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How to Uncover Content Gaps for Your Editorial Calendar

Feb 19, 2018
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Effective content marketing doesn't just happen by accident. It takes careful planning and execution. Knowing what to write about is often the hardest part. Uncovering content gaps is a great way to know what topics you should cover. This process helps you understand what your prospects are looking for when they go online. In this video, I'll share a few tips on how to get started with uncovering content gaps.

Video Transcript

Hey, what's up everybody? Welcome to Hack My Growth. In this episode, we're going to be talking about uncovering content gaps. All right, let's go. 

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Thanks so much for watching this episode. If this is your first time watching, or maybe you've been watching a while, but haven't yet subscribed, please do so. We publish brand-new content each and every week. We're talking about content gaps, and the importance of uncovering content gaps, both in our strategy, as well as in our competitor's strategy, in order to create more user-focused editorial calendars. Whether that be for blog posts, or offers, or whatever we're trying to do online, to drive traffic to our site.

Inevitably, what happens is your persona, your prospective buyer had the question. They need a solution to their problem. Now, the market is saturated with noise. There's a lot of content, and a lot of it, it's just bad. It's really bad content because people don't take the time to think about what the users need. They just know "Hey, blogging is important, so I'm going to randomly blog stuff that's kind of what my industry is doing, but it really doesn't have any focus."

Then there are a lot of companies out there that have great content, but they haven't optimized their content to get found. They are lost in the noise. People have questions. Companies are saying, "Hey, I know the answer to your problem." But they're not able to get it out (to communicate it). So how do we do that? Well, we need to understand what people are asking. Then we need to know how they're asking those questions. Also, look at gaps in our own content, as well as our competitor's content, and see how we can fill those gaps with really good, user-focused content, that's optimized for search. 

How do we find gaps? Well, we use keywords. That's a really great way to start. Keywords are still important. Please check out my last video, where I thought a lot about the importance of keywords in that video. It really describes why they still matter. We can also use topics. A topic is a very broad keyword. A lot of smaller terms will fit under that big topic. We use our competition. We understand what they're doing, what their site is ranking for, and not ranking for. And we look at customer pain points. You guys are most likely talking to your customers on a day-to-day basis. You know the questions that they have. You understand their problems. That's why they're coming to you, to buy your product or your solution. But what we don't often do, is use those questions, or those pain points, those conversations that we have on a day-to-day basis, and translate that into powerful content on our website.

So okay, let's talk about keywords. We need to do keyword strategy. We need to understand the terms people use. Again, keywords are all about context. It's all about how people are framing their questions. What terms do they use on a day-to-day basis, in their relationships, in their sales conversations? Then we break this down into meta-topics. What are the big topics, the big ideas? Let's put my business up there for instance. We're known for SEO. We're known for inbound marketing. We're known for website design. Those are three big meta topics that we cover.

Now within those topics, we cover other core topics. Within SEL, we talk about keyword research. We talk about semantic search. We talk about structured data. We talk about link building. These are all these keywords that fit inside of this topic. What we've done is tried to see what kind of topics are trending, but then going deeper to see, what are the questions that people are asking. We look at Google suggestive search. We look at Google trends. We use Ahrefs, a great tool for identifying content gaps. We use Serpstat, another great tool for identifying keywords and content gaps, and understanding the questions that people are asking.

Then we attach those to these meta topics. We say, "Yeah, we want to be known for inbound marketing." Okay well, Content marketing is part of that. Email marketing is part of that. We start to build this web around it. Then we start to ask another question, "How is this going to solve somebody's pain points?" I think that's where the disconnect happens. I think a lot of people are using this topic based strategy, but they forget to connect it back to the user's pain point. What problems are they having around SEO, around link building, around Tag Manager, around Google analytics? What are the solutions they're looking for? How are we going to solve those problems? What are their wants? What are the things that they want right now, that are going to help them do their job better, or make them feel better? Something that is going to give them that sense of purpose.

What are their needs? They might not even know what their needs are. This is the importance of entrepreneurs, and business owners to really understand what those needs are. This is where we need to listen between the lines in our customer conversations, to know what they actually need. What are the features that we have, that we can offer them, to kind of solve these pain points, to make them feel better? The who, the what, the how, the why, asking these questions, a really great tool. AnswerThePublic will help you put these in the form of questions. These are questions that people are querying on a day to day basis.

When you take your keywords, you attach them to a topic strategy. Then you take that strategy, and then you begin to funnel it through pain points. You're going to start to identify trends. Now you're not done yet. You need to do some competitive research. This is where Ahrefs has a really, really cool tool called content gap analysis. There's a lot of other tools out there. That's the one I like a lot. What you can do, as you can begin to plug in your URL, and then a number of your competitors. What it will do, is it will look for the keywords you're ranking for. It will look for the keywords they're ranking for. It will begin to show you where are you competitive on the same terms. What are some industry terms that your competitor is ranking for, that you haven't yet addressed on your site? Then, where are some areas that you both are just missing some powerful terms that could be doing something different in your industry?

You can look at the gaps and say, "Okay, well we're on this kind of level playing field with this specific term. How can we one-up our competition, and get in front of our potential clients?" Here's a couple of areas of core business functions that we want to be known for, that we're not even known for, but our competitor is. What are they doing? What are the questions they're answering? Then you analyze their content. Begin to ask that question, "How is this solving our customers' pain points? Do we have a better answer for this? Can we provide more information on this? Can we add more context to the discussion?"

The goal is to not create more noise. The goal is to sell pain points, and to leverage content, in order to fill those gaps. It's like a lever, you want to get that leverage by using content. You can do that by addressing pain points, understanding the gaps, the areas that you're missing, and falling short on. This isn't a 100% scientific process. There is research that is involved with keywords, and content gaps, and those sort of things. But there's also a little bit of intuition. You have to understand who you're talking to. You have to use those lessons that you've learned from talking to your clients, in order to leverage your content in a new way.

The key is to get started. Do your content research, attach that to topics. Attach those topics and those core ideas to the pain points. Then begin to write for people. Begin to write for the person that you want to interact with. That's where it starts. After you have a good piece of content that is really user-friendly, we can go back to optimizing that content, using the SEO techniques we talk about, On-page SEO, establishing link building. We have a video on the perfectly optimized page. Check that out. It will help you optimize your site page for search.

But understanding content gaps, and unleashing the power of those starts right here. Know who your customers are. Listen between the lines to the things they're saying, and also the things they're not saying. Begin to identify those pain points. Do your research. Begin to write content. Then, as we always talk about, collect data. Use that data to inform your decisions. Don't forget, if you've got a question, please leave it below in the comment section. 

I hope you found these videos helpful. I hope you're learning something from them. But they don't stop with this one. We have a ton more videos like the one you just watched on our channel. We publish new content each and every week. So if you like what you saw, please take a moment and hit the subscribe button. We would love to have you join our community here at Hack My Growth. Like I always say, until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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