Content marketing is all fun and games, until the views on your blog posts clock in at a measly 28 total per month.
But we Tweeted them. And posted on Facebook. What gives?
From promotion (or lack thereof) to lackluster brand messaging, any number of reasons might be at play in contributing to your poor content performance. Before heading back to the drawing board, consider taking into account what you’re up against. The short answer: a lot of data.
Nearly 4 billion humans use the internet, which makes the fact that Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second a little less surprising. Your brand might not be relevant across all of these searches when it comes to subject matter, but in the instances where you are, you’re certainly not the only one competing for those eyeballs.
The efforts of your competition shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to content strategy, especially if the goal is to eventually outrank them. Let’s take a look at five ways to measure the competition’s content.
Gauge Total Body of Work
Before diving into your competition’s content marketing, take a high-level view. This roughly translates to understanding how much content they’re working with and how often they generate new stuff.
Start by looking at their LBOW (lifetime body of work). You can do this by tallying the total number of pages on their site using the “site” operator for Google search. Type in “site:http://yourcompetitorhere.com” and the total number of domain pages will be provided.
To understand the frequency at which your competitors are posting, head to their website, and if they include dates on their blog posts, use a small subset to estimate scheduling. Otherwise, you can set up Google Alerts around competitor brands to get notified via email every time they post something new.
Analyze Top Performing Content
Amount of content and frequency alone are not KPIs for measuring success. This is why you’ll want to dig a bit deeper into how engaging their content proves to be.
Outside of manually tallying shares per blog post, Buzzsumo is a great tool to utilize for the sake of pulling your competitors’ top performing content by social engagement. Various filters and search operators allow you to customize and narrow as needed. You can even set up alerts within the tool for consolidating updates around new content being posted.
Measure Competitor Traffic
If your competition currently owns a larger share of the possible traffic online, their content is being viewed more often than yours, plain and simple. Get a feel for just how much traffic they’re generating in comparison to your brand’s website.
SimilarWeb is a tool that will allow you to gauge competitor web rankings. The higher the ranking, the more traffic they’re pulling in. Additionally, the tool will give an overview of traffic sources so you can better pinpoint the areas where their distribution strategy is paying off.
Determine SEO Focus
The better your organic search performance, the less you have to rely on advertising dollars to be seen. This is why knowing how your competition ranks on Google and the basics of their overall strategy for top performing pieces of content is worth understanding.
Start by noting keywords of focus. This can be done manually for meta keywords by looking at competitor source code. Otherwise, a tool like SpyFu will show you all of the organic keywords your competitors ranks for. It also sheds light on paid keywords they’re bidding on through PPC.
Focus on Your Competition’s Distribution Strategy
When you have a better understanding of how well your competition’s content is performing, map out their distribution tactics. This can be as simple as auditing their social media channels for updates and insight into how they might be atomizing high performing pieces.
You can also choose to get more granular by reviewing their email marketing and outreach strategies, as well. When it comes to email, consider signing up for their newsletter to keep tabs on how they’re communicating via inboxes. From an outreach perspective, backlinks are a great place to start as they can prove to be indicators of established influencer partnerships. To conduct this type of research, consider using a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer.
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