How to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey that attracts and converts (with examples)
Content marketing budgets are getting bigger each year, and with good reason. Producing and distributing high-quality content — whether in the form of blog posts, podcasts, videos, or emails — is a surefire way to widen your company’s reach. Furthermore, it also has the potential to engage your audience, establish your brand’s authority, drive trust, and, ultimately, boost conversion rates.
But here’s the deal. Publishing content without thinking about the person it’s meant for is a waste of time and resources. In fact, a marketing strategy that doesn’t consider the buyer’s journey has a much higher chance of being a failure than contributing to your brand’s success.
So, if your goal is to benefit from a deliberate approach to securing marketing goals, here’s everything you need to know about creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- How to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey that attracts and converts (with examples)
- The four stages of the customer journey
- Create content for the awareness stage
- Create content for the consideration stage
- Create content for the decision stage
- Product breakdowns and comparisons
- Webinars and live demos
- Customer success stories, case studies, and use cases
- Create content for the advocacy stage
- In closing
The four stages of the customer journey
The best way to define the customer journey is to describe it as a process during which buyers identify their pain points, then decide on what products to purchase to solve them. It’s a process that can be visualized as a path including multiple consumer-brand interactions that (ideally) result in a purchase.
Generally, marketing experts divide the buyer’s journey into three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. However, knowing that customer-brand relationships don’t necessarily end at the point of sale, businesses aiming for long-term success must also invest in content for the fourth stage of the customer journey — the advocacy stage.
The key to producing content that aligns with the buyer’s journey is, naturally, having a clear idea about what happens at each step of that journey.
This is the point where the buyer’s journey begins. At this stage, consumers become aware they have a problem and start researching possible solutions.
Note that the realization of a potential pain point can happen naturally. However, sometimes buyers become aware of their need for a solution by consuming a piece of content that addresses a situation and calls their attention to a problem they may or may not have been aware of.
The second step of the customer journey is the consideration stage. That’s when potential buyers have become educated about their specific needs and are capable of defining them.
Buyers who inhabit the consideration stage have a basic understanding of industry-specific jargon. They are also informed enough to dismiss solutions that don’t align with their requirements.
Once they have a list of products and services that could help them solve pain points, buyers enter the decision stage of the customer journey. This is where they consider different purchase-impacting factors and make their final buying decision.
Once the consumer has made their purchase, they will enter the final stage of the buyer’s journey, under the condition that they’re happy with the overall experience.
During the advocacy stage, buyers choose to repeatedly invest in a brand’s a product/service. They may even become ambassadors, organically promoting the brand through the medium of social proof.
Create content for the awareness stage
Content made for the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey has the purpose of answering consumer questions and encouraging future customers to associate your brand with a potential solution.
Blog posts are what most people associate with content marketing. And the association is fully justified, considering they are marvelously effective at presenting your brand’s solutions organically and in a customer-oriented way.
To ensure that your blog posts appeal to buyers in the awareness phase of the customer journey, abide by the following rules.
Be relevant to your audience
When investing in content, losing focus and prioritizing quantity over quality can be easy. But the only way to see next-level results from this activity is to only publish blog posts that are extremely useful and relevant to your target audience.
Optimize for search intent. Know what web visitors want to learn from your articles. If your readers inhabit the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, the most likely scenario is that they’re looking for information.
But make sure you understand they don’t want just any piece of info. Readers want to find a blog post to answer their questions and get them started on their path toward solving their pain points.
For an excellent example of an awareness stage blog post, check out this article about cycling and knee pain from Wattbike. Targeting the search term “knee pain while cycling,” this post efficiently summarizes the most common reasons cyclists experience knee discomfort and offers suggestions on making it go away.
Make sure people can find your content
The second tip for optimizing blog posts for the awareness stage is to ensure they’re easy to find. After all, an in-depth guide on a complex subject won’t do any good to you or your customers if it doesn’t rank well on SERPs.
