Drive targeted Web traffic by answering questions

Welcome back! In today’s SEO copywriting video how-to, Heather shares a really fun content strategy that is especially attractive if you find yourself stuck for new ideas for fresh content: answering questions.

Not only does this strategy generate useful, relevant content for your readers, but it also drives targeted traffic to your website! What’s more, answering questions allows you to show off your expertise, and it’s easy!

Tune in as Heather explains how answering questions can drive Web traffic…

Your target market has questions

  • Shouldn’t your company answer them?

Your target market has questions. They’re typing them into Google every day, and while the query might not be sales related – they might not be looking for a product or service, at that point – it might be related to something that you offer.

So for example, the screenshot shows a search for “how do I file estimated taxes?” and that is followed by suggested results. If you were a bookkeeper or a CPA, someone who was targeting folks who would be filing taxes, this would be an opportunity for you – because you could build out an article or blog post about this topic.

You could also expand that out to Twitter and other social media channels, but just in terms of your website, this gives you stuff that you know you can write about!

Make a list of the most common questions you hear

So when you’re trying to figure out what kinds of questions to answer, the first thing to do is to think about what your prospects are asking you.

  • What are your prospects asking?

When you’re picking up the phone and talking to people, chances are that you get very similar types of questions. So what you can do is to answer these questions via an article or post for your website, or via a guest post at a relevant blog.

  • If you employ customer service representatives, what are they hearing?

If you work with customer service rep’s, this is something that you can ask them, because you might find out that they are hearing questions that you’ve never even considered.

So again, that gives you a really cool opportunity to create a blog post around those questions and then post it on your website!

  • Make a list and prioritize it.

Start making a list and prioritize it: if you know that there’s a question that comes up all the time, and that everybody asks, list that first.  And then that’s something you can plan for later.

Do a little more research…

The second thing to do is conduct a little more research – internal brainstorming is fun, but you can also look externally, such as…

  • What are your competitors writing about? Are they addressing anything that’s not on your list?

Go to competing sites and figure out what they’re writing about: are they using the same strategy right now? And if so, what kinds of questions are they answering? Are there any that you don’t have on your list already?

  • Does keyphrase research give you any other ideas?

Keyphrase research is always a great way to get ideas.

  • What about social media?

Check out what’s happening on social media: what’s trending? Look at your competitors’ social media. See if there are questions on Twitter that are different than those you’re hearing from your customer service rep’s.

Do a really broad-scope investigation of the types of opportunities that are out there, and continue adding questions and ideas to your list.

Develop your content strategy

Once you have a pretty solid list, then it’s time to develop your content strategy.

  • Will you write a blog post? An article? A FAQ page?
  • How many articles/posts can you write a month?

Some folks get amped and set an impossibly ambitious goal given their reality, like “I’m going to write one per day!” Then shortly after they burn out and nothing gets done.  So however this works for your content marketing, consider what’s realistic for you and put that info in your editorial calendar.

  • Who’s gonna do the writing?

If you’re going to write the content yourself, then you need to set aside some time. If  you’re going to outsource it, they you’ll need to find a writer who’s really good and can write in a voice that’s going to benefit your brand and make you money.

Avoid the cheap content trap

Something to consider if you do outsource the writing: avoid the cheap content trap! Consider your content an asset that will make you money.

  • Low-quality content will hurt – not help – you.

I (Heather) have seen a lot of companies who look at these types of articles and posts as merely an “SEO play,” thinking ‘Oh, well, we don’t have to share that much info’ or ‘It doesn’t have to be good writing – it’s just an article to drive traffic.’

But the important thing to remember is that article represents your brand. And even though it’s not meant to be a sales letter or something that directly promotes a product or service, if it reads poorly and it really doesn’t go into depth in answering the questions you reader is asking – that is not going to help you…It’s going to cost you money.

A good article will actually help make you money, because people will think ‘Wow! This company really knows what they’re talking about – maybe I should learn more…and it might be easy to work with them!’

  • If you choose to outsource, find the best writer for your needs (not the one who offers the lowest price.)

Some people approach outsourcing as an equation: “We only want to spend X for content – $10 a page” because it fits with some magical budget of theirs, but what they receive for that is not necessarily going to be the best reflection of their brand.

You want to find the best writer for your needs, not the cheapest. You need to be open to price at that point, if you expect any kind of quality content that drives traffic to your site!

 

Of Panda’s and Penguin’s: learn how to write for Google and avoid a bamboo spanking or penguin mauling! Just sign up for the free SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter for lean, no-fluff industry news, either daily or weekly, and get Heather Lloyd’s “25-Point Checklist on How to Write for Google” free!

photo thanks to Micky.! (Micky Aldridge)