7 Ways to Monitor a Competitor's Content Marketing Strategy

A few creative ways to keep an eye on the competition's content marketing strategy.
7 Ways to Monitor a Competitor's Content Marketing Strategy
Image credit: Robert Daly | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Co-Founder and CEO of Gain
5 min read
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Monitoring the competition’s content marketing efforts is an essential step for brands developing their own content marketing strategy. Finding out what works for a competitor allows brands to gain insights about the type of content their audience might also respond to and their needs.

There are plenty of tools marketing teams can use to dig deeper into content analytics and monitor a competitor’s content marketing strategy. Here are a few creative ways to keep an eye on the competition.

1. Sign up to receive email updates

According to a survey by BtoB Magazine, 59% of marketers reported that email is the most effective channel in generating revenue. This proves that marketing teams should be monitoring the emails that competitors are sending to their prospects and customers. Brands should subscribe to a competitor’s website using a personal email address, or one that doesn’t include their company name if they wish to be more discrete.

By signing up to a competitor’s email list, marketing teams can learn more about the company’s culture, business news, seasonal campaigns, types of content and frequency of publishing content, and how their competitor addresses their target audience.

2. Analyze video content

A Cisco study shows that by 2019, 81% of consumer Internet traffic will be video. Many brands include video as an integral part of their content marketing strategy. Marketing teams should check whether or not competitors are using video and look for interactions, such as comments, views, and shares.

Engagement is a good indicator of content performance. Check to see which videos have the most views, evaluate target keywords in the video title and description, and document anything noteworthy. Brands should also subscribe to a competitor’s YouTube channels to get alerts for new videos.

Related: How Content Marketing Can Help Your Company Do More For Less

3. Track social media presence

Many companies are active on numerous social media channels. Therefore, brands should be tracking competitors on all of the networks where they have a presence. Monitor a competitor’s activities by following or turning on notifications for any updates. Brands can observe the tone of their posts, the images they use, and the effectiveness of their overall social media strategy. If a particular type of content a competitor shares receives high levels of engagement, then brands may want to consider using a similar approach.

A useful tool to monitor a competitor’s social activity is Rival IQ. The tool helps companies see how quickly competitors are gaining followers, how often they post, their average engagement rate, and their most successful posts.

4. Review top-performing content

Brands can learn about their competitor’s content strategy by looking at their best-performing content. Social shares are the best metric to evaluate this content when no other metrics are available.

For instance, companies can use Buzzsumo or Social Animal to find and analyze a top-performing blog post for any competitor or topic. These tools dig deep into each article, showing total social shares, main keywords, article length, and more. Brands should consider what differentiates the popular content and what makes it so compelling. For example, what questions does the content answer and which keywords does it target? Reviewing a competitor’s top-performing content and gathering insights about what attracts an audience to the content can help marketers develop new content topics and ideas.

Related: 7 Steps to Start Your First Content-Marketing Campaign

5. Identify the best keywords to target

Selecting the right keywords for content dramatically increases the chances of a company’s website appearing in an online search. Ahrefs helps marketing teams monitor their competitors by revealing associated keywords, data on search volume, and the keyword proficiency for top-performing posts. The tool also shows users the competition for each keyword.

Knowing which keywords are driving traffic and have less competition, brands can find related keywords to target with each piece of content they create.

6. Attend a competitor’s webinars

Content Marketing Institutes says 61 percent of content marketers use webinars as part of their content marketing strategy. Webinars often delve deeper into a particular topic and brands can find out what interests their competitor’s audience by attending one of their webinars.

Webinars typically have a question-and-answer session at the end, so it’s important to stick around to hear questions from the audience. Brands can then address those questions through their own content or generate topic ideas based on the information shared during the webinar.

7. Monitor changes to a competitor’s site

Lastly, brands should monitor a competitor’s website or blog for any significant changes in design or messaging. For instance, marketers will need to know if a competitor launches a new product or service, and how their own site’s copy and messaging strategy. It’s important to evaluate the competitor’s overall content experience. What colors and fonts do they use on their site? How do they organize content on the site? Is it easy to find information? Brands should be aware of how competitors are delivering content and make sure they can give their audience a better experience.

Related: 4 Simple Steps to Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

There are numerous ways for marketing teams to monitor their competition. Keeping track of a competitor’s content is essential to develop a content strategy that continues to grow and evolve with the business. As new competitors enter the industry, brands must be willing to make changes to their content strategies to adapt to the marketplace. Those that do will find themselves ahead of their competition.

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