There’s no denying the fact that B2B marketing can be extremely cut-throat and tricky, especially for small business. Holding your ground against the big players in the corporate world with their huge market share and marketing budgets can be nerve-wracking.

This is why it is paramount for you to know exactly what your competitors are up to, and plan your winning strategy accordingly. You never know, you may just be able to beat them at their own that way!

This is where having a robust content marketing strategy comes into the picture. You want to know why? Get this, most of the content that your competitors publish is open to public reading. You can use this to your advantage. Follow your competitors and monitor which content works and which doesn’t. Once you have this knowledge, you can leverage the learning for your business.

By following their content marketing strategy, you can know more about the kind of content they choose to publish on their blog (or on other platforms), how their content fares on social media, whether or not their social media engagement growing, the keywords they use that bring them revenue, their strategy for pay-per-click advertising, and how their website and its links are performing.

If you don’t have a strong content marketing strategy in place already, don’t fret. 2015 was great for content and 2016 is touted to be even better.

Content Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

  • Just like Facebook and LinkedIn, other social media have been witnessing the publication of large quantities of free content on their platform. In keeping with this emerging trend, 2016 is sure to allow for more content to be posted and shared on other social media platforms as well. Perfect for a small biz!
  • Being original in your approach always pays off. This applies to research for obtaining consumer insights in real time as well. The idea is to collect and present fresh data to readers and followers, and capture their interest and attention.
  • Computers and software are already beginning to write with the help of algorithms. You can see this happening during the preparation of basic weather reports. Such software can take bits of information from thousands of social media profiles and put them together to form engaging, well-timed online stories with offline user experiences. For example, this year you may be able to create a story on how Christmas was celebrated worldwide with the help of images and posts from all over the globe.
  • Having a website that hosts a vast amount of high-quality content may no longer be enough. It will be crucial to have solid presence on social media platforms and present content in different and more interesting formats such as videos and infographics, so that it can reach your audience across multiple platforms. Moreover, brands will start to measure the number of people it can reach on its own, and how many it needs to reach by buying media.

That said, you need to ensure that you’re leveraging social media in your content marketing efforts.

In fact, your social media campaign should be in tandem with your content marketing strategy to engage your audience in a more powerful manner.

Leveraging Social Media in Content Marketing Efforts

Identify Your Target Market

Identifying and understanding the needs of your target market is crucial to be able to drive potential customers to your Web properties. This is the primary step and needs to take place before you start integrating your content marketing and social media strategies so that you do not end up creating and posting random content. This will most likely not resonate with your followers.

You will do well to take the following into consideration:

1. The age demographics of your ideal customer.
2. Their ultimate goal.
3. Their specific problems/hindrances in achieving the goal.
4. The life-changing effects of achieving this goal.

Once you have the answers to the above, you will be able to craft your content to include their needs, wants and aspirations. Eventually, this will egg them on to take lucrative action steps in your marketing sequence.

Position Your Brand

No two businesses are similar. In fact, most niches are different from the rest. As a small business, you need to work out your core value proposition by analyzing your offerings and figuring out what makes them different from the rest and why customers should buy from you instead of the bigger brands.

Use your content, articles and videos, to elaborate on the unique ways in which your offerings can solve your customers’ problems.

Figure Out the Social Media Game

Each social media platform is different from the other and you need to be present on those that support your business. They are not just distribution channels, but also platforms for generating new leads and prospects.

Remember, most of your followers may have an inclination towards knowing more about your offerings, which is why instead of using social media to merely pitch your offerings, your focus should revolve around posting educational content that will enable them to trust your brand.

Reprocess Content

Once you have created a post, make sure that you share it in your social media feeds. In fact, you will need to share the same content across various social media channels every couple of months for it to gain traction.

Do alter the headline to maintain the interest of your audience. Doing so will bring your content better exposure and engagement, thereby lifting your SEO rankings. Thereafter, you can optimize your blog for lead generation and enhance your sales with email marketing.

Write about Your Videos

People enjoy watching videos, which is why it makes sense to write an article about them to leverage platforms such as YouTube on your Web space. You could simply summarize the content of the video and paste it into the description box. This will optimise the rankings and organic reach of your videos.

Further, you can embed the same videos into your blog posts. When visitors click on them, it will increase the number of views on your YouTube channel. This is a great way to run an incoming links campaign to your videos, apart from boosting your SEO rankings.

