Conducting a Content Gap Analysis That Uncovers Winning Topics.
Selecting the most effective content marketing strategy is a hard nut to crack.
However, nowadays — with over 4.4 million content pieces published every day — achieving solid growth through content marketing has become tougher than ever.
With such a fierce competition, relying on intuition is no longer an option. Instead, you should focus on applying a strategic approach to how you produce your content.
In this case, facts and numbers are your best friends, and analyzing your competitive landscape is a surefire way of acquiring insightful data that you can take advantage of.
One of the things that competitive analysis allows you to do is identify content gaps. These are particular content topics or topic hubs that are missing from your website (while your competitors might have them).
Such an analysis gives you an opportunity to create laser-targeted content that your audience is interested in and helps them move through the funnel.
In this post, we will talk you through identifying and filling in those content gaps.
What is content gap analysis?
Content gap analysis is the process of finding the missing content pieces and topics in the existing media landscape. Some marketers claim that it’s also important to look at what your clients want to consume vs. what the market has to offer. Sometimes, it even makes sense to create a demand for a certain type of content, and then steal the show by giving it to your audience.
Content gap analysis isn’t just another fancy, new technique. It’s an actionable approach allowing you to identify blank spots in your content strategy that don’t allow your customers to move through the funnel.
Content gap analysis also helps you shift the focus of your content from what you think is important to your audience to what is actually important to them
There’s a big difference between what you think about your users’ interests and what your users actually think.
In the majority of cases, content marketers don’t go too deep into the analysis, which results in creating content that doesn’t really meet their audience’s needs. Content gap analysis helps you choose the topics that truly resonate with your target group and match their needs.
Often, companies that are able to align their content with their users’ needs eventually turn into learning hubs. For instance, most digital marketers know that if you’re new to SEO, you should start your learning journey at the Moz blog.
How to Do Content Gap Analysis.
1. Map Out the Buyer’s Journey.
80% of marketers consider content to be more effective when it is personalized. For that, you need to have an understanding of your buyer’s journey.
In other words, you need to know how your prospects are moving through the funnel and, in particular, how they are searching for products and services before deciding to make a purchase.
Apart from this, understanding your buyer’s journey will help you create a demand for your product. The companies that were able to capture their potential clients at early stages are in the best position because:They tend to create more effective content marketing funnels that help them capture ready-to-act leads.
1. They don’t need to spend their ad budgets on building brand awareness, as they’ve already done it through content marketing.
2. High value of their content helps them build authority, credibility, and eventually be perceived as the market leaders.
3. A typical buyer’s journey consists of three stages:
Awareness. We realize that we have a particular need, and we are analyzing the landscape. At this stage, clients realize that they have a problem or a need, but don’t have a right-off-the-bat solution to it. Therefore, they are looking for content around the issue they are trying to solve.
Consideration. We named our problem and now we’re actively searching for a solution. Once the user knows what she wants, she’s moving to the stage of active solution seeking. At this point, users review all possible options that the market has to offer.
Decision. We’ve researched the landscape, we picked the solution, and we’re ready to move forward. At this point, the user is usually informed about the advantages and disadvantages of your product. What they need here is a gentle nudge to encourage them to take action. It could be a good review, a discount, or any other kind of activity that makes your offer look more appealing — and the deal is closed.
The buyer’s journey can be mapped out differently, depending on the type of business you run. Some marketers also distinguish the phase of Interest and Purchase, as users might require specific content at these stages.
Once you have that sorted out, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Interview Your Loyal Clients and Industry Experts.
Once you’ve mapped out your buyer’s journey, you need to collect insight on how your clients act at each stage, what content they require, and how they move through the funnel.
You can, for example, conduct a series of surveys using tools like Typeform to collect the answers in bulk. This tool is great because it’s interactive, which makes your surveys more appealing, increasing your chances of collecting more answers.
Here are the examples of questions that you could be asking:
- How do you describe your goals and challenges?
- What kind of data are you looking for to learn more about your goals/challenges?
- How did you come up with the list of possible solutions? Where did you look for information?
- What metrics/criteria do you prioritize above others in the active research phase?
- What pros and cons are you relying on heavily?
To encourage your clients to take up that survey, you can use a special something for extra motivation — an Amazon gift card, for example. This will show your clients that you appreciate their effort and value their time.
Perform keyword research.
Thanks to interviewing your clients, you gained a solid understanding of how exactly your users are searching for your products or services. What you need to do next is use this data to do keyword research and connect the dots (e.g. you need to ensure that your future posts are connected to search marketing demand).
In the broadest sense, keyword research is the process of identifying the phrases and combinations of words that people are typing into Google and other search engines. Keyword research can help you with:
- Discovering how our potential customers interact with the topic (i.e. what kind of language and words they use to explore it).
- Learning how competitive the landscape of these keywords is (i.e. how much effort your company needs to invest into ranking high for these terms).
- Last, but not least, the key search terms we find are the basis of our content strategy.
There are different paths you can take when you doing your keyword research. No matter which methods and tool you use, in the end you should have a list of topics you want to cover on your blog.
Once you’ve compiled your topic list, it is time to assign each topic to the stage of your audience’s buyer journey. Some topics will speak to the people in the “awareness” phase, and others will be better for the “decision” phase. This kind of content structuring will help you set your priorities and identify content gaps.
The next task for you to tackle is uncovering new keyword opportunities.
Darya is a professional content writer, blogger, and content strategist. Her specialties include all things digital marketing such as SEO, content marketing, and social media strategy. When she is not keeping up to speed with the latest digital marketing trends, you can find her perusing Thesaurus to explore new avenues of verbal expression.