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Creating Content for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey: How Keyword Research Helps

Donald ChanDonald Chan

Content marketing is a big part of today’s digital marketing landscape. Every day, businesses are producing more and more content to build an audience and attract their ideal customers.

With the explosion in digital content all around us though, it has become more important than ever for content to stand out in quality and relevance to your intended audience.

Quality and Relevance

Gone are the days you could slap together an 500-word blog post, throw it up on your site and see a huge torrent of online users stream in through organic search.

The quality of content that’s making it to the first page of search results has seen a massive jump in recent years. We’re seeing articles that are more in-depth and covering just about every aspect of what a user is looking to learn about a topic.

But then again, that’s no surprise if you’ve been following Google algorithm updates through the years. After all, the search engine giant is all about delivering a better experience for its online users.

Starting from the Panda and Penguin updates, right through to Hummingbird in 2013, Google has been upping the ante in terms of the quality of content that should be ranking.

What’s more, the introduction of Rankbrain in recent years has seen the search engine giant become more and more adept at delivering better results for search queries.

After all, Google knows the best way to keep users happy — and using their search engine — is showing the web content that best answers their questions.

So how should content marketers adapt to today’s organic search landscape?

Understanding The Buyer’s Journey

At its core, content marketing is simply creating and distributing valuable and relevant content, whether that’s blog posts, videos or technical articles, to attract your intended target audience,

But how do you ensure the content you produce resonates with them?  

One way to do so is to tie content marketing — and keyword research — to the Buyer’s Journey.

According to HubSpot, the Buyer’s Journey is the process users go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service.

While there are variations of what a buyer’s journey looks like, for the purpose of this article, we’ll be breaking it down to three main stages, that is:

Keyword Research for Content Marketing

Here at IMPACT — the content marketing agency I run — we always endeavour to first understand the Buyer’s Journey to ensure content we produce is both strategic and relevant to the customer personas we are trying to pull in.

Besides looking at customer and purchase data, one of the key channels we use to better get into the heads of our target audience is keyword research.

In many ways, keyword research is just like detective work. You try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer and think of all the queries they may have.

In our opinion, this is why a keyword research tool such as BlogBing is so essential for any marketer. BlogBing provides you with critical keyword data such as search volume, related keywords, trends and SEO difficulty so you can make better decisions about your content.

BlogBing also has features such as as Google Suggest and Question Keywords that can help you validate your ideas and provide a sense of what topics would be relevant to your customers.

Keyword Research for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the types of content that is suitable for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey — and how keyword research can help in fleshing this out.

For this, we’ll use the hypothetical example of a small business owner trying to shop for an online accounting software for his firm.

Awareness Stage

The Awareness Stage is the initial phase in which a buyer persona starts to realise they have a problem, but isn’t quite sure of the extent of the problem and what to do.

When marketers create content for buyer personas at this stage, they should consider writing about the problem their persona is facing and some initial solutions.

How Keyword Research Supports Content Creation

In our online accounting software example, perhaps our small business owner is finding it difficult to keep track of his accounts as business is rapidly expanding.

He has heard about ‘online accounting software’ and wants to understand if it would be a solution for the problem he is facing. In this case, he might search for terms such as ‘why online accounting software’ and ‘advantages of online accounting software’.

Leveraging keyword data such as search volume, related keywords and SEO difficulty, we can better understand what type of content topics would do better in terms of attracting organic traffic, resonating with users and ranking well against the competition.  

Consideration Stage

The Consideration Stage is the second stage where buyers have gained more insight into their problem and are now looking into finding a possible solution. This is the stage where content marketers present solutions to the buyers in the form of their own products and services.

This is also the best time to create content which would emphasise the value of the brand to the buyer. The content marketer should clearly explain why the buyer should choose their brand over their competitors.

How Keyword Research Supports Content Creation

Types of content that might attract potential buyers in this phase include product reviews, feature comparisons and product alternatives.

Using BlogBing for keyword research, you can check what types of questions users are active searching at this juncture and the search volume behind it. For example, users may be searching for terms such as ‘software A vs software B’ or ‘software A reviews’.

By finding out the keyword metrics behind these queries, we can prioritise which content — such as feature comparisons with competitive products — to create and promote.

Decision Stage

The Decision Stage is the final stage where the buyer finalises their purchase.

If the content marketers were able to succeed in the first two stages, convincing the buyer to move to the final stage should be relatively easy. At this stage, potential buyers are effectively looking for information to reaffirm their decision to go with your brand, product or service.

How Keyword Research Supports Content Creation

Returning to our online account software example one last time, let’s say that our small business owners has decided to go with Software A as his choice. At this juncture, he is seeking validation and confirmation for his decision.

A content marketer working for Software A might look look up the brand as a search term in BlogBing and review the list of related keywords. It is noted that long-tail search queries related to merchant services, payroll support and payment processing have sizeable search volume.

From this, our marketer understands that there is a need to create content that addresses any buyer anxieties surrounding these topics, helping potential buyers to a purchase decision.

Keyword Research for Content Marketing

I hope this post has provided you with some insights on how to use keyword research when developing content for each stage of your buyer journey.

Here at IMPACT, we believe that the best content marketing is both helpful to users and delivers a positive ROI to the brand. As such, keeping your ideal customer persona at the heart of all your content marketing decisions will ultimately deliver better results for your business.

How are you leveraging keyword research in your content marketing? Get in touch with us and share your success stories today. 


Donald Chan is the Founder and Business Director at IMPACT! Brand Communications, a leading content marketing agency for Technology, B2B and Healthcare brands. He frequently shares his insights on the IMPACT! blog and also helps run several vibrant online communities for web and marketing professionals.

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