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Understanding the three awareness stages of your online audience

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30-second summary:

  • Are you confident about how your target consumer moves in the three stages, awareness, consideration, and decision?
  • A website that features content only suited to the first stage of awareness will struggle to convert, whereas a site only focused on conversions may struggle to get any traffic to convert in the first place
  • Here’s how you can create content that is balanced and targeted to better serve people throughout every step of their journey

Not all traffic is equal. Businesses often forget that their site visits and success metrics aren’t just numbers – they are living, breathing people who are driven by behavior. By understanding and creating content to fit the different awareness stages of that “traffic”, you can not only draw more – but efficiently turn those clicks into conversions. After all, businesses aren’t built on visits alone.

This article will show you the three main awareness stages of online traffic, what type of content fits in these, and a method for auditing your existing content. Remember, every customer goes on a journey. This is about making sure you’re at the finish line when they’re ready to convert.

The importance of knowing the awareness stages

Now, bear with us, but answer this: would you try and sell roller skates to a newborn baby or its parents? A little extreme, yes, but sometimes these make the best examples. The point is that the baby may grow into someone that needs or wants a pair of roller skates, but they’re not at that stage yet.

Understanding the different stages your potential customers are at and how they’re searching for your products/services (both directly and indirectly) will give you the accuracy to target them better. These stages are awareness, consideration, and decision. Just knowing these won’t be enough, you need a balance.

A website that features content only suited to the first stage of awareness will struggle to convert, whereas a site only focused on conversions may struggle to get any traffic to convert in the first place.

Research and roleplay will help you massively here. To get in the head of your audience and understand what their journey looks like, you should be asking yourself “What would I do if…” at almost every corner.

To better explore these stages and how they apply to content, we’ll stick to one example for the next three sections. We’ll move on from the baby with the roller skates, and instead, focus on a hypothetical Manchester-based SME that sells hearing aids and is looking to grow its customer base.

Stage 1: Awareness

This awareness stage is when the customer is just starting to realize they have a problem and that they need a solution. Before this stage, they may not have even realized that their issue could be fixed, or that it was an issue, to begin with. Good content at this stage plants seeds in their head that they don’t need to go on this way any longer.

With that in mind, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader here. Yes, they may now realize that they want a solution, but it’s exceedingly rare that a piece of content can tick all three boxes in one go. Those being – making them aware of the problem, helping them consider the options, and then decide to go with your option. That’s why we have different content for different stages. 

In our example of the small business in Manchester that sells hearing aids, the content at this stage may look like this:

  • ‘Five common signs of hearing loss’
  • ‘Data shows that hearing loss is on the rise’
  • ‘When to seek help with your hearing’

If we were writing content for this fictional company, we wouldn’t open these articles with “Now you’re here, view our huge sale on hearing aids!”. Instead, we’d relate to the problems the reader may be having. In fact, throughout all of these stages, your language should be empathetic, solution-focused, and relatable to the reader as much as possible. 

Picture a woman in her 40s that has been playing guitar in a rock band since her youth. For her, not being able to hear the nuances of music would almost feel like having an oxygen supply cut off. She might be having some hearing issues, but her search might not start straight away with “hearing aids near me”. She’d try to learn about her issues, if they’re common and how they can be fixed. In these pages, we’d relate to hearing problems and ultimately (but without sounding too sales-y) suggest that hearing aids have helped millions of people by the end. 

By writing content targeting this stage, you can be there right at the start of the consumer’s journey. While they will be more likely to convert at the end of that journey, a good content strategy is all about balance. This brings us to the next stage. 

Stage 2: Consideration

If the first stage is all about letting them know they have a problem, this is all about showing them how they can fix it. Here, the reader would actively be looking for a solution and considering their options.

While our hypothetical business may be experts at helping hearing loss, there are other ways to do so than just providing hearing aids. We can’t just assume that hearing aids are instantly the preferred option for every visitor. The challenge here is about balancing knowledge, empathy, and delivering content that is objective and genuinely useful to your consumer. However, while you educate your target audience about their options, you can add in smart CTAs that prompt the person towards a landing page that will drive revenue for your business – making this more a choice that your consumer made vs what you wanted to force down their throat.

