You have your inbound marketing program up and running and you have been getting good results but now the program seems to be flat and is running out of steam. What should you do next?
The challenge is to continue to feed the beast with new and fresh content so that your program continues to grow and get results. We all talk about creating differentiated content however; it is not very easy to maintain an ongoing pipeline of unique content that converts.
Marketers Forget to Do This One Thing
I learned a very valuable lesson early in my career and it still resonates with me today. As a product manager, I would attend a meeting every Monday morning with the executive and product management teams to discuss the status of our business. Each week we reported on sales, margins, pricing pressures, backlogs, manufacturing issues, and marketing activities. After a month long reorganization and a few executive departures, I arrived at the weekly meeting and met our new General Manager. The first thing he did was turn to the product management team and ask each one of us what our competitors did previous week.
Here was my reaction.
I was consumed my day-to-day activities. I had become inwardly focused and was not aware of what was happening in the market. Lesson learned.
What is the one thing you need to do to keep your program fresh?
Spy on your competition!
How to Spy on Your Competition
If you truly want to differentiate your content, you need to understand what your competition is doing. Your targeted personas don’t need several versions of the same guide, ebook, or whitepaper. You want your content to stand out from the crowd. Here are four things to track that will provide insight into your competitor’s inbound marketing program.
- New Content Offers – Regularly monitor your competitors for new content offers. You will begin to see patterns in the content that will indicate the company’s focus for that timeframe. Top-of-funnel offers will give you an idea if there are changes in company direction and middle-of-funnel offers will show you current sales focus and message.
- Keywords – Track competitive organic and paid keywords by using a tool like Spyfu or SEMrush. You can see if your competitors are pouring money into paid search or relying on organic search.
- Social Media – Track how often your competitor’s content is shared, analyze the success of branded hashtags, and see how your competitors are engaging with people who mention them. Hubspot’s social monitoring tool will help you monitor LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ activity and there are a number of tools available to monitor Instagram and SnapChat. However, you will need a more in depth social media tool to track engagement.
- Earned Media – Earned media raises awareness and drives web traffic. Use Google alerts to track when your competitors are mentioned in the press and use a tool like Ahrefs or MonitorBacklink to find competitor’s backlinks.
If you track what your competitors are doing each month or even every quarter, you can ensure you are developing differentiated content and quickly pivot the tactics of your program to take advantage of any competitive holes that may exist.