When you're creating your marketing plan, you have to look at many different factors: successful marketing campaigns in the past, failed campaigns in the past, your priorities and goals for the coming year or this campaign, and more. One factor that many businesses miss, however, is an in-depth at their competitors. If you want to see increased success in your next marketing campaign, learning from your competitors' marketing efforts can help you make better, more informed decisions about your marketing campaigns.
1. Check out what your competitors are doing on social media.
Are your competitors dominating the conversation on a certain social media platform? Are they the first hit that shows up when you search industry hashtags on Instagram? Do they have groups filled with people interested in the industry on Facebook? Here's the good news: they aren't the only ones who can take advantage of those tools. Take a look at what your competitors are doing on social media. You may want to:
See what type of conversation is taking place in competitors' groups.
Do your competitors have their own groups to discuss the latest industry happenings or the latest advances in their company? What type of conversations are taking place in those groups? If you notice that your competitors have extremely active groups with customers that check in incredibly regularly, it could be a sign that you, too, need to take advantage of those opportunities.
Consider what types of contests your competitors are posting.
Are your competitors sharing podcasts? Posting short-form or long-form videos? Keep an eye on what they're doing regularly, especially the types of content that appear to repeat. Those strategies that your competitors use again and again are likely the ones that are working for them -- and therefore the ones that you might want to take advantage of.
Take a look at the content your competitors are posting.
Consider what questions they're asking as well as which ones they're answering for customers. How are they solving customers' pain points in those short posts? What type of content are your competitors most likely to post -- and what type of content are customers most likely to engage with?
You can learn almost as much from your competitors' social media pages as you can from your own. You don't want to post identical content on your page, making yourself little more than a duplicate of your competitor, but you do want to take advantage of the same tactics your competitors are using -- and, if possible, take your posts and your profiles to the next level.
2. Explore the keywords your competitors are focusing on.
Take a look at your competitors' domain authority. How high are they likely to rank on any given topic in your industry? If your competitors are getting those high page rankings, what is it that they're doing differently? Chances are, your competitors, like you, are using many tactics to increase domain authority and maintain their position. Consider:
What does their website posting schedule look like?
Google and other search engines reward new content. How often are your competitors producing that new content?
What keywords are your competitors choosing to focus on?
Sometimes, you may want to challenge your competitors' authority, battling for those top spots in search engine results. In other cases, you may prefer to focus on different keywords: the ones your competitors have ignored. Tools like SEM Rush can also help you discover the keywords your competitors are bidding on in Google Search. If they are willing to pay for visibility when certain phrases are searched, its a good sign they are getting value from those visitors.
3. Look at what topics your competitors are blogging about.
It's one thing to post simply to raise domain authority or to focus on a specific keyword--but that's not the only thing that your customers want from your blog. They're looking for high-quality content that will tell them something about your industry, your products, or your area. For example, a construction company might post about the materials that are best for withstanding the weather in your area, or they might highlight some of their past efforts. A company that provides security analysis might offer insights into how customers can stay more secure online or how they might handle a security breach. Often, your competitors can be an amazing source of new topic ideas.
What topics are your competitors posting about that you haven't?
Is there information on your competitors' blogs that you haven't covered? Consider why you've chosen not to cover that information for your clients. For example, you might find that your competitors have a slightly different audience than you do, which could cause them to post about different things.
What topics have your competitors chosen not to cover?
Are there topics that you've covered--perhaps in extensive detail--that do not appear on your competitors' blogs? Carefully consider why that might be--and take a look at your own site analytics to determine whether those topics are really reaching customers the way you want them to.
How can you offer additional value on your website?
Your goal is to offer more to your customers than your competitors are offering. In some cases, this means a wider content library with more material. In others, it means offering content in more depth or in a different format. Carefully consider how your brand can add value over your competitors to help increase customer loyalty to your website and your products.
What types of content do your competitors focus on?
Are your competitors using long-form blogs, or do they usually generate shorter content? Do their websites have extensive video content? Developing a solid understanding of what your competitors are providing can help you make better decisions about the types of content your website visitors need most.
As with your social media accounts, you don't want to duplicate your competitors' blogs directly, nor do you want to constantly post about the same topics. Of course, when big industry events occur, you'll be more likely to have some of the same things to say--but you want to do your best to produce unique content, too.
Your competitors are an amazing source of information for your business and your marketing plans--and we can help you find it. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve many of your marketing strategies.
Samantha brings a broad range of experience writing for small businesses, nonprofits, news outlets, and radio programs to the Beacon Digital content team. Prior to joining Beacon, Samantha worked as a marketing associate for a Hudson Valley-based designer lighting company, writing content for their blog, social channels, and print and digital advertisements. Over the last several years Samantha has been a contributing writer and editor for creative magazines and radio programs. Samantha earned her BA in Sociology and English (Creative Writing) from SUNY New Paltz. She also studied at Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, where she developed skills in audio storytelling.