In the upper echelons of competition, those that experience sustained success are often those that are keenly aware of the strategies and tactics of their opponents. Before a professional or high-level amateur sports team takes the field, the ice, or the court to take on their opponent, advanced scouting staff have already researched and reviewed their competition so that management, coaches, and players can be more prepared for the challenge they’ll be facing. This same competitive research and understanding of your opposition can be just as beneficial in content creation.
The competitive landscape and content creation
Within the frontlines of content marketing, organizations must engage in a clash with two forms of competitors. Of course, there’s your more traditional competition, defined by the opposing organizations that compete directly in your space for the same consumer dollars. For example, a pizza parlor opening in an urban area will find a large slice of its competition coming from other pizza establishments in the same neighborhood. The parlor will find itself locked in similar business battles amongst pizza places emanating out into the city.
Then again, the parlor will also face competition ranging from steakhouses to coffeehouses in terms of capturing business from the same hungry audience. Really, anywhere in the city that a person could choose to grab a bite becomes a competitor to the pizza parlor. Or, that person could venture out to/remain in the suburbs and pick up food from a restaurant – or grocery store – located there.
SERPs and content creation
Nowadays, organizations must also compete with each other for SERPs (search engine results pages). The ability of your organization to rank highly in SEO (search engine optimization) has a direct correlation with your business’s ability to rank highly in its marketplace. That pizza parlor is still vying for more customers against the other pizza/food establishments in the area. Still, they’re also vying for more awareness and more sets of eyes that are seeking out pizza/food in the area.
When a person searches for “pizza in [insert city here]” or “restaurant in [insert city here],” you want your pizza restaurant to rank first in any and every search engine, from Google to Yelp. In order to do so, it’s imperative to focus on your company’s SEO strategy. However, since your business does not exist in a vacuum, part of that SEO stratagem involves ranking against your competition.
As part of her Moz Blog post on how to “Brainstorm and Execute Killer Content Ideas Your Audience Will Love,” Isla McKetta touches on the importance of knowing your opponent. To understand what your content marketing competition is up to, here are some things to consider:
What is getting the most links?
Which of your competitor’s pages are getting the most links? Where are those links coming from? The significance of this information is the understanding of what type(s) of content are best resonating with your audience.
Who are the top traffic earners?
What keywords are helping your competitors to direct traffic to their pages? What demographics can you determine from the audience that follows your competitors on social media? Can you cultivate customer evangelists of them to help improve awareness and increase traffic?
Who is receiving the most mentions?
Speaking of brand awareness, which brand is getting the most of it? Something as simple as a series of Google Alerts will bring to your attention whenever there’s a mention of a competitor’s brand. This will allow you to see what type of content is garnering attention for your opponents.
With an understanding of your top competitors, their content and SEO strategies, and their brand awareness through inbound marketing, your ability to formulate a game plan to improve your own content marketing strategy will become more tactical and lead to greater, more sustainable success.