This is the fourth blog in a 13-part series about the importance of content marketing for improving SEO, conversions, and brand awareness.
The importance of content marketing is highly evident based on how much it can contribute to online conversions and user engagement with your business’s brand. Just look at some of the key statistics we covered in a previous post: long-form content can generate nearly 8x more consumer leads than shorter content and 47 percent of all consumers looked at three pieces of content before making a purchase.
Even though the statistics are promising it doesn’t mean that you can “set it and forget it” when it comes to creating new content. When writing a new piece of content, making a short video, or creating an infographic you should always account for the buyer’s journey.
By its simplest definition, the buyer’s journey is the process a consumer goes through to finalize a purchase and involves three major stages:
- Awareness of a problem or troublesome situation: A consumer is likely to have a problem or issue with a current routine in their life. They will likely search for similar anecdotes or content that explains their problem.
- Evaluation of challenges to overcome: Once they grasp the full scale of their problem, consumers will evaluate all of the possible challenges they’ll have to address.
- Solution and final decisions making: Consumers that have fully evaluated a problem will likely make a final choice on how to solve it.
Ultimately, your content needs to use the elements above to capture consumers’ attention and help them make a final decision. The best way to do this is to use a basic storytelling format and structure for your content: the Problem, Challenge, Solution (PCS) method.
Below we’ve outlined a simple guide to help you structure the main topics and themes of your content using PCS. The PCS method allows even those without advanced writing skills to build effective “min-stories” that produces better SEO and more conversions:
Address the consumer’s problem with the appropriate scale: big, medium, or small
Start out any piece of content by addressing a common problem that online users have with their current situation. A good problem to start out with is a pain point with current buying processes for a specific service. Sometimes the problem can be a national concern.
For example, if an online clothing boutique is writing a blog about why it is easier to purchase clothing using an e-commerce system, then they should explain some of the potential shortcomings of going to a brick-and-mortar outlet.
However, some businesses can position content to address larger problems. Urgent care centers can help explain the problem of public health concerns like disease outbreaks or the need for routine healthcare appointments.
List or explain the main challenges a reader wants to address
Once you’ve established the problem you’ll need to list out some of the challenges (in either a set of paragraphs or a bullet-ed list) that a consumer needs to consider.
Let’s revisit the e-commerce clothing store: the business may have explained some of the main problems with brick-and-mortar clothing stores, but it also needs to outline some of a consumer’s main considerations. Will a consumer need to visit the store for a fitting? Does the store accept multiple payment options? Is the e-commerce marketplace a safe system for online transactions?
A simple rule to follow is to think of the separate issues or complications a consumer may have when trying to fix their larger problem. These smaller issues are incredibly important to keep a user’s attention.
Accurately describe a solution to a visitor’s problems
Once the viewer/reader/visitor has learned about their needs, then is the appropriate time to suggest a solution: your products and services.
We’ll go back to that e-commerce clothing store one more time: since they’ve listed the problems of retail stores and common challenges of buying clothes online, then they can begin to showcase their business as a solution. The store could highlight services they have including online fitting, secure purchases, and peer-to-peer customer support.
But it is important to understand that not all content should necessarily promote a conversion. Try building out a series of content pieces to guide decision-making. And makes sure all your content is properly optimized to build upon your SEO efforts.
Always remember: well-thought out content that focuses on the user’s needs first will perform much stronger than hastily produced pieces!