Especially when your brand is in a crowded market, you don’t just want to position your organization as one of many options your audience has. You want to be the first option they find so you can shape their understanding of the market.
Ideally, you want consumers to see your brand everywhere they look. But for that to happen, you have to know what people are looking for. Not just when they’re trying to find products or services like yours, but before they even know your product category exists (or that it’s what they need).
The technical approach to this type of content is product category search engine optimization. (Don’t worry, we’re not getting technical here.) Product category SEO leverages keyword research to identify the ways consumers are most likely to search for your category, as well as the topics that naturally lead to conversations about what your business does.
But you don’t have to be an SEO pro to make your business more discoverable. You can create smart content by understanding your customers.
Whether you’re using strategic exercises like personas and customer journey maps or simply working from your experience and drawing on in-house experts, here are some ways you can ensure your brand is showing up in the right places.
Align with your product category.
Hopefully, you have a pretty good idea of how people describe your product category. Sometimes it’s obvious, like with “church accounting software.” But sometimes there are multiple terms people use to find the same kinds of products or services, like “kid min curriculum” and “children’s ministry curriculum.”
You don’t need to use every term your audience uses, but it helps to know which is the most popular, and make sure your website has at least one definitive page dedicated to that topic.
This isn’t about shoehorning keywords into your web pages. It’s about making sure that when people look for your product category, there’s a page dedicated to the thing they’re looking for.
It might be a product page that’s all about your “church presentation software.” It could also be a blog post that provides an overview of “Christian banking” (or whatever your category is). Or a “how to choose a [product category]” guide that highlights all of the key features someone should look for, or compares the biggest players in your space.
Whatever terms your target audience uses, you need to be sure that you’re using them, too. And then create helpful content that explains those terms and, if appropriate, clearly connects them to your product or service.
Start with a problem or goal.
Before someone starts investigating your product category, they’ll often begin by researching how to solve a problem or achieve a goal. If you create content that teaches people how to do what they’re trying to do—or solves the problem for them—you’re going to get your foot in the door before people have even thought about your product category.
Let’s say you create a “church texting app.” The people who would use your product probably have church marketing problems you’re well equipped to help them solve. You might publish blog posts like a roundup of “20 Proven Church Marketing Ideas” or a “Church Communications Director Job Description.”
These pages on your website address your target audience’s tangible needs and create natural opportunities to talk about your product category (and even plug your product). A church communications director is obviously going to manage channels like texting, right? And at least one of those church marketing ideas would involve church texting.
Demonstrate your expertise.
Whatever your product category, there are topics that relate to what you do. If you’re a Christian publisher, some of the books or courses you publish will be about topics people are searching for online.
If one of your books is about covenant theology, you should probably have an in-depth guide to covenant theology . . . but also pages about related terms and questions, like “What Is the Old Covenant?” or “What Is the New Covenant?” If you made a FAQ for the topic of your book, what would the questions be? Now turn each question into a blog post that quotes and promotes the book.
Follow up with ads.
Smart content will naturally guide people to your sales funnels and generate leads. But it also helps you grow an audience you can retarget with ads. Show them ads for a course on the topic you were just teaching them about. Offer a case study proving how you helped someone solve the problem they were just looking for help with. Smart content with strategic ads will make your marketing machine a whole lot more effective.