Levelling the digital playing field

If your business is new to the world of digital marketing and online communications, it can seem like a long uphill struggle. After all, how do you gain ground against competitors that had a head start in building their online presence? Fear not; there are several tools a business can use to improve their digital marketing strategies, help level the playing field and surpass their competitors. 

By Thomas Roden, junior account manager 

The first-mover advantage is a well-known concept in business and marketing, referring to the advantage that businesses have by being the first significant participant in a market space. This could be by entering a new commercial market before competitors, being an early adopter of new technology or by pioneering a new product category.

In terms of digital marketing, it’s easy to assume that competing businesses that were early adopters of digital techniques will be near-impossible to surpass. It seems quite logical that a business with years of backlink generation, social media audience curation and search engine optimisation would have a substantial advantage over companies only now getting serious about digital marketing.

However, we often find this isn’t the case at all – or at least not to the extent you might assume. Fortunately for businesses only now realising the value of digital marketing, there are tools that you can use to leverage the hard-learned secrets and hard-earned achievements of your competitors.

A good starting point is to find out what your competitors are ranking for in search, which will then help you to determine the keywords that might be of interest for your own site. You can do this by using the organic research function in SEMRush. Simply enter your competitor’s domain and see the keywords they’re ranking highly for, as well as the pages that are optimised for that phrase.

This can be coupled with either Google Trends data or the free Keyword Explorer tool from Moz to help determine the most valuable keywords and variations for your own site. These can then be incorporated into on-page copy and worked into an inbound link strategy.

But where should these links be coming from? Well, a B2B PR specialist will be able to advise on the most valuable trade media to generate traffic to your website for those phrases. However, you can complement this by using Moz’s Link Explorer tool to see where your competitors are getting their links from. 

Similar tools exist for most aspects of digital marketing to allow you to make up for lost time. For example, let’s say that online video marketing forms part of your overall digital strategy to complement your SEO and thought leadership activity. Just as SEMRush allows you to peer beneath the surface of a website to see the inner workings, you can use the VidIQ Vision extension for Google Chrome for extra insight into YouTube videos. 

This allows you to see more granular data about a YouTube video’s social performance and optimisation, as well the YouTube tags that it has been assigned.

While the first-mover advantage is certainly true in many marketing scenarios, digital marketing is not necessarily one of them. By using the right tools to form an effective strategy and working with a digital PR agency that can skilfully execute this strategy, you can level the playing field and avoid being at a digital disadvantage.


Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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