You can no longer get away with the spray-and-pray tactic of producing lots of content without emphasizing quality.
The shift in content functionality
In the early days of content marketing, the primary function of blogs was to redirect traffic to your website. What you put on them didn’t matter all that much, so you had more flexibility than a yoga instructor when it came to what you wrote about. As long as you used the right keywords and links, you would find some degree of success.
An auto parts supplier could post content like “What snacks to pack for a road trip” right alongside “How to change spark plugs” and they’d bring in traffic. Both articles would be crawled by Google, appear in search results and bring people onto the site. The type of people looking for road trip advice are not necessarily the company’s target audience, but in the beginning of content marketing, more traffic increased the chances of getting the right traffic. So it worked, but only for a while.
These days, blogs are designed to build trust and relationships between brands and their audiences, and making broad strokes doesn’t have the same effect it once did. Audiences aren’t stopping to read generic content anymore. They want detailed answers to specific questions.
How are people searching?
Did you know that more than a quarter of online search queries are in question form? That’s what Blue Nile Research found out when they investigated the “Psychology of the Searcher.” If you can provide your target audience with the answers they need, you’re going to stand out in their minds when they’re ready to buy.
Knowing the questions you need to answer boils down to user intent and understanding what your target buyers are looking for as they move along through the sales funnel. Someone just beginning the search might seek out “how to change spark plugs” but their queries will transform as they research, moving to more specific searches like “the best spark plugs for mid-size sedans.”
Don’t know the user’s intent? Just ask.
You can learn more about user intent by interviewing your internal teams. This can reveal common pain points and questions customers have, as well as where they are in the buyer journey when they reach out. Other options to develop more targeted strategies include:
- Surveying current and prospective clients.
- Creating buyer personas.
- Mapping the customer’s journey.
- Scanning analytics for conversion rate trends.
When you are able to get and keep your target buyers in the cross hairs, you’ll hit the mark and find success with your online marketing strategy.
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