It’s easy for organizations to get caught up in marketing their own business, focusing on what they want to promote to the world and forgetting to monitor what their closest competitors are doing. But it’s so important to keep a keen eye on the marketing initiatives of key competitors.
Here are 6 reasons why you need to do your research:
1. You develop a deeper understanding of their unique selling points.
2. You uncover the problems they are purporting to solve.
3. You see how the target audience is responding to their messaging.
4. You may identify market threats on the horizon.
5. You gain insights into your own marketing weaknesses.
6. Armed with this knowledge you can develop more informed strategies.
When you do competitive research, you’ll be able to strategically respond to rival marketing campaigns with your own fresh ideas and initiatives, placing you in a much better position to make your products, services and marketing stand out.
Here’s how I like to size up the competition from a content marketing standpoint:
1. Identify the Competition.
This might sound silly, but does your marketing team really know who your competition is? It’s important to really assess who’s in your space. I mean big and small players alike. You never know what company can come from behind – plenty of startup disruptors do it all the time!
2. Assess Website Content
Dive deep into the website to see if it contains:
- White Papers
- Case Studies
For each of these areas, you want to then determine the overall volume of content, depth of the content (whether it just scratches the surface or is more high-level, how frequently the content is added, and the keywords being targeted.
3. Review Social Media Channels
With around 80% of the U.S. population using social media, you need a strong social strategy. To see how you hold up against the competition, you will want to take a close look at:
- The channels they are on (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).
- The type of content they are posting (posts, videos, links to website, imagery, graphics, polls).
- How much of the content they are posting is original vs. shared from other sources.
- Whether the imagery they are using is stock or more personalized photos and graphics, such as pictures of employees and/or the workplace and infographics.
- How often they are posting.
- What hashtags they are using.
- Engagement by assessing follower numbers, likes, shares and comments. Dive into the comments to identify the types of conversations, what topics are resonating with the audience, which type of content is more effective, and which content layouts work best.
4. Track Links
Smart marketers stay on top of new links to competitor websites. This provides valuable research about the types of audiences they are interacting with, as well as what is being said about the brand. By taking this extra step, you can gather intel on messaging, content focus, and additional media outlets to target in your PR initiatives.
5. Stay Alert
So that you can quickly be apprised of what the competition is doing, sign up to receive newsletters, follow them on social media, regularly check their website, and set up Google alerts.
It’s important to keep track of who the competitors are, what they are doing from a content standpoint, what they are saying about themselves, and what other people are saying about them.
By doing competitive research, you can gain insights into strategies that will enable your marketing approach to be more effective.