven
  • “For the love” of running (campaign)

3. How To Scale This

To scale this info, I’m going to SparkToro and plugging in @Tracksmith.

Select “My audience follows the social account” and plug in Tracksmith’s IG URL.


Now, I’m running through the same steps.

Take the “Runner’s World” username and plug it into ViralFindr.

I’m observing the same things:

  • Content Types
  • Content Formats
  • Content Purpose
  • Content Story

And again looking for common denominators.

For Runner’s World, the top six posts are:

  • Graphics
  • News & Story Based
  • Awareness Driven
  • History or Running Headlines

Then I’m continuing this drill through on all the accounts listed in Sparktoro.

Because I want to have concrete answers to these 4 questions:

  • What content types does my audience or a similar audience like to consume?
  • What content formats does my audience or similar audience engage with?
  • What is the best content for specific goals? (Ex: Awareness, Sales)
  • What stories resonate with my audience or similar audience?

With these answers, I have a good base to build a content strategy from.

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