How Competitor Research Improves Your Content Marketing

A wealth of information lurks in the success (or failures) of the Other Guy.

Here are some ways you can improve your own content marketing results using competitor research tools and tips:

See What’s Popular

Your competitors are working in the same industry as you are, or so I assume. So they have the same audience that you do. This gives you an immediate view on what your audience is looking to read about, watch, view, or listen to.

It doesn’t take a lot to figure out what’s popular with your target demographic. Peek at what is trending on their site(s) and social media profile(s). Make a list of content that has gotten a lot of traffic, views, social media shares, and comments.

From there, you can develop a content strategy that follows the same general idea.  Take a note of:

Discover Where Competitors Are Lacking

In addition to seeing what they are doing right, you can see what they are doing wrong. I distinctly remember this competing podcast of a client I was working for. They released this video series connected to their show, but not really a part of it. The first couple got a decent number of hits, but then they got next to no views.

Wondering what the issue was, I did a quick viewing of all of their videos (which they continued to release in spite of the lack of interest from their user base). They were cheesy, badly written, and not close enough to their podcast format to brand it properly. It was a trainwreck, basically.

In addition to this travesty of video, the podcasts were suffering because too much effort was being put into a new form of content that didn’t work.

Guess what the client did? Avoided videos, stuck with the podcast, upped their promotion, and ended up poaching a lot of listeners.

Track Mentions

We all know that reputation management is an important part of overall branding. But tracking mentions of your competitors really work wonders, as well. You can keep track of announcements both major and minor, and also see what people are saying about the competition.

I worked for a startup once that setup mention tracking for three other platforms in the same industry, with a similar pat structure to their own. When the founder discovered a blog doing a review for a competitor, they asked them to do one for their own.

In the end, the review compared them to the last review and the startup I worked for came out on top.

Tools For Competitive Research

I mentioned before that you will have better tools at your disposal than asking Rebecca’s teenage sister the secret to her cookie selling success. These are some of those tools, though there is an endless supply of competitor research apps and dashboards out there to choose from.

  1. Google Alerts – The free option, and my personal favorite. You can create alerts that monitor any mention of your competitors across the web. It includes both social and web page results. I use it to monitor my competitors, my brand, and my industry. You can set your alerts to give you a digest of daily results, or to immediately let you know
  2. Spyfu – Don’t just monitor your competitors, flat out spy on them! Spyfu is a fun and informative dashboard that uses keyword research, mentions and more to keep track of your competitors. It is a combination of SEO and PPC research, so it applies to content and advertising.
  3. Compete – I don’t always recommend this tool because it is pretty pricey. But if you are a business with a decent budget, you can seriously improve results using this tool. You will learn a strategy to compete with competition on every level, including your social marketing. It is a very in depth tool full of data, and acts almost like a consulting service with a self service bent. It is an investment, but worth it if you have the cash on hand. Some businesses have reported a conversion improvement of 42% or more… seriously.

Do you have a tip for competitor research to improve content marketing? Know a tool that belongs on the list? Let us know in the comments!

3 Ways You Can Boost Your Brand Online

When it comes to gaining visibility online, gaining traffic shouldn’t be the only goal. Sure, you can choose a few select keywords to implement in your campaign and get your site ranked. But, actually getting your brand name out there so that it resonates with the message you want to send, that takes a lot of work to do.

In addition to doing the basic SEO on-page steps such as including your brand in title tags, and using brand keywords in your blogposts, you also need to list your company on relevant directories, create branded social media posts, conduct product giveaways for your audiences, and the list goes on.

Ranking for a brand isn’t new. In 2009, Google released the Vince update which produced ranking for brands.  It wasn’t that Google was favouring big brands over small businesses. Google used the most common searched terms as basis for ranking sites and big name brands happen to be mentioned in most user queries which helped propel these brand’s places in search engines when the update happened.

With this in mind, it’s important that you begin building on your brand visibility right now. In this article, I will outline three steps to help you out so you can gain better visibility for your company’s name and get more people talking about you.

1. Take advantage of PPC

Take advantage of PPC

They say content is king but when it comes to brand awareness, one of the fastest ways to get your brand out there is through paid search ads. With these, you don’t need to get organic rankings for your site to appear on top. With the right keywords, bid, and headline, together with a reliable digital marketing company, you’ll have your brand name on top of the results.

PPC gets you quick visibility that is not available in other methods. Searchers don’t even have to click on your site. As long as they see your brand name, then you have already won. So when crafting copy for your PPC ads, make sure that they look catchy but friendly at the same time. No fluff, just important information.

