Whether you are rebuilding your content marketing strategy, or just getting started, a competitive analysis can help guide the way. This key practice can help reveal ways your competitors effectively reach your target audience and where you can step in to fill the gaps. By looking at your competitors’ content marketing tactics and results, it is even possible to avoid common pitfalls that could impede your campaign success.
You must take the right approach to completing the analysis to get the actionable info you need to perfect your content marketing strategy. You can use this guide to learn the best practices used in creating helpful competitive analyses across all industries.
Identify Your Competitors
You can kickoff your competitive analysis by identifying your main competitors in the content marketing world. In this process, you have to look beyond your direct industry competitors to find the other entities focused on serving your target audience. They may share a focus on your preferred keywords and their derivatives or simply produce content your audience prefers.
You can dig for your competitors manually or use helpful tools to get the job done fast. For the manual approach, use your keyword map to perform searches on Google to see what sites come up for each keyword. You can automate the process a bit with helpful online marketing research tools, such as SpyFu and SEMrush. These paid programs collect competitor data for your review and even allow you to import certain sections as needed to create your competitive analysis.
Whichever way you choose, record all the data you find into a spreadsheet with sections for your competitors’ names, websites and social media accounts. If you do not want to build this spreadsheet yourself, look for a competitive analysis template you can use instead.
Review Their Digital Content
You will need to review each of your competitor’s digital content next to see what works – and what doesn’t. This process tends to reveal the types of content and topics that resonate well with your audience and where they could use more support. You will then be able to go above and beyond in creating your own content to best serve your customers’ needs.
Start your digital content review by looking at each of your competitors’ web pages. Dive deep in assessing how well each web page speaks to the needs of your customer base and offers solutions. Look around to find where they house all their marketing assets, including:
- Short blog posts
- Long form articles
- Case studies
- Press releases
- Product guides
- Digital brochures
Sign up for their newsletters and email updates as well to see each competitor’s full range of marketing assets.
Move onto their social media accounts next to see how each entity presents themselves. While there, you should take the time to dig through their posts to find any content you may have missed during the site research phase.
Once you have all their writing assets pinned down, fully analyze each one’s quality and depth of information. Identify the main topics used along with the keywords used for each piece of content. Also, remember to look at how each asset addresses the needs of the target audience wherever they are at in their purchase journey. Use the first page in your spreadsheet to record each competitor’s marketing asset types along with the overall quality ratings and quantity figures for each.
Check Out Their SEO Success
With an understanding of your competitors’ marketing approach, you can see how it all comes together for them by looking at their SEO success. You can do so by using your preferred online marketing research tools to analyze their strategies for keyword usage and backlinking.
Get started by using the online tools to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for and the content supporting those search phrases. Go back to the content to analyze why it ranks so well and think about how you can improve upon that approach. For each keyword, record your own search ranking status and those of at least three competitors in a new page of your spreadsheet. Add search volume and ranking difficulty stats to compile info that will help guide your future marketing campaigns.
As backlinks help build authority and drive traffic to your site, they are worth a bit of analyzation as well. Look at your top three competitors to start. Use your analysis tools to show the linking domains associated with each of your competitor’s websites. Add them to a new page in your spreadsheet along with the domain authority and link quantity figures.
Use Your Findings to Guide Your Content Marketing Campaigns
With a clear look at how each of your competitors have established their online presence, you can craft exceptionally effective content marketing campaigns. As you learn about their successes and failures, you can find where to focus your efforts to best reach your target audience.
You can select the most relevant topics, pair them with promising keywords and create the right types of content using the info in your competitive analysis. You can also find where to distribute your guest posts and other types of content to gain authoritative backlinks and promote the success of your site.
With your content marketing campaign details clearly spelled out, you can start sending your orders for blog posts, whitepapers and other marketing assets to your writing team at WriterAccess. They will help you craft winning content that speaks to the needs of your target audience. With this approach, you can keep your audience directly engaged with your company through every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Marie A. regularly produces engaging web content and informative SEO articles for small and large enterprises worldwide. She utilizes her knowledge of the online landscape to create effective content marketing campaigns for her clients. She writes shareable copy with a clear call to action that does not sound salesy or pushy. Her content always reflects the company voice and mission while adhering to the preferred style guide. Through the production of optimized webpages, articles and other works, she helps business owners speak directly to their target audiences, convert site visits into sales and position themselves as leaders in their industries.