Guest Column: 10 B-to-B Weapons to Help You Beat Your Competition
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a competitor's surprise promotion piece trashing your editorial content? If so, you know how panic sets in as you prepare to refute the opposition's claims. Even if those claims lack merit, it's often too late. The enemy made the first strike. The damage has been done, and you are on the defensive.
Most worrisome competitive-analysis reports are based on editorial counting—the "who is doing more of what" method. But some publishers don't have time to count—whether the focus is on print or digital content. This can hurt those publishers because quantitative-superiority claims have been a common weapon used during print warfare, and competitors may be using this tactic as a strategy to outsell them. Digital match-ups have been rare, but that's bound to change soon.
For those wishing to be first to strike, here is a list of 10 content targets—five print, five digital—that deserve attention. In many cases, monitoring these areas has provided alert publishers with ammo for their next brochure or promo piece.
Demonstrating Leadership Is the Key
Here are five print content areas that should be tabulated continuously:
➊ 'First and only' accomplishments. I encountered this approach while working with an industrial publisher. The promotion piece in question listed five examples of significant coverage where editorial staff scooped the competition. Also included: five examples of coverage exclusivity. This list included reference to important events from which the opposition was absent. A variation of this approach is a "scoop analysis report." This is a killer weapon if your publication is a weekly or biweekly competing against a monthly. The report itemizes a list of breaking news articles and coverage dates for each competitor.
➋ Key editorial-category coverage reports. In this case, you regularly count pages devoted to high-interest topics. First, identify 10 topics where you assume page-count coverage is in your favor. Then run tabulations for the past six issues. Don't be surprised to find that in some of these categories, the opposition has built a quantitative edge.