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Every minute, nearly half a million Tweets are created, nearly 500 hours of video get uploaded to YouTube, more than three million Facebook posts are created, and nearly four million searches happen on Google, according to SmartInsights. It’s now wonder it’s so hard to rank on Google with so much competitive content marketing.

To say that the world is full of competitive content might be a bit of an understatement. In fact, there’s so much competitive content out there that people have come up a with a term to describe the result people get when faced with so much to read and look at: content shock.

In an era of content shock, competitive content marketing matters more than ever. If you want to outrank your competition when it comes to search, social, and lead generation, you need to bring your A-game to the contest. Here’s how.

Competitive Content Marketing

Get to Know the Competition

As with any sport or contest, the more you know about the competition, the better able you’ll be to beat them. You not only need to know what and how much they are doing, you also need to know what their weaknesses are, and where those weaknesses lie.

This is what you need to know about your competitors:

  • What they publish (type of competitive content marketing and frequency of publishing)
  • How many people follow them on social media
  • Their engagement rate
  • The keywords they use and how they rank for each keyword
  • The quality of their competitive content marketing (is it boring, useful, original/unoriginal?)

Tools to Use for Competitive Content Marketing

You can manually assess and evaluate the competition by visiting their websites and social media profiles, and by signing up for their email lists and other subscriptions. But keep in mind that it’s the 21st century, and there are plenty of tools out there that will do the heavy lifting for you.

For example, tools like SocialBlade, Twitter Audit, and FollowerWonk will assess the number of followers a profile has, and tell you the typical number of followers an account gains daily, as well as the quality of those followers (i.e., are they real people or bots?).

BuzzSumo gives you plenty of stats on the content your competitors are creating. It will tell you how many shares a piece of competitive content marketing got, and, if you get the pro (paid) version, will provide a snapshot of who shared the content.

If you aren’t able to subscribe to your competition’s RSS feeds or email newsletter, you can set up a Google alert to get notices whenever they publish something new.

Website Grader will provide you with a sense of the quality of a site’s SEO, its speed, its performance (that is how big the pages are), and its security. Handily, the tool also points out ways to fix any issues with a site, which you can use when making your own site better.

Be Better Than the Competition

OK, now that you know what’s up with the competition, it’s time to pull ahead of them and produce competitive content that’s head and shoulders above theirs.

One way to be better than your competition is to look for ways to fill in the gaps in their content. Perhaps your competitor has the blogging thing on lock, but they don’t produce videos or any other type of content. Now is your chance to swoop in. Create some visually appealing and entertaining videos, and scoop up some of that market share.

Perhaps you’ve checked out your competition’s SEO and found it to be lacking. They might not be chasing after a particularly popular keyword. Or they might be not chasing after it very well. Position 9 or 10 (or worse, on the second page of results) is not an indicator of competitive content marketing. With some SEO tweaks to your own content you can easily outrank them in search.

Five Ways to Make Your Competitive Content Marketing Better

Always aim for high-quality.

You might have noticed that your competitors produce a lot of content. But a lot of it just isn’t very useful, or is kind of bland. You can easily push past them by putting the focus on quality over quantity. A blog post that delivers what it promises is better than five blog posts that do nothing.

Don’t copy.

It’s easy to assume that if a blog post worked for your competition it will work for you. But this isn’t necessarily true. People will wonder why you didn’t put a unique spin on it. Or they’ll wonder why you couldn’t come up with your own idea. It’s fine to create content around trending topics or news pieces. But you need to make sure every piece of content you create is fully original.

Make your content pop on social media.

Get more people to share or engage with your content on social by including images. The headlines you choose for your social posts also need to be attention-grabbing.

Speed up your website.

A faster-loading website makes it more likely people read or view your content. Slow-loading pages also get dinged by Google, which negatively affects their SEO ranking.

Look to your audience.

One way brands can overcome “content shock” is by focusing on user-generated content. Give your audience what they really want. And stand out from your competition by asking the audience to make the content for you.