Create a customer-focused content strategy based on question research
There is a timeless question on every content marketer’s and site owner’s mind: how to fill my site with content that converts, engages, and resonates with my audience? The answer may seem quite obvious: your content should be as customer-focused as possible.
My approach is based on finding questions people ask Google and using them in my content strategy. This research can give a great insight into how people think and what they want to know about your niche. The article you’re about to read will tell you how to find these questions and how to use them to boost your content marketing efforts.
What is a customer-focused strategy
Simply put, customer-focused strategy means putting your customer at the core of your business. It’s all about creating a positive consumer experience running through the entire engagement process, at the point of sale and after the sale.
Speaking about customer-focused content strategy, it means giving the information people want to see/need to know on your site/blog, looking at the content through your customers’ eyes.
When creating content for your site, your customer should be your first source of advice as neither the business literature nor your successful colleagues and partners can give you as much precious information about your niche and service as your customers can.
Listening carefully to your customers may help you understand customers’ behavior, interests and provide them with the information they’re interested in.
And here is where question research comes in handy!
What about question research
Question research is finding relevant questions people ask Google to use them in your content on the site, as I mentioned above. It may help you improve your strategy in several ways:
- You will know what your customers want to see on your site. They have questions, and you can provide the answers. Quite simple!
- You’ll increase their loyalty. Exploring search questions you can understand your customers better/understand their concerns and problems. Thus, they will be more loyal to your company.
- You’ll find your content gaps. If they ask these questions a lot, then your site failed to cover these issues. Whether you weren’t clear enough or you have missed them, you should strive to answer all questions people ask about your niche in case you want to be a leader.
How to find these questions
Quora is a Q&A site where questions are asked, answered, and discussed. It has 190 million monthly users and covers 400 million of topics. There are a lot of real people from newbies to niche experts asking and answering questions every day.
Choose appropriate filters and explore these threads. You can find lengthy discussions, debates, and fights here. It may help you spot problem areas in your niche, challenges your customers face, concerns they have. This info will come in handy when creating your content plan, buyer personas, landing pages, tutorials, etc.
Some may argue there is such a thing as Quora promotion. Well yes, you should be careful when doing your research. But you’ve got to admit, it’s easy to distinguish a promotional answer from the one providing a useful solution.
Speaking about Reddit, you won’t find any promotional content here. As of 2018, it’s the #6 most visited site in the world. It has 542 million monthly visitors (234 million unique users). And one of the reasons for such success is that hardly anyone dares to promote or advertise something in this holy place! Reddit is for discussions, not for promotion.
That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it to boost your marketing efforts. Once again, you can explore these discussions to understand your audience better, as with Quora.
You can also attend some subs like AskMeAnything or AskReddit.
There is a more structured way to collect a bunch of questions at a time. Using SEO tools like Serpstat, you can automatically collect queries people type into the google search box in the interrogative form. Type your keyword and go to Keyword research > Content Marketing > Search questions. Here you’ll find queries sorted by question word. The report starts with the general queries moving to the more specific ones. Sometimes it’s better to read from the ending.
There are so many queries, so it’s easy to mess things up. To sort out this madness, you can use the Keyword Clustering tool (Tools section). First, you should export the whole list of your queries into the spreadsheet. Afterwards, load them all into the Keyword Clustering tool, and it will sort it out for you.
With the last tool, you can optimize your pages (for instance, FAQ page) for a group of keywords instead of the single one keyword.
Also, understanding the way people type queries in Google may help you figure out their natural language. Speaking the way your customers speak makes it easier to connect with them, understand each other.
BuzzSumo question analyzer
This tool also can automate your work as it gathers questions from forums, Q&A sites, Reddit, e-commerce sites. By doing it manually, you can explore the full thread and get more information. But if you want to save some time, you can use this tool instead.
It can search by keyword, domain, and subreddit. Also, you can filter results by date.
All previous approaches were focused on searching questions people ask throughout the Web. This one implies asking your particular customers, which can give you even more specific to your service information. To get these valuable insights, you should survey your customers!
You can ask questions about your product or niche in general. Either way, speaking directly to your customers is apparently one of the best ways to know them better and improve your service.
Explore comments on your own blogs and on your competitors’ blogs from time to time. I’m sure everyone reads competitors’ blog to get some ideas and analyze their strategy. Next time scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the comments as well. You can find some valuable questions there.
Don’t spend too much time on it as there are many useless comments. Just glance through the few blogs every week and spend few minutes to read the comments under the posts. Knowing what’s happening on your competitors’ blogs is always a good idea.
Where to use users questions
There are a lot of ways you can use these precious insights:
Answer questions in your blog posts
It’s the first idea that comes to mind. Whether you’re running a service or an online store, nowadays almost every business has a corporate blog as an additional source of traffic and another tool for promotion.
An article should always answer a question / solve a problem. And after reading this post all the way to this moment, you should have collected a vast list of questions asked by real people. Thus, you can grab the interesting ones for your content plan and turn them into valuable blog posts.
See, each of them deserves a separate post, and you know for sure that there are a lot of people that want to get the answer.
What is more, asking a question in the first sentence of your article is one of the common lead paragraph tactics. With this approach, you’re getting straight to the point, describing the reader’s pain at the very beginning of the text. Such writing flow usually engages in continuing reading.
So find a question people often ask and create an article answering this question. Use this question to start your article with. For instance, ‘Struggling to increase your open rate but feel like your emails just fail?’ could be a good opening sentence for your post.
Pro tip: if you found a question on Quora and turned it into a blog post, don’t forget to get back to that thread and leave a quick answer with a link to the full article. It’s another excellent way to promote your content.
Also, you can create entertaining content using questions we gathered earlier. For instance, it could be an infographic called ‘funny questions people ask about email marketing’. Here is what it may look like (‘most popular long queries’):
Also, answering questions in your posts may help you get into special elements (featured box):
This section is shown to the user above all other results so it will improve your visibility and traffic.
Create an FAQ page
It’s quite visible that some FAQ pages are based on what the site owner thinks his/her customers may want to know or on some specific questions that several people asked their support team. You don’t have to invent these questions. Some of the tools I mentioned above will help you find the most common substantial questions and create a valuable FAQ page on your site.
For this purpose, Serpstat would be the best choice as it finds a lot of common questions from general to specific ones and can group them by meaning for you. Well-structured data helps make sense of all this question mess and organize your FAQ properly.
Ask a question on your landing page
Even if the person eventually doesn’t get interested in your site, you’ll probably reduce your bounce rate anyway!
Create educational materials
A lot of services have educational and training services. For instance, Hubspot Academy:
If you see that people ask the same question for a long time, create a video tutorial explaining this issue. Your customers will be grateful to you and it may increase their loyalty.
The bottom line
People ask questions. A lot. So why not make an effort and give them all the answers? Answering them in your content on the site can make you a niche leader as people will know they can find all the answers on your site and blog.
I’m sure every person that works in e-commerce sometimes find herself thinking ‘I wish I could read my customers’ minds.’ Now you literally can. So try it and draw your own conclusions!
This is a guest post from Anna Rud. Anna is a Content Marketing Specialist at Serpstat, an all-in-one SEO platform.
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