Competitive Editorial Analysis 101: Consider Dual Goal When Gathering Data
High-value competitive editorial analysis reports should go beyond conventional page counts. In fact, they should aim for a dual goal. Of course there is the obvious objective of matching quantitative strengths and weaknesses. But equally important—and frequently overlooked—is input gained regarding qualitative superiority. Perhaps you’ve overestimated your edge in that respect. What follows here are some of the qualitative indicators you can examine.
For example, you may discover that your content falls short in terms of exclusivity. There also is useful input to be gained concerning access to top sources. Do your editors excel at reaching out to top sources for comment? Or does your interviewing team settle for input from more convenient contacts? There is a difference.
When it comes to sources, do you know how many of them each competitor’s issue includes via published information rather than interviews? To that end , I recently added a “mentions report” in all reviews. It’s a combination count of end-users quoted plus contributions from other known authoritative sources.
Another area your analysis should compare periodically is geography. How complete is your coast-to-coast coverage? Who does the best job of gathering input from a broad pool of sources? Projects I’ve handled often discover editorial staffs that can’t break their “source overkill” habit. They rely repeatedly on a limited contact list; meanwhile, competition constantly touches base with new interviewees.
One more possibility worth considering is an errors comparison. Thanks to today’s word processing programs, it’s unlikely you’ll find typos galore in anyone’s print or online issues. But there are plenty of other ways to goof up content delivery.
Last but not least, always review targets achieved when it comes to end-user quotes and embedded links. For example, I always check online End-User Visibility (EUV). The way this works is, assuming a site review involves ten articles, what is the average number of end-users that package quotes? I’ve set a reasonable target average of 1.0 per article. You’d think that goal would be easily achievable. But don’t kid yourself. Historically, EUV results have been mostly unacceptable.
I’ve tried all the above at one time or another. They work for me. If clarifications on any installment in this series of articles are required, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 569-7714.
Previously in this series