Much like your customers may visit the competition’s websites to research new products and services, you need to visit competitive sites to size up their content offerings.

A competitive content audit shows how your company compares to your top competitors in your content marketing efforts. Content audits can help you in a few ways.

• See where you excel at content marketing compared to your competitors, and where you might fall short
• Determine what types of content you and your competitors are creating to appeal to specific target audiences, and what is missing
• Uncover opportunities to differentiate your content marketing efforts from the competition
• Brainstorm new content ideas based on your competitors’ efforts and how their audiences have responded
• Understand the content themes and key messages your competitors are trying to own for the industry
• Pay attention to what the competition is doing and share that with others at your company

It’s helpful to conduct your competitive content audit after you’ve created personas — that way you can look at the content from the perspective of your target audiences’ needs. A third-party content audit provides a fresh perspective about your website, including the ease with which a new visitor can find content and search the site for specific types of content, insights about the design and functionality, and an objective analysis of your content offering.

What content do I audit?
When Two Rivers Marketing conducts a content audit, we narrowly define “content” as articles, videos, posters, infographics, etc. that were created to educate, inform, inspire or entertain the audience. For this audit, we are not interested in product pages, in-depth feature pages and other content that was created for the purpose of selling a product.

Competitive content audits typically include a review of your company’s website and two to four of your competitors’ sites, with the following information:
• Content types and estimated quantities of each
• Language (how many translated languages are available, as well as each company’s tone and voice)
• Information about any third-party content contributors on the site
• Availability of community features that allow the audience to interact, share or respond to content
• Frequency at which new content is published
• Overall impression about content themes, quality and usability
• Stand-out or differentiating features

How do I audit?
One of the tools we use at Two Rivers Marketing is a Content Scorecard to provide a framework from which to review and audit the content on several sites so multiple team members can share the workload. The scorecard is customized based on each client’s needs and objectives. Here’s a sample:

Content Scorecard
Rating scale: 1 – 5 (1 = does not meet requirements/below expectations, 3 = meets requirements/meets expectations, 5 = exceeds requirements/exceeds expectations)

Size up the competition with a competitive content audit

 

Investing just a few hours to better understand your competitors’ content marketing efforts will not only help you understand what they’re doing but also give you a stronger direction for your own efforts. Content marketing is about finding those sweet spot topics that your company can own and use to drive conversations with customers. You can’t do that if you’re talking about the same things as all your competitors.

We’re always looking for new tools and ideas and would love to hear if you’ve created a great process for auditing competitive sites.

About Keesia Wirt

Keesia Wirt, content strategist at Two Rivers Marketing, is a self-proclaimed content nerd. With a background in newspaper and magazine journalism, she now helps clients connect with their target audiences by creating relevant, valuable content that they want to read, watch and share with others. Her favorite tools include audience personas, crotchet hooks, whisks and duct tape. If you want to talk content, email her at keesiaw@2rm.com.