Determining the Purpose of Your Content
When it comes to producing content, two important considerations are:
- Who is your target audience? (check out our content marketing guide if you are not sure how to define your target audience)
- What is the purpose (or goal) of your content?
Likewise, when it comes to determining goals and purpose, there are also two important considerations:
- What does the user expect to find when searching on Google for related terms (a.k.a. searcher/query intent)?
- What outcome (s) do you want to occur after someone engages with your content?
In order to create content that can rank well and perform well with your audience, you must find where searcher intent and your goals overlap.
First we are going to look at some common goals of content, then we will touch on how to determine searcher intent so that you can match the two accordingly.
When it comes to content goals, most content is created to serve one of the following 4 purposes:
- To Convince
- To Educate
- To Inspire
- To Entertain
Different types of content are typically associated with each purpose, here is a good visual representation of that.
The good news is, that even if you are not a content marketer by trade, it is still pretty easy to determine the purpose of content.
Once you know the purpose, it is easier to avoid one common but critical content mistake. Not properly aligning the goals (or call to action) of your content with the current stage of the reader in the buyer’s cycle.
Just keep reading and by the end of this section you will know exactly how avoid making this mistake in your content!
Above, we talked about the top page from Social Media Explorer and Kicksta, which centered around getting Instagram followers.
If we look at those two articles (click here and here to open them), the purpose of both pieces is pretty obvious. They are written to educate, otherwise called informational content.
If you were to head over to Google and complete a search for “Instagram followers”, you will notice that more than half of the first page results are “how to” articles. This gives you a pretty good idea of the intent of the searcher, which in this case is most likely to be educated on the topic.
This is just one of the four main types of search intent.
Identifying Searcher Intent
Search engine traffic is so valuable because Google does a great job of surfacing content that aligns with the underlying reason a search was completed.
Searcher intent can be defined as the “why” behind their search. Most searches completed fall into one of four main types of searcher intent which are:
An informational search is one completed with the goal of learning new information, such as in our example above using “Instagram followers” or any type of search using modifiers like: who, what, when, where, why, or how to. A how to search also often includes terms like guide, tutorial, tips, and resources.
Transactional searches are done by someone looking to make a purchase. This could be a search like “buy 20lb dumbbells” or “Luke Combs tickets”. Transactional searches will often include modifiers like: buy, coupon, pricing, order, on sale, and free shipping.
Navigational searches are those done in place of typing in a website address directly. For example, if you searched for something like “Facebook login” or “Netflix” to reach the site. A navigational search almost always includes the name of a business, product, or service. If a company has a well known tagline or jingle, that could also be used in place of the company name to navigate to their site.
While this type of search is most commonly called investigative, I prefer to call it comparison searches. This type of search is done by someone who is looking to compare more than one service. What makes this interesting is that most comparison searches are also informational, although the information they are seeking is usually related to specific features and pricing.
Investigative searches typically occur near the bottom of the funnel, just before a searcher moves to make a purchase, making this especially valuable to marketers.
Here’s the Source of this Content