Content marketers, when asked about their greatest challenges, consistently cite content creation as a top concern. But the need to feed the content machine can be considerably less daunting if you focus on what’s missing, rather than simply producing content willy nilly for the sake of getting something (anything!) into the publishing pipeline.
A gap analysis can help you zero in on content creation priorities. In-depth analysis prior to redesigning or revamping an entire website can (and should) be undertaken with a detailed plan. You’ll want to take a magnifying glass to every page on your website, and every element on each page. You’ll need to look at your social profiles and platforms, your email marketing program, and offline efforts such as PR and event marketing to ensure that your message is consistent across the board.
But a regular assessment of your website and social content need not take weeks or months to accomplish, and it’s a valuable exercise to do on a regular (monthly, quarterly) basis.
Following are some basic considerations when looking to identify content gaps.
Getting to Know You
Are you missing that all important introductory content that will help a potential customer get to know your products, processes, and people? Can they get a clear sense of what it would be like to partner with you? In addition to the narrative on your web pages, have you also provided more personal, interactive ways for prospects to learn more? Tools, calculators, charts, and video are considered “supplemental content,” and extremely valuable in complementing the main content on your web pages.
Many business buyers appreciate the opportunity to take an online tour or demo, or to have the opportunity to chat before picking up the phone. Speaking of phone numbers… Is your business number prominently displayed throughout your content? With so many searches coming from mobile, your phone number needs to be front and center – especially important for companies that rely on local search.
The more you can tell a prospect about your product via your website or social content, and the easier you make it for them to get in touch, the better your chances of moving them to the next step toward conversion. Linking your content in logical steps will help prevent any gaps in content that supports your sales cycle.
How Can We Help?
The most valuable content is that which answers a question or solves a problem for your customer. Unfortunately, many websites talk “at” their customers rather than “with” them. Your sales team and customer service representatives can provide valuable insight into buyers’ questions, concerns, and pain points. If you are short on content that answers common questions – especially for customers who are just starting to do their research – make this type of content creation your top priority.
Answer those initial questions, then provide links to additional content that provides even more detail. Keep the conversation going with simple contact forms, email links, and phone numbers. Don’t let a communication gap keep your customers from getting in touch with you.
What’s Happening in Your Customer’s World Right Now?
Current events and news stories often demand your response or opinion. For example, in the health care industry, timely content can help people navigate the Medicare enrollment process, or find information about this winter’s flu forecast, or decipher their options for Affordable Care. Paying attention to how you can provide guidance, answer questions, and solve problems ensures that you won’t have a gap in terms of timeliness, relevancy, or value where your content is concerned.
Seasonality often dictates the type of content you should be displaying prominently on your website and using in social channels. Don’t miss out on opportunities to capitalize on the moment. By now, your Black Friday deals are probably headlining your home page, but are you ready to roll out your post-holiday promotions? Working ahead gives you the flexibility to react to whatever is happening in your marketplace while maintaining your content calendar, and protects you against gaps in your publishing schedule.
As mentioned earlier, this type of “best practices” gap analysis is no substitute for a full-fledged review or your website, social profiles, and overall online presence, but it can ensure that your website is working as hard as it can to provide value, answer questions, and invite engagement with current and prospective customers.