Sticking to our example of that Manchester SME selling hearing aids, content at this stage may look like this:

  • ‘Six ways to help your hearing loss’
  • ‘The five best hearing aids in the UK’
  • ‘Why even teenagers should consider hearing aids’

As this is the middle stage, you’ll want to avoid leaning too much towards ‘awareness’ and too much towards ‘decision’. You won’t want to speak down to the reader and spend paragraphs explaining the very basics of hearing loss. You also won’t want to open up and ramble on about your great new sale on hearing aids.

Picture a scale, with ‘inform’ on the left and ‘sell’ on the right. You want this to be pretty evenly balanced, but leaning slightly to the left and on the side of ‘inform’.

Show the reader their options, and educate them on the solutions available. Then, if/when they decide that what you provide is the fix for them, they’re already on the right website! They just need a page where they can convert and make that final decision. That leads us on nicely to…

Stage 3: Decision

We mentioned before how awareness content gets you in front of the consumer at the start of their journey. While there’s a lot of value to being there at the starting line, it is content suited to this stage that turns clicks into customers.

That’s why pages here will move away from the blog/article format of the content suggested for the other stages. Instead, you want pages designed specifically for selling the reader on your product or service, with the option to convert right there.

For our hypothetical hearing aid business, the pages designed for this stage may look like:

  • Category pages showing off their best brands
  • Product pages where you can purchase hearing aids
  • A service page to organize a hearing test (with a contact form)

These pages will be laser-focused on selling, while still informing the readers why your business is a better choice for them over all of your competitors. This means a huge focus on USPs.

In the case of our hypothetical hearing aid company, these may include free delivery, the lowest prices in Manchester, or even five years of free insurance. Your USPs should all be sung about on these decision-focused pages. Remember, at this point, they know they want whatever it is you’re selling, so you don’t need to go to great lengths to explain the very basics of your offerings. Just why your business is the best for them. Ensure to have some positive reviews scattered across these pages.

The content here should be easy to read, scannable, and supported by images if you think that’s something your audience is interested in (always look to see what competitors are doing).

Outside of the copy, for ecommerce businesses, the path to purchasing these products should be clear, with large buttons to show the user that this is where you can buy them. If you’re a lead generation business, then there should be plenty of CTAs (calls to action) to point the user to contact forms, phone numbers, or email addresses.

Key takeaways

Like with any marketing or psychology model, there are variants of this with even more steps. However, if you boil it down, we believe that only three steps are necessary for most businesses. The important thing to remember is that the same user might not go through this entire journey on your website in one session. A balanced content strategy means that you can attract any potential customer at any stage, no matter where they are in their purchasing journey. 

The danger of having an imbalance in your content strategy is that there might be plenty of blog posts around the first awareness stage, but users don’t realize that you can solve the problem they now realize they have. On the flip side, you could have most of your content focused on the final stage, but you may struggle to draw in the customers that don’t even realize they need you.

That’s why we recommend you run a content audit on your website to see how balanced your current output is. Create a table like the one below and add your existing content to it. 

In the example here, we’ll use the ideas we used for our Manchester business: 

Awareness Stage Content Consideration Stage Content Decision Stage Content
 

Five common signs of hearing loss

Six ways to help your hearing loss Category pages showing off their best brands
 

How to improve your hearing at concerts

The five best hearing aids in the UK Product pages where you can purchase hearing aids
 

When to seek help with your hearing

Why even teenagers should consider hearing aids A service page to organize a hearing test (with a contact form)

 

While mapping your pages to this, you should be able to easily identify where gaps are and then plan your content strategy around filling those in. ‘Mapping’ is a great term because all successful journeys involve a map.

If you’re just publishing random content with no overall purpose, you’re stumbling around in the dark and hoping you’ll land up where you want to go. A quality content strategy is all about understanding journies and being there for whatever step of it your customer is on.


