"The other guy is doing it" seems like a terrible rationale, except that showing off the shares and attention a competitor is getting for their content can really help prove your point with someone who still doesn't see the value in content marketing. Just be ready for what sometimes comes next - "Do exactly what they're doing" - which is not the way to win at content marketing.
I have been in SEO for 7 months now, came in completely green and it has been a hell of a roller coaster so far! I have been searching for something like this since starting really and, although I have found some other good guides out there, this is by far the most thorough and useful! Thanks for sharing this with everyone Steve, I've bookmarked it and have a feeling I will be referring to it frequently going forward!
For both teams, first reactions from people were often strongly negative. I cringe to think what focus groups would have done with these ideas. But, Chesky and Gebbia, and Hyman and Fleiss, were undeterred. To these founders, their ideas were obvious and they set out to find investors and employees who got the vision when most everyone else did not.
For doing what you doing on a frequent basis - I love http://nielsbosma.se/projects/seotools/ I have a one pager that does the following - site:with www site:without www (returning the numbers), Page rank (which I tend to ignore), Dmoz ranks (mr,sd,pa,da & links) then the homepage analysis of metadata (inc robots meta), checks the headers on the sitemap.xml  / robots.txt and a random page to see if it is properly a 404  (it also looks at code to text ratio but I haven't actually got into my head what a good number is!)  once printed this doubles up as my note paper for it  all the rest of the audit! 

Knowledge of a competitor's objectives facilitates a better prediction of the competitor's reaction to different competitive moves. For example, a competitor that is focused on reaching short-term financial goals might not be willing to spend much money responding to a competitive attack. Rather, such a competitor might favor focusing on the products that hold positions that better can be defended. On the other hand, a company that has no short term profitability objectives might be willing to participate in destructive price competition in which neither firm earns a profit.
When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the prospect or customer. Once a business has identified the customer's need, information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc.[5][6] Most of these formats belong to the digital channel.
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