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Content Marketing Often Begins with a Question

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Effective content marketing, like any type of content, often begins with a question.

The question doesn’t have to appear in the actual written content. Instead, the question should appear in the thought process that eventually leads to the article.

In response, the article should answer that question. Why else do people use search engines? They are seeking answers to questions, beginning with the classic list of who, what, when, where, why and how. “How” is a big one; note how many articles on YouTube and the search engines begin with “How to …”.

With these words in mind, a writer decides to produce a business article about freelance writer compensation. The writer may anticipate search engine visitors who enter a phrase such as, “how much should I pay a freelance writer?” or “how much money can I make as a freelance writer?”.

The writer could then use phrases such as, “a freelance writer should get paid …” to answer that potential question.

Question Benefits

This approach serves two purposes. First, it structures the article in a way that makes it more appealing to search engines and how they rank articles based on search phrases. Second, it also structures the article in a way that benefits the visitor who comes to that article from the search engine.

Using this approach, the writer can form multiple questions for a longer article and answer each one as subsections within that article.

On paper, the question-answer strategy may lead the writer actually to list the questions at the top of the article during the writing process. They will act as a guide to how he or she writes the article. The questions don’t have to appear in the published result. They are just there as an outline.

In the case of multiple questions, it makes sense to order them according to their level of importance or interest to potential visitors. In journalism, this concept is called the “inverted pyramid“. In media, all content is either important, interesting or both. If it is neither one, it doesn’t belong on a website (or anywhere else).

Keyword Tool Questions

Keyword tools that are available on various websites and with search engine advertising platforms are useful in identifying questions.

Keyword tools try to track what keyword phrases people use when they go to search engines. They are a great way to figure out why people are searching and what questions they are trying to answer.

These tools don’t often show a full question. They provide the most important concept behind the question in the user’s mind.

For example, the keyword phrase “caribbean weather forecast” is a popular search term that people use when they are getting ready to go on vacation in the Caribbean. When they use that phrase, they are really asking the question, “What is the Caribbean weather forecast?”

Refine Answers With Analytics

Once the article is live and has a certain level of readership, the question and answer strategy for content marketing can take another step forward.

Analytics will show what keywords searchers used to reach the article. They also will show how long each group of visitors engaged with the article based on specific keywords.

Website writers and publishers can’t take this step with every article because of the amount of time it takes to do so. But they can take this step with their most important articles.

Outlines are useful for organizing how a writer will write an article. Questions serve a similar purpose but also make a contribution toward search engine optimization.

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