Positioning a brand has always been about creating a distinct impression on customers’ mind, combining the brand assets with what is known to be true about consumers. In this matter, as we’re all aware, these are privileged times. With more than a billion Google searches each day and an average of twenty five searches per day by an active user (Google data), Google is too insightful to not be properly integrated into any marketing plan.
Nowadays there’s a lot of information about what people are looking for and even thinking about before any decision actually takes place. This means it is possible to dig into what people want to know about a certain brand, product and/or category and, perhaps even more important, to collect an interesting set of touchpoints across the customer journey.
This information is crucial to get a content strategy right and to find out what the right message should be and what’s the best way of putting it out there; to do so we go through some steps in every project:
Deeper understanding of the target & what are the implicit buyers’ questions
This is obviously always the first step of any positioning strategy, regardless of the channel. However, Google allows to go a bit further and learn more about what the main motivations are. People go to search engines because a need was triggered off. Therefore, search engines allow to dig into peoples’ first thoughts even when a purchase is not yet being considered. According to Google, 15% of daily searches are new, and this means potential new opportunities to engage with people, or new people to talk with.
There are some tools – e.g. the real-time systems Google trends and Google Correlates – that can help on that and can enlighten on things like:
- What the main motivations are
- Words people look for and when
- How they correlate different subjects
- Their behaviour pattern
- Which concerns they might have.
Once we’ve collected all that information, we translate it into what questions people ask or, in other words, what information do they expect to get when they google something – what are the implicit buyers’ questions?
Connecting The Dots
Once we’re aware of what people want to know and the brand audit has been done, we’re ready to define what’s relevant and useful to say. What does the brand have that is different and relevant at the same time? How can we increase the positive touch points between the brand and its target and what needs to be done to optimise the brand’s online presence?
Because Google can be crucial in any stage of the customer journey, it is important to be aware of the wide range of contexts that can lead someone to a brand, ie, at each stage will they be and what do we want to tell them based on that? It can be when:
- Customers are researching a product for the first time
- They’ve made a decision about a category but not a brand yet
- Reading other people’s reviews
- When they’ve already shortlisted the brand and go to the website
- They’re ready to make a decision.
These are only some examples and the more ready a brand is to answer these questions, the stronger its online presence and relevance are.
Ok, so we know what people are asking, what they want to know, and where & why we need to optimise the brand’s online presence. The remaining question is how we’ll do it, what will the content strategy be.
The ideation phase and the content brief will answer to the critical questions:
- What’s the story we want to tell?
- When should we tell it?
- Where should it be placed?
- How can we improve what’s already out there (ie, site or social channels).
Once this is all sorted out, different teams (data, strategy & research, and outreach) work together to come up with the right ideas, the right sites and the right people. There are several tools that play an important role here, such as Buzzstream, Linkdex, Citation labs and Majestic SEO, as they not only ease the process but also help to find the best resources.
It’s all about giving consumers the things they may want or need, so this step is utterly important to guarantee the quality and pertinence of the strategy.