For communications and PR professionals, the savvy move is to stay one step ahead—anticipating shifts, decoding trends, and outsmarting the competition.
But to outsmart the competition, you need to not only meticulously analyse their every move but also proactively shape your strategies based on those insights, ensuring that your communications resonate, your messaging stands out, and your PR efforts continually evolve.
This involves more than just scrolling through your competitor’s social media feeds, a competitor analysis in public relations involves systematically evaluating and understanding the activities, messaging, and positioning of competitors within the industry. This comprehensive examination is crucial as it provides a roadmap to identify industry trends, anticipate challenges, and uncover strategic opportunities, ultimately allowing for the development of more informed and effective communication strategies.
With this in mind, we’ve put together this guide to mastering the art of competitor analysis in PR. From defining your objectives to fine-tuning strategies based on insightful data, we’re here to ensure you not only keep pace within your industry but set the rhythm.
Clearly outline the specific objectives of your competitor analysis. Whether it’s understanding market trends, tracking competitor messaging, or identifying opportunities, a well-defined purpose will guide your analysis.
Pinpoint the main competitors relevant to your industry or niche. Prioritise those that share a similar target audience or have a substantial impact on market trends.
Based on your objectives, determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics you’ll monitor. These could include media mentions, share of voice, sentiment analysis, key messages or trending topics, leading publications and other relevant data points.
Gather baseline data on competitors’ media presence, messaging, and media sentiment. What are they doing often? Try and identify the most obvious patterns and trends that offer initial insights.
Track media mentions across various channels to gauge competitors’ visibility through media analysis. Dive into the specifics of media mentions by examining the topics, tone, and outlets featuring your competitors. Identify the key messages associated with these mentions to understand the narrative being crafted around their brand. Gauge the sentiment surrounding your competitors by analysing mentions for positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. This helps in understanding how their brand is perceived.
Examine competitors’ content strategies across different platforms. Identify the type of content they produce, frequency, website structure and user experience. Analyse their SEO strategies and identify keywords they appear to be targeting on their website. What are their best-performing pages? What is it about that content that causes it to be seen as useful by the Google algorithm?
Monitor competitors’ social media channels for engagement, follower growth, and trending topics. Assess the type and format of content your competitors are producing. Whether it’s articles, videos, infographics, or other formats, understanding their content strategy can inform your own approach and help identify content gaps in the market. What was well-received or poorly received? What formats have the most interactions? You can use tools like Streem Social to track and analyse the conversations happening across different platforms, the share of voice amongst competitors, the trending sentiment, key themes, and how they interact with their audience online.
Your brand’s Share of Voice – comparing the number of mentions across various traditional and social media channels – allows you to measure and analyse relative visibility when compared to your competitors within a specific market or industry. Essentially, you can rank yourself and your competitors by who is the most visible in the media. Do the percentages line up with your expectations of market share?
Use this to start benchmarking your reputation against competitors, along with Share of Voice, create a comprehensive table that compares brand perception features associated with each business. This analysis should outline various aspects, such as brand features, messaging strategies, and any distinct elements that set each brand apart. Benchmarking and identifying areas of differentiation and competitive advantages is crucial in guiding your strategic plans to address weaknesses and leverage strengths.
Monitor industry trends that may impact your organisation and your competitors. Whether it’s a recent government announcement or a trending topic on social media, these external factors can significantly alter the dynamics of your industry. Keeping on top of industry news ensures you’re well-prepared to address stakeholder concerns rather than reacting from a defensive stance.
Compile comprehensive reports highlighting key findings of your competitor analysis. Use the data to draw actionable insights and strategic recommendations to inform and refine your PR strategies. Adapt messaging, campaigns, and communication approaches based on competitor insights. Don’t forget to regularly revisit and update your competitor analysis plan to stay relevant.
To understand your brand’s place within a given sector or market, Media Monitoring emerges as a strategic ally, acting as a powerful lens through which PR professionals can gain nuanced insights into the activities, sentiments, and trends of their competitors. Harnessing the realtime data and comprehensive analytics provided by Media Monitoring not only unveils a holistic understanding of the competitive landscape but also positions PR practitioners with a tactical advantage, enabling them to proactively shape and refine their communication strategies for maximum impact.
In short, if news breaks that your competitor is in a scandal, the earlier you know about it – the better chance you have of utilising the opportunity to your advantage. Setting up media monitoring for your business means you’re always the first to know.
As you wrap up your competitor analysis, remember, this isn’t a one-time report—it’s an ongoing process to make sure your strategies stay finely tuned, your messaging remains resonant, and your PR efforts are always primed to navigate the increasingly complex minefield of public-opinion.
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