Content marketing is huge right now, and there's a good reason for that: it works.
Your own business needs a content strategy, and if you don't have one, it's high time you started creating one.
Along with keyword research and things of that nature, you'll need to figure out what kind of content works well in your particular industry.
Are your customers into detailed, data-heavy white papers, or fluffy top 10 listicles?
What topics do they like to read about? Are there any big questions your audience has, which no one else has written about before?
These are good questions to ask yourself as you start to delve into content marketing strategy.
One of the best ways to start getting a handle on what's effective in your industry is to check out what your competitors are doing. T
hen, you can use their strategy to inform your own decisions.
Of course, if you're going to do that, the first step is to figure out exactly who you're competing with.
Sometimes this is pretty obvious — for example, SEMRush and Ahrefs meet the same set of needs for SEO, and they're certainly competing against one another.
But sometimes it's not as obvious.
In a recent post, SEO SaaS company SEMRush explains how to find and identify your closest competitors.
There is no point comparing yourself to Walmart or Apple because unless you are also one of the most recognized brands in the world, their objectives are different from yours. They also don’t have to work as hard to find an audience as you do. Before you conduct a competitive analysis, you need to identify those brands that most closely align with your business.
Chances are you can immediately identify two or more competitive companies in your field. There are probably dozens out there; your job is to identify the ones performing close to or (preferably) better than you. In addition to the companies providing similar services to yours, you will also want to identify successful content providers writing in the same space as you, since these will be your biggest competitors on social media. Some of these companies may overlap but keep searching until you have several of both to compare.
- Like Services – The simplest way to identify your direct competitors is through a Google search. Simply search for the type of products you are marketing, and see which companies come up highest in the results. Again, skip the big names and look for companies you can reasonably compete with.
- Audience Competitors – Who is actively engaging with your audience? Look for companies that aren’t competing with you for sales but who are creating content that appeals to your potential customer. They are competing with you for your potential customer's attention. Identifying what they do well can help you create content that engages that same audience.
Identifying your competitors doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are plenty of tools available to help you identify your competitors (we’ll discuss a few below) and determine which ones will be most effective to study based on your goals.
Industry conferences can also offer valuable information about your competitive field and trending topics. A quick look at the schedule and speakers list will tell you which companies are represented and what topics are being discussed. Look for those companies whose messaging closely aligns with your mission, and keep an eye out for places for your company to capitalize as a thought leader.
You can find more smart marketing strategy tips over at SEMRush.