This is why you need to employ SEO in your content marketing efforts. Identify your target audience, define a primary target keyword and use it strategically throughout the post, write a compelling meta description, and include image alt text. Moreover, try to write the perfect blog post title and create a stellar user experience by optimizing your company blog for mobile devices, using heading styles, employing proper grammar, and aiming for a high readability score.
Furthermore, as you aim to improve your blog posts’ rankings on search engine results pages, don’t forget that distribution also contributes to SEO. So share written content on your social media profiles and maximize their chances of generating organic traffic to your website.
Make it easy for your audience
Most internet users don’t read online. Instead, they skim text, focusing on high-interest points, aiming to find information that answers their questions quickly. So, your goal when producing blog posts should be to make them easy to read and skim.
Simple things like shortening sentences and paragraphs will help you do this. However, there are additional steps you can take to truly make your company blog user-friendly.
The easiest thing to do is include media — images or videos — in your written content. This will tremendously increase the readability score of your articles. And, if you want to take things a step further, you could even transform the presented information into a shareable infographic.
Or, if you’ve got the budget, give web visitors the option to consume your articles in video form, as done below by Odie’s Oil. It’s an excellent tactic, seeing that 73% of people prefer to learn about products by watching a short video than reading a product description.
Prioritize reader value over the sale
Lastly, as you aim to write blog posts that will appeal to your audience, don’t forget that the main objective of this form of content isn’t to make a sale. It’s to present your readers with unique and immense value, which will, in turn, drive them to see your brand as trustworthy, authoritative, and reliable.
So always do your best to prioritize reader value over a sale.
Just look at how GILI Sports does this in its guide to paddleboarding in Austin. Instead of cramping the article with CTAs inviting readers to purchase products, this brand focuses on providing readers with new information. Yes, the post does include links to product pages. However, they’re inserted as simple text links, which makes them less intrusive and allows web visitors to focus on getting the most out of the guide.
Or, for an even more advanced example of a blog post that prioritizes reader value over making a sale, check out this guide from Scott’s Cheap Flights.
It’s an educational post that delivers what it promises — teaching readers how to find and book cheap flights. But, by adding a small section that invites users to try out its product, the brand makes it clear that it also offers a solution that will give readers tremendous value. Note how there are sixteen sections before this self-promotional point, which ensures that the pitch doesn’t come off as pushy or aggressive.
Another excellent format for the awareness stage is interactive content. Research from Mediafly published in February 2022 found that interactive content attracted 28% more views and 52.6% more time per share than non-interactive matches. So, if you’re targeting the top of the sales funnel, this format is an excellent investment.
Use interactive content to make information easy-to-process
When leveraging interactive content in your top-of-the-funnel marketing strategy, ensure you do so in a way that presents your audience with tangible benefits.
If your potential customers have a highly-specific question, creating an interactive element could help you provide a comprehensive answer.
For instance, calculators like MarketBeat’s dividend calculator make for an excellent example of interactive content. They provide audiences with detailed information regarding a highly-specific topic. Plus, they take into account several factors to ensure that the reader is only presented with information relevant to their personal experience.
Quizzes are another fantastic example of interactive TOFU content. This Career Quiz from Open Colleges is a way for the brand’s target audience to get valuable advice about viable educational opportunities. And thanks to its interactive nature, the content doesn’t force users to read through multiple pages of text or research careers they don’t potentially see themselves pursuing.
E-books and other long-form guides
Finally, as you explore content types for the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, don’t hesitate to go into detail on subjects that require a deep dive.
E-books and long-form guides may not be easy to produce. However, they’re highly effective at giving audiences what they want. Plus, if you consider that long-form content gets 56.1% more social shares and 77.2% more backlinks than its short-form counterparts, it’s easy to conclude that putting your know-how into an informative resource pays off both for you and your target audience.
Accommodate prospects who want a deep-dive
The best way to get next-level results from e-books and long-form guides is to use them as an opportunity to prove your brand’s authority.
