5 Ways Your Competitors Can Help You Build Your Content Strategy | Pepper Content

5 Ways Your Competitors Can Help You Build Your Content Strategy

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 26/03/2110 min read
5 Ways Your Competitors Can Help You Build Your Content Strategy

Gaining insight into your competitor’s keywords can give you an upper hand. This information will show what words they rank for and what keywords are most relevant in your industry.

Table of Contents

  • What is competitor analysis?
  • Why is competitor analysis important?
  • Steps to follow while performing competitor analysis
  • Tools to optimize competitor analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Key Takeaways
  • Frequently asked Questions

The digital age demands content. The only way for a brand to remain unique and memorable is by creating the right content for its users. This covers everything from blogs for SEO and videos for marketing to social media posts for engagement. 

Every piece of content that gets published represents your brand and needs research and planning. 

There is an essential step that a lot of brands ignore when considering how to do content marketing. Apart from posting relevant content, you need to keep an eye out for what others in your industry are talking about.

Let’s start by understanding what it means to analyze your competitors and why it’s important.

What is competitor analysis?

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Competitor analysis is one of the essential content marketing tips. It is a strategy that helps you gauge market prospects. This is done by analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, success, and failure of current and potential competitors. It allows your brand to stay one step ahead of the curve in terms of threats and opportunities to the business. It gives you a chance to find traction, leads, sales, and gaps in the market that would likely otherwise be invisible to you.

Why is competitor analysis important?

1. Content ideas

In order to market content, it goes without saying that your content itself should lead the way. You may already have some great content that people are responding to. However, there are always ideas out there that can help you be more relatable or valuable to customers. 

It certainly wouldn’t hurt to head over to the social media page or blog website of a competitor to gain an insight into the content on display. For example, as a freelance content writer, perhaps your content employs a more formal approach but then you find that most competitors keep their content light and informal. That could be a sign for you to modify your style.

2. Uncover new marketing strategies

This is one of the main reasons to get yourself on the competitor analysis bandwagon. It reveals a wealth of information about various marketing strategies employed by competitors that you still might have to discover. 

From the smallest pieces of information such as the keywords chosen by competitors to elevate the effectiveness of ads to SEO, to backlinks, to crafting successful email marketing campaigns, your competitors are likely to be of immense help to your business. 

You could also gain insights into data such as social engagement along various networks and channels to model your social media strategy accordingly.

3. Find new audiences

Various competitor analysis tools could give you insights as to the individuals who regularly engage with competitors’ content. You will find individuals liking, commenting, and sharing their content. If they enjoy the content of your competitor, it speaks to the fact that they are interested in the general direction of the business and therefore, are likely also interested in the content churned out by your brand. Follow these individuals on social media. Once you make your presence felt, they are likely to notice your content and follow you back. 

This strategy has therefore allowed you to acquire a potential customer without having to funnel money into ads or various other customer acquisition methods.

4. Gain a better understanding of markets

Competitor analysis can certainly help you gain insights into what makes the market tick. It can help you identify market segments that your brand may be missing out on. 

What are the trends the audiences are drawn towards? Is the market more responsive to social media marketing or email marketing? Are users receptive to new technologies or apprehensive of them? What are competitive prices for my products/services? 

Different competitors can virtually be used as A/B testing tools to figure out the answers to these questions. 

5. Talent scouting

This is one of the benefits of competitor analysis that is seldom talked about. Constantly creating engaging content is a struggle and finding good freelancers to get it done is seldom easy. While tracking the success or failure of a competitor, you are likely to come across content or a marketing strategy that inspires adulation. If you keep an eye out for the sources of the content, you could get in touch with them and prospectively gain a talented new employee.

In this way, you can use competitor analysis as a means of professional networking, in search of talented new employees.

Steps to follow while performing competitor analysis

1. Analyze competitor’s SEO

Gaining insight into your competitor’s keywords can give you an upper hand. This information will show what words they rank for and what keywords are most relevant in your industry.
If you notice that your competitors rank higher on a search result for a longer time, it’s time to find out why and how. This research is also a significant step when you are starting to build your SEO strategy. Rather than looking at fresh insights, use the data that is tried and tested.
For example, if you notice that words such as ‘best car service’ rank high for your competitor, it would make sense to use a variation of the same to your advantage.
Platforms like SEMRush offer some of the best tools for this job. They can simply list a large number of words and phrases based on the URLs you enter. They also give you detailed analytics on your competitor’s SEO efforts. 

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2. Take inventory of your competitors’ content

SEO and keywords are merely data. You must pay close attention to your competitors’ actual content. There is a good chance that they use only a small range of topics and headings to reel in users. Most companies and brands have a set of ideas and topics that they choose from. These are the topics you should stay away from. 

