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7 Content Marketing Tools to Steal Ideas From Your Competitors

According to HubSpot’s State of Marketing Report 2021, 82% of marketers say they’re actively engaged in content marketing, spending an average of 26% of their budget on content production.

Yet, the Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks report finds that two of the three biggest content marketing challenges companies experience relate to producing the right type of content.

Content marketing challenges for B2C companies in 2022
Content marketing challenges for B2C companies in 2022

If you look at other companies and wonder how they manage to produce content that ranks well in search and engages people on social media, competitor analysis can reveal the answers.

By discovering the secrets of top brands’ content marketing strategies, you can implement their best ideas, use their hard work against them and learn how to exploit their weaknesses.

In this article, we reveal the content marketing analytics tools that will help you unlock these secrets and explain how you can use them to steal ideas from your competitors.

In this article:

  • What is content marketing analytics?
    • Why steal content ideas?
    • What are content marketing analytics tools?
  • 7 content marketing analytics tools to beat your rivals
    • SimilarWeb
    • Semrush
    • Ahrefs
    • Spyfu
    • Alexa Site Overview
    • Searchmetrics
    • Buzzsumo
  • How to steal content ideas from your competitors

What is content marketing analytics?

Content marketing analytics involves the collection and analysis of performance data to inform key decisions. If we take a look at a broader definition of marketing analytics, the same principles apply:

“Marketing analytics is the process of tracking and analyzing data from marketing efforts, often to reach a quantitative goal. Insights gleaned from marketing analytics can enable organizations to improve their customer experiences, increase the return on investment (ROI) of marketing efforts, and craft future marketing strategies.” - What Is Marketing Analytics; Catherine Cote, Harvard Business School.

The obvious role of content marketing analytics is measuring the performance of content published across multiple platforms. Performance analysis helps you understand what works and what doesn’t, but this isn’t the only way you can use analytics to improve the results of your content marketing efforts.

At the company I work at (Vertical Leap), we use content marketing analytics for many purposes, including:

  • Track content performance
  • Identify & analyze competitors
  • Find new content opportunities
  • Predict outcomes
  • Test & optimize content
  • Attribute business goals to content marketing actions
  • Prove the ROI of your content marketing strategy

The second item on that list is particularly important because competitor analysis puts the rest of your content marketing analytics into context. Not only does it reveal who your competitors are, it shows how your strategy compares, identifies weaknesses in theirs, and helps you find opportunities to beat them.

Without this type of analysis, you’re only optimizing against your own benchmarks. Yes, you can identify your best-performing content and produce more of it, but you can’t determine how to overtake competitors ranking above you or explain why they’re generating more traction on social media.

Why ‘steal’ content ideas from your competitors?

To beat your content marketing rivals, you have to match or better their best content and find opportunities they’ve missed. With in-depth analysis of the companies performing better than you in organic search and social media, you can learn from their success and emulate their best ideas, to apply them in a unique and impactful way for your business and those of your customer base.

To be 100% clear, we’re not talking about copying or duplicating anyone’s content here. We’re talking about understanding why your competitors perform better than you in any certain aspects, incorporating these factors into your own content strategy and lifting the bar of quality in your content strategy.

Here are some examples of ideas you might “steal” from your competitors:

  • Target keywords: Important keyword opportunities or variations you may have missed.
  • Popular topics: Topics you should cover or cover in more detail.
  • Style: Titles, tone, voice, editorial guidelines, etc.
  • Outreach: Referral and link building opportunities.
  • Technical SEO: Page speed, internal links, keyword insertion, keyword density, etc. 
  • Content types: Blogs, long-form content, guides, tutorials, etc.
  • Content formats: Text, images, videos, podcasts, etc.
  • Page formatting: Content structure, headings, sentence length, par length, etc.
  • Channels: Valuable inbound channels you might not be taking advantage of (social platforms, search engines, etc.).
  • Page elements: Lists, images, videos, embeds, CTAs, forms, etc.
  • Monetization: CTAs, forms, gated content, affiliate links, etc. 

