What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors?
Here are four basic steps for conducting your own content marketing competitive analysis. The phrase “Know thyself” has been around for thousands of years and remains just as relevant today. To thrive personally and professionally, you must recognise your strengths and shortcomings and how to improve them. This article asks what your strengths and weaknesses are compared to your competitors.
To ensure success, you must also know your competitor. We don’t advertise our businesses as isolated islands, so we cannot expect to succeed by isolating ourselves. We must know our competitors as well as we know ourselves. A competitive analysis is crucial to developing a robust content marketing strategy to make an impact and connect with your targeted audience.
Here are four basic steps for performing your own content marketing competitive analysis.
Recognise your rivals.
Sure, it seems to be too easy to mention, but you would be surprised to find out how frequently content marketers do not adequately recognise their rivals. Or in other words, it is not often that the entire marketing team is adequately informed.
There are three types of competitors to be aware of.
There are three types of competitors to consider when you identify them: direct, indirect, and alternative.
Your direct competitors are businesses offering comparable goods or services in the same category. (These are the competitors you usually consider as competitors.)
An indirect competitor is a firm that offers a different product or service in the same market category as yours but is distinguishable enough to be a substitute.
An alternative to your product or service (sometimes referred to as “phantom competitors”) is a business that offers a category and type of product or service that is distinct from yours but one that your clients may prefer instead. Think of a beef curry from Go Fresh and going out for a McDonald’s.
Compile a dossier on your rivals.
After you’ve listed them all, you can begin profiling your competitors in detail. Don’t bother listing a dozen competitors from each category. It’s hard work (and boring) to keep up with, and you will almost certainly not be competing with them anyway. If you begin to feel your list is getting too long, focus on the companies with the greatest market share.
Compare yourself with them
When comparing yourself against your competitors, we suggest interviewing your stakeholders and clients—including those who’ve defected to your competitors. Your sales team, in particular, is a wonderful resource for extracting this information, as they receive day after day from prospects what makes your competitor look either good or bad. People who have purchased from or have not purchased from your company can provide valuable insight. But be aware of negative and positive biases from these customers, suppliers and former team members now working for you. After interviewing (very formal word), at the very least, understand and be able to compare.
Know What They Want to Accomplish
It’s not as if your competitors will publish their playbooks online for the world, but it’s usually not hard reading between the lines in many cases.
Those interviews might have given your sales team copies of competitor proposals and presentations. Seeing the work pitched can provide you with insight into a company’s objectives and where they might be headed. Look at what they publish online and see if you can glean insights into their strategy. If they’re posting press releases, read them to see what they’re saying about the market and the industry and any predictions they’re making.
Having analysed the answers to the best of your knowledge, you can start to predict your competitors’ future actions and, if the right thing to do, devise a strategy to counter them. If, for example, you think that an indirect competitor will seek to increase its market share next year, you can send a new value-added promotion to your customers (and their’s) to keep them loyal.
You should review your competitors’ content to see their content strategies and how you can improve your own content strategy. You must know what they are doing to produce and distribute content to compete effectively through your content strategy. The sites BuzzFeed, Mashable, and Content Marketing Institute are often used as yardsticks by marketers.
Having a realistic goal when looking at your competitors’ content is provided by looking at their content. You can find out your competitors’ most popular posts by looking at the topics that resonate most with your overlapping target audience. Checking out your competitor’s site is one way to find out what widgets are most commonly used. You can use SEMrush, Ubersuggest or BuzzSumo to track how many people are talking about and sharing the information of your competitor.
You may be able to seize the lead by examining the type of content your competitors publish. If they publish only blog posts and videos, you may be able to emphasise SlideShare presentations, podcasts, or live streaming, so:
- Assess their content types
- Look at the quality of each piece of content
- Compare it against your own.
- What’s their style and tone of voice?
- Does it connect better with your audience?
- Is their style formal or more laid back? Academic or chummy?
- What content is published the most?
- Are they publishing premium content that’s gated for lead capture?
- Or are they using forms that require information from their users?
How often something happens?
It’s a smart strategy to benchmark your competitors’ content production frequency and either match or exceed it. If competitors publish three or four times a week, you need to consider investing in a dedicated copywriter to keep up.
Find out where their content is distributed
Quality content can be challenging to get in front of your audience. Your competitors may be getting their content found through SEO (search engine optimisation). Check their title tags, meta descriptions, Page Ranks, and ranking keywords. Is there any overlap between the keywords you’re ranking for and the ones they are ranking for? If so, are they outranking you?
They may be promoting their content through paid channels. Searchmetrics and SEMrush can tell you if your competitors promote themselves through paid search and what keywords they are bidding on. Ask:
- How frequently are your competitors sending newsletters?
- What kind of content is featured in them?
- Are they mixed in with promotions, or are they only promoting new content?
Evaluate your own content and newsletters in light of this information. You may want to alter the frequency of your email campaigns or target specific groups with unique content based on this information. Are your competitors using social media as a distribution channel, or are they actively participating in it? What is their ratio of self-promotion to aggregation?
You can locate where their strategy is weak by understanding their distribution tactics thoroughly.
What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors?
The adage “Know thyself” is wise, but knowing your competitors is critical for your company’s success. You must study, profile, and analyse your competitors’ content marketing to grasp where you stand, and having a firm grasp on your competitors will enable you to succeed.