Jack Bird is the Content Operations Lead at the Manchester-based SEO and digital marketing agency, Add People.

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

The move comes on the heels of YouTube launching ad revenue sharing for creators through the YouTube Partner Program in a bid to become the most rewarding social platform for creators.

Social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have similar monetization options for creators who publish reels and video content. For example, Instagram’s Reels Play Bonus Program offers eligible creators up to $1,200 for Reel views.

The catch? Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark.

The following is an example of a Twitter ad in a reply thread (Promoted by @ASUBootcamps). It should generate revenue for the Twitter Blue Verified creator (@rowancheung), who created the thread.

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

To receive the ad revenue share, creators would have to pay $8 per month (or more) to maintain an active Twitter Blue subscription. Twitter Blue pricing varies based on location and is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified checkmark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number.
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days.
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information.
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive.
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

Did you receive a Blue Verified checkmark before the Twitter Blue subscription? That will not help creators who want a share of the ad revenue. The legacy Blue Verified checkmark does not make a creator account eligible for ad revenue sharing.

When asked about accounts with a legacy and Twitter Blue Verified checkmark, Musk tweeted that the legacy Blue Verified is “deeply corrupted” and will sunset in just a few months.

Regardless of how you gained your checkmark, it’s important to note that Twitter can remove a checkmark without notice.

In addition to ad revenue sharing for Twitter Blue Verified creators, Twitter Dev announced that the Twitter API would no longer be free in an ongoing effort to reduce the number of bots on the platform.

While speculation looms about a loss in Twitter ad revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported a “fire-sale” Super Bowl offer from Musk to win back advertisers.

The latest data from DataReportal shows a positive trend for Twitter advertisers. Ad reach has increased from 436.4 million users in January 2022 to 556 million in January 2023.

Twitter is also the third most popular social network based on monthly unique visitors and page views globally, according to SimilarWeb data through December 2022.


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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

For the first prompt’s answer, Writer.com fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated.

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content.

Writer.com test resultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, Writer.com did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

Contentatscale.ai did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

Originality.ai did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

You will notice that Originality.ai doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.

Conclusion

Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

More resources: 


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Five things you need to know about content optimization in 2023

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5 Things You Need To Know About Optimizing Content in 2023

30-second summary:

  • As the content battleground goes through tremendous upheaval, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance
  • ChatGPT can help content marketers get an edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content
  • Making sure your content rank high enough to engage the target audience requires strategic planning and implementation

Google is constantly testing and updating its algorithms in pursuit of the best possible searcher experience. As the search giant explains in its ‘How Search Works’ documentation, that means understanding the intent behind the query and bringing back results that are relevant, high-quality, and accessible for consumers.

As if the constantly shifting search landscape weren’t difficult enough to navigate, content marketers are also contending with an increasingly technology-charged environment. Competitors are upping the stakes with tools and platforms that generate smarter, real-time insights and even make content optimization and personalization on the fly based on audience behavior, location, and data points.

Set-it-and-forget-it content optimization is a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to help your content get found, engage your target audience, and convert searchers to customers in 2023.

AI automation going to be integral for content optimization

Technologies-B2B-organizations-use-to-optimize-content

As the content battleground heats up, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance as a key source of intelligence. We’re optimizing content for humans, not search engines, after all – we had better have a solid understanding of what those people need and want.

While I do not advocate automation for full content creation, I believe next year – as resources become stretched automation will have a bigger impact on helping with content optimization of existing content.

CHATGPT

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language generation model that leverages the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) architecture to produce realistic human-like text. With Chat GPT’s wide range of capabilities – from completing sentences and answering questions to generating content ideas or powering research initiatives – it can be an invaluable asset for any Natural Language Processing project.

ChatGPT-for-content

The introduction on ChatGPT has caused considerable debate and explosive amounts of content on the web. With ChatGPT, content marketers can achieve an extra edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content. It offers assistance with generating titles for blog posts, summaries of topics or articles, as well as comprehensive campaigns when targeting a specific audience.

