Drawing showing marketing metrics dashboard

Where does zero moment of truth fit into your content marketing efforts?

Regardless of whether you’ve heard of the Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT), you’re probably familiar with the underlying premise: the decision-making point of an online searcher’s quest is the point at which they place that search. Have you ever had a pressing need to place an online order in the early hours of the morning and reached for your phone to make it happen?

I’ve done just that on many occasions. Every time I wake up at 4 am with the sudden recollection that I need to buy something, I seek immediate results: I want to buy what I need as quickly as possible and go back to sleep. If those immediate results escape me, I’ll likely give up and resolve to try again later (then forget again).

The ZMOT is significant for many aspects of digital marketing, and in this piece we examine the role it should play in steering your content marketing campaigns. Here are some key tips for catering to this important part of the marketing funnel:

Get to the point quickly in your content marketing efforts

Some marketers rate their own voices too highly, thinking that people are willing to pay attention as they waffle on indefinitely. Not so. Those potential buyers want succinct, to-the-point answers to their questions. They want relevant content. Say you produced a buyer’s guide to budget TVs with links to your store products — should it open with a six-paragraph spiel about the TVs tech?

No, it shouldn’t. Why? Because someone visiting the guide might want to buy a TV immediately, and you should make that easy by moving swiftly to what they came for: the specific recommendations. You can’t expect them to hunt for them on your page when there are surely other viable search results. You can put a long explanation at the end of the page for anyone who actually wants to read it.

Ramp up the urgency in your content marketing efforts

Getting to the point quickly doesn’t mean that every piece of content needs to be directly actionable: it only needs to serve its singular purpose extremely effectively. Provided something works to push the viewer along the funnel, it’s contributing meaningful value — and you can use this to steadily ramp up urgency along the way for products that might not otherwise catch the eye.

Think about the design behind product drops, for instance: over the course of weeks or even months, a limited sales event is hyped up with a lot of fanfare, until it eventually arrives and only sticks around for a matter of hours. At every point, some action feels urgent. Early on it’s setting some kind of reminder to avoid missing out, and when the event arrives it’s buying the product. By making that item feel special, you change how it’s perceived.

Focus on SEO

Having a great message won’t help you if buyers can’t find it, so make Search Engine Optimization (SEO) your top priority. SEO is about more than securing as many top positions as possible: it’s about optimizing your rankings for the most valuable queries. Let’s use that TV example again: even if you couldtop the rankings for the keyword “TV” with that page, why would you want to? For all you know, someone searching for “TV” could be looking to learn about how TVs work.

To capture the ZMOT, you need the right piece of content on the right topic to appear as a result for the right search term. You also need to think about other forms of search, such as social media searches. Only by lining up all the pieces will you get the smooth path to conversion you seek — the smallest bump in the road can bring everything to a halt.

Be distinct (be better)

There’s value in being different when it comes to getting noticed: a lot of value. When buyers submit a search query and get a list of results, they won’t automatically go for the top result: they look for relevant terms, assess the copy, consider the brands, and choose accordingly. And when they reach the linked page, they form a quick impression of its notability.

Because of this, you must deliver everything the searcher expects and be different from the other options. This could involve a unique visual style, a distinct product range, a clearer message: to put it more plainly, you need to be exceptional. This isn’t a quick-win tactic or a “growth hack” — it’s a simple note that it’s usually the best seller or service provider that wins the ZMOT. So if you want your content to perform better, you need to invest in it.

Content marketing can be tough. It takes a lot of time, effort and resources to create great content, and then you have to figure out how to deliver it in the most productive way. Follow all these suggestions and you’ll achieve some notable improvements, but don’t stop there. Keep working at it. The ZMOT is worth it.