When it comes to content marketing, how do you know what to write about? What topics should you cover in your niche to effectively pull in new traffic, leads, and customers? How do you stand out from your competitors and rise above the noise?
The answer is simple: conduct a content gap analysis. If done right, it should tell you what opportunities you’re missing, where you can cut back or bulk up, and how to provide the best value possible to your target audience.
In short, this analysis will help you find gaps in your content marketing strategy and show you exactly how to fill them.
Today, you’ll learn why a content gap analysis is an essential piece of your content marketing puzzle and how to conduct one in-depth for maximum benefits.
- Competitor analysis involves identifying what topics and which types of content are missing from your website.
- Finding holes in your strategy and filling them with quality content will strengthen your SEO, build your website authority, and attract new leads and customers to your business.
- The content gap analysis process involves setting concrete goals, profoundly understanding your buyer personas, mapping the buyer’s journey, doing market and competitor research, and conducting an audit of your content assets.
- Once you’ve identified your content gaps, you can fill them with content that’s 10x better than the competition. That means developing fresh, relevant, and engaging content your audience will love.
What is Content Gap Analysis?
Content gap analysis involves identifying topics and types of content that are missing from your existing content. By pinpointing new opportunities in your content marketing strategy, you can improve your SEO. Content gap analysis allows you to build a high-performing content plan targeting consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
You can analyze your website, blog, landing pages, social media, downloadable content, and any other content you own. However, the most crucial area of focus is your website—where you can successfully lead visitors through every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Why is Content Gap Analysis Important?
Finding and filling holes in your content strategy will strengthen your SEO and content marketing strategies so your website performs better overall. It can help you build authority online so more people find your website and become leads and customers. It will also help you create more holistic and connected customer experiences.
You’ll see where you’re missing critical pieces of content for customers moving through the buyer’s journey. If you don’t fill the gaps, people could easily fall through the cracks—leave and go straight to a competitor with more relevant information.
Filling gaps makes the customer journey smoother and easier to follow. It will also help consumers move more quickly through your sales funnel.
Performing a content gap analysis will also help you:
- Find topics that connect and resonate with your target audience.
- Optimize all of your content for maximum results.
- Fill content with lead magnets (incentives) to boost conversions.
- Discover new niches and sub-niches that your competitors haven’t uncovered yet.
- Meet customers’ needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Drive valuable traffic to your website by identifying high-value content opportunities.
- Improve search visibility for new topics.
How Do You Do a Content Gap Analysis?
You can conduct a thorough analysis of your content in five straightforward steps. Once you do, you’ll know precisely how to create great content in the right places for the right reasons.
Before diving into the process, ensure you take care of some prerequisites. Identify the primary goals you’d like to achieve and know precisely who your target audience is.
- Goals: Why are you analyzing your content? What are you hoping to achieve through this process? What do you want to improve? Your goals could focus on traffic, leads, search engine rankings, and anything else that will help you improve your content marketing strategy and achieve better results.
- Target audience: How well do you know your target audience? What does your customer lifecycle look like? Map out your buyer personas (detailed descriptions of a fictional person representing your ideal customer) by identifying things like basic demographics, interests, needs, behavioral traits, challenges, and pain points.
1. Map Your Buyer’s Journey
After you know your goals and thoroughly understand your audience, you can map out the journey consumers will take from beginning to end. What path will they take from the moment they become aware of your brand to the moment they decide to support your business?
Do you have content for website visitors in the awareness stage—like emails, social posts, ebooks, and educational blog posts?
How about those considering what you have to offer? Your blog, social media, reviews, podcasts, guides, case studies, and videos can help.
Do you have content to convert consumers into leads and customers in the decision stage? That includes pricing information, comparison guides, reviews, product/service demonstrations, and information on how to purchase a good or service from your business.
Don’t forget about the loyalty stage. It involves current customers looking for value above and beyond what you’ve already provided. You can ask them for feedback (via surveys) and reviews. Consider sharing newsletters, updates, promotions, and other assets to empower them to engage further with your brand and spread the word.
To map out the buyer’s journey, identify all of the steps someone will take to get from the awareness stage to the loyalty stage. Then, come up with key questions the same person will likely ask at each step of their journey. Include what they’re looking for, what they need to move to the next step, and how they’ll get there.
Here’s a simple example of a buyer’s journey for a content manager, Nora, looking for outside help to make her job more manageable.
- Nora needs to find a way to produce a lot of content fast. She only has one in-house writer on her marketing team, and her business just onboarded two more clients.
- She searches for “outsourced content creation services” on Google.
- She clicks on an article called “11 Benefits of Outsourcing Your Content Creation.”
- Nora learns that outsourcing to another agency could be a cost-effective solution to her problem.
