Content marketing is a critical part of digital marketing that helps drive traffic, generate leads, build authority, and increase sales. A content marketing funnel connects different types of content, helping drive visitors toward becoming paying customers or leads. Marketers typically focus on funnels that work like this because it drives revenue, but they forget that the content should also demonstrate they are an authority in their field.
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness and is an important ranking metric that determines how well your content ranks. Google says that websites that have a higher EAT factor rank much better.
Demonstrating that the website and its author(s) have a high authority is achieved through creating content that demonstrates this. This funnel can be overlaid on top of the typical content funnel that many marketers are aware of.
So, What is an Authoritative Content Funnel?
This is a content funnel that helps websites build authority. It includes stages for which content marketers need to create content. These are:
- Awareness – This is where the website and its authors demonstrate to Google and readers that they produce expert content.
- Consideration – In this stage, you demonstrate that you understand your audience’s problems and needs and have the solutions they need.
- Decision – In this stage, you create content that demonstrates that your brand is the best solution for your audience and their needs.
Looking at the types of content that best fit each of these stages should give us a better understanding of what makes an authoritative content funnel.
Awareness is considered to be at the top of the funnel because this is where your audience’s and Google’s journeys begin. It typically presents numerous opportunities for marketers and SEO experts and it, therefore, makes sense for marketers to focus on it the most.
Providing so many opportunities means that this is where marketers and SEO experts can start differentiating themselves from their competitors and creating a foundation for converting visitors and building authority.
A critical type of content to create at the awareness stage is newsworthy content. This is anything that other news outlets would pick up. If they do, Google can see you were the first to post, and this, in addition to them linking back to you, can lead to increased authority.
The next newsworthy content is data based. This can include internal and external data or data from surveys that audiences would find interesting and helpful. Digital PR that gets picked up can also be great for building authority. Lastly, you can post annual reports that report internal data, trends, and predictions for a coming period that interests audiences.
This type of content tells your readers and Google you are willing to invest time, money, and effort into creating content that is not about selling your business but about helping your audience and visitors. Once this type of content gets picked up and you start getting links and news mentions, Google will see you as an authoritative source.
The second stage in your authoritative content funnel is the consideration stage. This stage can get a bit confusing because you are trying to do a lot here. First, you are trying to show that you understand your audience’s problem in much deeper depth than others. Second, you are trying to demonstrate that you have or you could have the best solution for them.
The type of content in this stage does not have to be about your products and services, but it could be. Regardless, it needs to demonstrate an in-depth and nuanced understanding of not only your buyer personas, but also potential customers.
How-tos and Guides
Both how-tos and guides are very popular in typical and authoritative content, but they serve different functions and achieve different results in both. Once you have done your keyword and question research and understand what people are looking for in your niche, you are in a better position to provide the answers they are looking for. People can start trusting you because you are helping them.
While conversion is a secondary benefit of doing this, the primary benefit is building authority by demonstrating you have answers to the questions people have.
Case studies demonstrate that you understand the problem. Instead of answering, you can demonstrate how you solved that problem. It can work for audiences, but it also works well when creating content for other businesses. Case studies also allow you to create branded content which increases your brand awareness when this content is shared.
In a typical funnel, the decision stage helps convert visitors to customers. However, it includes content that demonstrates your business or brand has the best solutions when used in an authoritative content funnel.
At this stage, you are trying to convince someone who has chosen your business that they have made the right decision. They are almost at the end of their journey, and you do not want to give them any reason to back out. So, what type of content do you create here?
Demos are useful for different stages of the funnel, but here they are critical tools for reassuring people. You are trying to see that this tool, product, or service works exactly as you expected and will give you the results you are looking for.
Letting your customers and visitors see for themselves and letting them base their decision on a demo instead of what you are telling them helps build authority.
Testimonials are used a lot in the B2B world, but they are used as part of social proof in B2C marketing. Testimonials assure leads or potential companies by leveraging the authority you get from having worked with strong brands in the past.
Reviews work similarly to testimonials. They are sometimes referred to as authority signals because they show you are an authority if other people trusted your product or services and were kind enough to leave a positive review.
Creating an authoritative content funnel is a great way to build authority while also building a funnel that helps with other things like conversions. Focusing on each of its three stages — awareness, consideration, and decision — will help you create a funnel that serves your needs.