Your company’s products and services aren’t the only things whose quality needs to surpass those of your competitors. Your marketing content must, too.
So, it’s incumbent upon your content teams to determine what differentiates your content from that of your competitors. Armed with that information, they can create new content that surpasses your competitors’ work in both quality and relevance to your audience.
But first, you need to track your competitors’ content to see where you stand.
Good news. There’s a tool for that. Several, actually. But first, let’s look at a couple of low-tech ways to monitor their content.
Low-Tech Competitor Tracking
Data can show you how your company’s content performs compared to your competitors’ work. However, it doesn’t always tell you the whole story about why a competitor’s post outranked your own.
Looking at the content itself – and then comparing it with your content on the same topic – can help. Here are two easy ways your teams can morph into super-sleuths:
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors’ Social Media Activity
You might feel like a stalker for “spying” on your competitors’ social posts, but know this; your competitors are likely already spying on yours.
Look at how they interact with their customers and prospects as well as the topics they cover. Is their brand voice and messaging consistent? What kind of tone do they adopt – serious, casual, humorous, or even irreverent?
Do they simply post and ignore their followers’ comments, or do they interact with them, building a relationship with their brand? What kind of followers do they attract – and are they posting content that is relevant to their followers’ needs?
Just follow their pages and profiles. It’s probably best for your teams to use their personal accounts so your competitors won’t block you from seeing their posts.
Subscribe to their Newsletters
Again, you’ll want to use your personal email account to subscribe. After all, you’re channeling your inner James Bond.
Your mission: to read their newsletters to catch a glimpse into how they communicate with their middle-of-the-funnel segment. This critical segment has already engaged with your competitor’s brand and is actively looking for information to solve a problem.
How do they use their newsletters to drive their prospects even further down the funnel towards conversion? Don’t just read it from your email.
Head over to their blog to see the type of content they post and how they organize it. Is there something you can learn from them about the topics they post about or how they organize the information?
Do they organize it by the verticals they serve? If they do, an engineer, for instance, can find the information that she needs easily, while a doctor or nurse could find information about what your competitor’s product can do for them in a separate category.
If they’re outperforming you in targeted verticals, it might be a clue that you should reorganize your blog content accordingly.
High-Tech Competitor Monitoring
While it’s always a good idea to take a look at your competitors’ actual content, there is a wealth of competitor intel you can uncover without putting on your 007 hat. Today’s technology can provide you with insights that can give your content the edge in your industry.
Research Your Competitors’ Keywords
Competitor keyword research can provide deep insights into your competitors’ content strategy in two critical areas.
Knowing what keywords they use can alert you to where you’re falling short in keyword targeting. Additionally, you can uncover which keywords they’re lacking, allowing you to target those areas of weakness.
There are plenty of tools on the market that allow you to take a deep dive into your competitors’ keywords. Here are a couple of our favorites:
- Semrush: This incredibly useful tool doesn’t only provide you with a list of your competitors’ keywords. It also provides you with recommendations on how you can improve your visibility among your target customers, along with a treasure trove of information about your competitors.
- SpyFu: Besides showing you your competitors’ keywords, backlinks, and clickthrough rate, SpyFu also offers a feature called “Kombat” that takes you on a deep dive into how you rank versus your top two competitors. Using a Venn diagram to visualize the comparison overall, the tool also allows you to tap into your weaknesses (keywords your competitors rank for that you lack), keywords that you rank for, but your competitors do not, keywords that any of your competitors rank for, and keywords that both you and your competitors rank for.
Image via SpyFu
Identify Hidden Competitors
You’re probably well aware of most of your competitors. The usual suspects – your fellow movers and shakers – industry leaders.
But what about that upstart out there who’s quietly moving up in the ranks? If you’ve searched for your keywords lately, you probably gasped in surprise at some of the top results. Startups. Small businesses. Regional influencers.
That’s because these upstarts have kept a keen eye on every update Google puts out, optimizing both their on-site and technical SEO to come out on top. You do, too – but unfortunately, your siloed SEO team might still be stuck in the last decade.
BuzzSumo is your secret weapon to take into your content collaboration sessions with your SEO people. All you have to do is enter your keywords, and BuzzSumo will spit out a list of competing content for those phrases.
Chances are, you’ll dig up a few top performers that you’ve never heard of. That’s when you and your colleagues in SEO can put your heads together in a concerted effort to put you back in the running.
Monitor Your Competitors’ Backlinks
Looking at the backlinks your competitors’ posts earn can help you reverse-engineer your existing content and inspire ideas for new content. Of course, Moz and Ahrefs are both great choices for monitoring backlinks – especially because they both offer a one-stop shop for monitoring competitors’ content.
Image via Monitor Backlinks
But why not just use the intuitive dashboard, where you can learn a whole lot more? There, you can see the keyword used as the anchor text, a link to the URL of the content linked to, the quality of the backlink, whether the backlink is follow or nofollow, and a wealth of other critical information.
With this tool, you can examine the competitor’s content that the top-quality backlinks link to. Compare it against your own content on the same topic. Strategize with your teams to see what you can do to provide even better, more relevant content than those of your competitors.
You might even discover that there are topics your competitors cover that you don’t. Shoring up your content repository with better-quality posts on those topics can also help you win quality backlinks back from the competition.
Once you whip your content into better shape, you can also use this tool to compare your backlinks with your competitors’ in both number and quality. As your backlinks grow, your internal content analytics will show positive growth in engagement, shares, and conversions.
Organizing all your content production and analysis under one virtual roof makes it easy to keep an eye on the competition. With DivvyHQ’s content marketing platform, you can do everything from ideation to publication and beyond.
And, with its open API, you can integrate it with your favorite competitor-tracking tools. Try it free for 14 days starting today!