1. Gather your manna.
It starts with research and then a series of questions to ask.
1a. The WordsFirst log into competitor's website and any other external blogs and sites they own, go for all the content, look under footer and sitemap.
Eg blog posts white papers Ebooks Videos webinars podcasts slide decks static visual content (i.e. infographics, cartoons) fAQs feature articles press releases Kits Case studies buyer guides Use cases Data sheets
Content is King!
1b. Next, read the content you found and assess them according to quantity, frequency and distribution of topics. Why?
>> Quantity, frequency: are we on par with them or do we need other types of materials or higher frequency?
>> Distribution: insight to their SEO strategy and thought leadership focus.
1c. Evaluate the content.
- How accurate is their content??
- Spelling and grammatical errors?
- What tone and approach do they adopt in their content???
- How readable is their content??
- Is their content mostly controlled by their "own" or open to social?
- Who are the writers? Internal writing team? Guest posts? Senior management?
- How engaged are the public to their content? This would determine the quality of their content.
- How keywords are used in the content
1d. The Aesthetics
Look into: Blog structure Social media share buttons Content Categorization Bios How good are they are promoting their content via design
1e. The Unseen
Page Title URl architecture Title Header tags Copy’s keyword density Image AlT text Use of internal linking
1f. Social Media
- Are they on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Google+ Pinterest?
- Are they geting results using these channels?
- Number of fans/followers
- posting frequency and consistency of publishing
- Content engagement
- Content virality (such as shares, repins, or retweets)
1g. Evaluate your competitor's buying and customer service support process
- Use a secret shopping service (pay $$)
- Interview your customer base to see which ones came from that particular competitor (free)
- What is your competitor doing, where they are falling short, how they operate, what they value?
After you collect all these information.. what's next? ANALYZE THEM.
2. Analyzing the manna you have gathered.
- Compare your site and theirs.
- Content publishing volume outpaced?
- Content quality better?
- Embracing new trends? Or realizing people in the "new trends" arent ones you want to reach?
- How does your competitor positions its brand in the marketplace? That affects how YOU will position your brand. Differently or similar?
- Who are your competitors trying to forgo relationships with and who are their existing partners?
- Their technology tools - automation? advanced? basic? Which conveys to whether they are planning for fast growth or keeping their marketing activities status-quo.
3. Continue looking at competitors and be alerted of new compeitors using tools like Google alerts, email notifications, or your own VA. :)
Comparing to ours continuously.
In conclusion within a breath,
first research their site for content frequency and quality and the topics, then the site aesthetics- how easily are they sharing their content on their site, then the backend optimization of html codes then the external sites supporting them such as social media. You can also go a step further by evaluating their CS support and buying process. How to analyze? Consider their brand positioning message, their relationship partners, and their technology tools. Lastly, make monitoring a habit to keep up and be in the circle!
With Thanks, Andrea
Digital Marketing Consultant
+8 GMT, Singapore