Or be on the offensive. You can create content that upsells the ideas already sold by them. These can include more than just blogs; cover social media, YouTube videos, podcasts, events, and much more. 

If you notice that a particular content type seems to get more traction in a specific time and place, you can also replicate it in other forms. For example, your competitor has a ‘how-to blog’ post that receives a large volume of impressions. You can develop similar content but in a video format. Videos can reach a wider audience than blogs. 

For example, this video was created by Spotify for launch in the USA. The product is beautiful when compared to a blog. 

Similarly, if they are using a tool like Medium or WordPress, you can move your content to a place with better visibility for your brands, such as LinkedIn or Instagram. The options are endless, but they begin with knowledge of what’s already out there. 

3. Evaluate content quantity and quality

You can also look at high-ranking content pieces and gauge what ensures better engagement. For example, if certain blogs, videos, or posts gain a better reach, it’s time to recreate a similar content type at your end. 

If you want to learn how to do content marketing, strike a perfect balance between quality and quantity. A large volume of poorly created content is called spam and only a few pieces of content can also fail to impress. Study your competition and try to learn about the average number of posts and content pieces they go for. This should give your brand a basic framework to understand the market’s demand and supply. 

4. Analyze tone and sources

Another factor to consider is the tone of the content. The tone used by your competitors is a significant indicator of their target audience. Is the tone simple, formal, or just uninteresting? These points can help you create your own voice and messaging which is different from your competitors.
You can also use the information around sources of traffic to plan your distribution strategy. First, break them down platform-wise and then by content types. Once you know which platforms are performing best, you can also pull in a small audience there. 

5. Understand their USP

A golden rule to consider when we talk about how to do content marketing is to focus on your competitors’ Unique Selling Propositions (USPs). Each of them has something that sets them apart from the crowd. Your analysis should determine what that factor is. Their websites might have ‘mission statements’, which can reveal a lot of information about their USPs.
This becomes crucial if yours is a brand that works in the B2B space. If you know your niche, it’s easier to generate more content within it.
Yes, there is a chance your niche can overlap with your competitor’s. In such cases, you must dig deeper and discover a unique way to present your idea. 

Finally, integrate your strategy

The next and final step is to integrate all these points mentioned above with your existing content strategy. Your brand should already have a plan for content in place by the time you reach this research stage.
It helps to put information in one place like a spreadsheet or a brainstorming sheet. You can then choose the items and headings that would add value to your marketing plans.
If you are looking to get ahead of the pack, it’s essential to focus on others’ weaknesses and double up your own strategies.
Just keep an eye on the work of others. You can also look for collaborations with your competitors to make your content enjoyable.
Unfortunately, this cannot be mastered overnight, so take your time to plan this well. Attention to detail and careful planning can help you get to the top. 

Tools to optimize competitor analysis

Gaining an insight into the business and marketing strategies of competitors isn’t always easy. So here are some tools that can greatly simplify the process.   

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1. BuzzSumo

This is a great tool to help with the core aspect of your marketing strategy, which is the content. All you have to do is choose which competitor you wish to spy on. BuzzSumo gives you a peek into the insights of content your competitors have created. It gives you information on the posts, articles, or any type of content that has fared the best so that you employ similar themes in your own content. For example, if a competitor’s post about ‘Setting Up Passive Income Sources’ has received a lot of attention, it might be prudent for you to explore that angle as well.

Another way in which this website can be exploited is to reveal a list of people who have shared a particular post or article. This allows you to gain access to individuals whom you know are inclined to engage with posts in similar spaces.

With these special features and several others being offered on both free and paid plans, BuzzSumo is a great tool to explore.

2. SEMrush

This is one of the best digital marketing tools out there. It has a well-designed competitive research toolkit. The toolkit enables you to pick and choose from various features that allow you to penetrate deep into the strategies of your competitors. Features include SEO insights, keyword research, budget research, and more.

An interesting feature that they provide is the ability to analyze the ad copy of competitors. This ultimately provides information on the effectiveness of ads and the keywords that enable any success that the ad might have had. 

Additionally, SEMrush also has features that allow you to find new competitors and further optimize your content marketing strategies. 

3. SpyFu

SpyFu provides most of the competitor analysis features that several other tools provide with respect to SEO and SEM. However, what sets them apart is the fact that they provide you an overview of what’s happening in larger trends of SEO. Rather than simply acting as a real-time tracking engine, they accumulate large amounts of data on a monthly basis to provide you with a bird’s-eye view of keyword research and SEO.