Sure, not all your prospects will want to read 10k-20k words on a single topic. However, if you’re targeting professionals and decision-makers (or aiming to attract enthusiasts), the best thing you can do is use these formats to share your knowledge.
Don’t hold back on detail or waste your readers’ time with fluff. Instead, do your best to put together resources that will educate your prospects and help them realize that they can rely on your brand to deliver products or services that will solve their pain points.
A great example of a brand successfully using long-form content to help its audience master a subject comes from Tribe Fitness. This company’s 40-page workout e-book educates wellness enthusiasts on the best ways to use resistance bands in their workout routines and offers expert advice from a doctor specializing in fitness.
Create content for the consideration stage
Once your prospects know they need a solution that’s similar to yours, the main goal of your content marketing strategy should be to convince them to choose your brand. For this, your best bet is to focus on building credibility.
Perhaps the easiest way to highlight the unique value offered by your brand — and convince your prospects to choose you over your competitors — is to publish product announcements on your company blog and social media profiles.
In addition to using these spaces to inform your target audience about the availability of new products and features, such announcements are also an excellent way to emphasize your commitment to solving your prospects’ pain points.
Highlight your dedication to product development.
If you choose this content format for your company blog, make sure you position your brand as a customer-oriented organization. Discuss new product features, share your opinion on why (and how) new releases could benefit your potential customers, and point out what these items do that’s not done by anyone else in your industry.
Not only will such an approach allow your company to stand out. But, more importantly, it will help you convince your target audience of your offer’s superiority, which is a surefire way to boost conversions.
An excellent example of a brand that leverages product announcements to target the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey comes from the Buffer blog. This brand regularly publishes new feature announcements, using them to:
- Engage existing customers and encourage them to increase how much they interact with the product.
- Prove to prospects that it’s an innovative company dedicated to delivering the most advanced product in the industry.
Just check out how effectively Buffer does the latter by pointing out that it gave its customers a new Instagram Reels automatization option just two days after the social platform unveiled its API to the public.
Another way to target the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey is to invest in content that treats your company as its subject.
Company news is an excellent way to move your business closer to your audience, helping you bring your brand to the forefront of their minds and maximize their chances of opting for your products once they’re ready to purchase.
Make your brand relatable
To ensure that company announcements result in your audience liking your brand (instead of seeing your organization as self-centered), prioritize relatability and authenticity.
Don’t be afraid to show behind-the-scenes footage, post about your employees at events, or announce your latest collaborations. These will immensely contribute to your brand coming off as genuine and authentic, which will, in turn, encourage your audience to choose your business over a generic corporation.
Check out how Nomad chose to join BeReal — the social network that aims for authenticity and unfiltered posts — to allow its fans to get sneak peeks of behind-the-scenes shenanigans and share its passion for building quality smartphone accessories.
Show that your organization has a heart
Another excellent way to help company-centered content work for the consideration stage of the customer journey is to show your support for relevant social issues.
This is particularly important in 2022 and beyond, considering that more than one-third of buyers consider environmental, social, and governance factors when deciding what products to buy.
So, if there’s an issue you’re passionate about, like Patagonia is about climate change, make sure to share that passion with your followers. Who knows, it might just be the factor that drives them to choose your brand over your competition.
The number of people regularly listening to podcasts has tripled over the past decade. So if you want to maximize your brand’s chances of appealing to prospects in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, this format might be worth investing in.
However, seeing that the number of podcasts is rapidly growing, do your best to employ tactics that will allow your show to cut through the noise.
Give your company a human voice
Just as you’d want to ensure that company announcements testify to your brand’s authenticity, you should aim to do the same with your podcasts. Instead of going in a direction that’s emotionless and void of personality, think about ways in which you could use the podcast format to bring your brand closer to your audience.
After all, with a penetration rate that exceeds 40%, podcasting offers a unique opportunity to reach your audience in otherwise off-limits spaces (like during their daily commute). But the only way to do that is to prioritize authenticity — whether by taking a unique approach to specific topics or employing a voice that is 100% you.
