How to Find the Whitespace in Your Industry and Focus Your Content Strategy Around It
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If your content strategy is not generating the engagement and conversions you were hoping for, there might be different reasons for it. Maybe the content is not good enough, or the promotion efforts are lacking. Or maybe the issue goes deeper than that and has to do with your core business itself. If your value proposition is not pulling customers in, you might want to find a whitespace in your industry.
The term “whitespace” initially referred to the part of a page that has no ink on it. For businesses, whitespace means an unexploited opportunity or an under-served need that can potentially change the state of the market. Whitespaces exist because businesses are simply not aware of them yet. Whoever seizes a whitespace first will gain a significant advantage by attracting more customers and making the presence of competitors less relevant.
Finding a whitespace within your industry can be tough, but the rewards are well worth it. The next natural step is to implement that whitespace into your content strategy, to let your audience know that you have great value to offer them. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can find a whitespace within your industry and design a content strategy around it.
How to Find the Whitespace in Your Industry
Finding a whitespace in your industry Is a two-fold process. You need to:
Gather Competitive Intelligence
Before you start looking for a whitespace, it’s good to get a good view of the industry landscape. List your main competitors and scour the internet to gather information about their products, services, and content strategies.
Visit their websites and examine both their offers and content. Observe their efforts on social media and find patterns. What are they talking about? How do they present themselves? What topics keep coming back? What resonates the most with their audiences?
Try to study how they approach their content to make it different. In the age of content marketing, differentiation is not limited just to products and services but extends to a business’s content marketing strategy as well.
Find the Whitespace and Claim It
Take the time to ponder on these critical questions:
What is it that I can do – or that I am already doing – better than the competition?
What is an important aspect of the industry that the competition is overlooking or serving poorly?
The answers to these questions could be innovation, great customer service, seamless user experience, or anything else. It can also be something different from your initial value proposition, which may prompt a shift in your business model.
Who knows, you may be already occupying that whitespace without realizing it! It’s all about figuring out where you stand in the market and the areas that no competitor is taking advantage of. Finding your whitespace can simply be a change in your brand message to highlight what your customers like most about doing business with you. It’s well known that a unique brand faces less competition and builds customer loyalty easier. For example, Planet Fitness changed its business model to make its gym a “judgment-free” zone, thus attracting clients who are out of shape.
Some of the most useful tools to find a whitespace include data mining, customer surveys, and market research. Note that when it comes to identifying whitespaces in a given industry, there are three main perspectives you can adopt:
Externally-focused: look for the whitespace outside of your business and claim it before the competition does so.
Internally-focused: identify your strengths and weaknesses to reinforce the former and mitigate the latter.
Future-focused: try to predict how the market will change in the coming years and what new opportunities will arise.
You can’t really produce original and engaging content if your business provides the same things as everybody else. So, find what makes your brand unique and your content will perform better because of it.
How to Focus Your Content Strategy Around the Whitespace
Once you have identified a whitespace in your industry, not only should you switch your core business towards it but your content strategy as well. Instead of replicating the content that the competition is publishing, it’s better to differentiate yourself by making your content reflect how your business is now unique. After all, executing a content marketing strategy means informing and educating your target audience about the solutions you provide to their problems, and whitespaces are all about finding unsolved problems.
By being the first to cover an undiscussed topic, you start a conversation and take control of it, instead of reacting to conversations that competitors are already leading.
Refreshing your content strategy means that you will have to rethink your content schedule, as well as the content formats and channels of choice. Granted, changing your content marketing strategy may sound like a lot of work, but if it is not performing as well as it should, it is due for an overhaul anyway.
For content that deals with the whitespace, it’s better to go with quality over quantity. To make waves, you should create outstanding, in-depth content pieces known as big rock content. They can be infographics, whitepapers, films, etc. After promoting it effectively, you become a trusted source of information in your industry.
Also, just because you have changed the focus of your content strategy does not mean you have to cancel all the content topics previously scheduled. Instead, you can keep producing off-focus content on the side, albeit with a lower frequency, to avoid getting too repetitive with the content centered around the whitespace.
Finding a whitespace in your industry can require you to rethink your business model and/or brand message, but it’s an exercise worth doing. Developing that kind of insight gives you a great edge over the competition, as you become able to think outside the box and detect opportunities that other businesses fail to notice. Producing content around the whitespace will, in turn, reinforce and even redefine your brand. Your content marketing strategy will then translate the uniqueness of the brand into content that stands out and generates more leads and conversions.
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