As a business owner, something you should always consider when developing your content strategy is to pay attention to what your competitors are posting online. When you know what is successful for your rivals, it should give you some insights about how you can prepare your own content, so that it also appeals to your target audience.
Chances are, your competitors have hit on some of the genuine needs and desires of the same target audience that you have, and that means you should take that into account when developing your own content. Of course, there are software tools which you can use to monitor your rivals’ content, just like there are software tools for everything else. But there are some pretty creative ways for you to keep an eye on your rivals, just by being alert and proactive.
Analyze video content
It has been estimated that by the end of the present year, well above 80% of all consumer Internet traffic will consist of video. Most brands have long been aware of the popularity of video, and have made it an important part of their marketing strategies. It makes good sense for you to check on the video content posted by your competitors, and see what kind of interactions are generated among viewers. One of the best indicators of the success of any type of content is the level of engagement that it encourages.
For this reason, you should check to see which videos get the most views, shares, and comments. You should take note of the target keywords which were used in preparing this content, as well as anything else that has apparently contributed to its success. In the same vein, you might also want to subscribe to your competitors’ YouTube channels, so that you can be alerted whenever one of their new videos is to be launched.
Track your competitors’ social media presence
Most companies these days make use of one or more social media channels, and that means you have some terrific opportunities to track what they’re doing on those platforms. Don’t be afraid to follow your competitors, and make sure to turn on notifications, so that you receive updates on any new content or posts. Make note of the tone of their content, any images used in their material, and the overall effectiveness of their approach to social media.
Wherever you see a high level of engagement on competitors’ content, you may want to consider using a similar approach. One of the best tools available right now for monitoring social activity of your rivals is called Rival IQ. This will help you to see how quickly your rivals are adding followers, how frequently they post content, the average rate of engagement, and it will identify all those posts which have been the most successful.
Sign up for email updates
According to many sources, email is still the best channel for generating business revenue, and it routinely generates the best return on investment for most businesses. That being the case, your marketing team should be tracking email sent out by your rivals to their customers and potential customers. It might be worth your while to subscribe to your rivals’ website by making use of your personal email address, or one which does not include your company name.
By signing up to your rivals’ email lists, you’ll be able to learn much more about your competitors, as well as their corporate culture, any business news which is occurring, upcoming campaigns, and the types of content they’re publishing. You’ll also learn how often they’re putting content online, and you’ll see exactly how they address their target audience. There is a whole world of pointers you can pick up by subscribing to your rivals’ email lists, and this is something that could be worth its weight in gold in terms of learning about the competition.
Identify competitors’ top-performing content
One of the easiest metrics to evaluate is the number of social shares, for which there are number of software tools you might use. BuzzSumo is one example of a tool which is very good at identifying and analyzing the best-performing blogs and content posts for any of your competitors. Social Animal is another excellent tool which can help you dig deep into every article posted by your rivals, finding the total number of social shares, length of the article, primary keywords being used, and a number of other revealing features.
When you have all this information at your disposal, you should have a clear picture of what makes content popular and appealing to readers. You should know which keywords are the most successful at matching users’ searches, and you should know precisely which questions are being answered by your rivals’ content. That in turn, will help you devise your own content strategy, and you will know what kind of text needs to be included in order to generate user interest.
Keep an eye on site changes
When you notice any significant changes to your rivals’ websites or their blogs, you should evaluate exactly what was changed, and why the change was necessary. It could be that it’s something as simple as launching a new product, or it might be that a major change in the corporate structure has occurred. Whatever the changes, they were done for a reason, and you should be aware of what that reason was.
It could be that a competitor’s website was revamped because they felt that they needed to provide a better user experience, so they have made content more readable, they have modified colors or fonts, or they have installed better organization on their website. By monitoring your rival’s website, you will automatically be aware of any new content posted, and you should be able to evaluate the success of any new posts.
When you do learn what has been successful for your competitors, you won’t want to reproduce that same content on your site. Instead, what you should be doing is to assess the elements which made that content successful, and incorporate those same elements in your unique content. This will avoid any hard feeling with your rivals about duplication, but you will still have achieved your objective in developing content which appeals to your target audience.