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What You Can Learn From Your Competition's Content Marketing

April 12, 2017
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Content Marketing, Content Strategy

You may have heard by now that content marketing is extremely effective at generating leads, driving website traffic, and making sales.  The only problem?  Your competitors also know the importance of a powerful content marketing strategy, and they are investing more into their strategies this year than ever before.

A little competition in content marketing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, you can use this opportunity to look at your competition’s content and gain valuable insight that can help inform your own campaigns.

Whether you are revitalizing an old content marketing campaign or creating a new one, you can (and should) look to your competitors to see what works and what doesn’t.  Here are just a few examples of some of the valuable insight you stand to gain from taking a closer look at your competition’s content marketing:

Identify Top Performing Content

Crafting a winning content marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time to figure out what types of content your audience craves, what the optimal length is for various types of content is, and which headlines get more clicks.  Needless to say, marketers spend a decent amount of time testing and adjusting their digital campaigns.

You can take much of the guesswork out of your content marketing strategy and save yourself some time by looking at which types of content are performing well for your competitors.   Using online tools such as BuzzSumo, you can easily identify top performing content by competitor or by topic.

Once you know what your competitor’s most shared topics are, you can then create content on this topic as well—except better.  Brian Dean from Backlinko popularized the Skyscraper Technique, which can help you amplify your content and improve both your content marketing and SEO.

Avoid Your Competitor’s Mistakes

Content marketing sounds straightforward—create content that your audience loves.  Easy, right? 

Of course, developing an effective content marketing strategy involves so much more than simply creating high-quality content.  From content creation to distribution and promotion, there are many content marketing mistakes that can trip up even the most seasoned of digital marketers.

The good news is that you can side-step many content marketing mistakes by analyzing the strategies used by peers in your industry and take notes on what they are doing wrong. 

For instance, you might notice that one of your competitors creates excellent content, but does a terrible job at promoting it.  This is your chance to swoop in and not only create amazing content, but also distribute it so that your target audience can find it.

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Spot New Trends in Your Industry

If you are an online business owner, you probably know how important it is to stay on the cusp of new trends.  Analyzing your competition’s content marketing is a great way to stay on top of current trends and anticipate emerging trends in your market.

Paying close attention to the top competitors in your industry can help you spot patterns that can inform your current content marketing strategy.  Let’s say that you analyze your competition and discover that content with high-quality videos seem to be getting the most shares.  Although your peers may not have made this connection, you can now use this knowledge to incorporate video content marketing into your strategy and drive more website traffic to your online store.

Using data to improve content marketing isn’t new, but this data is limited to your own business and customers.  By analyzing your competitor’s content in addition to your own, you can gain a broader perspective that helps you spot new industry trends.

Gain a Greater Share of the Market

Knowing your target market is essential to creating high-quality content that connects with your audience and increases your conversions.  However, it’s also important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities to gain a greater share of the market.

Performing competitive research can be extremely effective at helping you capture more market share.  With a deeper look at your competition’s content, you can spot customer frustrations with your rival’s products, giving you an opportunity to create content that solves these problems.

Even smaller competitors can reveal valuable insight that helps you capture more market share.  For example, you may notice that their content is targeting an audience that you previously overlooked.  Now, you can create content that targets this audience as well to give you a better position in the market.

Identify the Gaps in Your Own Content Marketing Strategy

Although content marketing is worth the effort, it can also be difficult and mistakes are easy to make.  Whether you have been a content marketer for years or you are just getting started in the digital marketing world, there is always something new to learn in this field.

Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in digital marketing is helpful, but perhaps the most effective way to learn and improve your content marketing is by analyzing the strategies of your top competitors.  After all, they must be doing something right with their marketing strategies if they currently hold a significant share of the market.

How often do they post to their blogs?  What are their most effective marketing channels for posting content?  Which influencers do they use?

By looking closely at their content marketing campaigns, you can pinpoint the gaps in your own campaigns and adjust accordingly.  Even the smallest adjustments to your content marketing can have a powerful impact on your ROI, making this a worthwhile venture for any business owner.

Acquire New Leads and Retain Existing Customers

It’s no secret that content marketing is highly effective at generating new leads and increasing conversions (our own case studies are proof of this).  Creating content that meets the user’s needs at every stage of the sales funnel is essential if you want them to convert.

Even if your strategy seems solid, it never hurts to look at how others in your industry use content marketing to drive website traffic and conversions.  They may have certain call-to-action’s that work extremely well or landing pages that can spark ideas for your own content.  Consider subscribing to their email newsletter or following their blog to get a sense of what content they use to achieve specific goals.

Once you have an idea of what your competitors are doing, you can use this knowledge to create unique content that targets users at every stage of the sales funnel.  Remember, you aren’t analyzing your competition’s content marketing to steal their ideas.  This is only to be used as inspiration for your own campaigns.  Your online business should have its own unique value propositions that are worked into your content and that clearly highlights what makes you better than your competitors.

(Conclusion)

To get the most out of your content marketing strategy, it’s important to analyze your competition’s strategies in addition to your own.  There is a goldmine of valuable insight that you can gain from your peers that can be leveraged for your own content marketing campaigns.

Those who aren’t analyzing their competition risk falling behind in today’s hyper-competitive market.  It may be time consuming, but the hassle is well worth the reward.

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