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How to use competitor mapping to stay on top of your PR campaigns

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Public Relations

Did you know that the average PR team only track five metrics when crafting a new campaign? In a digital world, where click-through rates, competitor conversions and social channel engagement remain massively important factors in the planning stage of a campaign, why do so many PR professionals forget to keep an eye on them?

As we embrace the future of PR planning in 2023, it’s time to start improving your research game. One way to stay on top of the market is to turn to those who have already gone forth and conquered.

We’re talking about your competitors. Whether they are a direct product match or a connected industry giant, some of the best metrics you can harvest come directly from your competitors.

Stick with us as we teach you how to create the perfect competitor map for PR success in 2023.

What is competitor mapping?

Competitor mapping is the cornerstone of any successful campaign. Taking time to get to know your competitors is a great starting point in the creation of your own foolproof PR plan. From compiling a list of their strengths and weaknesses to jumping deeper into their campaign engagement statistics and target success, gathering information of your competition is essential if you want to gain a competitive advantage.

This is where competitor mapping steps in. with so much data to gather, a competitor map provides a physical representation of your research. Presented like a brainstorm, a competitor map can shed details on product/service conversions, business location, prices and ratings.

Seeing this data in a visual format can help PR teams spot patterns within a competitor’s strategy. Professionals can then use these patterns to influence the creation of their own PR campaigns.

How to use competitor mapping to stay on top of your PR campaigns

This is a handy tool to use, especially if you’re about to drop a new product or launch a seasonal campaign.

How can it be used to improve your PR success?

Competitor mapping plays a key role in a PR strategy. With over half of marketers claiming that the research stage is the most important stage in a campaign, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of your data.

Using a competitor map to visualize market trends and patterns, you can identify what competing brands are doing well, and what they need to improve on. This data alone can enhance the creation of your own original messaging technique and can reveal market gaps/weaknesses that your campaign can address and solve.

Here are some of the most common benefits of competitor mapping:

  • Competitor identification: A competitor map will highlight some of the key industry players you must watch out for when creating your campaigns,
  • Providing you with problems to solve: Your competitor map could highlight competitor negatives such as product bouncing, poorly performing content and high levels of disengagement. Make sure your campaign can provide a solution and an alternative targeting strategy.
  • Improving originality: Competitor maps will highlight market trends. If you spot frequent style/messaging occurrences, use this as an opportunity to create something that will stick out from the crowd.

How to insert competitor mapping into your PR strategy

If you want to create an effective competitor map, look no further. We have collected our best mapping tips and tricks for a research strategy that’ll see your campaign flying.

Step one: Identify your competitors

One of the first steps to take when creating your competitor map is to round up all of your possible competitors. Whether they are a direct product/service rival or simply a distant industry giant, it’s important to gather data from all angles if you want to see an accurate result.

In order to identify your key challenges, it’s time to get online. Start searching for common keywords within your niche, and highlight the top five companies that rank at the top of a Google search string. The more focused your keyword searches are, the better your results will be.

For example, if you’re about to launch a campaign to sell the perfect Valentine’s Day red lipstick, make sure your keyword phrases are descriptive and a direct match for your product, such as – ‘luxury red lipstick’ or ‘valentines day gifts for her’.

Better still, why not tap into social media too? With over 4.7 billion users, social platforms are a goldmine for PR success. Search for well-performing content from competitors, platform engagement statistics, and hashtag use in post captions.

Step two: Find an area of focus

Once you’ve identified your key competitors, it’s time to delve into the details. The best competitor maps are those that focus on certain areas of your campaign and target areas of weakness that you’re aiming to work on.

For example, you may be trying to improve your social channel reach. In this instance, you’ll want to collect as much data on your competitor’s social profiles as you can. This can range from content structures, likes, comments and trends that they have engaged with.

Before engaging in research, set your area of focus into at least three goals. This could be to increase your social media following, improve content engagement and boost social-site traffic. With your goals in mind, you can actively search for data that will inform your campaign.

Another way to do this, is to introduce a SWOT analysis to your research process. SWOT stands for your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Using these as focus points when conducting your competitor research is a great place to start.

Step three: Where can you improve?

Did you know that flexibility is rated the key ingredient for PR success by 75 percent of professionals?

If you’re willing to improve and adapt your campaigns to fit with the market and demographic trends, you’ll see more positive results than ever before.

The key here is to regularly monitor your competitors and keep finding areas in which you can improve. If you see a content structure that is performing well on a social platform, why not create your own version of it? Or alternatively, if you see a hashtag or keywords trending amongst your competitors, why not jump on board too?

There are always ways to improve your PR campaign. Competitor mapping just highlights it for you.

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith
Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a UK-based freelance journalist and multimedia marketing executive.

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