A good portion of content marketing is about knowing your customers’ pain points and showcasing how you can help. This means researching what your customers need — and figuring out how to demonstrate your prowess in that area — is key to an effective content strategy. The best way to do this is through a content gap analysis.
When you run a content gap analysis, you can generate more meaningful content ideas. You can also rank higher on search engines and better engage with your target audience at each step of the customer journey. This analysis is a key step if you’re looking to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level. Below, we’ll guide you through the content gap analysis process and share some helpful tips and tricks.
What is a content gap analysis?
In a content gap analysis, you’ll look for the “gaps” in your existing content. You’ll also look for gaps between your content and your competitors’ content — what are they doing that you aren’t yet? Once you spot these missed opportunities, you can create content that bridges the gap, allowing for a more cohesive customer journey.
Through this content audit, you’ll examine and enhance your web pages, blog posts, landing pages, case studies, and all your other content. This way, your content always draws in and engages your target audience — especially when your competitors are attempting to do the same.
How to run a content gap analysis, step by step
To conduct a content gap analysis, you’ll follow several steps to learn what’s already present in your content strategy and what you need to add. This more mindful approach to content creation may involve more effort upfront. But in the long run, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the return on investment (ROI) you’ll receive.
Without further ado, let’s get analyzing!
1. Establish your ideal customer profile
To market to your customers, you have to know them. The best way to do this is to get a sense of who’s viewing your content. You can develop multiple customer profiles (ideal customers) to show the range of people within your target audience. For this example, though, let’s start with just one.
From an analytics perspective, you can pinpoint your readers’ age, gender, location, and devices used to read your content. You can use tools like Google Analytics 4 to get started.
If your organization is on the larger side, you can also speak with your sales team to help build each customer profile. But if you run a smaller business, you might already have the data you need. Either way, with these details, you can identify common search patterns and figure out which types of content the customer is consuming.
To delve deeper into the weeds — and for greater accuracy — share a survey with your customers. In the survey, you can ask about their usual day-to-day routine and what accounts they follow on social media. It’s best to ask and not assume when tailoring your ideal customer profile, so this survey is quite a valuable step forward.
2. Map out the customer journey
Now that you’ve mapped out a profile of your typical customer, you’ll want to explore their journey toward deciding on your product or service. As you begin, you should consider the four stages of the path to purchase:
You can develop educational content for each touchpoint that subtly demonstrates why you’re the brand consumers can trust.
It’s best to take it a step further and put yourself in the customer’s mindset. You should figure out what they’re searching for before they commit to one product or service. Today, every market is bursting with options, so most customers extensively scour the web before making a big or small purchase.
When you know your customers’ online path, you can search common keywords, review the top competitor’s content, see what’s missing, and fill in the gaps. To do this, you should create a scenario for your ideal customer. Consider a situation they might find themselves in and the rabbit hole they’ll potentially go down before finding a solution. Through this process, you might uncover a listicle writing idea that could really engage your target audience.
3. Think about what your customers want
When you research your customers, you dive deeper into their headspace. And when you map out their journey, you’re likely to find a popular piece of content from a competitor. You should thoroughly examine this content to see what questions it left unsolved.
Another way to figure out what customers want is to simply ask them via a market research survey. After all, it isn’t the smartest idea to jump to conclusions about your audience.
For this survey, you can ask questions to better understand the types of content your audience likes to consume. You can run your survey through Google Forms or any other free survey tool, especially one that allows for anonymous responses. Some questions to consider are:
- How do you decide between two competing products?
- What do you want to know about [insert topic here]?
- What is your biggest challenge regarding [insert topic here]?
With enough research and critical thinking, you can give your customers what they’re looking for when they turn to the web for answers.
4. Figure out what your customers search for
You can look to competitors and SEO tools to find out what people are searching for in your corner of the internet. With these tools, you can find high-ranking keywords that your competitors are writing about, examine their content, and figure out how to expand upon them. You can designate some or all of these as target keywords that you incorporate strategically throughout your blog posts or landing pages.