Make Images Pertinent to Your Audience

Create captivating images that resonate with your readers if you want it to get shared organically. You can do so by adding text to your images, especially if you feel that the images aren’t exactly doing justice to the content. Doing so will ensure that your message is clear and your visitor clicks on it. The image should serve as a headline to your article. The better your images, the more your content will be shared.

Keep Them Engaged

Constant interaction with your users is the best way to keep them engaged and coming back. While engagement is often difficult to measure, it can have a profound impact on your sales and revenue. Use your content to encourage readers to comment on your posts and respond to them in a timely manner.

Competitive Analysis to Boost Rankings

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs or digital marketers who keep a close eye on search engine page results (SERP), then you’re not alone. In fact, doing so can have strategic and tactical benefits.

Here’s more on how to do so effectively:

Size Up Your Competition

Are you sure that your competition really is your competition? This is one consideration that you cannot afford to go wrong with. It is, therefore, suggested that check your assumptions of who you consider to be your competitor before getting into the details of what they’re doing.

Only after you’ve identified your main competitors, will you be able to analyze your product line.

Get Feedback about Your Industry

Conducting a competitive analysis can tell you more about your competitors’ backlink profiles and on-page optimization strategies. Plus, it can also reflect how industry experts view and organize their products.

This helps because site taxonomy can determine how search spiders interpret and present your site in the search listings and have bearings on search rankings.

Learn from Your Competitors

When you start paying attention to what your competitors are up to, you will start gaining insights about how content is created and presented in your industry. Also, paying attention to your own performance in search results can make it easier for you to figure out how to sell a product that is similar to your competitors. Doing competitive analysis can bring you important strategic and tactical insights.

Use Social Media

You now know that including social media into your content strategy is a must. It is, therefore, crucial to gauge how your competitors are using social media. For starters, you can check for their presence on the top social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Social media can be highly effective in expanding the reach of your content. If used properly, you can certainly outdo your competitors in your content strategy. In order to figure out how serious they are about their social media marketing strategy, you can go through the homepage and the blog (and other important pages) on their website and check for the ‘Follow’ and ‘Share’ buttons.

Reviewing Your Competitor’s Content Marketing Performance

Wondering what tools you can use to know more about your competitor’s content marketing performance? We’ll tell you about a few.

1. Socialcrawlytics

Socialcrawlytics-page-level-report

This is considered one of the best-established social share counting tools. It allows you to analyze the social sharing performance of any URL. It is, therefore, helpful in understanding how content has been shared across multiple social networks and determining what content gets the most traction on which social platform. Socialcrawlytics will also help you decipher how content is performing against the objectives.

2. QuickSprout

QuickSprout-social-media-analysis-2This amazing tool by Neil Patel helps in conducting the overall analysis, thanks to its useful features that provide useful insights into how content has been faring. Both, new and experienced SEO professionals can use it with ease. The data generated can be downloaded in PDF and Excel formals. Analysis includes factors such as speed test, top keywords and phrases, backlinks, shares on all major social networking platforms.

3. BuzzSumo

content_marketing_-_Most_Shared_Content_-_2016-02-04_12.14.48This tool enables you to analyze what content has been performing the best on social media in terms of sharing. You can use BuzzSumo to evaluate your competitors’ posts on their blog or across other multiple blogs.

This tool offers a visual link explorer that enables you to figure out which pieces of content on a competitor’s blog have the most inbound links. This, in turn, will help you determine what kind of content will work best with your SEO strategy.

4. Feedly

feedly_-_2016-02-04_12.08.52

Feedly is a great tool that allows you to subscribe to blogs via RSS. You can use it to subscribe to your competitors’ blogs and see what they’re writing about. Further, you can also subscribe to other industry blogs for ideas on what you should be blogging about.

5. Google Alerts

Google_Alerts_-_Monitor_the_Web_for_interesting_new_content_-_2016-02-04_12.02.35One of the most widely-used tools, Google Alerts works by notifying you when new search results show up on specific queries. You can use it to track your competitors’ search activities with respect to finding new guest-blogging opportunities just by searching for their full name.

Conclusion

The above pointers should be helpful to all new entrepreneurs and digital marketers in understanding the importance of conducting competitive analysis and beating competitors at their own game. Do keep them in mind when crafting your content marketing strategy, and you’re sure to be successful in your efforts. Got something more to contribute to this? Feel free to leave it in your comments.

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