The complete list of factors you can analyze includes hundreds of comparisons - thousands, if you have the right set of content marketing analytics tools.

At Vertical Leap we use our own intelligent analytics system called Apollo Insights to collect and combine data from dozens (sometimes hundreds) of data sources. Using this data, Apollo automatically performs in-depth competitor analysis for all of our customers, analyzing thousands of data points to build an accurate picture of content marketing performance. This is at a scale impossible through traditional manual data work. 

Apollo Insights
Apollo Insights

This reveals the secrets behind their rivals’ content marketing success but also the weaknesses and missed opportunities, such as keyword gaps and competing pages.

With these insights, we can emulate the best aspects of winning content strategies, improve upon their weaknesses and optimize and adapt the content to create something new for the opportunities they’re missing. Put all of that together and we’re developing stronger content marketing strategies for our customers and lifting them above their closest rivals.

If you’re not one Veretical Leaps customers, and have other data insights preferences, you can still perform many types of analysis using Improvado to import data from multiple content marketing analytics tools.

Improvado extracts marketing data from 300+ data sources including content marketing tools (Moz, Semrush, etc.), DSP platforms, analytics tools, and more. The platform allows to set up the extraction process in several clicks instead of configuring tens of APIs from different solutions.

Then, Improvado automatically transforms insights into a digestible format by cleansing it from redundant rows, removing duplicates, and aligning disparate naming conventions. Now, marketers don’t need SQL knowledge to perform data transformation queries, since all operations take place in a user-friendly spreadsheet-like UI.

Later on, the data pipeline streamlines all insights into a unified data warehouse. From there, performance metrics from various platforms can be accessed instantly for further analysis.

Improvado also integrates with 15+ visualization platforms, where marketers can build comprehensive dashboards of their marketing performance. With a one-hour data refresh frequency the dashboard is always loaded with up-to-date insights, so you can track all your marketing efforts wihout even switching tabs.

Here’s an example of a real-time dashboard created with Improvado and Data Studio.

What are content marketing analytics tools?

A content marketing analytics tool is any data system that helps you make informed content marketing decisions. Common examples include keyword research, page analytics, and link auditing tools. The more of these you can bring together, the more comprehensive your competitor analysis becomes and robust your decisions will be.

SEO software is a good place to start looking because the best systems include many of the tools you need to perform content marketing analytics and competitor analysis. You may need other tools for tracking content performance on social media, though, and specialist tools for certain comparisons - such as page speed analysis to measure loading times.

With the correct setup, you can automatically pull data from Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to compare your loading times against competitors.

We’re going to cover all of this as we look at the best content marketing analytics systems in the next section. First, though, here’s a quick summary of the types of analysis you want to perform:

  • Content performance: Tracking and analytics tools to measure the performance of your own content.
  • Page performance: Tools to measure loading times, Core Web Vitals, etc.
  • Keyword research: Find new keywords and analyze search volumes, plus other keyword performance metrics (CTRs, conversions, etc.).
  • Content audits: Identify content that needs updating, combining, or removing.
  • Link audits: Analyse your link profiles (internal and external) to identify issues.
  • Content opportunities: Find new content opportunities from emerging search trends, competitor analysis, or keyword gaps in your strategy.
  • Engagement analysis: Tracking engagement with your content across channels (search, social, email, etc.).
  • Reporting: Attribution and reporting tools that prove the value of your content marketing efforts.

To steal (in fact, use the available data to identify the opportunity) your competitors' best content marketing ideas, you need analytics tools that allow you to compare the performance of multiple websites at the same time.

For example, a standard keyword research tool simply suggests related queries, based on a list of search terms you type in. But, for competitor analysis, you need a keyword tool that allows you to type in multiple URLs and draw up a list of all of the keywords they’re targeting so you can compare the results against your own strategy.

