Content is King! It’s the way to ensure a strong footing in your niche no matter which industry you belong to. But, what’s the first step to creating unique and differentiated content that makes you stand apart?

You need to start by analyzing the content being published in the market. In other words, you need to take a good hard look at how your competitors, friends, and neighbors are handling their content strategy to churn out engaging, helpful, and unique content.

Successful competitor analysis can give you a solid structure to stick with in terms of what content to create as well as a sense of direction. You can stay ahead in your game and make things work things to your advantage. How do you do that? Well, in this post SPOPLI talks about how to properly perform competitor analysis.

You need to start by compiling a list of your competitors and follow these steps:

  • Prepare an inventory of competitor content
  • Evaluate the content for quality and quantity
  • Analyze and tag content topics

Step 1: Prepare an inventory of competitor content

In this step, you need to prepare a catalog of different forms of content published across different platforms and mediums (including websites). Make sure to capture everything from videos, blogs, articles, case studies to everything else both off and on the website. Each type of content will give you a sense of how much the competitors are invested in different content forms and which format your audiences enjoy the most. You need to also catalog topics by keywords, range, and relative importance.

The most common content types include:

Blog Articles: This includes both long and short-term posts. They give incredible insight into the importance of different topics as well as the most important keywords in the industry.

Video: Video-based content is best when you want to assess the tone and the nature of branding competitors have used.

Audio recordings and podcasts: Audio content will tell you about the mindset of different individuals/teams and the thought process they’re putting into the content creation and overall branding.

Webinars: Webinars are great if you want to know the topics that are of particular interest to the audiences as webinars often go into detail.

White Paper and E-books –  Both of these will tell you about the more complex and in-depth content written in long-form.

Presentation – SlideShare and other presentation formats are ripe with content around thought leadership.

E-newsletters: E-mails are the best tools for learning what the companies think are the most essential topics that deserve to be shared directly into customers’ and prospects’ emails.

Step 2: Evaluate the Quality and Quantity of Content

Once you’re past the first stage and have compiled an inventory of competitor content, you need to evaluate it. It’s important to look at the kind of attention and focus each type of content has received from the audiences. Also, look at how the audiences are perceiving different content types.

Pay attention to the channels and the media type they are using along with the frequency of publishing across various channels. One of the best things about most content publishing channels is the free access to engagements, visibility, and popularity markers such as the number of likes, comments, shares, etc. This will give you plenty of insight into how well or poorly the content is performing.

Take in all these parameters and markers into your own content inventory to get a direction of the bigger picture of the content marketing strategy that the competitors are using.

Step 3: Tag and Analyze Content Topics

In this phase, you need to analyze each content piece microscopically. Analyzing and tagging different topics will show you the gaps in content marketing. Use those as opportunities the next time you draft content.

Pay attention to the description and content title. Try to analyze the material in as much depth as you can. If you feel that there’s too much content published by competitors, then you can start with the most popular pieces. You can also go with the most recently published content. Tag each piece with different topics or sets of topics.

By the end of this phase, you should have a spreadsheet of your competitors’ strategies in a deconstructed format. Form multiple combinations of quality and content coverage by different topics. This will help you ascertain the gaps to fill. You should now have a map telling you which content to pick and which one to stay away from for successful marketing.

Final Thoughts

It’s tempting to avoid doing the legwork before you start pumping out useful content. But, you have to realize that competitor content analysis is a crucial part of devising the kind of content that’s truly helpful for your audience. Instead of publishing content randomly or relying on a guessing game, you know exactly how to leverage your efforts for maximum traction.