How to stay away from competitive analysis paralysis

Competitive analysis is a robust online approach to turn your imagination into reality

Updated: Oct 15, 2018 02:25:57 PM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

Imagine a situation where you know who your competitors are, what past and current strategies they are providing, and how they advertise their product or services. You are delivering real-time value to your customers by analysing competitors’ strengths and weakness. Awareness of your market’s potential threats and opportunities is converting first-time users into life-long customers.

Sounds amazing, right?

Competitive analysis is a robust online approach to turn your imagination into reality. With proper research, analysis and comparison, it helps you:

» Stay one step ahead in your content marketing strategy to make competitors’ work for you. »  Build a strong foundation by analysing their topic selection, choice of channels, and marketing strategies.
» Uncover missing angles to differentiate your brand.

Always remember
Never copy the your competition's ideas blindly because it is always your uniqueness that sells in the online space. If you are not molding the strategy based on your target audience, time and efforts go in vain.

Before starting the analysis, ask this vital question:

Is your competitor competing for your audience?
Just because your competitor targets the same market, it doesn’t mean they are also targeting the same audience. You can use the Alexa Audience Overlap Tool to generate a list of websites with the audience you’d like to attract. Just check the box “Show only sites with similar traffic levels”.

Embrace this rule of success
Always be on a look out to uncover market trends--predict future strategies.

More strategies to get an edge over your competitors

Get insights from content investment
Get an insight into your competitor's content strategy by recognising their commitment to different types of content. Find out which content format its audience enjoys the most.

Analyse the frequency of their published articles and visual content. Keep a track on their content relevancy by going through crucial topics and keywords. Subscribe to their newsletters. Set up Google Alerts for your rivals’ products, company name, and their key personalities.

Two-step action plan to overshadow your competitors
» Avoid investing time in their strength areas. Stay away from topics where they dominate.
» Looks out for potential channels where they are not active. Focus on their weakness by covering the unaddressed topics.

Keep an eye on your competitors’ most engaging content
Higher the engagement, higher the audience demand. Take the following cues from your opponent’s most engaging content:
» Figure out a way to repurpose the content in a different format.
» Is there any possibility to add valuable points and gain more traction?
» Find out whether the audience enjoys long-form or snack-size content.
» What takeaways attract the eyeballs?

Scan the titles, anchor text, subheading, and the body text of the most engaging content published by your competitors. Pay close attention to the comment section--the gold mine of information.

When visitors land on your website, every second counts. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Mobile-Friendly Test, or WebPage Test to compare your site’s performance with competitors.

Conduct a social media audit
Accomplish the following targets by going through your competitor’s social media plan:

» Set up your goals: Never start a channel for just gaining followers. See how your competitors are increasing brand awareness and driving traffic to their website.
» Figure out the tone: Determine whether your audience likes friendly, funny, professional or conversational tone.
» Pick the content type: Your competitors’ textual, video and image content will guide you in choosing the best topic and formats for your audience.
» Post frequency: Examine your competitors’ post frequency and timings, but spend quality time determining a schedule which works best your audience.

Analyse how content incorporates into your competitor’s funnel
Answer the following questions keeping your competitors in mind:

» How are they raising readers’ awareness (top of the funnel) to make their product or service more useful?
» Why do prospects start associating with the solution they offer with consideration (middle of the funnel) content?
» Which content type triggers the transaction (bottom of the funnel)?
» How are they persuading one-time buyers to become repeat customers with retention content?

Realise your content goals by observing the following cues from your competition:
» Call-to-Action button: Understand what persuades readers to sign up quickly for the offer.
» Landing pages: Study the elements, a unique selling proposition (USP), offer benefits, image or video content, social proof and conversion goals.
» Traffic Direction: Detect how your competitor directs the traffic to a particular channel, product or service pages.

Put together all your research work on a spreadsheet or document. Don’t fall into “analysis paralysis” where there is a temptation to collect every bit of data.

The purpose of data collection is to stay ahead of the competition; not to overburden yourself with piles of information.

The author is a founder of Mushroom Content, aims for making businesses more human with approachable content.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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