Where to Look for Competitor Content Gaps to Build up your Content Portfolio

Abby Gilmore Grant
Abby Gilmore Grant

Director, Client Consulting

Marketers are creating and sharing content more than ever before. In fact, 70 percent of B2B marketers say they are creating more content now than they were just a year ago and content marketing adoption continues to grow.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 86 percent of B2B marketers are employing content marketing strategies; however, only 38 percent say their strategies are affective. Though there are many different reasons why businesses miss the mark with content marketing, sometimes it simply comes down to the content itself.

To see content marketing success, business must publish the right content – content that helps their audience make a purchase decision. But sometimes the market becomes saturated with the same content concepts published over and over by different vendors – requiring organizations to get creative with their content strategy.

Luckily, there are a few different ways to uncover fresh content ideas by looking for gaps in content coverage. First, companies should review all of the content they have previously created and published by performing a content audit. Next, I suggest completing an internal content gap analysis to better identify the holes in content coverage based on the current portfolio.

However, it’s not enough to just look at the content your company is creating. Take the content gap strategy to the next level by looking for gaps in competitor content offerings.  By analyzing competitor content, finding inconsistencies presents an opportunity to influence the audience where your competitors are not. To find these opportunities, consider taking stock of competitor content in the following areas:

Persona-focused content

In IT, we know that it’s not one person making a purchase decision but an entire buying team, each member with different pain points and preferences. However, many businesses don’t think about the different members of the buying team when creating content – heavily focusing their messaging on one role.

For example, consider the team at an enterprise company who has a cloud infrastructure project. Each member of the buying team has a different role and cares about different aspects of the project:

  • IT Director – Concerned with overall infrastructure strategy and strategy implementation
  • Cloud Engineer/Architect – Concerned with building/implementing/managing a cloud solution
  • Systems Administrator – Concerned with day-to-day optimization and troubleshooting

Businesses are doing themselves a disservice by not diversifying their content and messaging by persona, as each member of the buying team has a say in the decision making process.

competitor content personas and buy cyclesLook at competitor content – who are they messaging to? Is most of the content directed towards IT management? If so, you have the opportunity to influence other members of the buying team by creating content personalized by persona and effectively filling the gap in coverage.

Buy cycle coverage

In addition to looking at competitor messaging – take a look at their coverage of the buy cycle. When IT buyers are researching a purchase, it’s not exactly a quick process – and for large purchases ($100k+), the process takes even longer.

To truly increase purchase consideration through content marketing, businesses need to publish content that aligns with the different stages of research being done throughout the buy cycle. Looking at competitor content with this in mind, take note of the stages that are being covered. Is the content very product-heavy, lending itself to the later stages of the buy cycle?

If so, capitalize on the gap in awareness coverage. Create content that is educational – not educating the audience about products – but about pain points buyers are experiencing, and how to alleviate them. Additionally, align with thought-leaders to expand reach with buyers who aren’t yet ready to engage with vendor content.  Filling the holes in buy cycle coverage allows you to gain influence in crucial stages of an IT buyer’s journey – taking share of voice away from competitors.

Localized content

With global IT spending on track to grow 2.4 percent in 2015, many businesses are working to target international buyers. However, according to TechTarget’s media consumption study, many buyers in APAC (45 percent), EMEA (48 percent) and Latin America (71 percent) are dissatisfied with the amount of native-language content available.

Some organizations promote and distribute English content only – creating a gap in native-language content coverage. Many shy away from native-language coverage due to the perceived time and monetary investment necessary, but creating in-language content doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. Businesses can repurpose top performing English content through translation and localization to achieve success in other regions.

Though IT problems are not unique to any one region, content preferences are. If competitors aren’t using localized content, this presents an opportunity to gain mindshare with an international audience through native language content and promotion.

Have you had success with content marketing by filling competitor content gaps? I’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn to discuss.

 

Image source: Matt Brooks

 

buy cycle content, competitive content, competitor content, content audit, content marketing, content personas, content portfolio, content strategy, localization, persona-based content development, persona-based content marketing, translation

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