How to benchmark your content against the competition
Competitive benchmarking is a process by which you evaluate your brand against that of the competitors in your space, by using a set of metrics. This is the first step of comparative analysis. However, to increase your company’s market share in the industry, you would need to look beyond these surface-level metrics.
So, you should create a content strategy plan based on a solid mission statement. By doing this, you can set a strong foundation that allows you to easily work your way up the hierarchy of brands. There’s no fixed approach to benchmarking; you can extend it based on what areas are important to you.
How to choose your benchmark
It will be very difficult to understand which aspect of your brand’s social needs to be benchmarked if you only weigh the pros and cons against your pre-existing KPIs. For instance, let’s assume that your share of voice on social media suddenly dips and your competitor takes the top spot. Using this aspect to investigate further will help you realize what went wrong at your end, and if you need to try something new.
To broaden your scope, consult the various departments in your business and study them in detail. To add value to your benchmark, add as many people from your company as you can, and make sure to avoid focusing on vanity metrics.
How to choose your competitors
There are a couple of approaches to knowing which companies to pick and collect information from.
You can select brands or companies whose size and performance are on par with yours. Then, when a competitor fails, you can view areas that you may not even have considered. For instance, if you spot a sudden drop in a rival’s SEO performance, you can fire up your SEO work to gain quick traction.
You might want to compete with big companies too. The figures might initially be depressing, but further research will give you a great understanding of how their foundations are set and how they operate. This can tremendously enhance your ability to work on your weaknesses.
Note: There’s a downside to adding all your competitors into a single report. You could be cluttering up your valuable insights if you load these competitive analysis tools with too much information. So, to get clear results, segment your competitors separately to derive your respective outcomes.
The following benchmark metrics can help you evaluate your strengths, glean actionable insights, and build your social presence.
1. Fan growth rate
Fan growth rate refers to the number of followers and the total number of profile visits you have gained over a certain period of time. The more you engage in comments, live videos, and Q&A sessions with your audiences, the easier it will be to build your social presence as a brand – while also conducting campaigns and driving posts that go back and forth with your audience.
2. Content performance
This is determined by content frequency and content engagement. Content frequency gauges how often your competitors post to maintain a social presence. You can compare the volume of posts, the number of videos, and the links you’ve posted, against that of the competition. This can help you perceive your content differently and fine-tune your content strategy along the way. Using tools like BuzzSumo and QuickSprout, you can get a comprehensive analysis of how your content fared.
On the other hand, content engagement depends solely on the quality and impact of your content than on the quantity of your followers. If, in comparison to your competitors’ 200,000 followers, you have even half that number with a 100 percent engagement rate, you will know you’re doing splendidly and your brand is much more valuable to your audience.
3. Types of content
There’s plenty of diversity when it comes to the type of content your brand publishes to engage with its consumers. The different types of content serve as a key competitive benchmark when established on the right platform. For instance, Twitter shares infographics three times more frequently than it does any other type of content.
Similarly, photos and creative user-generated ideas have their own niche in Instagram. Photos and infographics get six times less engagement compared to videos and ‘live’ videos that are most popular on Facebook. It is equally important to introspect on what type of content drives your audience with respect to your platform. Tools like Unmetric and Phlanx can help you stay on top of your social media game.
Understanding the rate at which your competitors constantly create and engage these types of content – or neglect any of it – is vital to your growth. This way, you can ensure that your content does not look identical with that of your competitors.
4. Share of voice
Share of voice is supported by a strong sentimental analysis report. It is a competitive benchmark that defines how powerful and important your voice is when pitted against your competition. It clearly shows you your position in the digital space.
To boost your share of voice, you’ll need to take a stand and defend your industry when a controversy arises. You need to share relatable, thoughtful content that can contribute to your space. Most importantly, don’t forget to promote your industry’s hashtags as they are crucial to your social presence.
5. Sentiment analysis
Sentiment analysis helps one identify with audience emotions; for instance, how they perceive your brand. This should be a major criterion in your social listening strategy. Social listening is key to understanding the conversations that happen in your digital space and how positively your share of voice impacts the audience in a relevant and thoughtful manner.
This metric is particularly helpful if you have a consumer-centric approach and want to be seen as the proverbial ‘good’ guy when placed next to your rivals.
A sentiment analysis report derived by applying your competitors’ profile is a measure of how positive or negative or even neutral your brand comes across in the eyes of your audience. You can also apply it to understand the negative sentiments that are unattended to by your competitors. You can filter their posts and tweak your content to the best of your advantage.
To grow and nurture a sustainable audience, you should recognize which benchmarks you are tracking, and take a data-driven approach to growth. The above metrics give you a broad insight on how to leverage your audiences’ impressions and reactions against your competitors.
Use the suite of tools available, benchmark your competition, and capitalize on the ROI you receive – to the best of your abilities.