However, it is important to remember that this technology should be used to enhance human creativity rather than completely replacing it.

For many years now AI-powered technology has been helping content marketers and SEOs automate repetitive tasks such as data analysis, scanning for technical issues, and reporting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI also enables real-time analysis of a greater volume of consumer touchpoints and behavioral data points for smarter, more precise predictive analysis, opportunity forecasting, real-time content recommendations, and more.

With so much data in play and recession concerns already impacting 2023 budgets in many organizations, content marketers will have to do more with less this coming year. You’ll need to carefully balance human creative resources with AI assists where they make sense to stay flexible, agile, and ready to respond to the market.

It’s time to look at your body of content as a whole

Google’s Helpful Content update, which rolled out in August, is a sitewide signal targeting a high proportion of thin, unhelpful, low-quality content. That means the exceptional content on your site won’t rank to their greatest potential if they’re lost in a sea of mediocre, outdated assets.

It might be time for a content reboot – but don’t get carried away. Before you start unpublishing and redirecting blog posts, lean on technology for automated site auditing and see what you can fix up first. AI-assisted technology can help sniff out on-page elements, including page titles and H1 tags, and off-page factors like page speed, redirects, and 404 errors that can support your content refreshing strategy.

Focus on your highest trafficked and most visible pages first, i.e.: those linked from the homepage or main menu. Google’s John Mueller confirmed recently that if the important pages on your website are low quality, it’s bad news for the entire site. There’s no percentage by which this is measured, he said, urging content marketers and SEOs to instead think of what the average user would think when they visit your website.

Take advantage of location-based content optimization opportunities

Consumers crave personalized experiences, and location is your low-hanging fruit. Seasonal weather trends, local events, and holidays all impact your search traffic in various ways and present opportunities for location-based optimization.

AI-assisted technology can help you discover these opportunities and evaluate topical keywords at scale so you can plan content campaigns and promotions that tap into this increased demand when it’s happening.

Make the best possible use of content created for locally relevant campaigns by repurposing and promoting it across your website, local landing pages, social media profiles, and Google Business Profiles for each location. Google Posts, for example, are a fantastic and underutilized tool for enhancing your content’s visibility and interactivity right on the search results page.

Optimize content with conversational & high-volume keywords

Look for conversational and trending terms in your keyword research, too. Top-of-funnel keywords that help generate awareness of the topic and spur conversations in social channels offer great opportunities for promotion. Use hashtags organically and target them in paid content promotion campaigns to dramatically expand your audience.

Conversational keywords are a good opportunity for enhancing that content’s visibility in search, too. Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ results and other featured snippets available on the search results page (SERP) for your keyword terms. Incorporate questions and answers in your content to naturally optimize for these and voice search queries.

SEO-and-creating-content-in-2023

It’s important that you utilize SEO insights and real-time data correctly; you don’t want to be targeting what was trending last month and is already over. AI is a great assist here, as well, as an intelligent tool can be scanning and analyzing constantly, sending recommendations for new content opportunities as they arise.

Consider how you optimize content based on intent and experience

The best content comes from a deep, meaningful understanding of the searcher’s intent. What problem were they experiencing or what need did they have that caused them to seek out your content in the first place? And how does your blog post, ebook, or landing page copy enhance their experience?

Look at the search results page as a doorway to your “home”. How’s your curb appeal? What do potential customers see when they encounter one of your pages in search results? What kind of experience do you offer when they step over the threshold and click through to your website?

The best content meets visitors where they are at with relevant, high-quality information presented in a way that is accessible, fast loading, and easy to digest. This is the case for both short and long form SEO content. Ensure your content contains calls to action designed to give people options and help them discover the next step in their journey versus attempting to sell them on something they may not be ready for yet.

2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

Conclusion

The audience is king, queen, and the entire court as we head into 2023. SEO and content marketing give you countless opportunities to connect with these people but remember they are a means to an end. Keep searcher intent and audience needs at the heart of every piece of content you create and campaign you plan for the coming year.

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