A content gap analysis can help you identify the kind of content you need to produce or update that potential customers would find useful. The review is most often done as part of an SEO audit, but you can do a content gap analysis for email marketing and social media.

This succinct four-step guide will provide you with a framework for conducting a content gap analysis. Read the tips shared in this article and apply the learnings to help you grow your business. 

1. Create A Buyer’s Journey Map

The first thing you need to do is create a buyer’s journey map. A buyer’s journey map shows every step of the buyer’s journey from encountering your company to becoming a customer. Here are the three main stages of the buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness stage: the person is interested in your niche / has identified a problem they want to resolve. You’re producing top of the funnel / very general content at this stage.
  • Consideration: the person researches potential solutions to their problem. Create solution-focused content. Comparison articles are also useful for this stage of the customer journey.
  • Decision: the person is ready to make a purchase. Provide product literature, for instance, to get them to choose your product. Discounts and other sales-focused literature are also valuable.

Reviewing your buyer’s journey will help you consider the type of content to create.

I like to do this exercise as a sort of preparatory brainstorming session. The exercise makes you evaluate your content marketing strategy

2. Examine Your Content 

The next stage of the content gap analysis is where you align the buyer’s journey with the content you’ve produced. Now, you need to review all of the content on your website. You should portion the content you’ve produced to the different stages of the customer journey.

Next, evaluate how each step is performing. 

One of the ways you’ll review content performance is through Google Analytics. For example, with goals set up, you can use Google Analytics to identify what content converts. Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, you can track each piece of content a person engaged with before becoming a customer.

You can also use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to review performance in terms of:

  • The time people spend on a page. If they don’t spend long, you might have an issue with the quality of your content.
  • Where content ranks in the search results. If the content isn’t ranking, you might want to focus on SEO.

You should also think about how you’re using the content. For example, you might be delivering some articles as part of an email series.

The content review is a chance to assess the quality of your content and see how people are engaging with your content.

3. Examine Competitors’ Content

Next, you need to do a competitor analysis. Examine their websites and other marketing channels. Identify the type of content they are creating, how they are using the content, and what value it has to the business.

For social media, analyzing your competitor’s content can be as easy as just looking at how that content performs based on social media metrics. For instance, if a competitor’s social media post has been shared or liked thousands of times, you might want to imitate that kind of post as well.

So, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of post is it? Is it a question? A poll? A declarative sentence?
  • What’s the tone of the social media post? Is it serious? Or light?  
  •  Does the post have images?

The key is to try to determine what makes the post-work so you can create one that works as well.

Doing a content audit of competitors’ sites is straightforward too. Tools like Ahrefs, for example, have a Content Gap feature. With this tool, you can compare the search rankings of multiple competitors.

Screenshot of Ahrefs’ content gap keyword analysis tool. The screenshot is an example keyword search using the Ahrefs tool.

You can use a tool like Ahrefs to identify keywords a competitor is ranking for that you are not. You can also use such tools to identify content gaps. These are articles competitors have created, which you do not have.

4. Fill In the Missing Gaps

At this stage, you should have reviewed your content and your competitors. If you did an SEO content audit, you will have a list of content you need to update and content you need to create. 

The next step is prioritizing what content to produce based on the impact and time it will take. You can use a ranking system similar to this to rank effort vs. impact to create an actionable content marketing plan.

I recommend ranking effort and impact for each piece of content on a scale of 0-5.

Example of a ranking system that allows you to prioritize content creation based on the amount of effort put in vs. the impact. The ranking is in three tiers.)

A ranking system like this will help you determine which piece of content you need to create and what content to update. You can then create a content calendar for creating new content or updating existing content. You want to have a system in place to track the impact of your efforts as well.

Wrapping Up 

Content marketing works, but only if it’s done strategically.  Lots of brands are strong in one area of the buyer’s journey but inadequate in others. That leads to low traffic despite quality content. 

Content gap analysis helps you find weak spots in your content marketing by identifying content you need to create and content you need to “update.”

Apply the framework shared in this guide to conduct your content gap analysis. You should periodically conduct this type of review. I recommend doing so once a year at a minimum, every six months would be better.