Completing a Content Marketing Competitive Analysis

by Carlin Leung

Completing a Content Marketing Competitive Analysis

As per the Small Business Encyclopedia, competitive analysis is defined as: Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service.

When putting together a strategic marketing plan, it’s important to assess how your plan stacks up against your competitors and what you can do to make your product or service stand out.

Ask yourself these important questions: What are my competitors doing to market their own products or services? What is their market share? And what are their strengths and weaknesses?

Why Do a Competitive Analysis?

When your team puts together a marketing strategy this means doing more than just creating content and then publishing and sharing it. To see results, you need to do your research.

Conducting a competitive analysis allows you to get a deeper understanding of the landscape where you’re marketing your brand. You should take time to identify opportunities and threats in your unique marketplace, as well as determine what qualities you offer that other companies don’t. With this information, you can begin to understand how to best communicate your unique value to your target market.

How Do I Complete a Competitive Analysis?

Extract Social Engagement Data

There are many tools that have the ability to extract social engagement data from your competitors’ sites. Our two favourites are Buzzsumo (paid) and Sharedcount.

Buzzsumo

We highly recommend Buzzsumo if you are open to paying for their plans. You can get extensive data on content performance with date, language, country, word count, domain, and content type filtering functions. The type of data you can extract includes engagements and shares by social media channel and backlinks.

Sharedcount

If you are on a tighter budget, then the second best option is Sharedcount. You’ll need to manually compile the list of URLs you want to pull from, but at the end of the day, you can extract very similar data.

Landscape Research

Competitors

In order to better gauge what your competitors are doing, both well and poorly, you should conduct competitor research on a regular basis.

How?

  1. Compile a list of competitors who actively post content to their blog.
  2. Extract social engagement data from their blog URLs and find top performing posts.
  3. Look for common themes or trends in their top performing content.

Publications

It’s not just what your competitors are saying that matters, but also the professional content creators. Be sure to see what relevant publications are posting about your industry.

How?

  1. Insert your industry or topic keywords into Buzzsumo to find the pieces that have received the most engagement.
  2. Utilize these metrics to determine what the trending topics are in your space.
  3. Join the conversation by publishing content on these trending topics.

Social Media and Forums:

Social media and forums, especially if you are a B2C company, are some of the most valuable areas to research. Below are a list of platforms where you can conduct more qualitative research.

Twitter

With careful filtering, you may be able to find a few gems in real customers’ feedback. Make sure you are using Advanced Twitter Search, not just the good ol’ search bar. For example, using a combination of the “Any of these words” and “These hashtags” filters can help you find out whether users are using your campaign hashtags as expected.

Reddit

You’ll probably want to take 80% of the comments on here with a grain of salt. But nonetheless, if you keep an open mind, even some trolls may spark a few good content ideas.

Quora

Quora is the holy grail of question and answer forums, housing some of the most brilliant minds and comprehensive writers. For tech companies, or any industry that is remotely technical, Quora should be your go-to when you’re getting a sense of what people are looking for in your space.

Bring It All Together

Even if you are only conducting your competitive analysis once a year, you’ll get unbelievable insights into what is happening in your industry. We’d recommend doing this more often, but realistically, it all depends on the pace of your industry. The first step is to pinpoint your competitors and understand their role in the market. Then, by conducting qualitative and quantitative research, you can put together a comprehensive strategy that will help you optimize your reach and leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Stuck on how to do a content marketing competitive analysis? Find out how Quietly can help.

Photo: Shutterstock / Dmitriy Khachirov

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