Illustrate remarkable authority and insight
The second tip to help you record and publish podcasts that will guide prospects towards investing in your products is to use every opportunity you can to show off your industry insights.
You might treat the format as an educational platform and record episodes that teach your listeners how to solve specific pain points. However, the better way might be to opt for collaboration, as done by the Design Better podcast by InVision. Invite guests who will contribute extra value. This hack will help prove your brand’s trustworthiness and dedication to meeting customer needs.
Create content for the decision stage
As they near the moment of purchase, your prospects will inevitably start comparing you to your competitors to verify that you have the best solution for their needs. Therefore, when targeting the decision stage of the customer journey, you need to convince potential customers that they are making the correct choice by investing in your products/services.
There are a few great content formats that can help you do this.
Product breakdowns and comparisons
During this stage of the customer journey, your target audience analyzes the features and benefits of your products. Moreover, they compare your offer to similar solutions from your competitors.
So, if you want to convince buyers to stick around on your site and ultimately buy from your brand, invest in the production of product breakdowns and comparisons.
Give readers many reasons to fall in love with your product
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with product breakdowns is overselling features to impress potential customers.
This won’t yield the results you’re after. Sure, it may lead to a sale. But once customers receive the item and find that it doesn’t do everything you promised, the result will be an unsatisfactory experience and a likelihood of receiving a poor review.
Do your best to focus on being helpful and informative about your offer. Yes, you can (and should) show that your product is unique and provides value for money. But don’t over-advertise. Instead, allow prospects to fall in love with your products naturally. Check out how Transparent Labs kick starts the process by highlighting all the ingredients in its creatine supplement.
Reinforce brand credibility
Another hack you can employ to increase the effectiveness of this format is to remind your target audience of your brand’s credibility.
Examples such as Eachnight’s Best Mattress guide for 2022 accomplish this by highlighting the author’s expertise. Note how the “Fact checked” badge and the information about the author and the medical reviewer contribute to the guide being seen as a trustworthy resource. The brand’s credibility is further supported by the breadth of information covered in the article, which spans everything from specific product reviews to insightful tips on choosing a mattress based on multiple factors.
Of course, there are other ways to reinforce trust with product comparisons.
ClickUp does it spectacularly by dedicating an entire page to showing everything it does better than Monday, one of its main competitors. Check out how the page includes an easily-scannable features and integrations table and an in-depth pricing comparison showing why one product offers more value for a smaller monthly fee.
Webinars and live demos
Webinars and live product demos can be another excellent content format for the decision stage, as they drive conversions by having potential buyers use your products. However, keep in mind that simply creating a demo and letting your prospects find their way around it doesn’t hold much potential for leading to a sale. Instead, to make these content types work for you, you need to make sure that you prioritize an excellent introductory experience.
Give your prospects a voice
The best way to create a webinar or product demo that generates sales is to ensure your audience is engaged. Do your best to make attendees feel involved by allowing them to ask questions and provide feedback. Try to present your product in a way that helps them see how it will work in their specific use scenario.
And, of course, don’t forget to follow up. Always remember to send attendees an on-demand recording and invite potential customers to ask any additional questions that may encourage them to give your product a go.
Customer success stories, case studies, and use cases
Finally, as you explore content formats that will serve the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, don’t forget that social proof plays a tremendous role in encouraging prospects to convert.
Data from 2021 shows that 32.1% of consumers prioritize high review scores and ratings when deciding what products to buy. Moreover, as many as 91% of online buyers read at least one review before making a purchase.
However, even though traditional social proof — ratings and reviews — helps users in the decision phase of the customer journey, it’s not always the best way to encourage conversions. Instead, to truly highlight the benefits offered by your solutions, go with more specific examples of social proof, like customer stories, case studies, or use cases.
Show what your product can do
One of the best ways to get 110% out of social proof is to use it in a way that depicts the full breadth of your product’s capabilities.
