We tend to compare ourselves to our friends, family, and acquaintances. This is especially true in today’s day and age with social media. We all know a Steve who posted about his backpacking trip through Europe and how he “found himself” along the way. Or a Samantha who just got a new car and is hellbent on making sure you know by posting stories on her Instagram. Most mental health experts will tell you that comparing yourself to others is not healthy.
However, comparing your company to another competing business can actually be healthy for your brand. Looking at the competition can help you identify areas that need improvement in your business, particularly with content strategy. If you notice your competition is getting more website traffic than you, it’s most likely because of their content strategy. Their content strategy is, quite frankly, better than yours. But alas, there is hope!
If you notice that you’re lagging behind the competition with your digital marketing, here are 10 likely reasons that your content strategy isn’t as good as your competitors.
You might have a great idea for what you think is a trending topic in your industry, but it might actually not be that newsworthy to the people you are trying to attract with your content. While your personal knowledge of the industry will be helpful for content ideation, your ideas should be rooted in research. To be more precise, keyword research.
Now, not every piece of content needs to be searched 10,000 times per day, but the majority of your content should be something that your customers are searching. Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, SEMRUSH, and Serpstat are all great resources to use. These tools will help you flesh out your content strategy based on the hard evidence of what people are interested in.
You can also use keyword research on your competition to find out what’s been working well for them. For example, if you’re in the retail and apparel industry, you can use these keyword tools to see which words have them ranked high. Then, you can start incorporating those words and phrases into your strategies to try and capture some of that audience. Think of this as opposition research, like campaigns do during political elections . Don’t copy keywords and content, but use it as inspiration and put your own spin on it to make it original.
We all have that one friend who likes to talk about themselves. Any time you go to them with a problem, they always turn it back around and make it about their life, no matter how many hoops they have to jump through to get there.
When it comes to your content strategy, you have to be unselfish. You have to put your consumers first. If you create content that is too promotional, you will lose the interest of your consumers and fast. So, after you’ve done the research into which issues, questions, and problems your customers are searching for on Google, do the work to make sure you actually address those questions in the content.
What you SHOULD do: Create a blog called, “How to Eat Healthy While on Vacation” and actually offer some great suggestions for doing so.
What you SHOULDN’T do: Create a blog called, “How to Eat Healthy While on Vacation” and then talk about how amazing your vitamin beverage is and how many 5-star product reviews you have.
It’s okay to give a small promotional blog somewhere in your content, but making your company the central thesis of your content will not inspire good will from your customers. In fact, they’ll most likely be upset that you wasted their time and never return. You still have to provide value to whoever is viewing your content. You’ve been warned!
One of the biggest mistakes people can make with their content strategy is that they aren’t properly optimizing their older content. If you put five hours into an awesome blog post, post it, and it ranks well on Google, then congrats! However, your job doesn’t stop there. Add more content, keywords, links, and images to the blog. At least once a month, you should find a couple of pieces of content that you’ve created in the past and make them better.
Along with this, eliminate any duplicate content that you may have mistakenly written. If you’re churning out a decent amount of content each week, odds are you may have some content that is very similar to one another. Another option is to combine the two pieces to create one mega piece of content! Otherwise known as a hub, which Google rewards.
In terms of ranking the types of images you can have on your content, here is the order:
1.) Images that you create and produce internally
2.) High-quality images that you find on free sites (ie. Pexels) or stock image you pay for
3.) No images
4.) Low-quality, outdated images
Not every business has the capacity to create their own images, and that’s okay. If you can at least find high-quality images elsewhere, then do so.
It may seem strange that having no images would be better than low-quality ones, but looking at it from the consumer’s perspective, these images can convey that your product or service offering is of that same quality. New, clean images will prove your brand to be cutting edge, modern, and updated.
You likely have a lot of brand assets to properly manage when it comes to content marketing. When it comes to a content marketing strategy, you’ll need to have access to your photos, artwork, and other materials from previous and current campaigns. This is how digital asset management (DAM) supports your content marketing. With DAM, you and your team have access to all the assets they need from a single source. DAM keeps track of versions and allows you to control who has access to images so only approved assets are used in your content.
So this might sound a little hypocritical, but sometimes high ranking keywords just aren’t worth the time and effort to go after. Be selective with the topics and ideas where you choose to invest a lot of effort. If a short-tail or long-tail keyword has thousands and thousands of searches each day but is ranked high in terms of difficulty, then it may be best not to focus on that word too much.
This isn’t to say that you should avoid it completely. For example, if there is a new trend or newsworthy development within your industry, a short opinion piece on it from someone who has authority within your organization is a great way to take part in the conversation. However, creating a long blog post and infographic or video on the topic might not be the best idea when it comes to SEO, especially if you’re a smaller business whose website doesn’t have a lot of domain authority.
Be picky and strategic about which keywords you choose to go after.
Evergreen content is content that will be relevant far off into the future. In other words, it’s a problem, issue, or topic that isn’t going away any time soon. Finding ways to incorporate evergreen content into your strategies will help search engines see your content as fresh and relevant, no matter when it was initially published.
If you’re in the food and beverage industry, writing about healthy living and eating is a topic that is sure to be around for quite some time. An in-depth, long-form piece of content called, “The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Living Healthy,” is sure to be a winning blog for years to come. You can always update it periodically with new stats and information to keep it fresh.
While waiting for the organic search traffic to kick-in, you should still promote your content on your own. Post links to your content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Or, use a weekly newsletter to get more clicks and eyeballs on your blogs, videos, and infographics. Also, make sure that you are consistent with publishing your content. If you’re intent on doing two content posts each week, stick to it.