If you’ve been wondering how your competitors are consistently churning out engaging content that drives traffic and conversions, then keep reading. We’ll touch on competitor research and competitor content analysis to help you learn how to compete with the content leaders in your industry.
Competitor research is a powerful tool that helps you understand what works for others in your industry. A competitor content analysis involves the process of analyzing your competitors’ content strategy. The insights from a competitor content analysis allow you to know what works for others in your industry and can help inform your content marketing strategy to ensure your content is high-performing. Let’s jump in.
Identify your top competitors
Start by making a list of your main competitors. Identify businesses that offer similar products or services and target the same audience as you. A combination of direct competitors (those offering the same products) and indirect competitors (those targeting the same audience with different products) will give you a well-rounded view of the content landscape in your industry.
Let’s look at an example in the restaurant industry. Say you run a steakhouse, and a nearby bakery sells pastries. You don’t need to focus too much attention on them because your target customer bases are slightly different. This makes the bakery an indirect competitor. Still, it’s important to keep them on your radar as they’re in the broader eatery space in your area. Instead, focus your research on your direct competitors like the steakhouse down the street, while keeping an eye on indirect competitors.
Analyze their content types and formats
Now you’re ready to get started with competitor content analysis. Take a deep dive into the types and formats of content your competitors are producing. Are they producing blog posts, case studies, white papers, or videos? Do they lean heavily on how-to guides, listicles, or thought leadership pieces? Are they producing long or short-form content? Understanding their content preferences can help you spot gaps in your strategy or identify formats worth exploring.
Evaluate content quality and engagement
Now that you know what types of content your competitors are producing, continue your content competitor analysis to assess the quality and engagement of their content. Here are a few things to consider:
- The depth of the content: How much detail do they go into?
- The tone: Is the tone of the writing formal and professional, or informal and conversational?
- Readability: What is the general readability level of the content?
- Links: Are they linking to other credible sites or providing additional resources?
- Calls to action: What are they asking readers to do as a next step?
Also, consider what social media channels your competitors are on. Where are they sharing their content, and on which platforms do they get the most engagement? Look for posts with the most shares, likes, or comments. This can give you an idea of what topics resonate with your target audience and help you prioritize your content creation efforts.
Identify high-performing keywords and topics
A content marketing competitive analysis also analyzes competitor keywords and topic performance. A keyword is high-performing if it satisfies a combination of high traffic volume and low keyword difficulty.
Use SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to analyze your competitors’ high-performing keywords and topics. These tools will reveal the search terms that drive the most traffic to their sites. Use this information to identify content opportunities that you can capitalize on in your own content plan.
Look for content gaps
As you analyze your competitors’ content, look for gaps or content areas where you can provide unique insights or perspectives that differ from the competition. Perhaps there’s a niche topic that hasn’t been covered extensively, or you can offer a fresh take on a popular subject.
A content gap analysis allows you to identify gaps in existing content that you can improve on. By filling these content gaps, you can differentiate your company from the competition and position your brand as an industry expert. For example, we did a content gap analysis on business blogging and noticed that most of the content out there was outdated and didn’t address the pitfalls in business blogging. Based on this information, we developed an article focused specifically on 10 business blogging errors.
Monitor competitor content regularly
Competitor research isn’t a one-time activity; it should be an ongoing part of your content marketing strategy. Make sure that your team carries out periodic competitor content analysis, at least on a quarterly basis. Regularly reviewing your competitors’ content will help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and ensure your content remains relevant and engaging.
Follow the latest trends in your industry and where necessary, update your content as required. If you’re in the creative marketing space, for example, you’ve seen how TikTok has dramatically changed the content creation landscape — and you’ve likely added a TikTok strategy to your content plan as a result.
Adapt and refine your content strategy
Finally, use your competitor research insights to inform your content marketing strategy. Adjust your content plan and editorial calendar to incorporate high-performing topics, content formats, and keywords, and prioritize filling content gaps to stand out from the competition. Where necessary, repurpose content to ensure it’s fresh and valuable or introduce a new perspective.
The key is not to do the exact same thing your competitors are doing. Instead, use the insights you’ve gleaned from your research to deliver more value to your audience. For example, your competitors are ranking for long-form articles and audio content. Take your long-form blog articles and turn them into bite-sized audio snippets to share on social media. This way, you’re combining two strategies that you already know are effective.
Performing competitor content analysis
Competitor research is an invaluable tool for shaping a winning content marketing strategy. It’s important to perform a content marketing competitive analysis regularly to help your company keep up with changes in the industry. By understanding what works for other brands, you can identify areas to provide unique value to your audience.
If you’ve already done a content marketing competitive analysis but you’re still struggling with content ideas, check out our suggestions for identifying existing content sources here.
If you’re overwhelmed by the competitor research process, our team is available to help. Get in touch to learn more about our content strategy consulting services.