What’s The Bear Want?
Some of the best content marketing comes from companies that have the right answers to the questions people are asking. If you’re a gourmet porridge company whose target market is talking bears, for example, writing content that answers questions like “Who ate my porridge” is exactly the kind of stuff you want to be writing. If you’re producing content that talks about how to get porridge out of trees or showswhat kind of porridge famous meerkats are eating---yet none of your target (bear) market is wondering about these things—you probably want to reevaluate your content marketing strategy.
Every day your customers are asking critical questions about their life and work, and you want to be the one to have the answers for them. As Dan Steiner of the Content Marketing Institute writes (http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/07/content-answer-searchers-questions/), “Your ability to helpfully answer critical questions not only assists your audience, but it also helps your SEO because search engines view sites that give satisfying answers as more valuable.” One example of great answer based content marketing is Charter Spectrum, an internet/cable company. Instead of writing content about how their business internet is the “best in the universe” Charter Spectrum chose to focus instead on empowering their customers. They realized the best way to become the “answer heroes” to their business customers would be to provide excellent content relevant to their success. They created “Spectrum Business Insights” (https://spectrumbusinessinsights.com/), a whole website devoted to informative articles, reports, and resources for businesses of all sizes. They create content (and email it to all their customers) covering everything from the “Five Marketing Email Tips for Your Small Business” to “How to Boost Your Chances of Landing a Business Loan”. These are the kinds of things their customers are looking for answers to and Charter Spectrum is taking the initiative to be there for them.
Google’s Instant Answers
Google has also recognized how valuable it can be to answer people’s questions fast and efficiently. Now when you type a question into Google’s search box, they are providing “instant answers” to many questions right at the top of the page in its specialized box. If you Google “how to make cookies from scratch”, for example, you’ll see a 4-step recipe right there at the top on how to bake cookies! What’s important to note here, too, is that at the bottom of the recipe is a link to where the recipe is from, BettyCrocker.com. (Betty Crocker optimized their content and Google used it to help people—pretty awesome stuff!). Google is also providing something called “People also ask.” If you Google “cherry pie recipe”, for example, you’ll see the “instant answer” at the top with a recipe for a yummy cherry pie. But then if you scroll down the page a bit you’ll see a large section saying “People also ask” that shows the question “How long do you bake a cherry pie with canned filling?” You click on the drop-down link, and it gives you the answers right there. It’s instant, and it’s amazing. Remember, though; Google isn’t actually “creating” any of these replies. All this content is from smart companies creating niche answer based content and optimizing it for search engines to pick up. So how is that done? Let me finish this last bite of hot gourmet porridge then let's get this show on the road!
How to Optimize Your (Answer Based) Content for Search Engines?
One of the first things to do is make sure you’re answering the right questions—the questions your target market is asking. “Question research” can start from the daily questions you get from customers but also go into the niche parts of your business as well. Charter Spectrum sells internet and cable yet they know their business clients have questions about email marketing. They wrote a great niche blog about the “Five Marketing Email Tips for Your Small Business” and now they’re helping their clients thrive (and Charter gains loyalty and trust in the process).
For a brilliant “question research” tool also check out (https://serpstat.com/). It can help you find the most popular questions your target market is asking on Google. First, enter a keyword related to your business. Once the list has been generated, click on “Search Suggestions” found on the left-hand side. Then click on “Only Questions” found in the generated list. 1-2-3 boom! You’ve got instant access to stellar questions you can start creating content around.
To further expand your answer based content strategy don’t forget to check out major hubs like Quora (https://www.quora.com/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/), and even Amazon (https://www.amazon.com). Not only will you find tons of great questions needing answers but you can even discover what kinds of questions your competitor’s customers are asking. Get the competitive edge by finding out what they’re struggling with then do a better job of answering their questions. Oh, it’s on!
- Quora: This is a huge active “question and answer” based community. With their excellent internal search engine, you can discover questions on just about anything. Find what the top questions and concerns are and then you can write great content to answer them.
- Twitter: here you can get real-time access to what people are asking. If you monitor Twitter questions, you have the chance to engage with people immediately and help them get the answers they are seeking, too. Neat trick: use Google to find more Twitter questions by Googling “Search Twitter for: keyword?”. Be sure to keep a space between your keyword and the question mark.
- Amazon: this can be a secret treasure trove of questions for your content marketing (and even product development). For every product listed on Amazon, there is a “Customer Questions and Answers” section. Check out what people are wondering about or struggling with and you’ll gain some great insights and content ideas.
It’s also a good idea to have your FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on your website and even a part of each product page. This will provide quick answers for your customers and expand your SEO reach as well.
Making answer based content a crucial part of your content marketing strategy is vital to any great line of attack. It helps you understand your target market; you become the go-to for answers, and you further your efforts for exposure, loyalty, as well as new customers. Next time your target market of talking bears Googles “who ate my porridge” your blog can be the top search result: “Who Ate Your Porridge and What To Do About it.” Good strategy is truly delicious.