7 content marketing analytics tools to beat your rivals

In this section, we’re looking at some of the best content marketing analytics tools for competitor analysis:

  1. SimilarWeb
  2. Semrush
  3. Ahref
  4. SpyFu
  5. Alexa’s Site Overview
  6. Searchmetrics
  7. Buzzsumo

At a glance, many of these systems look similar, but they all have unique features and use slightly different datasets to perform analysis. As we’ll explain later, you’ll get the best insights from recombinant data by using multiple analytics tools to access data from different sources.

#1: SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is one of the oldest names in competitor analysis, designed to help you understand how your online presence stacks up against the competition. You can benchmark your traffic and engagement across all of your marketing channels, identify your biggest competitors and replicate their winning strategies.

Website comparison by SimilarWeb
Website comparison by SimilarWeb

Key features:

  • Competitor analysis: Find your industry and keyword competitors.
  • Comparison reports: Compare your website against competitors to find your closest rivals in search.
  • Keyword analysis: Find the top keyword generating traffic for your competitors.
  • Referral analysis: Discover new referral opportunities based on partners your competitors are working with - and the ones they’re not.
  • Opportunities: Find growth opportunities by seeing what works for your closest rivals.

SimilarWeb’s keyword analysis tool reveals the top keywords generating traffic for your competitors. Aside from search volumes, it also shows keyword performance metrics, including CTRs and paid vs. organic, so you can identify actionable content opportunities. The keyword tool also reveals new keyword opportunities and emerging search trends so you can optimize for them early.

With SimilarWeb’s benchmarking tool, you can see how your company and your rivals compare against the industry standards for monthly visits, visit duration, bounce rates, and a range of other performance metrics. Then, you’ve got the company research tool, which allows you to perform an in-depth analysis of specific companies, pick apart their marketing strategies and automatically monitor changes in their performance.

SimilarWeb collects data from over 100 million websites and 4.7 million mobile apps.

#2: Semrush

Semrush is a leading search and competitor analysis platform that compiles data from more than 800 million domains, 21 billion keywords, 43 trillion backlinks, and more. You can use it to view your competitors’ web traffic, top keywords, historical search performance, brand mentions, and plenty more.

The comparison tool makes it easy to see how your SEO, PPC, and social media strategies perform against your closest rivals and identify opportunities to jump ahead of them.

Semrush dashboard
Semrush dashboard

Key features:

  • Traffic analysis: Benchmark your website traffic metrics against competitors.
  • Organic search: Discover your organic search competitors and find opportunities to compete against them.
  • Keyword gaps: Find gaps in your keyword strategy by analysing multiple competitors at once.
  • Backlink gaps: Find referral and backlink opportunities by analyzing multiple competitors at once.
  • Social media tracking: Analyse competitor content on social media to see what generates engagement.

Semrush provides detailed keyword analysis, showing the search intent behind different query types so you can see how companies are generating most of their traffic. For example, you may find some competitors generate a lot of traffic from branded searches while others rely heavily on informational queries. Then, you can  see which informational queries are generating this traffic to identify new keyword and content opportunities.

The keyword data also includes search volumes, the percentage of traffic competitors are generating, and keyword difficulty so you can judge which opportunities are worth pursuing.

As it stands, Semrush is one of the best competitor analysis systems on the market, but it seems the platform is about to get even more powerful with the acquisition of Kompyte

Kompyte is an automated competitor analysis platform that includes web, social, blog and sales tracking - as well as content marketing analytics. The acquisition will bring new technology and even more data to Semrush’s already-impressive competitor analysis system.

#3: Ahrefs

Ahrefs is very similar to Semrush, and you’ll find comparable tools on both platforms. If you’re only going to use (and pay for) one SEO software system, these are probably the top two contenders. That being said, Ahrefs offers some unique features and different datasets - particularly when it comes to competitive research - which is important if you want to build the most comprehensive analysis from multiple sources.

Organic search dashboard by Ahrefs
Organic search dashboard by Ahrefs

Key features:

  • Competing domains: Find domains and pages competing for the same keywords as you.
  • Traffic analysis: See what keywords your competitors are ranking for and which pages bring the most search engine traffic.
  • Backlink checker: See which websites link to your competitors' sites and gauge the quality of their backlink profiles.
  • Content Explorer: Discover and analyze top-performing content in your niche.
  • Content gaps: Find the keywords your competitors rank for, but you don’t.

