How to Effectively Use Content in Customer Journey?

Content marketing Tutorials
Łukasz KołodziejczykŁukasz Kołodziejczyk
Published: 08.11.2018
14 minute

Content tailored to individual steps of customer journey

Identify a customer persona

First, let’s identify a persona possibly interested in content you create.

Buying a laptop can be an example here. Assume it’s a person who isn’t tech-knowledgeable, but is about to begin studies and wants to buy a computer to confront everyday challenges.

It’s already a good start to portray a persona. Our protagonist’s name is Michael and is 19 years old. He’s from a small town near Philadelphia and is moving out to start his studies. His hobbies are photography and tennis.

The persona described should determine a language and way of communication. Persona’s needs are a clue as to what content to create.

What are the needs of your persona?

How can we help this particular person in his journey across the Internet? Let’s recall how a conversion funnel looks like and how users gradually make up their mind whether or not to buy a given product:

Think of Michael from the perspective of a customer journey and how it goes. He’s yet discovering possibilities and opportunities.

Therefore, his first step will be a visit to a few electronics e-stores which he probably saw in ads. However, once he visits their websites, he’ll crash into a vast range of products and will most likely not know what to choose.

Your persona’s journey to a purchase

  1. Lost in a large range of products, Michael is looking for tips on the Internet. He googles the most obvious phrases he knows: “cheap laptops”, “small laptops”, “laptops for students”. He’s just given away the first selection criteria. Price, size and intended purpose can substantially help narrow all the products down to specific models.
  2. However, these are still generalities and a number of models displayed is very large. That’s why Michael is more specific now and types “which laptop to choose” or “laptops up to USD 2500”. He’s also learning about computers by reading articles and posts about what individual parameters mean and do. With all the new information he’s obtained, his mind is now set on specific models.
  3. Browsing even further, he starts to look for specific laptop brands and models, tests and benchmarks. Once he handpicks a few, he’ll check their prices and opinions about them.
  4. Only when he knows everything he’s interested in, he’s ready to buy a laptop he’s chosen. Where will he buy it? Obviously, price is very frequently the most important factor – the customer buys a specific model at a store which sells it at the lowest price.

However, brand recognition does matter here. Michael’s journey from the intent to buy a laptop to the decision to buy a specific model involved many stops along the road. He stumbled upon numerous blogs, tech-platforms and online stores. Sometimes he went back to certain websites as he remembered he’d found something useful there.

Let’s look at this from the online store’s perspective. It may be the case that the store doesn’t have a blog or a section with guides and is focused on displaying products it offers. Will a user such as Michael pay attention to that store when he gets help and assistance somewhere else? Is a possibly attractive range of products enough? Is it worth waiting for the customer at the end of their journey if they already know exactly what they’re after?

A purchase is not always a final destination

Remember that an ultimate goal is not always so obvious and associated with a specific transaction. Sometimes, a goal is just to get information. It happens that reaching the destination of a journey can lead to another trip somewhere else.

Let’s continue with Michael. He bought a laptop, but it’s been overheating for some time.

Concerned, he visits blogs and websites he went to when he was looking for a laptop. Unfortunately, he doesn’t find anything about overheating.

That’s when he googles what comes to his mind: “laptop is overheating”. This way, he stumbles upon an article explaining that one of the reasons behind overheating might be dust inside the computer. So Michael continues his search, typing: “how to clean the laptop” and he finds out that he’ll need compressed air.

That’s why you can’t look at customer needs from the perspective of a single article. It can turn out that you satisfy only those needs which are revealed at a single step of the customer journey. If your competitors address customer needs at other steps, it’s very probable they’ll intercept your possible customers. Your competitors may also successfully suggest various needs to such customers of which they haven’t been even aware. With a well-designed website they present them with a possibility to satisfy those needs right away.

Perspectives on content

You need to look at content from three perspectives:

  1. What’s going on outside your website? Specifically at competitors’ websites and other channels like social media or Google. Users will use them to reach information and brands they’re interested in
  2. Can users easily access any information they’re looking for?Can they navigate intuitively? Is the core information perfectly visible?
  3. Is the content structure appropriate?Pay attention to both a structure of an article and thought-through internal linking to related content.

