Research and frameworking will help you connect with your audience and search engines
Writing content that meets growth goals for your company can be difficult to define and execute on.
However, I’ve found content writing easier when I write in a content funnel format. The content funnel I’m referring to consists of five steps: Awareness, Consideration, Comparison, Conversion, and Retention.
Typically, you will see a company concentrate primarily on the consideration phase, focusing on their product or service, or the conversion phase where they are putting on the “hard sale.” This is mainly because companies want returns on their content marketing, so they immediately start pitching.
But what makes you so sure your readers realize they have a problem to begin with (even if you have the solution)?
Enter the awareness stage of the funnel…
Top of the Funnel Awareness Content
The awareness stage is the top of the funnel and an introduction. Here you are not introducing your product or service but rather being helpful by offering insight and positioning as an expert.
In the awareness phase of your content funnel you want your brand to take a back seat and your professionalism and depth of knowledge on a particular subject to be front and center.
By definition, you want awareness content to be educational. Here you want to identify problems around a certain topic, elaborate on those problems to show you have breadth and depth of knowledge, and offer some helpful ways to address the problems.
Finding Awareness Content to Write
Getting started, you are going to want to have a target audience in mind. If your target is digital marketers, you can use Google to help you out by entering a search query like “digital marketing for…” and read the predictive text below.
Google’s autocomplete feature is awesome for giving insight into other popular searches and intent around a keyword you are looking for. In this case, “digital marketing for dummies” looks like a solid entry-level “awareness phase” topic to discuss in an article.
The next question I always ask is, do people care about this topic enough to search for it using Google? To answer that question, I use either Google keyword planner or one of my favorite tools for keyword ideas and search volume, keywordtool.io.
Once I determine through search volume there is an audience (typically 500+ monthly searches), I can move on to see if I can rank on page 1 of Google’s search results for that particular keyword phrase.
My go-to website is Moz.com and the tool I use is the keyword difficulty tool. This uses Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) metrics to determine how competitive the first page of Google is for a given keyword.
For the keyword phrase “digital marketing for dummies”, I see four opportunities for Power Digital’s website to rank:
Currently, Power Digital Marketing has a DA of 37 and PA of 47.
Therefore, I see four articles on page 1 in Google that we can contend with that have lower authority metrics. Therefore, the answer to my question is, YES, we can rank for this keyword phrase organically.
Frameworking Awareness Content
Now that we have an awareness article to write, you are going to want to create a framework. I look at five strategic things when I framework:
1. Spend time on creating a headline using a solid hook.
2. Write an awesome introduction to your awareness article that calls out the problem or dilemma you are going to help solve.
3. Lay topics out in an inverted pyramid. Keep the important stuff at the top, fluff at the bottom.
*Pro Tip: there should be no fluff, only less important stuff!
4. Balance your text and non-text. This will keep your article interesting and dynamic vs. a straight wall of text.
5. Identify resources on related topics to link out to before you even start writing. Linking to other articles in your awareness article, industry leaders and studies will make your writing credible to the reader and to Google.
Writing Your Awareness Content
After you have frameworked your awareness article you are going to want to begin the writing process. This process is unique to your writing style and brand voice. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Write with “skimmers” in mind. People love to digest content fast!
- Break text up into easy digestible paragraphs. I try to never have more than five lines before spacing into a new paragraph
- Ask yourself as you write:
- Is your post clear for the typical reader?
- Are you covering all the problems the reader faces within your topic?
- Have you done a good job explaining different avenues for solutions?
- Don’t be over stated or “wordy”
- Cut out any FLUFF
- Always check your grammar before publishing
Writing great awareness content is not easy.
This is the first thing people see when being introduced to your brand and you must come off as credible to get people to continue deeper into your content funnel and discover of your products or services.
But if you take a systematic approach to your writing, utilizing upfront research and frameworking your content, you have a much better chance of connecting with your audience and Google organically.
From here, use this guide to create your own checklist for writing content and feel free to add to it to enrich your process. Then get in a habit of going through your process and replicating it with your content production. Trust me, you will only get better.
Do you think I missed anything? Let the community know in the comments below!
Nick Slettengren is co-founder & head strategist of Power Digital Marketing. He is an entrepreneur by trade and digital marketer by evolution. With over eight years of professional agency experience, Nick has gained a national and global perspective on the evolving digital world with an emphasis on SEO. Over the years, he has developed successful digital strategies for Fortune 500 companies like Pfizer and Procter & Gamble as well as helping lean startups take flight. With a passion for digital strategy, Nick develops and customizes data-driven digital marketing campaigns that positively impact his clients’ bottom line.