As with Semrush, you can use Ahrefs to analyze the search presence of your competitors, identify keywords, and discover new content topics. However, Ahrefs’ historical keyword data provides deeperinsights, helping you to identify changes in search/content marketing strategies that made an impact in ranking changes.

Likewise, the backlink analysis tools are more comprehensive, making it easier to find new backlink opportunities and identify content topics for outreach.

Ahrefs also offers some unique metrics, such as predictive “traffic potential” for keywords and “traffic value”, to help you prioritize the best opportunities.

The Content Explorer tool is Ahrefs’ standout feature for stealing your competitors’ best content marketing ideas. You can use this tool to analyze the performance of any content, including historical performance data, reverse engineer your competitors’ content strategies, and implement the best of them into your own. Recently, Ahrefs introduced Content Explorer 2.0 which includes a vast range of new features.

Content Explorer 2.0
Content Explorer 2.0

#4: Spyfu

While Semrush and Ahrefs aim to provide comprehensive SEO analytics platforms, Spyfu is more focused on competitor analysis. You get similar traffic analysis features, keyword research, and historical performance data, but Spyfu’s competitive comparison features are more advanced.

For example, you can monitor domains gaining traction on your keywords to identify new rivals and take action before they overtake you.

Spyfu’s monthly domain overview
Spyfu’s monthly domain overview

Key features:

  • Competitors: Find your top search competitors and identify domains gaining traction on your keywords.
  • Page analysis: Find competitors’ top pages and the keywords users type in to find them.
  • Top keyword: Identify your competitors’ top keywords.
  • Shared keywords: Find shared keywords you and your competitors target - and the ones you don’t.
  • Link analysis: Assess your competitors’ link profiles to see where they’re generating traffic and who they’re partnering with.

Spyfu’s keyword analysis places a lot of emphasis on overlapping so you can identify “shared keywords” - the ones you and your competitors are already targeting. With the Kombat tool, you can view both shared and unique keywords vs multiple competitors to identify new content opportunities.

Spyfu’s Kombat tool
Spyfu’s Kombat tool

Spyfu’s backlink tool is also one of the best around, offering more depth than Semrush but not quite as much as Ahrefs. It’s also worth mentioning that, as the oldest platform of the three, Spyfu’s historical data stretches further back, although it has a smaller dataset in terms of total domains.

Spyfu’s backlink tool
Spyfu’s backlink tool

#5: Alexa's Site Overview

Alexa’s Site Overview is a simple, fast website analysis tool that unveils keyword opportunities, helps to find new content topics (based on social engagement), analyze traffic, search, and social performance.

Alexa doesn’t provide the same depth as tools like Semrush and Ahrefs but it offers up plenty of unique metrics, including its own Alexa Rank and multichannel engagement scores.

Alexa’s Site Overview dashboard
Alexa’s Site Overview dashboard

Key features:

  • Competitive analysis: Find your search rivals, analyze traffic sources, audience overlaps, and more.
  • Keyword analysis: See which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
  • Keyword opportunities: Find keyword gaps and easy-to-rank keywords.
  • Social analysis: Analyse your competitors’ most engaging content on social media.

Alexa’s keywords analysis finds easy-to-rank keywords for you with relevance scores and search popularity metrics to help you build search traction quickly. Then, you’ve got the social engagement analysis tool, which finds the top-performing content topics with engagement scores so you can find out how your competitors are building an audience across their social platforms.

#6: Searchmetrics

Searchmetrics is an enterprise suite for SEO, market insights, and demand planning - including its own system for competitor analysis. You can identify your search competitors, track their performance in the SERPs and analyze their best content to find opportunities to overtake them - or stay ahead.

