Vanessa is a nonfiction book coach. She helps her clients with much more than the logistics of how to get their books published. She also helps her clients overcome the fear of not being enough of an expert to be a published author.

Vanessa couldn’t find keywords about this lack of confidence among aspiring authors, and asked about this on one of our Attract & Activate coaching calls.

She lamented the low search volume on the topic: the closest should find was “should I write a book” (320 searches/month) … but that was more of a yes/no question. She wanted to write about how to know that you have enough expertise & skill to be a published author.

The students expected me to jump into action, doing live keyword research together. I could see the surprise on their faces when I said:

“Forget the keywords. Write it anyway.”

I could see some skepticism — “forget the keywords? isn’t that what we’re here for?” — so I elaborated:

Not all content is for discovery, some is for trust. The SEO content brings people in, then once they find us, we can drive them to the trust content.

In Vanessa’s case, I didn’t suggest giving up on SEO altogether! Her website is doing it’s job in attracting new aspiring authors. It ranks for “book proposal marketing example” and “non fiction book marketing” and “writing a winning non fiction book proposal.”

Once people find that on Vanessa’s site, she can link from book proposal marketing plans to her post about author confidence.

Not all content needs SEO. That’s ok.

This post you’re reading, for example, has no keyword strategy. I have no idea what you would be Googling to find it. I’m guessing you were reading something else on my site and this caught your attention. Or you saw it linked in on my Facebook page or Pinterest board.

But you’re still here reading. And it’s helping you understand my philosophy about content’s role in your business: it can help people find you, sure … but it can also help them trust you enough to buy from you.

Not everyone is looking for you. That’s ok.

Content marketing is powerful because you can meet your customers where they are, based on what they already know and what problem they’re trying to solve.

Everyone is somewhere along four stage of the customer awareness spectrum (I learned this from Lacy Boggs, so I’ll quote liberally from her explanations, with her permission):

  1. Unaware: These people don’t know they have a problem, or they’re not quite sure how to articulate it. They need you to identify the problem for them. You’re going to have to grab their attention and cut through the noise with a powerful message.
  2. Problem aware: People who are problem aware are looking for an expert who understands their plight. They are particularly convinced by someone who can sympathize and empathize with their problems. For these people, it’s important to show that you understand where they’re coming from — either because you’ve been there yourself, or because you’ve helped others through this problem (or both).
  3. Solution aware: These readers have a problem and know that solutions exist. They may be at the point of comparison shopping, deciding which solution is right for them.
  4. Aware of you: They are ready to buy. These people need to trust you. They need to know that you’ve got their back and that your solution can help them. They are ready to take action — but they need that last little push.

SEO’s sweet spot is best for people who are problem-aware and solution-aware. These are folks who are actively looking for answers, often on Google.

But SEO doesn’t work for “unaware” folks, and it’s not helpful for “aware of you.” SEO works best for people who are problem aware and solution aware; trust content helps build the bridge from “solution aware” to “ready to buy.”

Customers in the “unaware” stage don’t know enough to search for you, so your marketing strategy to them will have to be more active. They’re more likely to see Facebook Ads that interrupt their scroll or guest blogs/podcasts from sources they already trust.

Customers in the “aware of you” stage don’t need SEO content; they need to know that it’s ok to buy from you.

So what does this look like for Vanessa?

  1. Unaware: She can’t make people want to write a book.
  2. Problem-aware: She can help people with figuring out whether a book would be a good choice for their business.
  3. Solution-aware: She can help people come up with amazing book proposals that will get them contracts.
  4. Aware of you: Once they become aware of her services, more Googling won’t help. Now her trust content (whether that’s blog posts, podcast episodes, or emails) can convince them that working with her is the best next step.

Your trust content strategy

SEO isn’t enough. Getting people to your site that immediately bounce back to Google doesn’t pay your bills. SEO is the meet cute first date, but it’s your website’s job to build trust, win over the reader & get a second date.

When it comes to creating a website that helps you get found AND paid, think of each piece of content as a stepping stone towards a sale. Your linking strategy & calls to action make up the little leaps that carry people towards the end goal.

Vanessa knows her problem-aware clients need to include a marketing plan in their book proposal, so she wrote an epic post about it.

From there, she links through to more solution aware other posts that the reader might need next. She also has a downloadable marketing plan template as a lead magnet, which will allow her to continue the conversation with those potential clients through email marketing.