PPC allows your brand to appear in front of the pages of your different target customers including those who are interested in your brand and those who already have purchasing power but just don’t have any idea of your brand yet. Manage your PPC wisely and target it towards brand keywords. This should help get your brand name out there in no time.

2. Get on social media

Get on social media

Find out where your customers are hanging out and post content that they will like. Social media presents brands with a very big opportunity to get their name in front of people’s mobile device screens. Facebook alone has 1.5 billion active users followed by Instagram which has 300 million and Twitter which was over 284 million.

This doesn’t mean you should just jump in on all three. There are more social platforms you can explore. The number of users is important but what matters more is the people that are hanging out in it. Research the platforms your target customers are using and build content according to their needs and interests. The more you post great content on social media, the more likely it is that people will remember your brand and will return to your site since they now associate you with quality content.

Work on your local SEO

Work on your local SEO

In April 2016, Google released an updated guide for Google My Business which gave everyone a chance, whether it’s small or big businesses, to rank in search engines. If you own a small business, take this opportunity to get your brand name to your local audiences.

The update’s help page outlines the steps you can take to improve your local rankings. The first step is to get your brand’s name in at least three listings. Make sure that the listings where you post your business are relevant to your niche and that the name, phone, and address are consistent.

Collect as many reviews from previous clients and respond to them accordingly. This helps Google define your business better and as a result, rank you for the keywords you are targeting.

Those are the three main steps you need to take in order to get better brand awareness for your business. Both ads and social media have become so closely embedded in our lives that it’s impossible not to yield results from the strategies we have listed above. And Google knows it too! Both ads and social engagement belong to Google’s long list of factors for ranking a site.

Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

7 Must-Have Tools for PPC Managers

While the digital world can be highly changeable, some things remain the same. One of those constants is that PPC is still a primary profit generator, and a lucrative way to monetize. When you look at the methods of the highest earning websites across the web, what is often at the very top of their earning strategies? PPC.

If you are looking for a way to optimize your own website for higher earning potential, these tools are must haves.



Ringostat is an intelligent call tracking tool that increases the performance of the advertising and optimizes business workflow.

Ringostat multi-channel report shows the sequences of interactions that brought the user the phone call. With this type of reports Ringostat clients see how previous referrals and searches contributed to their sales, what traffic sources were the first in the consideration process and what sources ultimately converted the user into the lead.

Moreover, these reports show the number of visits from each advertising channel. The call log allows to evaluate the efficiency of advertising campaigns and properly re-allocate the advertising budget. Showing the source of each phone call up to a keyword level, it helps to determine the campaigns that really generate calls.

Obviously, you can glean a lot about your customer  base this way, which can really help you with ad planning. It is expensive, but worth it if you have a decent sized business.

Adwords Editor

Nothing is as frustrating as having to manually go in and edit a bunch of different campaigns in Google AdWords. So your best bet is to make it possible to mass edit and make changes faster.

Adwords Editor gives you the power to do that. It is a super simple tool, maybe so simple it doesn’t seem like it would be that helpful. But it is…oh, yes, it is.

Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner

Speaking of Google, have you used their Keyword Planner yet? If not, you are insane. This is hands down the best free research tool on the web.

You can find the best keyword combinations and monitor your campaign progress, making changes along the way until you have the best possible keywords targeted. Start using it, and thank me later. If you are already using it, use it more. Then thank me again.

Answer The Public

This is a great secondary keyword research tool to use in addition to Google’s Planner. You can generate questions related to your business, and come up with some awesome target phrases. Plus, it is free.

This is out of the usual scope of PPC tools, but is still really valuable and can inform your strategy later on.


How do you keep a leg up on the competition? Spy on them, of course! This tool is a handy little app that will do the detective work for you.

You can find out what keywords they are targeting, how much they are spending on campaigns, and a lot more. Sometimes knowing what the other guys are doing is the best possible way to improve your own efforts.


Trello is kind of my collaboration and project management tool of choice. I use it for everything from professional projects to personal ones.

I find with PPC campaigns it is a great way to organize keywords, track data, and make future plans. Especially if you are working with a team that needs to stay involved.

Adwords Scripts

No one really likes spending all the time needed to run an effective PPC campaign. It takes ages, and so much energy.

These scripts written by BrainLabs automate several of the tasks that take up the most time. Every one of these is a lifesaver, and you should implement them immediately.

Have some tools to add? Let us know in the comments!