You already know that content is the most important part of your website. It establishes relationships with your customers, boosts SEO, and builds credibility for your brand.
You’ve perfected what’s already on your site, but now it’s time to take a deeper look through a gap analysis. What topics should you write about that you haven’t yet? What questions do your prospective customers have that you aren’t already answering? Are there niche topics that haven’t been covered in your market yet?
A content gap analysis can seem like a vague concept at first. Assuming you’re not a psychic, how do you determine how successful, necessary, or popular a topic will be if you’ve never covered it? We’re here to grab our crystal ball and demystify the process. Here’s how to look for gaps in your content so that you can create a strategy to fill them.
You won’t know what you’re missing unless you know what you already have. If you haven’t done a content audit or some other type of content inventory, it’s time to seize the day. If you’ve never done one, here’s how to perform a content audit.
A content audit is an excellent resource as you try to locate gaps in your content. List each page of your site individually so that you can clearly see what information is present. Create a row for notes and a dropdown to indicate if you should keep, update, or delete information. If this spurs some ideas for missing content, run with it and add an additional row for pages that you need to create.
Consult your muse (aka your customer)
Site content should be useful and relevant to your personas, otherwise you’re just yelling into the digital abyss. Whenever you do something content-related for your website, your audience should be top of mind. They have questions, and you have the answers.
Look at each of your personas individually and consider their main frustrations. What do they want to accomplish when they land on your site, and how can you help them do this?
Create an outline of your personas along with each of their frustrations, and map out existing content on your site that helps to alleviate these pain points. If you find a frustration without any associated content, our crystal ball says you’ve found a gap.
They ask, you answer
When your personas reach out to you for help, what are the questions they ask most frequently? Consider adding a section on your site for frequently asked questions. If that’s not your style, break down questions into blog post topics that you can write about, or determine which sections of your site you could add them to. If they consistently ask questions that are already answered on your website, figure out how to make this content more prominent and easier to find.
Give your top performers an encore
What’s going on with your existing content? Check your Google Analytics account to see your most visited pages and how long people typically spend on them. Where do they go after they hit the popular pages? What are the pages that users bounce from?
This can give you insight into the types of content that your users find most helpful and a general idea of how long certain types of content should be. Think about your most popular topics and how you can provide more well rounded, thorough information. Basically, when something is working, do more of that thing.
Size up the competition
You can’t properly compete if you’re in the dark when it comes to what your competitors are doing. Check out some other sites to see what types of content they have. Are there topics that are missing from your site that you should consider adding? You might be able to produce something on a topic that’s more thorough or higher quality. Anything they can do, you can do better.
Discover some new keywords
Keyword research should already be part of your content generation repertoire. Do some research on a regular basis to make sure that your content is relevant and in demand. You should also include keywords in the body of your content to help your site’s SEO. But you already knew that, right?
Try using the keyword planner tool in Google AdWords to get suggestions for topics related to your company. You can use this tool even if you don’t currently run any AdWords campaigns. It will also show you search trends and volume data to help you gauge popularity.
Poll the people
You probably interact with your audience regularly through email marketing or social media. The best way to find out what content they’re looking for? Ask them.
Create a survey that explicitly asks what type of content they’d like to see more of. This is an easy way to gather data from the people you want to reach. Some brands have started using Instagram polls to find out what types of content their followers want to see more of. We live in an interactive and engaging marketing age. Take advantage of it!
Do something new
The holy grail of a content gap analysis is finding unique topics that no one has covered yet. It might seem like an impossible feat - there’s a lot of content already out there. People were already writing about the struggle to come up with new content ideas back in 2008, practically a lifetime ago when it comes to the internet.
Try not to get discouraged though. Set aside time each week for creative brainstorming. Try putting a different spin on a topic that fits well within your niche. You may have a unique perspective on a topic that’s relevant to your audience.
Fill the gaps
Now that your cup runneth over with new content ideas, you’ll need to figure out the best way to present all of the information along with an editorial calendar to hold yourself accountable.
Based on the topic and the intended audience, determine how to present each piece of content. Would it be most effective as a static page on your site, a blog post, an eBook, or maybe a white paper? Even though video is so hot right now, it’s not the answer to everything.
Prioritize your content topics to tackle the most pressing gaps first. Create your editorial calendar for the quarter and delegate tasks to your team. Then go forth and conquer with all of your new expertly crafted content.