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Content gaps represent significant weaknesses in your business. And while finding those content gaps can lead to improved content performance and increased business growth, it can be a long and tedious process, especially if you’re not sure where to start or what to look for. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about identifying and addressing content gaps, starting with what a content gap is. Then, we’ll walk you through what a content gap analysis is, explore the various types of content gaps, and finally, show you how to conduct a content gap analysis for your own business (and your competitors). By the end, you’ll have a clear action plan for filling in these gaps and addressing all of your customers’ unmet needs. Let’s dig in!

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What is a content gap analysis?

To understand a content gap analysis, we must first understand content gaps. A “Content gap” refers to any relevant content your current content strategy doesn’t cover. 

A content gap analysis, then, is the process of finding and resolving these gaps. Often, these gaps are resolved by creating the relevant content you’ve identified is missing. 

  1. Why conduct a content gap analysis?

Identifying and filling content gaps creates a smoother and more robust customer journey. This ensures that more customers who enter your sales and marketing funnels make a purchase and eventually become loyal brand advocates. Additionally, focusing your marketing efforts on areas with lower competition can give you a competitive advantage in your market.

  1. Understanding different content gap types

Before you can conduct your content gap analysis, you need to know what and where to focus your efforts. Looking at the types of content gaps will help you do that.

7 Types of content gaps:

  1. Topic gaps

Topic gaps look at the big picture. These are when your content fails to cover broad subjects or themes. 

For example, a creator specializing in mastering budget-friendly cooking could have content on meal planning, meal prepping, transforming leftovers, and substituting ingredients. One area she’s left uncovered? Coupons and discount shopping. In this scenario, coupons are the “topic gap.” 

  1. Keyword gaps

Keyword gaps naturally follow topic gaps, and they occur when your content fails to cover keywords potential customers use in their online searches. This gap leads to lower web traffic and, ultimately, fewer people in your sales and marketing funnels

Following the prior example, the course instructor who’s now identified couponing as a major topic gap can begin to search for keywords to add to her SEO strategy. Example keywords she could include are “couponing for beginners,” “how to stack coupons at Target,” “how to find local coupons in New York,” and “what are the best websites for coupons?”

  1. Media gaps

Media gaps refer to a lack of variety in content types. Content types include things like text, image, video, and audio. 

Content marketing is a huge and costly undertaking, so it’s common for brands to focus all of their limited resources on one type. Unfortunately, this can leave significant portions of your customers unsatisfied.

Some customers prefer text communication, such as email and blog posts, while others prefer podcasts and audiobooks. By focusing on just one or two types, you’re effectively encouraging the rest of your audience to keep searching for the media type they need somewhere else.

  1. Format gaps

Format gaps refer to how your content is presented. For example, text content can include email newsletters, SMS text messages, blog posts, ebooks, how-to guides, and templates. 

Just like media gaps can exclude parts of your audience, format gaps can, too. Not everyone wants to read an email newsletter, for example. Some prefer an ebook or in-depth blog post.

  1. Depth gaps 

These occur when you leave your audience wanting more. In other words, depth refers to how deep your content goes into any topic. 

Pretend you’re an online fitness trainer. If you’re creating a YouTube video about the “perfect squat form” and all top-ranking YouTube videos are 15 minutes, a three-minute video is likely too short. A video this short would force you into surface-level coverage on the topic, leaving your viewers wanting more.

The key to addressing depth gaps is finding the balance between too much and too little. Strong scriptwriters, copywriters, or SEO strategists can help you find that balance. 

  1. Geographic gaps

Geographic gaps occur when your content is either too localized or too general. Again, it’s all about finding balance based on your target audience. 

For example, the topic of “marathon training in Florida heat” may resonate with your audience. But if you have a large audience based in the North, it could be worth experimenting with content that addresses the unique challenges of running in those climates, too.

  1. Audience gaps

The final type of content gap refers to missing content that addresses the needs of specific audience segments. These segments could include different stages in the customer journey, various demographics, specific industries, different skill levels, and more.

Focusing 100% of your efforts on social media and blog posts is an excellent example of an audience gap. A strategy like this would leave the action stage, for example, without adequate support.

How to do a content gap analysis in 5 steps

Now that you understand the various types of content gaps, we can dive deeper into how to do a content gap analysis, beginning right where we left off with the customer journey. 

  1. Understand your customer’s journey

The customer’s journey refers to the specific steps a customer takes to become a paying customer. (You might also hear the customer journey referred to as the buyer’s journey.)

While every business is unique, the stages the customer moves through are generally the same. The stages are as follows:

  1. Awareness: The customer becomes aware of your brand, product, or service. This can happen even if they don’t yet realize they have a problem that your offering can solve.
  2. Consideration: The customer considers various solutions, including your own offering. 
  3. Interest: Interested in your solution, the customer is seeking out additional information. 
  4. Action: The customer makes a purchasing decision. 
  5. Loyalty: The customer engages with your offering, and continues to engage or returns to the brand for additional purchases in the future. 
  6. Advocacy: The customer advocates for your offering by sharing about it with friends, family, and colleagues. 

Understanding what this journey looks like for your own customers will help you understand where, why, and how to engage with them. 

For example, if you know your customers typically enter the awareness stage through Instagram, you can focus your efforts on the platform, ensuring your presence there is strong and engaging.

  1. Conduct market and keyword research

Once you have a strong understanding of your customer journey, you can begin conducting research on your target market and the keywords your audience is using in relevant searches. 

