Analyzing the competition is essential in different Digital Marketing strategies, and in content strategies it could not be different. Understand here how to make an analysis of competitors and achieve a consistent pattern of content.
It doesnt matter if you are starting from scratch or optimizing a content strategy: knowing, understanding and following what your competitors are doing is essential to make decisions that really deliver results for your company.
And it is important to note: I am not talking about copying the content that your competitors produce.
The idea here is to make the most of the gaps that exist in the production of content in your niche market.
You will finish this reading with the necessary knowledge to analyze your most important competitors and come up with action plans that will help your company stand out as a producer of authentic content that delivers value to its audience.
Who are your real competitors?
You probably already have some names in mind, but this step requires a little more attention.
Defining who your competitors are in your content strategy goes beyond mapping the companies that compete directly for the same market as you.
Usually, companies that sell a product/service similar to yours are also your competitors in content creation. After all, your competitors are solving a very similar persons pain, many times, the same as yours.
But, to make a competition analysis in a content strategy, it is necessary to take into account the companies that create content directed to the same person as yours, even if their products/services are not your direct competitors.
These are your content competitors .
And where do you start to identify your competitors?
Well, the answer is where all our doubts are usually solved: in Google.
Do a search for the main relevant top, middle and bottom funnel terms for your person. Which companies stand out?
Also consider your direct competitors who are behind in content production. Even if they have a small share in the search results, they are competing for the same market share as you and deserve your attention.
In this step, a tool that can help you a lot is the SEMrush.
When doing an overview of the domain rockcontent.com/blog (the Portuguese version of our blog), for example, the tool presents the main domains competing for the keywords we position.
This strategic analysis shows the main content competitors of our domain, how many keywords it has indexed, and how many keywords other domains have in common with us.
SEMrush is a paid tool, but it offers a huge amount of information that can help you analyze your competitors . So, it will appear again in the tour in this article.
From these analyses, assemble your list of competitors that you really need to accompany .
Records the content strategy of each competitor
This is the most operational stage of the process. The time invested in it varies greatly depending on the level of investment in content of your competitors.
It is time to dissect the content strategy, and that must be done with consideration:
- Type of contents;
- Quantity of contents;
- Delivery frequency;
- Issues addressed.
You can do this through a template, in which you record each competitors data to facilitate your analysis later. A simple example to record your results would look like this:
Template for Competitive Analysis
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The direction of the content to the sales funnel stage is very important for a content strategy, but I will leave it out of this analysis.
A company has to have materials from all stages of the funnel for each channel and subject, so this analysis will not bring any great insights.
But remember : dont forget to take the funnel stage into consideration in your content strategy.
And how do you analyze every aspect of a strategy? Lets take it one step at a time.
Analyze which channels your competitor publishes content on.
It is important to find out if you have more than one blog, if you publish rich materials on your site, if you have a Youtube account, if you promote Webinars (and where you broadcast them), if you produce exclusive material for a social network or any other communication channel that receives content.
SimilarWeb is a free tool that can help you understand which channels drive traffic to your competitors site.
It allows to assign any domain and provides information such as traffic (in a rough forecast), weather on the site, pages per access, and most importantly: traffic sources .
In addition to showing where the visits that a domain receives come from, you will be able to view the fonts separated by area. For example, it is possible to know from which specific social networks the accesses originate from social media.
This way, you will have a picture of where your competitor is performing and what specific niches he is looking to reach.
Type of contents
Map all of your competitors content production, looking to identify what types of content are produced for each channel. Some of the most common are:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
Each of them has a strategic objective, and understanding how your competitor distributes its content creation investments will show some of its marketing planning.
Marketing Plan Template
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Quantity of contents and frequency of publication
Map out how much content your competitor has on each channel and how often they post new articles. To follow their launches it is important to follow their social networks and monitor their blog and newsletters.
In addition, this tracking will show how your competitor is directing their investments and efforts on a monthly basis.
Seek to understand the issues your competitor addresses in the content. Think of a macro perspective, selecting broader topics, and break them down into more specific categories as much as possible.
Normally, companies focus their content production on topics that their product/service offers and has as a strong point.
As the topics of primary relevance are exhausted, companies begin to produce content about their weaknesses or issues not directly related to their product.
In this analysis, the SEMrush is again very useful. It allows you to evaluate which are the keywords that your competitor positions. By doing this, it is possible to identify issues that are most addressed.
See an example of how this analysis could be done at rockcontent.com/blog:
You can organize the keywords according to your competitors position in the search results, search volume, trend, among other options. This will show you a lot about the topics covered and the quality of the content (next step spoiler).
Analyzes the quality of the contents
With all this data properly documented, it is time to move on to a more analytical part of the process. You need to evaluate the contents of your competitor, looking to frame them on a quality scale.
At this point, you may be left with an important question: what is quality content?
