Have you ever sat down to write a blog post, prospect email or social media post and thought: what do I want to tell my audience about? Or even, what am I inspired to write today? It’s far easier to write quickly when inspiration comes form within rather than an assignment. I learned this first hand when managing a group of 10+ content producers.
Here’s the harsh reality: your audience doesn’t care what you want to write about. That serves you, not them. Gone are the days of loyalty and attention. Remember when you just had to place your ad in your audience’s favorite TV show to be seen? Now, whether you’re writing blog posts, emails or social media posts, you’re fighting for attention with familiar faces. The same places that you want attention are also filled with close friends, family and others.
How do you stand out and get your message delivered? One simple way is to be there when they need you. When they need information or solutions you have, be there when they seek it out. When they realize they have a problem, the first stop in their journey to solve it is Google. They’re not looking to buy, but they’re looking to learn. Solution providers who help educate and add value to their search are most likely to win the eventual sale. But its critical to help before you sell.
Raising top of funnel awareness starts with building awareness that you have something of value for them. Here are three simple ways to be there when your audience needs information.
1. Know what people are looking for
People search using their own words that describe their problem or their goal, and search results offers them a variety of potential sites for them to choose from. Your goal is to get on that list! The best way to know what they’ll search for is to listen to customers and prospects and record the questions they ask (exactly how they ask them). Knowing what words they use (not your marketing copy) and how they think about their issues gives you insights into the information you need to provide.
2. Develop content to address their needs
When people search for answers what they really want is useful information to educate and help them make a decision. Think about the questions they have at each stage of the buyer’s journey and provide content that adds value to their search process. This is different from sales and marketing copy on a website that is meant to sell your brand, product or service. You want to educate them on potential solutions, help them understand what they need to consider before making a selection, and compel them to want to research your company further.
Examples of questions that might come up during the buyer’s journey includes:
What options are out there for me to consider?
How do other people solve this problem?
What do my friends or peers have experience with?
What are the benefits of this company over another?
Is this a product or service that I’d be proud to buy from?
How do they treat their people, serve their community and give back?
How will I feel if I choose this company?
These questions might be consciously or subconsciously asked, depending on the product or service, so have answers addressed in your content (using words they use) so they find it.
3. Keep useful content fresh and relevant
Google prefers to present content that will best serve the searcher’s needs. Often that means content that has been published recently or has been updated. For many companies, it can be a challenge to develop all the content needed as described above, let alone do so often. One strategy that may be more sustainable for you is to put content throughout your site on an update schedule. This could mean that each page is updated once every 6 to 8 weeks with links to new studies or quotes, replacement of a paragraph to add relevancy or other updates. The goal is to look for opportunities to add value to the reader, not just update for Google’s sake.
Getting discovered in a noisy space doesn’t need to be like a game of Where’s Waldo. Simple strategic steps improves the likeliness that you’ll be found at just the right time. Leveraging that attention comes down to helping your audience move towards a purchase decision. Companies who stand out by adding value to this journey and sell without selling will watch their sales grow.