Wouldn’t it be great if your customers were ready to buy from you as soon as they found your company? Unfortunately, most buying decisions take more time than that, and your customers have to get from point A to point Z before they’re ready to buy.
Your customers are on a Buyer’s Journey, and your content paves the way for them. If you have gaps in your content, it’s like a hole in the road. Larger gaps can make it difficult for your customers to keep moving along your Buyer’s Journey. Some may even hop off your path and find a competitor, instead.
A content gap analysis can help you identify gaps and weaknesses in your blog content so that you can nurture your prospects through the marketing funnel more effectively.
Some marketers are intimidated by the idea of a content gap analysis because it can be an intensive activity. At Whittington Consulting, we’ve developed a straightforward process that’s easy to follow. It will take time, but the end results can drive your content strategy for a full year.
This is the same gap analysis process we use for our own blog and the one we implement for our clients. We’ll walk you through that process below.
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Summary Steps to Performing a Gap Analysis
- Perform a competitor content audit
- Identify content needs for buyer journey steps
- Conduct a content audit of existing content
- Assess keywords competitors rank for
- Find gaps in your current content
- Create quality content to fill your gaps
1) Perform a Competitor Content Analysis
Identify your top three to five competitors and do a sweep of their content to discover the topics they’re covering. Create a list of their key content categories. A quick way to do this is by looking at their main blog sections and blog post tags.
Notice their content quality.
- How detailed is their coverage?
- How many articles are dedicated to each category?
- Do they follow a structure?
- Are they following best practices for SEO?
- Is the content well written and easy to read?
A competitor content analysis will help you identify the topics that you’re uniquely positioned to cover, and the topics that your competitors don’t cover well. From this, you can find opportunities that your competitors aren’t taking advantage of, or topics where you have a unique perspective.
2) Identify Content Needed for Buyer’s Journey Steps
The goal of a content gap analysis is to identify (and fill) the gaps in your Buyer’s Journey where your leads are falling off. In this step, you want to catalog all of your website content and see which stages of the Buyer’s Journey it falls under.
As a HubSpot partner, we use the Awareness/Consideration/Decision model. Create a spreadsheet with columns for the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages. Enter every blog article, lead gen piece, and web page into the spreadsheet, and identify which stage it belongs to. Organize the content by category or topic, so that you can see trends along those topics.
Now you have a matrix that lets you quickly and easily identify which stages have plenty of content and where your content gaps are.
3) Conduct a Content Audit of Existing Blog Content
Now that you have a good high-level view of your content, do a deep dive on your blog articles and evaluate the quality of their content. Organize your articles by category or topic and go through them, topic by topic. Start with your top-priority topic and audit those articles first.
Rate each article by traffic. If the number of visitors is low, look to see why that might be. Consider:
- Overall quality of the content
- Length of the article
- Structure of the content
- Keyword usage
- SEO best practices
- Lead magnets and CTAs
You can use those insights to optimize those blog articles and get quick wins out of your existing content. More on this in step 6.
4) Assess Keywords Your Competitors Rank For
Use a tool like SEMrush or Moz to do a competitive keyword analysis. A competitive keyword analysis helps identify valuable keywords that your competitors rank highly for, which you don't. You can use the results to identify opportunities you aren’t taking advantage of — keywords that your competitors are using as well as keywords they aren’t using.
- How you compare to your competitors
- How your competitors rank
- Additional keywords to use
- Low-value keywords to stop using
5) Find the Gaps in Your Current Content
To outperform your competitors with your content, use the results from your two competitive analyses in steps 1 and 4 and compare them with your results in step 3. Chances are, you’ll see gaps in your blog — topics that you haven’t been covering yet. These are new content opportunities that you can take advantage of.
That’s what we discovered in our most recent gap analysis. We realized that we needed two key topics that we hadn’t ever created any content for. So we developed a plan to fill in those gaps, which is the final step of the process.
6) Create Quality Content to Fill Your Gaps
Now it’s time to start creating the content you need. This includes new content that fills those gaps as well as existing content that you’re optimizing, based on results from step 2. But first, you’ll need a plan of attack.
First, determine your focus for each quarter. Q1 might be a pillar page, Q2 might be a new lead magnet, and Q3 might focus on new email sequences. Build out an editorial calendar for the upcoming quarter that focuses on your highest priority topic. Then develop content briefs for each of the rewrites or new articles. Rinse and repeat each quarter
Your briefs should include guidelines for your content creators to follow, including:
- Blog title, description of the article, and general direction
- SEO best practices, such as h1 and h2 headings, meta description, and alt tags
- Lead magnet and optimized CTA
- Relevant external links to authoritative content
- Internal links to pages on your own site
Generate More Leads That Make It Through the Funnel
Use a content gap analysis when you plan to use strategic content marketing that includes something like pillar pages or a lead magnet. If you identify a different focus for each quarter, you can map out this process each year. You’ll steadily build value into your blog, get better rankings on Google, and generate more traffic to your site
This is the process that Whittington Consulting uses for our clients — as well as for our own website — to improve lead generation and inbound marketing. It’s an intensive process, but it’s a powerful one.
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