As a content marketer in a saturated industry of all things content marketing, the biggest challenge for you is to be the go-to source of information, the Thought Leader in your industry. While you are creating content that will primarily satisfy the target market’s needs and wants, you are fighting not just to ‘capture’ their attention but also ‘keep’ it.
But while you can spend most of your energy coming up with ways to be the leader of the race, what you don’t know is that your competitors can, unintentionally or otherwise, provide you sage advice on how to formulate your content strategy.
How to Build an Effective Content Marketing Plan Right Source Marketing says, “You’ll want to get an understanding of what your competition is doing with regards to content marketing, as they are competing for your buyers and influencers‚ mindshare on a daily basis. Anyone in the decision-making seat has limited time to consume information, and therefore they will select only the most remarkable content.”
Take a step back and study the guy behind or in front of you on the bus. You will be surprised with what you’ll learn, content-wise, with a little healthy competition.
Finding remarkable topics
Be on the lookout for the topics your competitor brands are discussing to engage with their audience. You will have an idea of what they are prioritizing and whether or not their target market is responding positively. If what you find out fits with your overall content marketing strategy, then you can appropriate it accordingly.
Having an idea about the things that are not working will allow you to filter them out. Of course, there are enumerable tools that can churn out topics in a jiffy. But in order to be number one, it’s crucial that you keep up with what your competitor is doing.
Reaching out to the market through social media
One of the great things about social media outlets is that it’s free and open for public consumption. You can take advantage of this by stalking your competitors‚ how they handle customer queries and complaints aired on their social media networks.
In the Philippines, netizens post testimonials and screenshots of bad customer service that easily spread like wildfire. And the embers are stoked by trolls a.k.a. ‘keyboard warriors‚’ who tend to post unsolicited opinions while hiding behind the computer screen. Dissatisfied customers equals bad news. But you can avoid the same terrible experience by drawing insights and learning from your competitors’ missteps.
Identifying content marketing gaps
When you go over your competitors’ content, are you able to relate to them? Or are you confused? Even as a budding content marketer yourself, you now have an idea what makes great and not-so-great content. And you know that the brand message must be consistent in every touchpoint for the entire user experience to be cohesive.
Being on the outside looking in, so to speak, makes it easier for you to identify the lapses your competitors are committing in their content marketing strategies. Take note of their strengths and weaknesses and incorporate the good on your own blogs, websites, and social media posts.
Creating a content calendar
Is your competitor on top of their content game? Observe their publishing schedule. Identify what time they usually post new content. This is important because you should be prepared to post content that can divert the customers’ attention toward you. Ever heard of that British man starts Twitter spat between phone companies, gets free pizza for a year guy who got a one-year supply of free pizza by staging a Twitter spat between two competing companies? Genius, right?
You can also learn a few things about developing a calendar from what they post on different social media platforms, what the types are, and the kind of engagement they are able to make.
Finding market opportunities
You can reach out to potential customers by closely watching the types of markets your competitors are serving and targeting. You can also identify underserved markets that your competitors are neglecting so that you can turn them into opportunities for your own business.
By simply being observant, you can learn a lot of tips and tricks and use them in ways that would best serve your own business interests and, consequently, your target market’s.
Now, you may be thinking that all these are about ripping off the competition The Basics of Competitive Analysis for Content Marketing iAcquire has an answer to that: ‘Competitive analysis is not about stealing your competitors’ strategies, but rather about making sure that you are utilizing content marketing, social media and search to their fullest potential.’
Instead, what you will learn about and from your competitors will challenge you to be better at what you do. They will push you to respond to trends and adapt to changes. In content marketing, or any other feat for that matter, it pays to be always two steps ahead.