Competitive Analysis 101, Part 1: Measuring Editorial Enterprise
Preparing competitive analysis reports typically requires plenty of counting. The standard goal of such projects is to document such competitive differentiators as who can claim quantitative leadership in the number of editorial pages or in content devoted to specific product categories. As useful as those reports may be, perhaps we should consider a new instructive factor to measure: editorial enterprise.
In an era of constrained budgets and reduced staffing, publications are increasingly turning to press releases and other canned news sources for editorial content. In this environment, content based on original, enterprise reporting becomes increasingly valuable to readers and advertisers alike.
As I wrote last October, the challenge is quantifying the enterprise behind the content. Doing so is no cinch, but it definitely is an important undertaking. In the past, claims of superior enterprise have often been expressed in terms of adjectives like “more” or “better.” But if you actually quantify your enterprise content, you may be surprised to find that your superiority in enterprise reporting has slipped away over the years. And you may likewise be surprised to discover that your competitor outdoes you in this crucial area.
With these considerations in mind, Editorial Solutions, Inc. (ESI), is experimenting with a calculation tracking the percentage of total content per issue meeting enterprise standards. The test will be applied in ESI’s annual e-news delivery study getting underway shortly.
Our analysis of enterprise is based on three key elements:
- To be considered enterprise content, the writer must clearly have obtained exclusive comment beyond material provided in PR announcements.
- For scoring purposes, articles with exclusive quotes from one or two sources are categorized as low enterprise, while those with exclusive quotes from three or more are high enterprise.
- All news stories based on PR announcements must include additional comment from an authoritative corporate source. (No article should be posted until this follow-up procedure takes place.)
For a passing grade, at least 60% of the total online content of a site must reflect enterprising effort. A pilot study I conducted earlier this year on 47 B2B sites found 17 unable to meet this target. Only two reached 100%. It’s significant that media in industry sectors like technology were star performers, benefiting from a constant high level of newsworthy activity. Sites serving other fields swamped by a daily posting e-news schedule often failed to maintain peak enterprise levels.
The following table shows the percentage of content based on enterprise reporting for websites in 8 different media sectors. For each sector, the results for the highest- and lowest-scoring sites are provided. The data reflect a 10-article review for each online site reviewed.
Top and Bottom Sites for Percentage of Enterprise Editorial Content
|Sector||Top Site||Bottom Site|
As these results show, in most industry sectors, the top sites have much to boast about. As for those low-enterprise sites, they will have to deal with embarrassing jabs from gleeful competitors until they improve their performance.
Coming next week: Avoiding the pitfall of presumed editorial superiority.