Domain overview by Searchmetrics
Domain overview by Searchmetrics

Key features:

  • Competitor analysis: Find your competitors, analyze their SEO visibility and traffic sources.
  • Content analysis: Look at SERPs and competitor pages to see how they optimize their content.
  • Keyword analysis: Identify your rivals’ keywords - shared keywords, unique keywords, etc. - and find keyword gaps.
  • Link analysis: Analyse the backlink profiles of your competitors to find new partner opportunities.

Searchmetrics also helps you produce better content with its Content Experience tool. You can find topic opportunities based on relevance, search intent, and traffic value to maximize search coverage. The built-in content editor grades your content as you write it, guides you through the basics of optimization, and analyses your content with similar pages so you can compare performance and other factors, such as word count.

With search analysis, you can track organic keyword rankings, monitor wins and losses in the SERPs, view share of market reports, and analyze SERP features to understand how your rivals are generating clicks.

#7: Buzzsumo

Most of the tools we’ve looked at so far focus on SEO and search marketing, but social engagement also reveals a lot about the success of your content marketing strategy. Buzzsumo is one of the best social analysis tools on the market, complete with its own competitor analysis system.

Content analytics dashboard by Buzzsumo
Content analytics dashboard by Buzzsumo

Key features:

  • Competitor analysis: Analyse your competitors’ social content and compare it against yours.
  • Competitor tracking: Monitor all of your competitors’ social activity from one dashboard.
  • Engagement analysis: Identify and learn from your rivals' most engaging social campaigns.
  • Facebook Page Analyzer: A dedicated tool for analyzing your rivals’ Facebook Pages.
  • Mentions: Track mentions of your rivals, compare against your own, and set alerts for automatic updates.

With competitor analysis, you can see which topics and content your rivals are gaining traction with across all of their social channels. Crucially, this tool will also help you identify which content formats are working for your competitors on each network - e.g., image posts on Facebook, videos on Instagram, etc.

Keyword research is typically something we associate with SEO, but it also plays a key role in content discovery on many of the top social platforms. Buzzsumo helps you identify these keywords, analyze search trends and track CPCs for paid social campaigns.

You also get an intelligent content analysis tool that provides insights for web and social content for a multichannel picture of your competitors’ content marketing strategies.

How to steal content ideas from your competitors

With the analytics tools we’ve looked at in this article, you should have access to plenty of data to find out the inner workings of your rivals’ content marketing strategies. Now, let’s explore how you can use these tools to steal the best ideas from your competitors.

Again, to clarify, we’re not talking about stealing or copying content here but figuring out what works for your competitors and implementing that into your own content marketing strategy.

Here are the steps covered in this section:

  1. Choose your competitor analysis tools
  2. Bring all of your data together
  3. Find your direct competitors
  4. Analyze their traffic
  5. Analyze their target audiences
  6. Analyze their content
  7. Analyze their strategy
  8. Find opportunities to beat your rivals

You can perform all of this analysis guide using the tools listed in the previous section.

Step 1: Choose your competitor analysis tools

While you can perform all of the analysis in these steps with the analytics tools we’ve looked at today, none of them can do it all. This is why it’s so important to select multiple tools and understand the data they bring to the table.

Most SEO software includes keyword research tools, but they often use different datasets of varying sizes and sources. With some tools, the differences are more drastic than others - for example, Alexa’s data is primarily being sourced through Amazon.

Keep in mind that duplicate data isn’t wasted because it helps you confirm the reliability of the information informing your marketing decisions, and it also helps you identify discrepancies or inaccuracies with individual tools. Eventually, the more unique data you can pull in from multiple tools, the wider your dataset becomes, allowing you to produce a greater depth of insights.

Step 2: Bring all of your data together

The problem with using multiple analytics tools is comparisons are difficult when you have to switch between multiple software systems. To get the best insights, you need a single location to import all of your data and work with it as a single dataset.

As explained earlier, we developed our own automated system for importing data from all of the tools featured in this article (and many more), so we can work with the largest, high-quality dataset possible in a single platform.

Apollo Insights uses intelligent automations to collect, clean, and analyse data for us so we can gain insights into every detail about our customers’ online presence - and their competitors.

