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Podcast Episode: Using Competitive Intelligence to Influence Your Content Marketing Strategy

Just in time to kick off the month — a brand new episode of Into the Fray: The Competitive Intelligence Podcast has arrived! 

In our latest installment, podcast host, Erik Mansur (our VP of Product Marketing), sat down with Ryan Law, the VP of Content at Animalz, to talk all things competitive content marketing.

As a content marketing agency who has coordinated efforts and generated results for hundreds of companies around the world, including Google and Amazon, Animalz is a bonafide authority on all things content marketing. So, when Erik wanted to hear from the other side of the competitive intelligence transaction — how a content team receives and internalizes insights about rival solutions — he tapped Ryan to learn more about how he uses that intel to his advantage.

Today’s blog post will feature highlights from Erik’s conversation with Ryan, including a close look at the SEO strategy that gives Ryan a competitive advantage. Let’s dive in!


The Pen is Mightier: Using competitive intelligence to influence your content marketing strategy | Ryan Law, VP of Content at Animalz

Erik started by asking Ryan to look at the big picture of incorporating competitive intelligence into content strategy. Depending on whether you are an industry disruptor or are punching up into a market with an established landscape, he wanted to know — are these two completely different competitive strategies or are they aligned?

“Every company has competitors in some dimension, it's just a question of how willing those companies are to admit that and change their strategy to use it to their advantage.”

Ryan explained that there is quite a difference between the two strategies. If you’re disrupting an industry, then your content strategy will focus on distinguishing how your “new way” is superior to the “old way”. But if you’re entering an industry full of established competitors, the goal of your content strategy is to differentiate yourself from existing industry giants in order to create a new narrative around your competition.

Erik was curious about how SEO factors into content strategy when creating competitive content — is there really a way to break through the ranking noise when you’re aiming content at the same target keywords as your competition?

Of course, Ryan admitted, ranking for primary keywords can be tough when you’re in a crowded space. It’s very easy to look at top ranking content and create your own version without adding anything new. For a lot of your primary keywords, all of the top ranking articles you see will be pretty homogenous. They can come across as very utilitarian and often read as Wikipedia pages.

Ryan explains that in those situations, even if you are successful at outranking the other content it will not necessarily have the intended effect of people remembering you, trusting you, or buying your product because that person could easily have had the exact same reading experience on your competitor’s website — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or that you shouldn’t try.

Instead, the goal is to focus your content through the lens of your own point of view in order to create a memorable experience for your audience. “Ask yourself,” said Ryan. “what can we add to the discourse above and beyond what other companies are talking about, even when those companies are not direct product competitors?” 

Ultimately, the goal of competitive content marketing is to not only find ways to outrank the competition, but to leave your audience with some lingering artifact of your messaging and positioning to begin the process of building trust in your company and differentiating yourself from the rest of your competitive landscape.And that was just the start of Erik and Ryan’s conversation. For more insights into competitive content marketing — including whether or not you should include competitors in your marketing materials — tune in to the full episode above or right here!

Creating a Competitive Content Marketing Strategy

One of the biggest misconceptions about competitive intelligence is that it is only a sales enablement tool, when in reality we know that the right CI function influences and aligns strategy across your entire organization.

To begin empowering your marketing strategy with competitive insights like Ryan and his team at Animalz, get started with these 4 Insights That CI Pros Can Deliver to Their Content Teams.

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Madison Blask
Madison Blask is a Content Marketing Senior Specialist at Crayon, where she creates compelling content that converts. Prior to joining Crayon, Madison worked as a Senior Copywriter at CXD Studio, a proudly women-owned creative agency based in Boston, MA.