Analyzing News Media Competition With Screenshots For Better Results

Competition knocks on every business' door: it makes or mars you! Learn how Stillio helps companies maintain a competitive advantage in the news and media industry.

All industries are faced with competition, but online media is particularly ambitious. Besides having to handle multiple news at all times, making sure they're live on time and with no mistakes. There has to be a moment where you can focus on what other sites are talking about. With that sheer workload, it can be complicated to fit competitor analysis into your schedule.

Many companies are turning to screenshot software to keep a constant eye on other sites, avoiding manual load and staying on top of the competition. This article will examine how you can achieve this for your news site.

What sites should I keep an eye on?

Before diving into the aspects of monitoring on a competing news site, you must first identify whom you will track. You can't be after every news site in your area or internationally because that would be impossible to analyze. When going into competitor analysis, you need to choose your battles.

For example, think of the news sites that compete most closely with you: they cover the same stories as you, target the same audience, and are maybe in the exact location. Two or three names will pop up in your mind. Those are your direct competitors and the ones you should prioritize.

Then you may want to add a couple of extras to your analysis. These can include specialized news sites that cover a particular industry you're interested in, like politics, economy, sports, cryptocurrency, or entertainment.

If you also have a section destined for international news, then you also want to keep an eye on a couple of sites from elsewhere in the world. What are your primary sources? Choose two to monitor as well.

In addition, you can look up an alternative news site. That could be an independent news source or a site with a different political opinion than yours. It's essential to check online newspaper competitors that cover similar stories but with a different tone or perspective.

These last additions to your competitor analysis won't be your priority. Still, they can provide insights into new stories, the site layout, and more.

What should I look for in a competitor’s site?

Now that you know whom you'll look into, it's time to get to work. Gather all your chosen sites and start your news site competitor analysis looking for these aspects.

News

Probably the main reason why you're running this analysis in the first place. Pay close attention to the stories each site is covering, considering their perspective and audience. Is there a story the other site has published and you're missing out on? Keeping an eye on competitors can help you stay on top of important topics and provide your take on a given story.

In addition, understand how they're covering that story. What do their headlines look like? Are they friendly, or more professional or urgent? Are there any complementary assets, like a video, an image, or an infographic? That can give you ideas to enrich your content and stay at the same level as other sites.

Homepage layout

Besides design, the homepage layout can help you identify the topics and categories most relevant to your competitor. For example, in publishing order, some news sites have all their stories in an extensive list. Still, others will combine different block sizes for each article and various types of titles and images. All of these criteria are indicators of a story's importance to the site and its audience.

The layout can also be a part of the brand's identity. For example, the Washington Posts' homepage resembles the front page of a physical newspaper. Check if other sites in your selection do something like this, as it differentiates their site from others with design. Is this something you would want to apply to your site?

Categories

Not all news is the same; no online newspaper will throw them all on the homepage with no classification. So when researching news site competitions, identify how they categorize their stories. Most likely, categories will show up at the top of the homepage.

Does the news site only display broad, traditional categories like politics, entertainment, and economy? Are they divided only by topic, or do they have special sections for formats like interviews or chronicles? Are there any additional sections dedicated to a special event, like "Super Bowl" or "Ukraine War"?

Categories will give you insight into what each platform prioritizes and maybe spark ideas for new topics or sections to highlight.

Branded Content

Unless you're looking at a minimal and independent website, all your chosen competitors are hosting ads. But we're not going to focus on display ads on news sites, like Google or Bing Ads, but on the sponsored content news websites build in direct collaboration with other companies. Look up their media kit to find what formats a particular website offers.

Banners are news sites' first and most easily recognizable type of branded content. These will look like regular ads but are ad space sold directly by the company. That means the news site chooses who to sell that space to directly, the specs of the banner, the price, and the frequency.

Another more native way of incorporating branded content into a news website is sponsored stories. These stories will be focused on a particular event or topic chosen by the brand. Depending on the deal, the brand will provide the story, or the news team will write it. You can identify these stories since they feature a caption, "Sponsored by [brand]."

You may find stories that feature a company quote or are focused on a brand's actions or a particular event but don't have the sponsored caption. That is because those are not paid spaces. Still, a press release the company shared with the publisher, which they decided to incorporate into their website.

Identifying these banners and sponsored stories is important to get an idea of what companies your competitors are working with. 

How to monitor news sites using screenshots

Looking at your selection of 5 or 6 competitors, you may be thinking: "when am I supposed to analyze each one?". With how often news updates, we would be worrying as well. That is why, as we mentioned earlier, many news sites are turning to screenshots to monitor their competitors constantly.

Stillio automatically captures website screenshots at regular intervals, which can be monthly, weekly, daily, or up to 5 minutes with the best plan. That means you can preserve detailed insight into your competitors' moves, capturing their homepage to monitor layout updates and particular categories to see what's relevant to them and identify sponsored content throughout the site.

These screenshots are saved in your account so that you can analyze them later. No more having ten tabs open and refreshing to see what the new story everyone's covering is. With Stillio, you can get that information right into your account to reference later. You also get notified whenever new screenshots are available so that you don't manually have to keep track of your screenshots all the time. 

One of our main success stories has AGEA, Argentina's largest publishing company, as a protagonist. They were looking for a solution to stay on top of their competitors' publishing activity. Stillio was their final choice because of our frequency options, as well as our multiple native IP addresses around the world. In addition, they can track competitor behavior and compare it with their content.

Pricing starts at $29 for daily screenshots.

Conclusion

Knowing what your competition is up to at all times is always crucial, but in the news, it's a bigger challenge. Now that you know who and what to track, say yes to screenshots to make the process easier! Feel free to book a demo with us to explore all our features. Don't forget to check AGEA's case study to see how screenshots helped them in their competitor tracking strategy.

Starting at $29/m

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