Give users the content they need, and they’ll never leave your side. It’s always been about the user, and that’s where the concept of a User-Focused Topic Matrix comes into play.
Remember, SEO and content marketing aren’t interchangeable. SEO is a tool, while content marketing is the vehicle used to reach your target audience and drive conversions.
And what better way to ensure you hit the nail on the head than giving your users what they need?
Of course, there’s some little tension between SEO and content marketing. Content marketers often feel like SEO is cramping their creative style, while SEOs feel like content marketers don’t care about key metrics or organic visibility.
The user-focused topic matrix helps to bridge that gap, giving content marketers the freedom to craft persuasive messages and providing SEOs with the data they need to inform their strategies.
Rather than seeing it as an either/or situation, think of the user-focused topic matrix as a way of finding balance. It allows content marketing and SEO to work side-by-side for the good of your organisation’s mission.
The Concept of User-Focused Topic Matrix: What is It?
The idea of using the content matrix is threefold:
#1. Drive traffic to your website
The user-focused topic matrix allows you to identify and target the topics most likely to drive traffic to your website.
#2. Move the generated traffic further down the funnel
Once you have identified the topics driving traffic, you can use the matrix to create tailored content to move those users further down the funnel.
That means creating content that converts visitors into leads, buyers, and customers.
#3. Serving the needs of the user or clients
Finally, the user-focused topic matrix allows you to craft content that meets your users’ or clients’ needs and interests.
It Starts with Topic Clusters
The best way to get started with the user-focused topic matrix is by first clustering your topics.
As the name suggests, topic clustering involves grouping related topics to create a “cluster” of information.
A topic cluster:
- i) Is a collection of interlinked articles or pages: No article or web page operates in a silo.
Whenever you create content, you must consider how it works with the other content on your website or blog. It involves creating a collection of articles or pages under one umbrella topic.
- ii) Provides Greater Visibility for Search Engines to Understand Your Content: Topic clustering makes it easier for search engines to understand the purpose and context of your content.
It communicates your expertise, spreading link equity and authority across your website pages.
iii) Starts with the main topic or the pillar page: You start the process of topic clustering with a primary or pillar page.
A pillar page is more like a generalised topic page that introduces or highlights your cluster topics.
The pillar page is then followed by in-depth content pieces that target specific keywords to support the main topic of the cluster.
- iv) Relates to the Pillar Page: Topic clusters dive deeper and deeper into the topics introduced on the pillar page.
Each additional article should relate to the main topic you’ve introduced, but it doesn’t have to be an exact match.
It should provide deeper insights into the topic and, most importantly, link to related articles or content pieces.
How to Create a User-focused Topic Matrix
Creating a user-focused topic matrix is the key to driving more conversions.
The idea is to create a pillar of content around your target audience’s common questions, challenges, and interests.
And yes, you can create it in a spreadsheet.
The “hub page” should be focused on the primary target audience or their pain points. The spokes are the related topics and keywords you want to target.
And then, link out from those pages with internal links to your other content pieces in the topic cluster.
You can create multiple matrices per quarter or month based on your analytics’ feedback and insights.
|Target Audience||Pain Points||Solution||Content Assets||CTAs (to Move them Down the Funnel)|
Step #1: Create a Theme Around Your Target Audience
First, you want to create topic clusters that tie your quarterly, monthly, or weekly theme to your business goals.
At this step, you want to consider what your target audience might be searching for and their challenges.
At this point, you’re getting a rough idea of the topics and keywords to target.
For example, let’s create a matrix for a business that offers marketing and sales software.
One of the goals the business might have is to generate more leads for its software.
Setting quarterly or monthly themes based on the company’s objectives allows you to create a list of topics that align with the user’s needs.
With tools like Google Analytics, you can tell how many people visit your site through the content pieces, flowing to the next stage of the sales funnel and converting from the CTAs.
In other words, topic clusters make your content measurable but just in terms of traffic but conversions as well.
For example, say 10,000 people visit your blog from a single topic cluster post, and out of that 10,000 visitors, 100 signed up for a trial or subscribed to the newsletter.
You can track these conversions to determine which topics are performing well and which need adjustment.
Step #2: Choose a Target Audience
Each matrix must have its own audience.
For instance, if you’re creating content for a marketing and sales software company, your audience could be beginner entrepreneurs, small business owners, online marketers, etc.
Once you decide on your audience, you’ll want to design content that speaks their language.
The spreadsheet model allows you to have multiple tabs for each quarter that plans out your content per target audience.
Having individual tabs for each audience allows you to easily track which topics resonate well with your target audience.
If your business only has a single target audience, consider ways to break them into different categories.
For example, you could have separate topics for novice vs. experienced entrepreneurs or small business owners vs. large corporations.
You want to get as granular as possible about your audience’s needs, pain points, and interests.
The deeper you dive, the more tailored your content will be.
Depending on the stage of each audience’s journey, you can tailor your messages, content flow, CTAs, and more.
Step #3. Discover 4 Pain Points
When you have an audience in mind, it’s time to uncover their pain points.