- She goes back on Google and searches “best content creation agencies” and finds a listicle that rates and reviews 10 of the top agencies.
- She makes a list of the three best options and digs into them further, looking at their websites, services, testimonials, and third-party reviews.
- Nora picks what looks like the best option for her company. She signs up for their newsletter and sets up a free consultation.
- After the call, she’s happy with the offer and decides to order content from them.
- She becomes a loyal customer and no longer worries about juggling all the work herself.
- Her new partner offers her a discount for being a long-term client.
- She gives the company 5-star reviews wherever she can and recommends them to her friends and colleagues.
Nora’s journey was relatively seamless. She worked her way from the awareness stage to considering her options. She decided on the best choice she could find and eventually become a loyal customer and brand evangelist. You can map out a similar scenario for your buyer’s journey based on your products/services and buyer personas.
For a more in-depth guide on mapping out your buyer’s journey, read “The Importance of Customer Journey Mapping in Content Marketing.”
2. Do Market Research
The next step in performing your content gap analysis is conducting market research. Interview potential clients, current clients, and industry experts directly or by sending out surveys for feedback.
Try to address people at each stage of the buyer’s journey by sending out market research surveys to different segments of your audience. To get the most out of your surveys, ask hard-hitting questions like:
- Can you describe your main goals?
- What are the top pain points you’re trying to solve?
- Where do you look to find solutions to your problems?
- What solutions have you already tried? Why didn’t they work?
- What information are you seeking to help you reach your goals or solve your problems?
- What bothers you the most about [topic]?
- What questions or concerns do you have regarding [topic]?
- What made you choose [A product/service] over [B product/service]?
- What are the top three things you look for in a solution?
When you start getting feedback, you’ll better understand how people find your products/services online, why they’re looking in the first place, and how you can better address their concerns. It should give you a fresh perspective to help you develop new content ideas.
3. Analyze Your Current Content
Conduct a content audit to see where your content is performing well and where it’s underperforming. Try to examine your content through the same lens you would for competitors.
Start with your website—this is where you’ll take people through the entire buyer’s journey from awareness to decision and brand loyalty. If you have any gaps in your journey, you’ll lose future business.
Compile a list of all the URLs on your website. Then, label each page with its corresponding stage of the buyer’s journey (if any). It’s also smart to “rank” each page according to how well it performs. Include things like average search engine results page (SERP) position, monthly traffic and leads, and click-through rate (CTR).
Depending on how well each content piece is performing, categorize it into one of three buckets:
- Keep: This category includes high-performing content that may not need extra attention at this time. Consider incorporating it into future campaigns to drive more traffic to your website.
- Update/optimize: If you have good content that isn’t performing well, you may need to update, revise, or optimize it.
- Remove: Delete low-quality or outdated content from your website if it would be too much work to update or won’t help your SEO.
You can use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and SEMrush Content Audit to make this process easier.
After conducting your content analysis, identify gaps in your buyer’s journey. If you have mostly awareness-stage content, for example, you’ll know you need to focus on creating more consideration and decision-stage content moving forward.
4. Analyze Competitor Content
It’s time to compare your content to your competitors’. Poke around top competitor websites to see how they move people through the buyer’s journey. How do they lead visitors from one page to the next? Do they focus on specific types of content? Where do they win, and where do they fail?
Try to identify what they do better than you and where they’re missing the mark. Take note of their top-performing pages and keywords. You should also analyze competitor keywords and topics using search engines and competitor tools.
- Peruse page one of Google. We all aim to rank number one (or at the very least on page one) on Google for target topics and keywords. Inspect page one of a Google search to identify what’s ranking already for your target keywords so you understand your competition.
- Use the right tools. Many keyword tools allow you to enter competitors to see their top-ranking keywords. Identify the ones relevant to your business and, again, do a Google search to see what comes up on the first page. Closely analyze the top webpages or blog articles to see what the business has done well and what you could do better.
5. Fill Any Gaps
If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to create a new content marketing strategy to knock your results out of the park. To recap, you’ll combine the data you’ve gathered by:
- Mapping the buyer’s journey for your target audience based on your goals
- Conducting market research by surveying future and current clients and industry experts
- Auditing your website content
- Analyzing competitor content
Now it’s time to fill the content gaps you’ve identified with new content that’s 10x better than your competitors’. Your new content should be thorough, compelling, and useful.
Creating high-caliber content in a market that’s already saturated is a tall order—but it’s achievable with the time and resources to make it happen.
By filling in all the gaps you currently have, you’ll not only attract more traffic. You’ll also create a seamless customer journey for anyone who lands on your site.
Conduct a Content Gap Analysis So You Can Create 10x Content
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