The value of competitive intelligence extends beyond informing strategic business operations. PR teams can also benefit from knowing how competitors perform by tracking their earned media coverage.

By including competitive intelligence in your media measurement program, your team can access crucial insights into your industry’s PR landscape and a deeper understanding of your own communications performance.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the practice of collecting and analyzing data on your competitors to inform your PR strategy. In communications, it requires tracking competitors’ earned media coverage using meaningful metrics that provide insight into various aspects of their strategies and performance. This data is then used to paint a complete picture of the competitive landscape your team operates within.

Why Is Competitive Intelligence Important?

Competitive intelligence is important because it allows you to benchmark your performance against industry peers. In addition to comparative analysis, it enables you to learn from competitors’ strategies, especially when it comes to their handling of communications crises.

You can also use this data to learn what stories and topics gain the most social traction, as well as identify opportunities in your market.

How to Use Competitive Intelligence to Inform Your PR Strategy

Once you’ve identified your key competitors and started measuring their media coverage, you can begin to analyze the data against your own to generate insights that can guide your communications going forward.

Here are a few ways you can use competitive intelligence to inform your PR strategy:

Benchmark Your Performance Against Peers

Benchmarking will help you to understand your performance in relation to peers and evaluate your progress over time. Collecting data on your competitors allows you to compare your communications on a variety of metrics. There are four metrics you can use as a starting point to conduct a benchmark analysis: Article Volume and Tone, Social Sharing, Share of Voice, and Key Message Penetration.

Article Volume and Tone

Measuring Article Volume and Tone is the simplest way to get a big picture insight into your competitors’ general brand awareness and sentiment as portrayed by the media. The tone of competitors’ coverage will reveal the brands that have generated the highest proportion of positive coverage, indicating that theirs are the strategies to learn from. Keep in mind that accurately evaluating tone is a challenge for AI-only media measurement tools, which is why we use human-augmented AI for reliable sentiment analysis.

Social Sharing

Social Sharing reveals which companies your audience is most engaged with. And, when analyzed alongside other metrics, like Tone or Key Message Penetration, it exposes the reach of that content. Consider Social Sharing a sign of the effectiveness of competitors’ coverage in resonating with your audience, for better or worse.

Share of Voice

How much attention is your brand receiving compared to your competitors? Which of your competitors dominates the media coverage relevant to your brand? Measuring Share of Voice is a broad indicator of brand awareness and your position within your market. This metric is useful for benchmarking your progress in increasing your company’s dominance in the industry conversation over time.

Key Message Penetration

While tracking the number of times your company was mentioned relative to competitors can show you who is leading your industry conversation, you can go deeper into the value of those mentions by measuring Key Message Penetration. In other words, how many of those media mentions reflect one of the core messages your brand wants to be known for? Not only will it show how effective peers’ messaging campaigns are, but you can learn from the outlets, authors, and strategies that give them the most success.

Identify Influencer Opportunities

Are there any journalists or publications that mention competitors often and favorably but aren’t covering your company? Do any of these authors generate outsized social sharing among your target audience?

Analyzing influencer data as a part of your competitor tracking will highlight the sources of their positive coverage and identify opportunities for your team to build relationships with industry influencers.

Learn From Competitor Crises

There is a lot you can learn from how your competitors handle communications crises relevant to your industry.

For instance, was their response proactive or reactive? Which messages resonated the most with your shared audience via social sharing? Which influencers covered their response positively? Negatively?

Analyzing their strategies in response to crises and the results will provide you with evidence-based recommendations in the event a similar crisis targets your company.

Use Predictive Analytics to Dominate the Conversation

A fully optimized media analytics program will not only allow you to learn from competitors’ past performance but will also help you to predict their future communications.

Using our predictive solutions, you can anticipate the messages your competitors plan to focus on in the coming weeks and the journalists they intend to target with that messaging. With this data, you can get a leg up on the narrative and dominate the conversations your competitors are vying for.

Strengthen Your PR Strategy with Competitive Intelligence

An in-depth understanding of your competitive landscape will help you develop a strong PR strategy. Detailed information on your competitors’ communications will highlight what works and what doesn’t with your shared audiences. Further, by benchmarking your communications performance against peers, you can identify opportunities for growth and measure your progress over time. PublicRelay supports your communications with advanced media analytics using a hybrid approach of cutting-edge technology and human analysts. Click here to learn more about how our solutions can help you to track your competitors!

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