When you’re gathering intelligence on your competitors’ content, what works and what doesn’t, it’s important to shape it into concrete insights. We’ve broken down the kind of data you might source into seven thematic strands. Each of these subjects presents unique insights that your content creation teams can use. By breaking it down in this way, you can ensure improvements are made across the board, whilst making the task less daunting.
1. Content Topics
Your insights here are focused on what topics to cover, what subjects have been over-documented and where there are opportunities to provide vital insights which draw visitors. What subjects do your typical customers search for on competitor sights, and in what format do they like the answers presented (listicles, research findings, opinion pieces, etc?)
The aim of homing in on topics is to shape your team’s content strategy and inform the kinds of articles they create and commission.
PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what topics they’d like to see covered in blogs and video clips. Not only does this help deliver content that’s popular but it also increases engagement and a feeling of community with your audience.
2. Content Partners
What sort of partners do your competitors pair up with to create content? This might be in the form of platforms, shows, publications, individual influencers, or events. A key question to ask here is which partners do your competitors return to most frequently? Repeat business suggests confirmed ROI, which builds confidence and trust.
What sort of partnerships are commonly found, and which ones work in which sectors and topics? This too can be derived from focused competitor intelligence gathering.
How often blog posts, articles, or video content are posted on websites or social media can be crucial to a campaign’s success. This is a relatively straightforward metric to analyze but can provide invaluable insight into how often a content source should be updated.
We can also look at the level of engagement readers and viewers have with the content, including likes and shares. Finally, we can examine how frequently content is repurposed across different platforms.
PRO TIP: We recommend subscribing to the email newsletters of competitors to be kept in the loop regarding new content when it’s posted, and how frequently.
4. Audience Targeting
What type of audience are your competitors trying to attract? How is this shaping the content they are creating? Our analyses garner insights based on what your competitors are doing well, as well as what’s not working for them. Perhaps there’s an untapped audience out there that your content can reach.
The important thing is to strike a balance between giving people what they want and introducing enough that’s novel and unique so that they keep returning to the source.
5. Website Positioning
How frequently a competitor cycles their content can be revealing, as well as its placement on the site – is new content foregrounded, or hidden away on a blog? What size are the headers? Are sales messages or advertising placed adjacent to content?
Common themes can be picked out this way, as well as data regarding how frequently sites need to be updated, and in what way.
6. SEO Keywords
Keywords lie at the heart of good SEO, but there are trends in keyword popularity, which connect with content themes you can explore to remain relevant. We can run complex keyword frequency analysis to determine what’s currently trending and what content people are searching for with the search terms they use.
Perfect SEO brings your site to the fore but isn’t clumsy or obvious in doing so. We can help you shape content that hits home without reading like it was generated by an algorithm.
7. Traffic Pathways
Understanding the patterns of site traffic can help you make the backlinks you need so that your content is well-referenced and linked. This gives it better SEO ranking and traction. You want to determine which pieces of content draw the most traffic and result in the highest engagement level.
It’s also useful to know which sources refer to one another most frequently. Who is considered authoritative in your sector and how can you ensure you’re among the chosen few in that respect?
PRO TIP: Frequently audit and update your backlinks to ensure content is still relevant and that there are no “404: Page Missing” errors. Update or delete links where necessary.