3 Ways to Analyze Your Competition’s Content Marketing

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 9:30am
3 Ways to Analyze Your Competition’s Content Marketing

Competition exists within all industries. When an organization is looking to expand or revamp their existing content marketing, they’ll more than likely consider what their competitors are doing. So, when it comes to content marketing, what should you consider when sizing up your competitors?


Who does your competition market to? Who are the current or typical personas they’re trying to reach? If you do your research, you can find a lot of this information by simply visiting their current website. Don’t just read the content on the website, but pay attention to how it’s structured, and who it seems to be targeting. Consider which demographics match their marketing efforts. Does it seem to be angled at freshmen or maybe transfer students? Do they seem to place a lot of attention on non-traditional students with unconventional scheduling demands, or perhaps on athletics? You may find that an old competitor isn’t really a competitor anymore, or that another campus is now targeting the same potential students as you, when you had previously written them off. Your marketing will improve as you regularly asses who you’re trying to reach, and who is also competing for their attention.


Let’s say you’re a private higher education institution looking to better differentiate yourself from other local private campuses that a potential student would likely be evaluating. Consider what sets these other institutions apart from yours - how are they different? Maybe your competitor offers additional programs of study, or on-campus services which yours does not. Next, consider the importance of those differentiators to the personas your campus is most successful at recruiting or engaging with. Perhaps your college is a leader amongst the nursing programs offered in your state or region. The content on your site may need to be tailored to highlight the interests of nursing students and the success of those types of programs, and less on the gaps existing from the programs you don’t currently offer. In short, highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. Drill in on the fact that instead of offering a large number of programs, you offer fewer, more concentrated and respected programs that serve specific industries.

Compare Your Efforts

Marketing, just like anything else, can be done well or it can be done poorly. You may have limited resources or funding, we know budgets in higher-education can be limited, but this doesn’t mean you can’t improve your content marketing, or compete with other institutions. Compare your marketing strengths and weaknesses with your main competitors’. Consider how your campus does with overall messaging, calls to action on your website, and visitor journey success through (hopefully logical) navigation. Now evaluate how your competitors are approaching the same tasks. Are they emphasizing calls to action with better targeted content? Or is your organization stronger in this area? There is nothing wrong with taking cues from your competition and implementing tactics that work. Taking time to compare efforts isn’t a bad mindset, when done in moderation. Not keeping at least a pulse on the competition will set back your marketing efforts, in any industry.

The trick is to evaluate your competition through a productive analysis. Know what you’re assessing and how you’re benchmarking yourself against your competition. Then decide what is worth acting on once you’ve done your research and analysis. You shouldn’t simply be creating action items based off the fact that you’re different. Competition is good and being different is good. To stay relevant in your market, try to zero in what is feasible to improve, and what will actually make a difference. Be realistic and think of ways to increase real measured results, with the services and resources that you currently possess and can provide. Now you’re already ahead of game!

How do you assess your competition? What differentiators does your institution leverage?

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