Who are your competitors? The obvious answer to this obvious question is to look to those businesses that provide similar products and services to you.
But in the age of content marketing, a competitor isn’t just someone who’s selling the same product as you – it’s anyone that’s talking about the same things you’re talking about. And that means potentially everyone you’re contending with on a Google results page.
Competing in the content market
Let’s say you’re a successful supermarket chain and you want to promote a new range of DIY tools and paints that you’ve just introduced in-store. You decide to create a series of content pieces – blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates etc – around the idea of doing up your home.
All fine and good. But who’s going to write, design and illustrate them? How much time and resource do you have? And what can you offer that someone else isn’t doing already?
Such questions are crucial, because once you’ve hit post and that content is up on your site and elsewhere, you’re now also competing with the many other providers of high-quality content around DIY and interiors – DIY websites, homes magazines, TV programmes and more.
The war for attention
Many of these providers may not sell what you sell, but they are strong players in the market for related content. When you’re creating content, you’re also creating new competition. You’re all competing for the same precious things – the user’s trust and attention.
When publishing content, you’re throwing up comparisons to other businesses that you may not have considered a direct competitor. Your readers will compare your content to whatever else they see near it on Google that’s answering the same search query, and that’s why it needs to be of comparable quality.
If your content is hastily prepared or doesn’t match up to the well-informed standards of sites specifically geared around that subject matter, then you’re going to come across as, at best, amateurish, and at worst unqualified to be even posting that content in the first place.
5 tips to make your content competitive
If your content isn’t working hard enough then it could even drive your customers to another business. You need to focus just as much on making your content competitive as you would your product line. Here are 5 tips to help you do just that:
- Work out who your new competitors are. What are they good at? What can you learn from them? Where are the gaps?
- Ignore the saturated areas. Some topics may have been covered so well already that there’s nothing more to add. Avoid creating anything that has that empty, me-too feel.
- Find your niche. It may not be possible to compete with the full range of what (some of) your content competitors offer, but you may have knowledge that enables you to dig deeper in niche areas.
- Remember less is more. It’s better to produce a few high-quality pieces that are genuinely useful or tell people things they can’t easily find elsewhere, rather than to spread yourself too thin by covering every base.
- Surface your experts. Find the people in your business with the real in-depth knowledge of what you do, and get their insights out there in whatever form is easiest for them – from ghost-written blog posts to talking head videos.