What’s a Pain Point, to begin with?
A pain point is an explicit or implicit issue or obstacle your target audience is experiencing.
It could be anything from not having enough time to complete a task, not understanding how something works, feeling like they don’t have the required skills, etc.
The key to writing a compelling piece of article is figuring out what your users are searching for and what will encourage them to stay on the page.
More like mind-reading or detective work, right?
Well, you can use Google Trends to help in gathering data about user interests and issues.
You can even create a survey to ask your target audience directly about their struggles.
WordPress broadly categorises pain points into four groups:
#1. Financial Pain Point: The user doesn’t think something is as cost-effective as it should be.
#2. Productivity Pain Point: The prospect is wasting a lot of time with wasteful and unproductive operations.
#3. Process Pain Points: The user doesn’t understand or find the process of doing something too complex.
#4. Support Pain Points: The consumer could use your help in the key stages of their journey.
Knowing your user’s pain points can help you craft content that speaks to these pain points more directly and effectively.
Using Small business owners as our target audience, let’s fill our spreadsheet for customers at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
Assuming we offer accounting services.
Our Quarterly theme can be something like “Taking the Pain out of Tax Season.”
Target Audience: Small Business Owners
The Pain Points:
#1. Financial Pain Point: The user doesn’t think their accounting service is as cost-effective as it should be.
#2. Productivity Pain Point: The prospect wastes a lot of time with inefficient accounting operations.
#3. Process Pain Points: The user doesn’t understand or finds the process of doing their taxes too complex.
#4. Support Pain Points: The consumer could use help in understanding tax concepts and staying up-to-date with tax laws.
|Quarterly Theme: Taking the Pain out of Tax Season|
|Target Audience: Small Business Owners||Pain Points||Content Ideas:|
||1. Tips for Keeping Accounting Costs Low
2. Productivity Hacks to Help Save Time on Accounting
3. How to Make Tax Season Less Stressful
4. Top Resources For Understanding Tax Concepts and Staying on Top of Tax Law Changes
So, How Do I Figure Out My Customers’ Pain Points?
You’re not your customers. You also might have never been in their shoes. So, how do you figure out what their pain points are?
Talk to Them
Nothing stops you from talking to your target audience and learning their pain points directly from them. That is the best way to get insights into your customer’s problems.
Conduct surveys, interviews, or questionnaires to understand their needs better and how to address them.
You can even ask to meet them in exchange for some type of compensation.
You can meet them as a group or individually.
Surveys are a great way to get insights into your customer’s pain points. Create surveys that target different aspects of their lives and problems.
Make sure your questions aren’t framed in a way that influences answers. Be sure to keep your survey short and ask questions anchored around the customer’s needs.
You can send out surveys by email, on social media, or have them fill them out on your website.
If you’re introverted and don’t like talking to people, that’s okay. You can always take a look at what your customers are saying online.
Search Google for reviews, blog posts, social media conversations and see what they say.
See what they discuss on Twitter, Reddit, and Quora threads.
You can even join industry-related forums to learn more about your customer’s pain points.
Step #4: Address their Pain Points at Each Stage of the Funnel
Once you’ve identified your customer’s pain points, the next thing would be to ensure they are addressed at each stage of the funnel.
Plan out everything from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
At the top of the funnel, you want to address basic needs. At the middle of the funnel, you can provide detailed solutions and content demonstrating your product’s value. At the bottom, you can focus on customer success stories and case studies.
Here are some pointers on how to approach each stage of the funnel:
- At the Top of the Funnel — Awareness: The user just discovered they have a problem or an issue. They’re in the information stage and just want to learn more about their problem. You want to tell them the problem, what they should research to find the solution, and how you can help.
- At the Middle of the Funnel — Evaluation: The user is already aware of their problem and is now looking for possible solutions. They want to know what differentiates your product from others. You can provide resources that compare competing products, demonstrate your product’s value, and provide case studies.
- At the Bottom of the Funnel — Decision: The user is ready to purchase. They want to feel confident that they’re making the right choice. You can help by providing testimonials from real customers, success stories, and a money-back guarantee.
- Post-sale-delight: The user has made a purchase and now wants to be sure they got the best deal. You can reinforce their decision by providing helpful content, extended warranties, and resources to maximise their purchase.
In the matrix, you want to populate the cells with pain points, their solutions, content assets, and links to related topics.
Using our tax example, you could have a row of topics that range from “What tax deductions can I claim?” to “How do I file my taxes?” to “What is the tax deadline?” With each topic, you can provide a helpful resource that links to blog posts, white papers, and other content pieces.
Target Audience: Small Business Owner
Theme: Taking the Pain out of Tax Season
- Pain Point: The user doesn’t think their accounting service is as cost-effective as it should be.
- Solution: Give them tips and hacks on how to save money and reduce their tax burden.
- Content Assets: Blog posts, educational videos, and webinars.
- Topic: 35 Small Business Accounting Hacks That Could Save You Time and Money
- Pain Point: The user isn’t sure which accounting service is best for their needs.
