We reveal the secret of how to win at content marketing
Cutting through the noise in content marketing isn’t easy, but it’s far from impossible.
Despite what some SEOs might say, modern content strategy requires more than a picture-perfect keyword strategy and ensuring every single piece of content is 10 times better than your competition.
So what’s the true secret to doing better content marketing than your competitors?
How to beat the competition explained
This whole article can be summed up by a famous story:
There were two guys camping in the woods, when all of a sudden a bear comes crashing in out of nowhere, shredding the camp apart. One of the guys panics and starts to run, but the other quietly, calmly, puts on a pair of running shoes and laces them up.
“What are you doing?” the panicked man asks. “Those won’t help you outrun a bear!”
“Ah but you see,” replies his counterpart. “I don’t have to run faster than the bear – just faster than you.”
Marketers only need to run faster than their immediate competition. This is because Google is not a single playing field where everybody competes, but rather millions of smaller ones – some of which can be quite easy to shine in.
Here’s how to put this into the context of your own content marketing strategy.
Understand your competitors
You can’t do better than someone else if you don’t know what they’re up to. Follow your competitors on social media and keep tabs on their blog: what content are they creating, how are they interacting with their followers? Do they have a newsletter? Whitepaper guides? Videos or infographics? What could you do better?
- Quick tip: Follow your competitors’ social and RSS feeds, and write down everything they do that you could do better.
Understand your audience
If you target the wrong audience, it’ll be harder to get any kind of ROI from your content marketing efforts. Even if you can increase traffic at all, the wrong type of traffic won’t convert – it’s a false economy.
- Quick tip: Figure out who your audience is, including age group, interests, and any metric that’s applicable to your product (e.g. assumed knowledge, weight or size, budget, position in a company).
Find your niche
To reiterate a point: Google is not one playing field, but millions of small ones. You have little hope of competing in a search result with big-name multinational brands, but there must be a USP that sets your business apart from its competitors. If you can tune into this brand differentiation and highlight what makes you unique, anyone searching for that specific variable will find you.
- Quick tip: Turn your USP into a content niche. For example, “holiday packages” is too generic, but “holiday packages for 18-35 year olds” is easier to compete on. “Low-budget holiday packages to Hawaii for 18-35 year olds” is even better.
Above all, provide value
The importance of providing value cannot be overstated. Google places great stake in content it deems helpful and interesting to readers, and its ranking factors actively pursue high-quality content over hastily written drivel.
Moz describes valuable content as:
- One of a kind
- Easy to read (on any device)
- Quick tip: What questions does your audience have? By answering these directly with well-made content (video and infographics included), you will inherently be providing your audience with value.
Turning these tips into an example
To illustrate our points, let’s invent a business competing in a highly competitive market (in this case, property) and run through the steps above.
- Our business: Property Masters is a locally-owned property investment broker in Melbourne specialising in first-time property investment.
- Our keywords: We’ll try to rank on “first-time property investment, Melbourne”, “property investment broker, Melbourne” and similar long-tail search terms.
- Our competitors: Let’s look at some real competitors, but change the names. We’ll call them Melbourne Property Pros and Wealthmakers Ltd.
- Our audience: First-time property investors. The assumed knowledge is fairly low, but the assumed wealth is fairly high.
What is our competition up to?
- Melbourne Property Pros: Here we’ve got a well-made website with its own news hub, which contains various articles typical of the industry: how to do this, top tips for that, and so on. The length of these averages at only 600-800 words or so, and the articles aren’t very attractive – no imagery of any kind. The business has 194 likes on Facebook, posting with moderate frequency.
- Wealthmakers Ltd.: These guys are a lot stronger – another well-made site, and there’s a whole education section containing videos, podcasts, reports and books. The company’s blog looks like an afterthought, though – small articles with what seems like little strategy. Wealthmakers has over 2,000 followers on Facebook, and is also active on Twitter and Instagram.
Content marketing examples: Provide value, do better
- The blog: We’ll write how-to guides and tutorials, but nothing shorter than 800 words. Our content will directly answer first-time investors’ questions, so we not only capture an audience typing those directly into Google, but we also come across as a trustworthy source.
- Social media: We should post blog content regularly on social media and find other ways to be active – commenting on market trends, for example.
- Education: We need to beat Wealthmakers’ education section, which means investing in video tutorials for posting on social media and embedding in articles, as well as producing long-form, highly detailed whitepaper guides on certain investment topics – something worth downloading.
- Seizing an opportunity: In our research, we also found that neither competitor has a newsletter. We know that Hubspot says a newsletter campaign can drive up to 1,000 new leads per month, so this is a big opportunity that would be unique to us – not unique in the whole world, of course, but sufficient to beat our two key competitors. Again, think of the hiker lacing up their shoes…
With these four elements combined, Property Masters should quickly cut through the content marketing noise. And by combining this strategy with a well-made site, a consistent content schedule and the right use of audience targeting, we can expect to see some good leads coming in soon!
Now it’s time for you to take these tips and apply them to your own business. Good luck! And let us know if you have any questions.