If you’re interested in keyword searches, SpyFu goes the extra mile with it. Apart from regular organic keyword searches, they also reveal insider information on the keywords that your competitors are bidding on. This means that when the competitors put up an ad, SpyFu helps analyze the keywords. Since competitors are paying for these ads, you know that the keywords must be worth something. 

Like some other tools, Spyfu also reveals any other websites, personas, or tools that are linked to a particular piece of content. So if you find a competitor to have a popular article, finding the sources that helped form the article can prove to be valuable in your content marketing endeavors. 

Although they do not have any free plans, they do offer some competitive pricing that is well worth your money.3

4. BuiltWith

BuiltWith is more than just a keyword research tool. It combines data from over 670 million websites to help you identify key market segments that your business may be missing out on. This allows you to find usage trends and market information for various market segments.

They also have a web technology information profiler tool. This tool allows you to determine whether a technology is gaining or losing market share and other insights about competing technologies and how they’re performing. 

In addition to all of these neat features, BuiltWith is one of the most sensible competitor analysis tools in the market for young businesses with more shallow pockets. This is because BuiltWith has made it possible to engage in individual site lookups, for free. That being said, the paid options are certainly on the pricier side.

5. Owletter

Owletter is one of the more unique competitor analysis tools out there, with a feature that most others don’t offer. If you are determined in your quest to uncover the secrets of your competitors, you’re probably subscribed to their emails. Owletter captures, stores, and analyzes these emails and alerts you in case of any relevant or helpful insights. This allows you to monitor their emails and gain access to the strengths and weaknesses of their email marketing campaigns, which is one of the most crucial aspects of content marketing. 

What is your competitor’s spam reputation? How frequently do they engage customers? What is their personalization strategy? Owletter gives answers to all these questions and more.
Their subscription model is extremely pocket-friendly, offers free trials, and affords you the liberty of paying only for what you want. 

Conclusion

As important as it is to capitalize on the information you have at your disposal, it is also important to use it responsibly. Refrain from crossing the boundary between drawing ideas, into the practice of plagiarism. Competitor analysis is a powerful strategy to help elevate your content and marketing game plan. Follow these tips and you will start seeing results in no time.

Key Takeaways

  • Competitor analysis is crucial to the content marketing strategy of any business. It helps your business stay ahead of the curve by analyzing customer behavior.
  • It helps with content, marketing strategies, market insights, and the growth of the customer base.
  • Make use of market research, customer feedback surveys, online communities, and social media to gain an insight into who your competitors are.
  • Steps to successfully execute customer analysis:
    • Analyze SEOs of competitors
    • Take inventory of competitor content
    • Evaluate content quality
    • Analyze tone and sources
    • Understand their USP
  • Make use of tools such as BuzzSumo and SEMrush to elevate your content marketing strategy by leveraging competitor knowledge.

FAQs

1. What should be included in a competitor analysis?

A competitor analysis should include your competitors’ market share, brand features, pricing, marketing, geographical analysis differentiators, strengths, weaknesses, customer reviews, and culture.

2. What are the 3 types of competitors?

Direct: Competitors that sell similar products/services and are in the same category as you. Eg: Dominos vs. Pizza Hut

Indirect: Competitors that sell products different enough to not be in the same category but are considered alternatives. Eg: Dominos vs. Burger King

Replacement: Competitors that sell products and services different in category and type but customers might still choose them over you. Eg: Dominos vs. frozen food

3. What do you mean by competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis is a marketing strategy that helps gauge market prospects by analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, success, and failure of current and potential competitors.

4. Why is competitor analysis important?

It is important because it leverages competitor knowledge to stay ahead of the curve.
It helps with:
– Content ideas
– Marketing strategies
– Audience discovery
– Understanding of market
– Scouting for employees

5. How do you identify competitors?

There are 3 main ways by which you can identify competitors are:

1. Market Research: Evaluate the market to figure out what other businesses are selling the same products as you.

2. Solicit customer feedback: You can survey them to find out what other similar brands they engage with

3. Online communities: Investigate relevant conversations that your customers are having on forums such as Reddit.

6. What are some tools to help with customer analysis?

BuzzSumo
SEMrush
SpyFu
BuiltWith
Owletter

7. What are the different types of competitive analysis frameworks?

SWOT Analysis: Analysing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

Strategic group analysis: Creating strategic groups based on market share, characteristics, services, or products

Growth share matrix: Ranking competitor products in relation to their market share

Porter’s Five Forces: Incorporating the following factors: 
Buyers
Suppliers
Substitutes
Rivalry
New entrants

Perceptual mapping: Plotting self-defined measures of competitor quality and quantity on a graph to proceed with the analysis.

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