For DIY content marketing analytics, you can use a system like Improvado to compile all of your performance data into a single, workable platform.

Step 3: Find your direct competitors

Now that you’ve got your analytics system set up, it’s time to identify your competitors. According to research carried out by Crayon in 2020, the typical business has 29 competitors - and you could have more than that if you’re in a particularly competitive space.

All of the tools we’ve looked at in this article will help you identify your competitors. Any decent keyword research tool should reveal the other companies ranking for your target keywords but you also have to differentiate between the different types of competitors you’ll discover.

There are three main types you encounter in organic search:

  1. Direct rivals: Companies offering similar products/services as you, ranking for the same target keywords.
  2. Indirect rivals: Companies in your industry or niche selling different products/services, ranking for the same keywords - eg: travel companies vs travel insurance companies.
  3. Replacement competitors: Companies selling alternative replacements to your products/services.

You have to deal with these competitors in different ways, and you’re certainly not going to steal ideas from different competitor types in the same way.

Once you have your list of competitors and you’ve categorized them, you’ll also want to prioritize them in two ways: competitors to learn from and competitors to target first.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to learn from the top-performing companies for each topic and target the companies ranking directly above you - the ones you can overtake quickly to gain fast traction.

Step 4: Analyze your competitors’ traffic

With a list of competitors, your first task is to analyze their traffic to gain a picture of how they’re generating business opportunities.

You want to identify the following:

  • Top-performing pages: High-ranking, high-CTR pages that engage and convert visitors.
  • Top-performing keywords: The keywords generating the most traffic, highest engagement, and conversions.
  • Keyword types: Branded, informational, commercial, etc.
  • Traffic sources: Organic search, paid search, social media, direct, etc.
  • Desktop vs. mobile: Share of traffic across device types and sources (organic search vs. social, etc.).
  • Performance: Loading times, mobile experience, and Core Web Vitals.

You’re not simply looking at traffic volumes in this analysis (although this is important) but also the quality of traffic your competitors are generating. You want to identify the content that keeps visitors on the page, engages them and converts them into leads - because this is what generates ROI from your content marketing strategy.

Step 5: Analyze your competitors’ target audiences

With your competitors grouped into appropriate types, your next step is to analyze their target audiences. Even your direct competitors may be targeting audiences that aren’t as relevant to you because of differentiation, brand image, and a range of other factors.

You don’t want to steal content ideas that are designed for different audiences - no matter how good they are - if they’re not going to get similar results for you.

By identifying the prospects your rivals are targeting with different content marketing strategies, you can determine which aspects you should learn from. This analysis may also reveal target audiences that you should be targeting or the potential value of certain audiences with the right content strategy.

Step 6: Analyze your competitors’ content

By this point, you know which channels and pages your competitors are generating business opportunities from. Now, you want to take a closer look at the content on their top-performing pages to determine why it succeeds.

  • Content quality: Assess the holistic quality, relevance, authority, etc., of content - and the value it delivers.
  • Target audiences: Identify the target audience of each piece of content.
  • Content goals: Identify the goal of each piece of content/content type - e.g., build authority, build awareness, inform audiences, etc.
  • Top-performing topics: Determine which content topics gain traction with each audience.
  • Content formats: The percentage of different content formats - e.g., text, video, audio, etc.
  • Content types: Range and percentage of different content types - e.g., blogs, product reviews, guides, how-tos, etc.
  • Content characteristics: Analysis of the formatting and page elements of each content type - length/word count, media embeds, lists, stats, etc.
  • On-page SEO: Titles, headings, keyword density, internal links, external links, 
  • SERP analysis: Assess the results types (featured snippets, blue links, videos, news, etc.) for each keyword and how your competitors optimize them - titles, meta description, thumbnail, etc.
  • Social post analysis: Assess the social posts promoting your competitors’ best content and how they optimize them - format (text, image, video, etc.), copy, use of images, links, etc.

At Vertical Leap as part of the unique approach, experts would perform this in-depth content analysis for customers to identify the specifics of what works for their competitors and new opportunities.

