When was the last time that you conducted a competitive analysis of your brand’s content? To achieve long-term success with your content and maximize exposure, it is vital for you to pay close attention to the performance of your content in comparison to the others. Why is this important? How would you even conduct a marketing competitive analysis?
Not a One-Person Operation, You Are in a Race
Creating content for your brand may seem like a one-person or one-team project. It is true that only one person is needed to create, post and even promote content. Having a team collaborate to achieve the same goal lightens the load. However, you should never make the mistake of if it is a one-person or one-team operation at all. If you remove the blinders from your eyes, you will notice that you are surrounded by competition.
Think about a professional racecar driver. He or she may assume that they are the fastest driver in the world – especially when they practice solo on an empty track. When the gun goes off during an actual race, though, the driver is forced to face the grim reality that he or she may not be anywhere near as fast as the driver(s) next to or ahead of them.
Like that racecar driver, though, it is important for you to not become overwhelmed or discouraged if the competition blasts out in front of you once the gun goes off. If you pay close attention to the competition and analyze your own strengths vs weaknesses, you will increase your chances of catching up to and even passing some of your toughest competitors before you know it.
How can you conduct this competitive analysis? Well, you can answer that question by asking yourself 4 other questions:
Which channels do you use consistently to engage your audience?
What are the KPIs that you will use to measure your progress?
Who are your competitors?
What are your competitors doing that you are not?
Take each of the above-referenced questions one by one to build your competitive analysis from scratch. More importantly, the answers to these questions will help you to see the big picture and serve as a reminder that you are not alone on this racetrack.
Which Channels Do You Use Consistently?
Look at the various channels that you use consistently. Pay close attention to the key phrase “use consistently.”
This does not mean that you should list all the various online accounts and social media profiles that you have activated. Many content creators and marketers make the mistake of assuming an open account is an active one. Ask your competitors that have “overlapped” your brand content in the performance race and they will tell you that activity is essential. It would be better for you to not have an account at all than to have one that is never used. Keep in mind that your prospective and existing customers are searching for you either by name, service area or core keyword. If they find a link to an account or social media page that you have not updated in several months (or even years), chances are that they will simply move on to a competitor through one of their active accounts.
As you analyze your competition, focus on the channels that they use. There are certain markets and niches that may lean more towards one channel than the other. Take a note of those specific platforms, because you will need to strengthen your own content marketing strategy in a later stage of this process to ensure that you stay ahead of the curve.
What Are the KPIs That You Use to Measure Your Progress?
When posting and promoting content, you must always focus on your key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the progress and growth of your online presence successfully and (more importantly) strategically.
For instance, when you analyze the KPIs of your blog posts, you should consider the number of views and overall traffic. However, you also need to analyze the speed of the revolving door – how long do your readers and viewers enjoy your posted content? Are they taking the time to read through it, click the links and explore other pages of your site? Or, are they quickly abandoning your page in favor of heading over to one of your competitors?
Your engagement metrics will lead you in the appropriate direction when it comes to which posts you should highlight and emphasize versus the content that you should avoid going forward. You can even focus on the share of interactions (SOI) that will help you to compare your engagement versus what your competitors have done.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Another important step of an effective analysis of your competition is to identify your competition. Think about the companies and brands that face you head-to-head in your industry. More importantly, focus on their competitors. Who are they trying to outrun in the content race? Yes, it is true that you can focus on passing the car directly in front of you. A more efficient approach, though, would be to shift your focus towards the car(s) in front of them.
If you look hard enough, you may even be able to see subtle references to their top competitors within their own content. Major brands and industry influencers can become direct targets for your branded content if you analyze the competition strategically and successfully. It may seem like a longshot. However, as mentioned above, there are plenty of laps left in the race – leaving you more than enough time to catch up and win.
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Once you have lined up everything other part of your competitive analysis, the next step is to study the content marketing strategy of your targeted competitors. Place an emphasis on their strong points and compare their weight against the weight of your own strengths. You will find areas that you need to improve, and you will also find areas in which your competitors need to improve. The key of a successful and strategic marketing competitive analysis is to identify and isolate those weaknesses, turn them into strengths and reap the long-term benefits as your online presence continues to grow and develop over time.