This step is twofold:

  1. Market research refers to customer research, competitor analysis, and industry trends. Your goal is to understand the demographics and behaviors of your target market, your competitors’ strategies, and the latest updates and trends in your target market.

    Tools that can help with your market research are:

    1. Google Trends
    2. Statista
    3. Pew Research Center
    4. Semrush
  1. Keyword research is the process of identifying specific search terms your target audience uses during their customer journey, especially during the awareness, consideration, and interest stages.

    Tools that can help with keyword research include: 

    1. Semrush
    2. Answer the Public 
    3. Ahrefs 
    4. Surfer SEO
    5. Moz 

As you move forward with keyword research, it’s important to remember that keywords don’t just apply to search engines like Google and Bing. Keywords are also used on search engines like YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. 

  1. Analyze your own content

Next, it’s time to audit your own content and evaluate its effectiveness. To do this, you’ll need to catalog all of your content and assess its performance. 

The metrics to evaluate vary depending on the type of content you have. For example, if you’ve cataloged your email newsletters, take inventory of your open rates and click rates. Or, if you have a robust blog, take note of things like page views, link clicks, and conversion rates.

The best tools for conducting a content audit are:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Semrush Site Audit (for web content)
  3. Ahrefs Site Audit (for web content)
  4. Surfer SEO Audit (for web content)
  5. Yoast (for web content and readability)
  6. Sprout Social (for social content)
  7. Hemingway Editor (for readability)
  8. Grammarly (for readability)
  1. Analyze competitor content

Now, with a clear understanding of your own content, you can analyze your competitors’ content. The goal here is to identify what they’re doing well, where they may be lacking, and why. 

Contrary to what you might think, analyzing competitor content can take just as long as evaluating your own. You have more access to your own content and can go deeper in your audit. However, competitor analysis can be slow because of paywalls, private communities, and other gated content. There are also more competitors to analyze than your singular business.

That’s where tools come in handy. For the most part, the same tools you use to self-audit can be used to audit your competitors.

Whether you’re looking at a domain or a single web page, Semrush Site Audit, Ahrefs Site Audit, and Surfer SEO Audit all provide insights into competing websites. Sprout Social can help you benchmark your social content against competing profiles. And to analyze the readability of competing content, simply copy and paste it into the Hemingway Editor or Grammarly.

  1. Identify and prioritize content gaps

Using your detailed customer journey, market and keyword research, content analysis, and competitor analysis, you can finally identify and prioritize content gaps. 

You may have been taking notes in steps one through four, so this is the time to consolidate all of your research and brainstorming into one cohesive and actionable plan.

If you don’t have any gaps written down yet, that’s okay too. Revisit your own content analysis first, and keep the seven types of content gaps in mind as you reevaluate.  As a refresher, they are:

  1. Topic gaps
  2. Keyword gaps
  3. Media gaps
  4. Format gaps
  5. Depth gaps
  6. Geographic gaps
  7. Audience gaps

Once you’ve evaluated your own content catalog, it’s time to move through your competitors’ content with the same thought process. Take note of any gaps you observe, no matter how big or small. 

Once you’ve reviewed both your own and your competitors’ content, it’s time to prioritize which gaps to address first.

Prioritizing content gaps

We recommend using an Effort-Impact matrix to help you prioritize the order in which you address the content gaps you’ve identified. This matrix consists of four quadrants:

  1. Low effort, high impact: These are tasks that will have the highest payoff with your content strategy but with the least effort.

    Low effort, high impact tasks can include refreshing old blog posts, adding relevant keywords to existing web content, and repurposing content for new channels.
  1. High effort, high impact: These are projects that take some time and energy but greatly benefit your strategy overall.

    Examples of these tasks often include fresh content initiatives like launching a webinar series, creating an ebook or comprehensive guide, and producing high-quality videos.
  1. Low effort, low impact: These tasks are quick wins you can accomplish in between meetings.

    Things like fixing typos, adding alt text to images, resharing content on social media, responding to comments, and adding images to blog content all fall into this category.
  1. High effort, low impact: This category consists of things you should consider long-term projects.

    Exploring niche topics, building a presence on a new platform, and conducting case studies might be low-reward right now, but they could pay off in the future.

Final thoughts

Let’s recap. Conduct a content gap analysis by following five simple steps:

  1. Understand your customer’s journey: This includes the various stages they’ll move through, representing all the opportunities for contact via content.
  2. Conduct market and keyword research: Understand the world your target audience lives in and how they navigate it online. This will give you the key to engaging with them in the right places at the right times using the right tools.
  3. Analyze your own content: Understanding what your content library has to offer will help you identify your strategy’s strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Analyze competitor content: Identifying competitor weaknesses will help you understand how to effectively deploy content initiatives for maximum impact.
  5. Identify and prioritize content gaps: Armed with the knowledge to tackle your content gaps, you can move forward by addressing the high-impact low-effort gaps first, making the most of your resources.

If these five steps don’t sound so simple, consider using a platform like Thinkific to help. You can fill content gaps with online courses, synchronous or asynchronous webinars, digital downloads, learning communities, or other AI-powered digital products

Even better, you can deploy your fresh content on web and mobile formats, reaching our audience wherever they spend their time. Integrate with industry-leading tools like MailChimp, HubSpot, and ClickFunnels, and track metrics for ongoing improvement right on the platform. Start creating in just minutes with a free 14-day trial.