Let’s begin with creating appropriate content and make sure it fulfils all needs the user can have. First of all, look at the structure of your whole website; it’s good to start here with an analysis of Google queries. Phrases typed by users can tell you what they need.

Is your website visible?

Make use of tools analyzing website rank under specific keywords. First, look at keywords that already generate traffic. Note which pages specifically are visited most often – they can be the place where users come into contact with your website for the first time and decide what they think of you.

Do you cater to users’ needs?

Browse through the core pages of your website and think whether they are truly informative, taking into account keywords that direct users to those pages.

Then, look at phrases ranked 11 or lower. Some of them might be a pretext for creating new content, whereas for others it might be better to add new information to already posted articles.

Build an ecosystem of content

Users in their quest for information, products or services often visit diverse websites through various channels. But they might as well stick to a single website that holds everything they’re after.

This is important because on the one hand, it reduces a number of times when the user comes into contact with your competitors and their content; if users find all the information in one place, they don’t have to look somewhere else.

On the other hand, you present your products or services in a positive way even by referring to specific items or services in your materials. Obviously, your brand should also be more visible.

Keywords and customer journey steps

Therefore, you should think of keywords in terms of coverage and reaching as many possible customers as possible. At the same time, you need to know how to classify such phrases in the context of the main steps of a customer journey:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Evaluation
  5. Purchase
  6. Support

So let’s establish whether in a given situation your keywords reach users at the awareness step, the consideration step or perhaps at the purchase step only?

It’s necessary to properly embed content in the structure of the entire website. After all, the user should be able easily and intuitively navigate related pages and information.

Once you know which external channels people use to find information, think about content they might have browsed earlier. Suggest them some content they might find interesting after reading your article.

Competition – which keywords direct to your competitors and not to you?

Users may naturally come across your competitors’ websites in their journey; that’s why it’s worthwhile to examine them.

Pay attention to those phrases which direct to your competition and not to you. This will let you identify possible areas to exploit that you’ve never even thought about.

First, make a list of such keywords. Then, analyze them in Senuto’s Keyword Explorer to find out possible needs of users you can satisfy.

Above all, it’ll help you plan how to place new content in the structure of your website. And what’s more, you’ll learn a few tips on what to put in individual articles.

Keywords you fight over with competitors

It’s also worth taking a look at phrases for which you already directly compete with others. Take note of those keywords for which your competitors are ranked much higher than you. Think what you can do to win this battle.

If, for instance, it’s the phrase “which laptop to choose”, what other phrases are associated with it? Do you have any related content, and if yes – what sort of content precisely? These are the questions that definitely need to be answered.

Try Senuto’s Competition Analysis. This tool allows you to compare sets of keywords that direct to both you and your competitors as well as those that direct only to your competition.

Why to analyze keywords used by competition?

You can arrive at a few really interesting website-related conclusions thanks to such analyses. The most obvious aspect is a level of content competitiveness optimization. Do your competitors tap the full potential of individual areas? Are their headings and subheadings well-optimized keyword-wise? Do their articles clearly answer specific questions?

Types of content created and generated by the competition is also very useful information. Is a given topic divided into two or more articles? Or perhaps it is squeezed in a single yet large piece of text divided into paragraphs explaining interrelated issues?

When analyzing your competition, have a look at their websites from the perspective of paths the user can take to find what they need. How users are guided from one topic to another? Do users move from general topics to more detailed ones, gradually learning more and more about them?

Website structure

Once you’ve scrutinized your competition, go to Senuto’s Keyword ExplorerIt’s a tool allowing to identify all the keywords associated with a given topic for which you and your competitors are not ranked yet.

Those phrases are a big hint about customer needs within a specific area that remain unsatisfied. Let’s use this knowledge to properly structure your website and content you post there.

Well-thought categories, subcategories and tags are of utmost importance. It’s also advisable to identify relations between them and distribute them across articles.

Combine keywords into a logical structure

It just needs to be visualized! Start with sketching the entire structure and links between individual elements and don’t forget about possible paths users can take.

Usually, you’ll have to use some tools like Excel or Google Sheets. They’ll help you identify and arrange thematic areas.

