It’s time to understand consumer behavior regarding keywords. Marketers are still using antiquated keyword tools to power their content strategies, and this frustrates their target audiences. Use these three tactics instead to power your content with what really matters, says, Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of Teknicks.
Keywords have long been a controversial topic among marketers and content creators. There was a time when they played a big role in search rankings and content discoverability. That’s no longer the case, yet many marketers are still using antiquated keyword tools to power their content strategies. The idea of developing content solely around terms with high search volumes often blinds marketers to what consumers are actually looking for.
CONTENT THAT CONNECTS: WHY INFLUENCER MARKETING IS THE FUTURE OF GEN Z ENGAGEMENT
Gen Z is a business opportunity you can’t afford to miss. As 40% of the population commanding upwards of $40 billion in spending power, modern marketers need to build compelling strategies to engage with Gen Z.
Content is valuable when it meets specific audience needs –— not when it hits a keyword search volume requirement. Marketers must understand the intent behind relevant keywords and deliver content that helps solve audience problems. Different audiences will use distinct keywords to search for information according to their level of knowledge about a particular topic. Accounting for this variability by using a good mix of terms and phrases in your content will typically produce the best results.
Learn More: Five Ways of Presenting Great Content
Moreover, simply incorporating keywords into content doesn’t ensure discoverability. Google and other search engines understand the user intent behind search queries, so if your content doesn’t align with the keywords scattered throughout it, then you won’t rank for those terms and phrases.
Build Content Around Customers
The biggest mistake most marketers make is relying too much on a keyword tool rather than using knowledge about their customers to guide content creation. Remember, humans don’t speak in keywords, although Google may have trained them to search that way.
It’s fine to include popular relevant search terms in your content, but not if they disrupt the flow of your writing and detract from its value. Your content strategy should be based on your understanding of your audiences: the language they use, the channels they prefer, and the challenges they’re attempting to address through your content. As such, the first and most important step when developing a content strategy isn’t keyword research but rather conducting marketing research.
There’s no way around it: Success depends on getting to know your customers and how to market to them. With that in mind, use these three tactics to conduct your own marketing research so that you can begin creating content that actually adds value:
1. Conduct a survey.
Customer feedback is always a gift, and surveys are a great way to collect it. You can conduct a survey of existing customers or recruit people who match your target audience to provide input. Surveys are useful for asking questions about the types of content an audience prefers; their past experiences with your content, products, or services; and the factors that influence them to click on a piece of content or make a purchase.
As you develop your surveys, pay attention to the language you’re using. Avoid asking questions in a way that pushes users toward one answer over others; try to include some open-ended questions that allow for customers to provide input you may not have otherwise considered. Not every survey response will be relevant or helpful, but in aggregate, they’ll provide you with important data points that can help guide your content strategy.
2. Hold focus groups.
As with customer surveys, focus groups can be created by selecting existing customers or volunteers from a group of people whose interests and behaviors match those of your target audience. Truly useful focus groups (and marketing research in general) require a significant amount of upfront planning. The feedback you gather from these sessions will be more useful if you have a process for screening volunteers to ensure they represent your target audience.
Use pre-testing survey questions and regularly review your sampling methods to reduce inefficiencies as you conduct marketing research. If you’re struggling to attract volunteers for your focus group, don’t be afraid to offer an incentive for participation. The input you collect will more than make up for any expenses you incur. In fact, some of the most successful marketing campaigns were built with insights gathered from focus groups.
3. Focus on data-driven analytics.
Surveys and focus groups aren’t the only way to collect information about your audience. Thanks to modern technology, you can gather tremendously helpful insights from the data generated by customer interactions with past marketing campaigns. Countless analytics tools are available on the market today — many cheap and easy to use — that tell you how effective your ads are at driving traffic to your website or influencing other customer behavior.
Tracking tools can even allow you to see who visited your social media pages and other sites before they landed on your digital property. When analyzed effectively, data generated from customer activity online can help you paint a very clear picture of who your customers are in terms of demographics, interests, buying behavior, and other attributes.
Learn More: 5 Pillars of Audience-Centric Content
Of course, companies that collect customer data are required to be good stewards of that data. Regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act prevent brands from gathering data without customer consent. This forces marketers to rely on more targeted advertising methods such as contextual advertising. Ultimately, this is good for both marketers and consumers: Relevant ads will garner more engagement without detracting from consumers’ online experiences.
Like contextual advertising, your content should be based on relevance and specific consumer characteristics. If it’s not, the presence of keywords won’t enhance it. Instead, keywords will further detract from its overall value.