Digital transformation has spawned many new businesses and remade others. Identifying and monitoring competitors has never been more critical.
ChatGPT can help identify and analyze direct and indirect competitors, including those you’ve not heard of. Here are some essential prompts.
ChatGPT’s assessment of competitors is useful for understanding a brand’s positioning in the tool’s knowledge base. New companies will need to provide ChatGPT with background info on their industry and products. For testing, however, I pretended to be the founder of Substack. Here’s my prompt:
I am the founder of Substack. Who are my competitors?
ChatGPT’s response was spot on:
1. Newsletter Platforms:
- Revue: Acquired by Twitter, Revue offers similar services allowing writers to publish and monetize newsletters.
- Ghost: An open-source platform that focuses on professional publishing. It’s known for its simplicity and flexibility.
- Mailchimp: While primarily an email marketing service, Mailchimp also offers features that could be used for newsletter monetization.
- TinyLetter: Owned by Mailchimp, it’s a simpler platform primarily used for personal newsletters.
- ConvertKit: A platform that offers email marketing services for creators, including paid newsletters.
2. Broader Content Monetization Platforms:
- Patreon: Known for allowing creators to get paid directly by their fans through subscriptions, memberships, and per-piece payments.
- Medium: Offers a partner program where writers can earn money based on reader engagement with their articles.
- Ko-fi: A platform where creators can receive donations and sell subscriptions or products.
What are my competitors’ unique features? This prompt can help founders with product development and positioning:
Create a table listing the unique features of each competitor and pricing.
Here’s ChatGPT’s response. I’ve repurposed the table for this article. Always ask ChatGPT for the date of its data if it doesn’t provide it. In my test, the response was based on the April 2023 update.
|Integration with Twitter, allowing for easier sharing and audience building on the social platform
|Free; Twitter takes a 5% cut of subscription revenue
|Open-source with advanced customization options; SEO and membership features integrated
|Starts at $9/month for the hosted version; free if self-hosted but requires server costs
|Extensive email marketing tools; detailed analytics and A/B testing capabilities
|Free tier available; paid plans start at $9.99/month
|Simplistic design and functionality focused on personal newsletters
|Free; limited to 5,000 subscribers
|High deliverability rates; strong automation and tagging system for
|Free tier up to 1,000 subscribers; paid plans start at $29/month
|Membership tiers for different levels of content access; strong community-building tools
|5% to 12% of monthly income plus payment processing fees
|Large built-in audience; earnings based on reader engagement rather than subscriptions
|Free to publish; readers pay $5/month or $50/year for unlimited access
|Known for adult content but also used for other types; direct messaging with subscribers
|Free to create an account; OnlyFans takes a 20% commission
|One-time support options ('buy me a coffee'), no platform fee for donations
|Free; Ko-fi Gold membership at $6/month for extra features
What are my competitors’ target audiences? ChatGPT is very helpful for that type of analysis, in my experience. My prompt:
Go to each competitor’s site and analyze its primary audience. Create a table showing the competitor, the primary audience, and the site elements and pages that indicate the target audience.
Here’s the result, which, again, I’ve repurposed.
|Site Elements Indicating Target Audience
|Freelancers, Twitter users
|Integration with Twitter, simplicity in newsletter creation, memberships and paid subscriptions.
|Independent journalists, professional publishers
|Open-source technology, focus on professional publishing, advanced creator tools, audience growth capabilities, and integration options
|Individuals preferring simplicity
|Basic design tools like a standard email client, option for HTML customization, simplicity and ease of use for personal or small-scale use
|Wide range of creators (coaches, authors, podcasters, musicians,
|Tools for audience growth, email automation, monetization, testimonials from various creators, broad appeal across different creative fields
|Diverse content creators (video makers, podcasters, writers, musicians, educators)
|System for creators to offer exclusive content/benefits for financial support, focus on diverse content types, and sustainable income stream for creators
Responding to Competitors
Should I reposition my site based on competitive research? Here’s my prompt:
What should I do on my site to attract competitors’ audiences? Analyze competitors’ sites for the most effective tactics.
ChatGPT identified powerful tactics for Substack:
- Content variety: Showcase a diverse range of content that appeals to creators across different fields like coaching, writing, podcasting, music, and YouTube creation.
- Creator tools: Offer robust marketing and automation tools tailored for creators. These could include customizable landing pages, email marketing tools, and audience segmentation features.
- Monetization features: Highlight options for monetizing content, such as through digital product sales, paid newsletters, and memberships.
- Community building: Focus on features that help creators build and engage with their audience, like advanced email marketing and automation capabilities.
- Creator success stories: Share success stories or testimonials from various creators to demonstrate the potential of your platform for their creative and financial growth.
What are my competitors’ weaknesses? I chose one of those companies, which I’ll call “Example” for this post, as a test. Here’s that prompt:
Research Example’s reviews and identify gaps Substack could address. What are the common complaints of Example’s customers?
ChatGPT searched Bing for several minutes before responding:
- Pricing Structure: Some users find Example’s subscription plans to be expensive, especially as their subscriber count grows. A more cost-effective pricing structure or clearer value for the cost could be an attractive alternative for users.
- Complexity for Beginners: While Example has evolved to offer a wide range of features, this has led to increased complexity. Users who preferred the platform’s original simplicity might be looking for a more straightforward, user-friendly option.
- Deliverability Issues: There are mentions of challenges with email deliverability. Ensuring high deliverability rates and providing transparent metrics could be a key selling point.
- Limited Free Plan Features: The recent reduction in features available in the free plan has been a point of contention. Offering a more generous free plan could attract users who feel constrained by these limitations.
- All-in-One Marketing Features: Some users feel that while Example offers an all-in-one marketing platform, the features are not as robust as they would like. Enhancing specific functionalities or offering more integrated solutions might appeal to these users.
- Customer Support: Improving customer support and providing more personalized assistance could address concerns from users who have had less than satisfactory experiences with Example’s support.