You can also type the keywords you’ve found into Google Trends to find related topics, all of which could make for great content. The relevant topics and queries that pop up could be additional sources of inspiration and opportunities for improvement.
5. Analyze relevant keywords
With a reliable SEO tool, you can see stats on how well popular keywords are performing. You can also find articles that use those keywords and how keyword trends have changed in recent weeks and months. From there, you can pop these keywords into your search engine and study the first-page results. This will familiarize you with your competitors’ high-ranking content. You’ll also quickly learn who’s naturally using SEO in copywriting and who’s cramming keywords solely for optimization. (Obviously, the former is far superior to the latter – the latter can hurt your content!)
6. Review the findings against your website
You can use an SEO tool to see how you’re ranking in organic traffic and for your targeted keywords. You’ll determine what keywords your site is ranking for and find related opportunities for content that address different stages in the path to purchase. When using most SEO platforms, you can develop a keyword list of high-ranking keywords to include in existing content or to influence new content.
7. Compare your website and new keyword list against your competitors
To wrap up your content gap analysis, you can compare your newly developed keyword list to those of your competitors via SEO tools. Like most of these steps, this one is ongoing, so you should regularly review your keyword list. SEO is ever-changing, so you never know what new phrases might show up in the rankings.
If you find new highly-ranked keywords, you can beef up your existing content — even your best content — with these phrases to rank higher in searches. The higher you rank, the more likely a customer is to become aware of your brand and services in their customer journey. And with SEO content writing services on your side, there’s always room to quickly boost your online traffic even after your content is published.
8. Develop an editorial calendar
With the analysis portion done, you should have several ideas for fresh copy and opportunities to insert targeted keywords into existing content. This means now is the perfect time to create an editorial calendar. You can set one up in a spreadsheet or use a free calendar app to manage deadlines.
First, you can think about your general content goals based on all your research. Next, you can plan out your blog posts and copy deadlines in the coming weeks and months to fill in the gaps you’ve found.
As you record your ideas and turn them into upcoming tasks, you hold yourself accountable. This way, all your hard work leads to actionable next steps.
What role does a content gap analysis play in your SEO content strategy?
The content gap analysis is a star player in an effective SEO content strategy — it provides you with a well-rounded perspective on your target audience. It can lead to an increase in organic traffic since you’ll learn who your audience is and the content they like to consume. Plus, you’ll deepen your knowledge of your competitors’ content, your targeted high-ranking keywords, and the missing gaps in all content — including your own.
This holistic approach accounts for virtually everything you need to know about your market. Using SEO content tools for this process can yield a well-researched keyword list you can use to boost your search engine rankings. You’ll basically become a detective, collecting the data you need to figure out what information your customers are craving. Then, you can satiate that hunger with keywords and content that might land on the front page of popular search engines.
The more you get inside your customers’ minds, the better you can serve them, and the result is more robust content. Within this improved content, you can more easily employ other SEO strategies, such as internal linking, to keep your customers on your site. This is a great way to answer all the questions your customers have from the awareness stage to the decision stage. And from there, your chances of successfully building meaningful, long-lasting customer relationships go out the roof.
Fill in the gaps with better content
With so much content accessible online, it can feel overwhelming to decide what topic to write about for your next piece of content. Content gap analysis is the method behind the madness of topic selection. When you figure out missing content opportunities, you can provide customers with what they want instead of taking a shot in the dark. This can improve the customer experience, making your business a more viable option come purchase time.
At SCS Creative, we can help you develop content ideas based on your content gap analysis and naturally incorporate your keywords into high-ranking, well-written content. We have the years of experience and market savvy necessary to produce articles that drive website impressions and higher rankings on search engines. When you partner with an adept content writing agency like SCS Creative, the sky’s the limit.