Research competitors’ top performing content

1. Determine who your competitors are and categorize them as direct, indirect, or future.

Some ways to determine your competition include: In your social media account profiles, check Insights to see who your audience is and who else they follow. Use the Interests tab in Google Analytics to see what and who else your audience is interested in. Ask for customer feedback. Find out who has the most socially shared content per topic by using tools like BuzzSumo. Search your targeted keywords to see who else shows up high on the search engine results page.

2. Create a shared spreadsheet for you and your team to record data about competitors and their content.

Include information like content type, length, topic, and title length, as well as keyword, engagement, and link data.

3. Set up social listening and tracking tools to monitor your competitors’ content channels to review on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Use social listening tools like Hootsuite to track social media content. Create Facebook or Twitter lists to set up updates on your competitors’ content. Consider subscribing to their emails, following their social media accounts, monitoring and reading their blog posts, and attending their webinars in order to understand and analyze your competitors’ content.

4. Identify your competitors’ top-performing content and record data like social shares and engagement using online analysis tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, or Ubersuggest. Repeat monthly or quarterly to stay current.

For example, in BuzzSumo, enter your competitor’s domain name into the Web Content section to see the pages with the highest total engagement.

5. For each direct competitor, choose 3-5 pieces of top-performing content that cover a range of topics.

6. Record which topics, formats, title, and content lengths perform well using manual review or tools like BuzzSumo. Add this information to your spreadsheet.

It is also useful to record what types of content are NOT part of your competitors’ strategies.

7. Paste the URL from competitors’ top-performing blog posts into online keyword research tools like Jaaxy or Ahrefs to see where their content ranks for different keywords.

Identify gaps in the market by focusing on keywords you currently target and keywords you intend to target in the future.

8. Examine their content’s audience engagement and influence by looking at the comment section, author bio, number of shares, and engagement.

Find social engagement data using tools like Buzzsumo or Ubersuggest. Manually look at a blog post to see if it has a comment section, what the comment section says, and if the post has social share buttons. Consider these two categories: Consumers: What are people saying in their content’s comment sections? How do your competitors interact with their audience? Collaborators: Who writes their content? Who do your competitors collaborate with? How much influence do their content’s guests have?

9. Analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) in competitors' content.

Consider these questions: What do your competitors do well? Is their content original and grammatically correct?  What tone do they use in their content? How much content do they have? What do people say about their content? What is missing from their content strategy? What could they improve on? What opportunities, like collaborations or high-profile features, do they take part in? What can you do better than them?

10. Improve your content strategy by setting goals to target competitors’ weaknesses and missed opportunities.