There is no perfect formula, but basically we are talking about content that unites Content Marketing (strategic targeting and focus on the persons pain), SEO (understanding Google and how it reads your text), good writing and visual production (organized and appropriate to your person).
It is important to remember that a 500-word post can have the same quality as a 3,000-word ebook, just as a funnel top content can be as good as a funnel bottom content.
The quality does not come from the size, but from how well a content meets the requirements I mentioned above .
SEMrush can help you evaluate the quality and relevance of the content created by your competitor, at the end, it shows you how Google sees the quality of a content.
Search for the positioning of your competitors content and try to understand what makes it appear or not among the best results for searches for keywords important to your business.
Another advice is to take into account the performance of the contents in social networks . Do the launch publications of each material generate commitment? Do people leave feedback in the comments?
It establishes a measurement pattern. It can be a grade of 1 to 5, a scale from low to high quality, in short: the important thing is to have a unique method of classification. This will be very important in the next step of the analysis.
Understands how to create competitive authorial content
If you followed each of the previous steps, you already have a lot of data about your competitors content strategy.
Its time to cross and analyse them, with the aim of understanding how you can optimise your content strategy based on their strengths and differences.
Your analysis should start from a few crucial points, but it can be extended in various ways. I have listed the most important analyses to be made and what optimizations you can make in your content strategy based on them.
Quantity of contents X Theme X Quality
Perhaps the most valuable analysis in a content evaluation.
Understanding how deeply your competitor addresses each issue will show you how he organizes his investment priority within his strategy.
You will be able to see which issues he considers the most important to generate opportunities, and which he considers secondary.
This analysis shows several content gaps that you can focus on to gain visibility and authority online.
And, most importantly, you can identify topics for which your competitor generates a lot of content, but which are not being produced with high quality. This is an opportunity to invest in better content, which competes for the highest place in search engines.
When looking at the results of this analysis, always compare it to what you do.
Differences in thematic focus say a lot about how the company sees its competitive strengths and provides information about which areas you should concentrate your content production on.
Remember: if a competitor has a topic that is very much addressed and with quality, reflect on the importance it represents for your Inbound Marketing strategy.
Clearly assessing your chances of competing for a topic can maximize your chances of generating results with your content.
Topic-by-topic analysis is essential for generating ideas. Fortunately, SEMrush allows you to do this extremely easily. By comparing two domains, you can see:
Directly competing keywords:
Keywords that your competitor positions and you do not:
Keywords that you position and your competitor does not:
Never lose sight of your strengths in relation to the competitor. In what way is your product/service better than theirs? This will be an important guide when defining the priority issues in your strategy.
Presentation template for AFDD analysis
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Amount of contents X Channel
This analysis will show you how much importance your competitor gives to each channel. The choice of a communication channel starts from the persons demand, and not the other way around.
Map out which channel your competitor is leaving out and evaluate if it is a content creation opportunity. Always remember that the same channel has to be relevant to you. You need to be where she finds you.
Also look for channels where you compete directly with your competitor, but could invest more effort to beat them for more traffic and relevance.
The frequency of sending per channel can show how your competitor is directing his efforts in shorter periods.
Quantity of contents X Type of contents
What content formats does your competitor prioritize? Which ones does he let through? The answer to these questions can be found through this analysis.
Seek to understand why some formats are prioritized over others, and how you can take advantage of the types of content your competitor does not produce .
It tries to understand if the types of content it produces are aligned with the chosen channels and how the channels it has as a differential can be used to get ahead.
If possible, place the quality factor in this analysis.
Understanding where your competitors major production efforts are can help you understand which types of content create the most value for you and should be prioritized.
Frequency X Theme
This analysis will show you how your competitor divides their content production between each theme.
Understanding what you concentrate your efforts on can indicate strategic directions your business intends to take , as well as issues that have been receiving little attention.
When several new contents have a clear focus on one topic, your competitor may be trying a strategy of generating volume to gain the top positions for that topic.
This can be important information for you to prevent and invest in protection for your items that already rank high.
If an important issue is “forgotten”, try to understand why.
Has your competitor already positioned himself well for this issue or does he simply prefer to direct his efforts towards other issues?
These are four examples of simple analyses, but they can bring a lot of information about your competitors content strategy, as well as ideas for optimizing your own content production.
An important activity for some niches is to accompany competitors with foreign content . In some markets, innovations and trends start in Europe or North America before reaching Latin America .
Even if you are not normally competing for the same visibility space as yours, knowing what issues are being addressed, through which channels and with which content strategy can place you in a leading position in your market.
There are several other analyses that can be done to find out how your competitor thinks and runs his content production.
Once you regularly monitor how the strategy is being executed, you will be able to make decisions more aligned with your companys strategic objectives.
To keep up with your competitors, we have prepared a kit with the best tools for analyzing them. Do you want to see it? Download it now!