Competitor analysis isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies. With any kind of business, observing competitors’ activities is useful to shape your own strategies – and that’s especially true in content marketing.
Observing your competitors’ tactics, platforms, and campaigns helps you improve your business. When you ignore competitive analysis, you can fall behind and miss out on potential ideas that could drive serious growth.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important ways you can use your competitors ideas against them for more successful digital marketing.
1. Mine their website for pages you’re missing
The first step in a content marketing-related competitor analysis is to audit your competitors’ websites. Study which pages they have, and look for pages they’ve created that your site doesn’t have. This goes beyond services or products, and can include case studies, reviews and testimonials, company story, and company culture.
Look at multiple competitor sites to spot the most commonly used pages that you’re missing, especially for businesses you lose clients or customers to. There’s a good chance that those pages help drive conversions, and your site would benefit from having them.
2. Match their topics and mediums
Content gap analysis is a buzz term in competitor analysis, but it’s also a practice that businesses increasingly can’t afford to do without. It refers to the method of taking a deeper look at the content found on your competitors’ sites, and identifying the ‘gaps’ – pieces of content that your competitors have which you don’t.
Unlike the page analysis, this audit delves into types of content (articles, videos, podcasts, papers, infographics) and, most importantly, topics.
A content gap analysis can give you a real advantage over your competitors. Once you have filled these gaps with great content on your site, their own ‘gaps’ will become the problem. They will no longer hold the monopoly on those parts of the market. SEO and content marketing tools that offer content gap analysis include SEMRush, Ahrefs, and The Hoth.
3. Observe their key selling points
Many businesses use their homepage to promote what they consider to be their most important features and selling points – so it’s invaluable for you to look at the homepage and understand what is being highlighted, and why.
For example, marketing specialists Artemis promote their FreeIndex ranking position on their homepage. As a competitor, you could ensure that you get your business ranked on FreeIndex.
This is something that you can do with any successful competitor, as it provides insights into their most popular products, or the aspects of the business that drive the most profit. Those homepage items might be worth considering.
4. Create similar content – and do it better
One way that businesses are able to promote their goods and services is by creating fantastic content. This content not only makes them attractive to Google’s algorithm, but it can provide useful information to visitors and potential customers, which will entice them to come back for more.
If one of your competitors specialises in creating fantastic content, take a leaf from their book – but bring something new to the conversation, and do it better than them. One great way to do this is to thoroughly research the topic that you are writing on. Use a tool like Answer the Public to understand popular questions about the topic, and then create content that answers those questions. If you can add new data or unique expert perspectives from your own company, even better.
5. Don’t let them dominate the conversation
All businesses will have a specific way of promoting themselves, to show off their unique selling points. If a customer only sees their side of the story, it can make their selling point seem like the most accurate, the most important, and the best option.
For example, if their business model works by offering the lowest-priced products, their online media will be full of messages explaining that customers should choose them because they are the most affordable.
But you can use this as an opportunity to put out counter-messages that show your company’s differentiator as superior. You might focus on what people get for the price, unique services or capabilities, product quality, patents or technology, experience, the way you treat your customers – whatever it is that makes you better. Never allow your competitors to have a monopoly on information.
6. Be present at their digital hot spots
Social media is vital for businesses, and a key part of your digital marketing activity . If your audience spends a lot of time on certain social channels and your competitors are present but you’re not, this can lead to a whole segment of potential customers never seeing your messages or offers – even though they are interested in them.
Use a combination of audience research and competitor analysis to discover which social platforms your customers are using most. These are the ones that you need to target.
Your competitors operate in the same market as you, so they will face the same challenges while targeting the same customers. If you can regularly use competitor analysis to study their best digital marketing work, you can help your own business succeed.