The saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” might be a little melodramatic for content marketing, but there is some truth to it. An ongoing analysis of competitor content is one of the most integral parts of any successful content marketing strategy. It helps you understand what kind of content your competitors offer, and where you can add unique insights that stand out.
Your analysis shouldn’t be a surface-level skim either. In order to possess the necessary knowledge of what your competitors are doing with their content, you’ll need to spend some time with it. Read their blog posts. Watch their videos. Listen to their podcasts. No matter who your biggest competitors are, you need to know the ins and outs of their content almost as well as your own.
Most importantly, a thorough analysis will help you to understand what your competitor’s customers want. Dig into why people love their content so you can then take that information and see how you can apply it to your own content in a distinguishable way. It’s like being at the same party and chatting with the same people but bringing the star appetizer that everyone can’t stop eating and talking about. That’s the kind of impact you want to make with your content.
Once you’ve done the legwork and really sunk your teeth into competitor content, you will have a better understanding of how the overall content landscape for your target audience functions. Don’t worry, we’ve got a few ways to help you stay ahead of the competition by breaking down how competitor content can help you.
Scan Your Competitive Landscape
This sounds a lot simpler than it is in some cases. Just because you offer a product or service that has some overlap with Apple or Microsoft doesn’t mean they’re your primary competitors. In some larger sense they certainly might be, but unless you’re showing numbers that rival those companies — you need to reel in your competitive scope.
Find the companies that are the most immediate threats to yours. This can be based on a number of factors such as features, geography, pricing, and so on. If they’ve enjoyed some success with a similar product or service, don’t get jealous, find out why. From there, you can gauge how big their voice in your community is and vet their content accordingly.
Know What Kind of Content Competitors Offer
Now that you’ve honed in on a few key competitors, it’s time to see what they’re offering in terms of content. The best and easiest place to start is by taking a look at their website to get a feel for how they’re dividing their content and what mediums they’re using.
You can start by having a look at their site navigation and identifying the most obvious content right off the bat. Maybe they have a link to their blog or case studies. Maybe there’s a video on the homepage you can see right away. Whatever it is, take note of how the content is being presented and how much of it there is.
The website footer is another good place to find content. It can be labelled under a number of different names such as “resources” or “tools,” but companies will generally designate a good chunk of this bottom portion to content.
Pay close attention to what kind of content your competitors are using. Are they focusing on blog posts? Webinars? White papers? Maybe they’re taking a multimedia approach and producing lots of videos. Also, make sure to visit any other platforms where they’re housing their content. Everything may not live on one site. It could be a YouTube channel, or guest blog posts on other sites that expand their reach.
Gauge the Quality of Competitor Content
As we all know, not all content is good content. This is why you actually have to consume some competitor content to really get a sense of its quality.
If you’re reading a blog post, for example, look for how accurate their information is, whether it does a good job of breaking down complex ideas, and its overall readability. All these elements factor into how strong that particular blog post is as a piece of content. When you’re reading, always remember to pick up on weaker areas so you can address them later in your content with a careful eye and meaningful research.
But it doesn’t just end at the quality of the writing itself. Examine how that blog post is structured with social media buttons and CTAs. Also, look at all the subheadings and whether the body of the post is presented in an easily identifiable manner or if it’s really hard to pin down what each section is trying to say.
Last, but certainly not least, you should look into your competitor content engagement levels. That could be as simple as checking out how many shares they have on social media to how people are actually building conversations on social media pertaining to the content. What topics are driving dialogue outside the post? Which ones have the potential for multiple angles? This could be your opportunity to step in with your own voice as a company and create content that adds to the conversation in a new and inventive way.
Identify the SEO Habits of Competitor Content
Just because your competitor has great content is only part of why it’s so successful. You also want to figure out how they use their keywords and get a better idea of their SEO practices based off that.
You can do this through something called a keyword gap analysis. This will help you find out which keywords your competitor is already ranking well for that you are not. By adding those keywords into an existing piece of content or a new one, you’re essentially working backwards to try to rank for some of the same keywords.
This is important because it will not only give you a greater presence on Google, but you can also level the playing field with your competitors in a sense. Potential customers will start recognizing your content on Google and, if it checks off those quality boxes we mentioned earlier, there’s a good chance you can even become a trusted industry voice.
Study your competitors closely and build a content marketing strategy that is refined and well-researched. Our industry-leading software that includes visual calendars, workflows, assets libraries, and analytics will do the rest. Sign up for a free account today!