Content structure

Be aware that the content structure is also about individual articles and their internal structure of information. After all, users go not only from website to website, or even from page to page, but also from article to article.

Article title

A title is from where users depart to their destination. Whether it’s in search results, social media or simple links, it is a title that makes you click. A title is a kind of a promise you make to users about what they’re going to get when they click on it.

Information structure – a top-down approach

Well, if you make a promise, you should honor it – make the user find what they’re looking for. The basic information should be already in an introduction. Show them that the answer to their questions is further in the article.

To make it even easier to find content, it’s a good practice to combine subsequent paragraphs into a logical whole. Further sections additionally use subheadings which inform the user what to expect from a given paragraph.

Users want specific information

While looking for specific, precise information, an answer to a single question, users can encounter a very long article. They might go back to it and read it in full in the future to learn the entire context of the subject. However, if they need a yes/no answer, they probably need it as swiftly as possible.

Draw their attention with a title suggesting that a given article includes the answer to their question. Then, using the thought-through structure of subheadings and paragraphs, guide the user to a relevant fragment. This way  they quickly reach the final destination of their journey.

Satisfy customer needs given away in Google search queries

Keywords selected when designing the website can definitely be of help while structuring an article.

It’s also advisable to help users looking for answers to specific questions by providing such answers directly in paragraphs. Use questions with keywords in subheadings; this way you’ll suggest the reader that a given chunk of the text contains what they need.

It’s best to ask yourself the following essential questions:

Help the user understand your content

Never forget that a need for information is associated with the understanding of the subject. In many industries, the user may encounter a terminology unfamiliar to them. Naturally, the user will then search for explanation to get a better grasp of the article. For you, it’s yet another area to fill with content – with helpful definitions straight at your website. For instance, this can be a simple and small word balloon with an explanation displayed after moving the cursor over a word possibly difficult to understand.

Sometimes, it’s better to publish a glossary of industry terms. Provide your readers with comprehensible definitions of the most complex concepts.

If you have one, link to the definitions of such complex terms included in the glossary directly from your content. It not only helps users understand the article (and continue their journey), but also allows you to reach new users and attract them to your website.

It’s easy to imagine a social media campaign that explains terms and concepts used in our industry, simultaneously promoting glossary pages. Referring to the definitions included in the glossary can also be a good practice when you distribute newsletters. Remember that over time, such a glossary will organically appear in search results and this may translate into traffic.

How to intertwine content in customer journey? Summary

As you can see, content in customer journey is an extensive subject and a lot more could be written about it; however, for the time being, let’s draw up a brief list of practical tips out of what I’ve written earlier:

Keyword analysis

  • Analyze the effectiveness of content already posted on your website. Use Senuto’s Rank Tracker and Google Search Console
  • Check if any of the keywords you use are also used by your competition. Use Senuto’s Competition Analysis
  • Take a peek at your competition in terms of areas that you haven’t filled with content yet. Use Senuto’s Keyword Explorer
  • In individual thematic areas, find keywords on which you can base new valuable content. Use Senuto’s Keyword Explorer and Ubersuggest.

Website structure

  • Identify the main categories, subcategories, and subjects on the basis of pre-selected keywords
  • Assign relevant content to each and every category, subcategory and tag identified
  • Verify if a specific component of the structure (e.g. a tag) taps the full potential of a corresponding thematic area. Think what content users interested in a given subject would need.

Content structure

  • Identify three core keywords characteristic of a given article (Senuto, Ubersuggest)
  • Think of a title that would best reflect a corresponding article, using keywords and informing the user of what to expect from the text
  • Plan how to distribute information essential for the user in the context of their needs established on the basis of their search queries
  • Based on users’ search queries, create subheadings for individual sections of a given article. Use Senuto Keyword Explorer or AnswerThePublic.
  • Think of other content that could be associated with a given material, suggesting it to the user as additional information
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Łukasz Kołodziejczyk

Specjalista SEO pracujący dla Onetu. Każdego dnia zmaga się z wyzwaniami związanymi z rozwojem serwisów tematycznych z wielomilionowym ruchem.

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