For example, one of the travel insurance companies that Vertical Leap have worked with was struggling to generate business from their website, and an initial audit found their content strategy was failing to generate any meaningful ROI.

After a complete content analysis, the experts at Vertical Leap determined the company lacked the online authority of its direct competitors. It was uncovered that the most important topics and keywords to cover and implemented a strategy of publishing in-depth, informative content for long-tail keywords to gain traction.

In addition to the new blog strategy, The Vertical Leap team created a “content hub” area on the company’s website to further promote the brand, demonstrate its expertise and build online authority.

Within a month of implementing this strategy, website traffic increased by 131%, and, ten months later, the content hub increased overall traffic by 883%, increasing overall visibility by 3,351%.

Year on year, this resulted in a 101% increase in organic traffic, a 182% increase in visibility and a 66% increase in organic revenue.

By analysing what worked for Vertical Leap customer’s competitors and finding gaps in their strategies, it was possible to implement strategies that emulated their success but also differentiate through long-tail keywords and different content formats to win battles they weren’t even fighting.

Step 7: Analyze your competitors’ strategy

Aside from the specifics of your competitors’ content, you also gain a lot by stepping back and analyzing their broader content strategy. You already know where they’re getting their traffic and what makes their content successful, but how are they turning these opportunities into revenue?

Look into the following:

  • Monetization: Use of CTAs, gated content, purchase paths, etc.
  • Channels: Organic search vs. paid search, social channels, organic social vs. paid, outreach, etc.
  • Frequency: Publishing frequency, social post frequency, frequency by content type/format, topic, keyword, seasonality, etc.
  • Coverage: Topics, keyword coverage, keyword gaps.
  • Links: Backlink strategy, placements, partners, link quality, internal links, etc.
  • Engagement: Assess the level of engagement across content types and channels.
  • Production: How often do they update, reuse or recycle content and how much of their content is “evergreen”?

Now, you have a comprehensive understanding of your competitors’ content strategies and the next step is to see how yours compares.

Step 8: Analyze your own content strategy - find the opportunities

In this step, you’re analyzing your own content strategy against your rivals’ to find the gaps in your approach. You’ll want to compare everything we’ve covered in the previous seven steps: keywords, topics, top-performing pages, backlinks, frequency, monetization, etc.

This reveals the ideas you need to steal from your competitors and how much distance there is between your existing strategy and what you need to produce. You’ll also discover your biggest strengths, and you may find you’re already doing certain things better than your rivals.

With these insights, you’ll be ready to turn your analysis into actionable content marketing strategies.

One of the Vetical Leap retail customers is a national clothing retailer with over 200 stores across the UK and a large eCommerce website. Retailers often struggle to incorporate content marketing into their broader strategy, particularly through organic search. Generating social media engagement shouldn’t be an issue for clothing retailers but how are they going to turn organic searches into paying customers?

To answer this question, you have to find the purchase intent behind organic searches. With the same analysis discussed in this article, it became possible to find this intent and target it with seasonal content promoting the latest season’s clothing range and the next big fashion trends.

By integrating this content into a multichannel strategy, the Vertical Leap team drove a 38% increase in organic sessions and a 127% increase in revenue (to date). This is content that matches the intent of client’s target audiences, inspires new purchase desires and drives sales from an ever-changing range of products.

Bringing it all together

Now that you know how your competitors get success from content marketing, you can incorporate their best ideas and untapped opportunities into your own strategy. Take lessons from their best-performing content relevant to you, and improve upon it by delivering more value to your target audiences and using the data in new and impactful ways.

Update your existing content, combine pages targeting the same keywords and remove content failing to gain any traction.

Use the analysis discussed in this article to find the secrets of your competitors’ content strategies - and their weaknesses. Emulate these secrets where appropriate and use your rivals’ weaknesses against them by filling in their keyword gaps, beating them on website performance (loading times, mobile experience, etc.), and prioritizing high-ROI content.

Schedule a call with our analytics specialists to learn how to merge content performance metrics in one place
Ali Flynn
VP of Customer Relationship
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