Highlighting the uniqueness of your product or service is a primary goal of any marketing effort.  However, that uniqueness also must extend to your brand and help establish your company as one to which your customers can relate.

There are numerous ways to do so, but content marketing consistently ranks as one of the leading brand development methods available to businesses of all types and sizes.  

What does that have to do with the competitive analysis?

A lot.  

To create content that sets your brand, product, or service apart from the crowd, you’ll need to establish a marketing effort that does the same. This is impossible if you don’t perform basic market research as it relates to your competitors and target audience.

Should Competitive Analysis Be Part of Your Content Strategy?

Competitor Analysis Definition & Direction

By definition, a competitive analysis is used to collect and analyze information about rivals. In the end, you should have a good idea of what your competition is doing and whether they’re succeeding, at least at the surface level.

For some, a competitive analysis may sound like “black hat” marketing – but that’s far from the case.  Today, it’s a common practice that uses public information, including everything from marketing media to financial statements (e.g., annual reports), to put together competitor profiles.

There are many ways you can complete competitive analysis, but the exact process depends on your industry and goals. When it comes to content marketing, there a few key bits of information that, when collected, can help you not only gauge existing competition but determine the best and most effective path forward.

Before you begin, it’s helpful to designate a document, like an Excel sheet, in which you can record your findings for analysis.

Identify your competition

Most business owners are aware of their top competitor, but it’s wise to include 5 to 10 additional businesses that directly via for your customers.  

If you’re not sure, the best course of action is often to visit Google and search for the product or service you provide. Don’t’ forget that there are various levels or types of competition.

For some, competition will include businesses of various sizes, including big-box retailers.  For others, particularly businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence, competition will include similar businesses within a specified geographic radius. Still, many businesses will find that competition includes a healthy mix of both.

For that reason, it’s important to factor in location when necessary as you use Google to establish your top competitors.

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Content Type

Content takes on various forms. This, of course, includes blogs, articles, and videos, but it also may include podcasts, webinars, white papers, e-books, newsletters, etc.  

As you approach your content analysis, make it a point to visit your competitor’s website and social media pages.  From there, you can sign up for newsletters, look for available webinars or ebooks, and identify what types of media they may share through applicable channels

Gathering this information will clue you into content mediums that may engage your audience, but it can also provide insight into your competitor’s marketing budget and keyword strategy.

Distribution Methods & Impact

Identifying distribution often happens in tandem with the last step, but there is more to it than just recognizing the channels that your competitors may use. To truly gain insight into your competitor’s content strategy, and its effectiveness, you’ll want to collect any available data.  

For example, you can typically gauge how effective a specific post, blog, video, etc. is, at least in terms of engagement, based on social metrics like shares, comments, posts, likes, etc.  

Similarly, this phase or research also gives you valuable information about the company’s editorial calendar, specifically how often they produce new content, share videos, resurrect evergreen content, etc.  

Take Note of Style & Tone

Your style and tone should remain true to your brand, but it doesn’t hurt to take note of the way your competitors present content. Are they playful and fun? Are they far more serious and professional? How do their followers engage with or react to their style, voice, and tone?

In truth, this may not be quantifiable, but it can help you understand not only your competitor but your target audience as well.

Content Focus

As you perform your competitor analysis, it’s helpful to build a list of topics, themes, etc. on which your competitor focuses. This can help you identify gaps in your own content collection, but the value extends beyond that.

Instead, by identifying the topics and concepts covered by your competitor, you can identify gaps in their strategy and set yourself up for growth and build out a unique editorial calendar.

You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel here. Sometimes it simply means providing a more concise path to information or offering consumers a more robust take on a common industry topic.  

What you do with this information depends entirely on your brand, industry standards, and your target audience.

Competitive Analysis: Should it be Part of Your Content Strategy- takes notes

Be Unique

There are a lot of benefits to competitive analysis, but for some, there can also be some hidden dangers, primarily the inclination to “copy” content ideas.  

There will, of course, be pages, posts, and videos that contain similar information, but your goal should always be to put your own spin on it to make it uniquely yours.  Not only is that ethical business practice, but it’s one that will help you win loyal followers and rise up in the SERPs.

Competitive analysis should always be part of your marketing strategy, and that includes your content marketing efforts.  By reviewing your rivals, you can gain valuable insight into not only their efforts but their target audience. Further, your analysis should also provide insight into how your product/service, brand, and efforts differ from your competitors, helping your business stand out in the crowd.



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