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Writing for Customer Intent: A Guide for the Content Marketer

By | John Boitnott | Contributor at and The Motley Fool

Experienced content marketing professionals know they need to first understand the customer intention behind their content and then optimize it for the user’s needs and wants.

This includes the structure and depth of the content, vocabulary, call to action, and more. Nailing the intention makes it much easier to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for particular keywords.

Commercial vs. informational intentions

The purpose behind a customer or user’s search generally breaks down into one of two intentions: commercial or informational. A user’s search intent answers the crucial question behind that search behavior: Why?

For example, when someone searches Google for the keyword running, what exactly are they looking for? Do they want to improve their form? Are they thinking about beginning a running program for the first time? Are they shopping for running gear?

The answer to the question of why is key to understanding what specific content a particular searcher wants to find. It’s also the key to what search engines want. Responsive content to user intention is the kind of content search engines reward with higher rankings. In general, your content will rank higher if it corresponds to and fulfills the true searcher’s intentions.

The first step is to understand two broad content categories:

  • Informational content is designed to educate and inform. It’s not meant to persuade users to complete a purchase so conversions into sales or revenue aren’t the goal — at least, not yet.
  • Commercial content is crafted to persuade the reader to buy from your brand. For commercial content, a conversion action is closer to or at the point of purchase.

Your customers and prospects aren’t just searching for keywords—they have a specific search intention, usually commercial or informational.


Use cases from selected brands

Let’s stay with the running example. An informational keyword for this topic could be something like how to start running. There are plenty of articles available that answer the informational intention behind that how-to phrase, one of which is this article from It styles itself as a beginner’s guide for starting a running program. 

Click here to read the full article

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