Content benchmarking plays a critical role in any effective content marketing strategy. The benchmarking process is, by definition, a simple one. It’s a methodology centered around studying your competitors’ content strategies. Once you’ve got a feel for how they’re operating, you’re meant to determine how well your own content stacks up.
The process of content benchmarking provides a springboard for brands looking to up their digital marketing strategy. It helps them pinpoint, identify, and assess their competition; and, as a bonus, it offers tremendous insight into which keywords and content types you should be leveraging.
A clever benchmarking strategy, paired with basic access to Google Analytics and competitor analysis tools like SEMrush, can make all the difference in your digital marketing efforts. Benchmarking content and building strategies based on your findings can help your brand:
– Increase digital visibility
– Gain exposure to new ideas, concepts, and marketing methods
– Identify gaps between desired performance and actual performance
– Improve content, product, and service quality
Four Steps to Achieving a Growth-Driven Content Marketing Approach
Don’t underestimate the extent of your competition
Other brands aren’t the only parties competing for valuable space and consumer attention on the web. Your direct competitors are an excellent starting point for your venture into content benchmarking. They’re also far from your only competition.
Try benchmarking against notable publications within your industry’s sphere. If there are brands in other industries that appear to have similar marketing budgets and organization structures, you can even analyze their content. Get creative– you’re jockeying for attention on the web with far more parties than you realize.
Snag the facts and start thinking
You should begin any benchmarking effort with an objective look into what your competition is doing. Whether you’re trying to sniff out keywords or determine the ideal schedule for blog posts, the first step of the process is noting what your competitors’ approach to these issues looks like.
It’s on you to do some thinking from here. A baseline understanding of other brands’ approach to digital marketing isn’t enough. You need to ask yourself how well their efforts are working and why. Consider how you may be able to apply those same themes or methodologies to your own brand or why you may not want to. Benchmarking is about more than taking notes and collecting data. Dive deep into your findings to pull out useful, actionable information.
Know what you should be benchmarking for
Content benchmarking is about a lot more than keywords and SEO. There are a host of components that are critical to any marketing strategy; each of these can be benchmarked and leveraged to make improvement. If you’re struggling to determine what you should be analyzing, consider some of these ideas to get you started:
– Content performance: likes, shares, positive reviews, etc.
– Content timing and frequency
– Engagement rates
– Content types: blog posts, listicles, infographics, photos, etc.
– Growth rate
Recognize the power of unsolicited feedback
Engagement rates are great, but they don’t have anything to do with the content of what consumers and readers are saying. Implement a system or schedule that allows you to track what your competitors’ sphere has to say about their content.
Consumer and reader opinions are the single most important issue to any brand. Without an audience or customers, you’ll be hard-pressed to make money and keep a profitable business running. Never underestimate the value of what your competition’s audience has to say; it could prove tremendously useful and inform your own digital marketing strategies.
Taking the plunge into benchmarking is a leap towards growth regardless of your audience or industry. The age-old adage about keeping friends close and enemies closer rings true. If you want your brand to succeed, you’ll need to cozy up to the competition’s content. Analyzing their approaches and success (or lack of it) could be all it takes to inform your next marketing decision.