When you play the game of content marketing, you win or you… well, whilst death might escape you personally, it could be a very different story for your business.
The Game of Thrones fans amongst you might have noticed my adaptation of one of the more famous quotes of the series, the ominous words of one scheming Cersei Lannister. However, others might also be wondering what on earth the fantasy land of Westeros, characterised by its competing noble houses all strategising to come out on top in a dog-eat-dog world could possibly have to do with online marketing?
No matter what industry you’re in or how long you’ve been in the business, it pays to keep an eye on the competition, lest you get blindsided by an unexpected new development which leaves you floundering in the dust. By carefully observing your competitors, you can better inform your strategy for success.
Fortunately, content marketing offers an excellent means to help you play the long game and outmanoeuvre the competition. How? Due to the range of benefits it offers your business over time. As a recent Forbes article highlights, content marketing:
- Is highly affordable
- Achieves increased brand visibility and authority
- Improves SEO and inbound traffic
- Boosts conversion and retention
Pretty powerful stuff, right?
So, how exactly do you harness the power of content marketing to stay one step ahead of the competition? Forbes offered a few useful tips:
Know who you’re dealing with
If only those honourable Starks hadn’t underestimated Joffrey’s madness or thought better of those murderous Freys, GoT’s favourite family might have a few more members still standing. Rule numero uno when outsmarting the competition is to fully understand who it is you are dealing with. Make time to don your Inspector Morse hat and review your competitors’ digital marketing strategy; signing up to their newsletter, subscribing to their blog posts and following their social media efforts are the most obvious strategies. But you can use tools such as listening station SocialMention.com to keep an eye on what’s being said about them on social. Additionally, Buzzsumo can help you track their content and see how well each piece has been received. Remember you’re looking for strengths you can learn from and chinks in their armour – gaps you can fill.
Find your USP
Use your content to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen field. But also use it to convey your USP – the x factor element that differentiates you from the competition. Perhaps you can focus your efforts on a key segment of the audience you both share or perhaps you can sweep up on a social channel that they are neglecting. Tyrion Lannister may not be the best looking in his family and he can’t swing a sword like his brother Jamie can, but his wit, intelligence and unique ability to get out of some mighty dire scrapes are unsurpassed. Whatever your USP or USPs are, find them and market them to set yourself apart.
Make your content better
Easier said than done, right? But if the buzz around GoT season 7 is anything to go by, fans can expect bigger and better storylines with more impact than ever. Striving for top quality content is your best hope of outmanoeuvring your content marketing competition and if you’ve done the right research, you’ll have a good benchmark to set yourself. If you notice their thought leadership pieces do well, add extra groundwork and further detail into yours. If their news sourcing means that their social followers turn to their page to find out new developments in their industry, be quicker off the draw. As Forbes explains, this can take time, but with a focused effort, your audience will soon begin to notice a difference.
Extend your reach
Don’t just stick to using content marketing conventionally, look to broaden your reach and utilise it in a number of creative ways. Whether you’re using your content to boost your SEO, set your social media campaigns on fire or send out high value newsletters, if you apply your content to diverse areas, you know you are making it work as hard as it can for you, thus reaping the benefits of your investment to the max.
If you’d like to hire your own personal content marketing army for 2017, give M2 Bespoke a call. We can’t promise dragons but we know content almost as well as we know trashy, prime time TV.