- Solution: Provide helpful reviews and comparisons of the different accounting software options.
- Content Assets: Case studies, webinars, and podcasts.
- Topic: A Comparison of the Best Accounting Services for Small Business Owners
- Pain Point: The user is unsure if they can trust the accounting service.
- Solution: Offer a money-back guarantee, case studies, testimonials, and secure payment options.
- Content Assets: Sales Page, FAQs, and Reviews.
- Topic: What You Need to Know Before Selecting an Accounting Service for Your Business.
Step #5. Use Thoughtful CTAs to Move Your Audience Down the Funnel
Once you’ve populated your topic matrix, it’s time to deploy thoughtful calls to action that move your audience down the funnel. The idea is to move the user from one stage to another without creating friction.
For example, if the user is in the awareness stage, you want to provide CTAs that direct them to helpful resources such as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos. On the other hand, if the user is in the decision stage, you want to direct them to sales pages, reviews, and exclusive offers.
Regardless of the user’s stage, be sure to include CTAs that support the user’s journey from one stage to the next.
Don’t try to move the user from 0 to 100 in one click. Instead, create a series of CTAs encouraging the user to move down the funnel quickly. That should help increase conversions and make the user’s journey from awareness to purchase a more enjoyable experience.
Here’s an example:
|Quarterly Theme: Making the Most of Your Accounting Service|
|Target Audience: Small Business Owners||Pain Points||Solutions||Creative Assets||Topics||CTAs|
|Stage: Awareness||Pain Point #1: Don’t have time or expertise to manage their finances.||Solution: Explain the advantages and benefits of outsourcing accounting services.||Outsourcing Accounting Services Guide, Outsourcing Your Accounting Video, and Why You Should Outsource Your Bookkeeping Post.||How to Choose an Outsourced Accounting Services Provider, The top SMBs save 500+ Hours By Outsourcing Their Accounting, Top Accounting Services for Small Businesses.||Find out why SMBs outsource their accounting – get our free guide now.|
|Pain Point #2: Don’t understand the difference between bookkeeping and accounting||Explain the benefits of each type of service and how to select the best one.||What is Accounting Software? Blog Post, Telling the Difference Between Bookkeeping and Accounting Video, and Choosing the Right Bookkeeping Services Guide.||What is Accounting Software? The Benefits of Professional Bookkeeping Services vs. DIY, and How to Select the Right Accounting Service for Your Business.||Read this to compare different accounting services and make an informed decision.|
|Stage: Consideration||Pain Point #1: Don’t have time or expertise to manage their finances.||Explain the advantages and benefits of outsourcing accounting services.||Outsourcing Accounting Services Guide, Outsourcing Your Accounting Video, and Why You Should Outsource Your Bookkeeping Post.||How to Choose an Outsourced Accounting Services Provider, The top SMBs save 500+ Hours By Outsourcing Their Accounting, Top Accounting Services for Small Businesses.||Find out why SMBs are outsourcing their accounting – get our free guide now.|
|Pain Point #2: Don’t understand the difference between bookkeeping and accounting||Review the top bookkeeping services and how to select the right one for your business.||Top Bookkeeping Services in 2021 Guide, How to Choose the Right Bookkeeping Services Video, whitepaper||Top Bookkeeping Services in 2021, What to Look for in a Bookkeeping Service Provider, How to Find the Right Accounting Services for Your Business.||Why wait – discover the best bookkeeping services now. Here are a few Case Studies you might find helpful, customer testimonials.|
|Stage: Decision||Pain Point #1: Don’t have time or expertise to manage their finances.||Try out our Accounting Suite today. Here are a few success stories you might find helpful. Get ready for a hassle-free accounting system now.|
Step #6. Don’t Forget About the Delight
Once a prospect has converted, you don’t just leave it at that. You want to ensure the customer has actually had their pain point ironed out and that they’re happy with their purchase. The idea is to follow up and ensure your solution is working for them.
And if they’re pleased with the results, you can ask them for a review, a testimonial, or even an upsell. It’s all about delighting your customers enough to make them return or put out a positive word for your business or product.
You also want to help them make the most of the product they bought. How-to guides, tutorials, or other helpful content assets can be created to help them get even more value from their purchase.
Pain Point #1: Don’t have time or expertise to manage their finances.
Solution: Help them make the most of your accounting solution
Content Assets: Instruction Guides, Video Tutorials, FAQs
Topics: How to use our accounting software, Instruction Guide to Our Accounting Suite, Best Practices for Accounting
CTAs: Love Our Accounting Software? Well, we’d appreciate a review on Google.
Step #7. Onto the ABCs (Always Be Conversion-Focused)
By now, you should have a good sense of what it takes to drive more conversions. Start by understanding your customers’ pain points, create a content matrix that resonates with them, and provide helpful solutions.
And most importantly, make sure you’re following up with customers and delighting them so they can help you spread the word.
Lastly, you want to keep ABCs (Always Be Conversion-Focused) at the top of your priority list to see a good return on your content investments.