Customer stories, like the ones used by Sprout Social, don’t just give real-life examples about implementation possibilities and the potential of your solutions. But, much more importantly, they allow existing customers to highlight the value they received from their purchase.
So, if your goal is to nudge potential buyers towards making a purchase, don’t miss the opportunity to give them an overview of what you offer in an entirely customer-oriented way.
Highlight your dedication to customer success
We’ve already mentioned several decision-guiding factors that buyers consider when considering products to invest in. And while every year brings new consumer behavior trends (in 2022, high inflation rates may drive buyers to prioritize cost), one factor stays consistently influential at all times: customer experience.
The great thing is that employing social proof in the form of customer stories gives you a unique opportunity to show how your brand plans on delivering the sought-after CX. For example, by going the same route as Databox, you might find that sharing some of your clients’ wins could just be the best way to encourage prospects to put their trust in you and invest in your solution.
Map your solution to specific pain points
Finally, don’t forget that some prospects need detailed information when making a purchase decision. So, if you can, try to use your content to help potential customers relate to the pain points you address.
Show the exact possible applications for your product. Or, better yet, describe your path towards solving specific pain points. Affinda does this successfully by listing the exact steps towards meeting client needs on its use cases landing page, ensuring that buyers know what to expect and that they’re ready to initiate the process from the moment they’ve clicked the “buy” button.
Create content for the advocacy stage
Content marketing can offer a host of benefits even once your potential buyers have turned into clients. Investing resources into advocacy stage content can help you actively contribute to a better overall customer experience.
Plus, this type of content will encourage loyalty, boost lifetime value, and promote brand advocacy.
Tutorials are a must-have in any content marketer’s arsenal. Not only do they educate buyers on how to get the biggest bang for their buck, but they’re also highly effective at encouraging customers to spend more time with your brand’s products. The latter is important because it maximizes their chances of fully integrating your solution into their daily routine.
Ensure your products are being used correctly
Users who struggle to use your product or don’t know how to get real value out of it usually have a poor customer experience. And bad CX drives high churn rates and decreased CLV.
So, one of the most impactful ways to employ tutorials in your marketing strategy is to ensure that your clients are using your products correctly.
There are many ways to do this. You might choose to go in a direction similar to what PresetLove did on their guide to installing Adobe Lightroom presets — supporting plenty of written instructions with animated in-app screen recordings.
Or, you could opt to complete the onboarding process via email. Semrush does this beautifully, with a friendly message that directs subscribers to a knowledge base of various workflows. Each one helps users achieve a different goal, like conducting keyword research or optimizing backlinks.
You could even publish tutorials on YouTube, as done by Crep Protect. In the video below, the brand doesn’t just show buyers how to use the products. But, it also shares a piece of content that’s oddly satisfying to watch.
The alternative to content in the form of tutorials is to build self-service communities. This is where buyers can get valuable advice from other customers of your brand. It can be anything from social media groups and communities to Discord servers to subreddits.
Let the community take over
One of the best ways to make user-generated support benefit your customers is to focus on creating seed content, then letting the community take over.
This helps your clients get first-hand advice from fellow users of your solutions. It might even allow them to get personalized recommendations on how to get more out of your product (without forcing you to expand your customer support team).
Perhaps one of the best examples of user-generated support comes from Ikea’s Tradfri subreddit. The message board has over 28.5k members and thousands of resolved support requests. It provides users with advanced tips on how to get the most out of their purchase, with insightful and innovative setups being shared by community members every single day.
Creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey is not an easy task. It requires marketers to meet multiple consumer needs and answer dozens of questions.
Nonetheless, it’s essential to remember that content that targets people in various stages of a customer journey ensures that those people get the absolute most out of every interaction they have with your brand. It helps you position your business as authoritative, credible, and dedicated. Thus, it allows you to invest in your business’ growth while ensuring that you have a stellar reputation in your industry.