Seo content

Using the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework for SEO content

The Jobs to be Done (JTBD) framework, also known as Jobs Theory, is an analytical method used to support innovation in product development and marketing.

JTBD has been around in various forms since at least the 1980s with Don Norman’s famous book, The design of everyday things.

It was popularized in the 2000s by Clayton Christensen and his colleagues from harvard business review (and again in the 2010s) and MIT Sloan Management Review.

JTBD is unique because it is work-centric, not customer- or user-centric.

Although primarily used for product innovation, it can also apply to SEO and content marketing.

We will look at how to use the JTBD framework for SEO content development.

Many examples come from the world of B2B SEO, but the theory should also apply to other spheres of web content marketing.

Getting started with JTBD

Many forms of traditional research for marketing and advertising focus on demographics, researching the “average” customer of a product or service to find ways to be more appealing and to reach those people.

Rather than focusing on data points like age or gender, the Jobs to be Done framework focuses marketing on the problems the target audience is trying to solve.

Regardless of a person’s age or gender, they have tasks they need to do, and they search Google for help in completing those tasks.

For product development and direct product marketing, the work to be done can be very much related to the product itself.

However, use of the framework need not be limited to tasks that the product can solve.

For SEO, it might be best applied to the small tasks a prospect might complete throughout their day.

When a prospect turns to Google to find information or complete a task during their normal work day (not necessarily when looking for products to buy), brands with helpful content build trust with their audience and the immediate opportunity to generate a conversion, depending on Christensen Institute,

“With an understanding of the ‘work’ that customers end up ‘hiring’ a product or service for, companies can more accurately develop and market products that are well-suited to what customers are already trying to do.”

Applying this kind of thinking to create compelling website content yields huge results.

Find your audience

Start by defining your target audience.

It’s not just people who would buy the product or service your business offers.

Your target audience includes journalists, bloggers, podcasters – people creating content for the target market.

Consider the types of tasks your target audience might use Google to complete on any given day:

  • Find a conference to attend later in the year.
  • Search for statistics, trends, graphs and images to be used in a future presentation.
  • Find answers to technical questions in their immediate domain.
  • Find Sample Plans or roadmap while creating their own.
  • Looking for books, authors and influencers in written form, or podcasts for inspiration, best practices and industry news.
  • Exploration tools to improve their daily processes.

When your target audience uses Google to solve their everyday problems, you can be at the top of search results with the best answer on the web to help them.

Once they land on your website, you can provide a wide range of related content to engage them and, in many cases, drive a conversion.

User stories for JTBD

Instead of worrying about demographics, a user story format can help understand three basic principles:

  • When.
  • I want.
  • So I can.

Consider the target audience’s situation, motivation, and desired outcome, and develop user testimonials that can inform content creation.

Below are some examples of the user stories method in action.

Example 1: When I’m on an interview panel, helping to hire for a position outside of my regular wheelhouse, I want prepare by understanding the responsibilities that this role usually entails, so I can provide informed feedback that will help the hiring manager make a good decision.

In this scenario, I might turn to Google to search for “interview questions” or “roles and responsibilities” related to a particular job title.

I would do basic research to help me in my daily tasks.

The website providing useful information at the top of Google results will benefit from my visit, have the opportunity to offer me related content or conversion, and begin to build credibility with me that can influence future business decisions. purchase.

Example 2: When I am developing a business case to support a new initiative, I want find research to guide my thinking, so I can develop a convincing argument to support my initiative.

In this scenario, I might turn to Google to research data points, trends, and statistics to guide my thinking and persuade others.

Example 3: When I’m planning a flight I want find a podcast to listen to, so I can be educated and entertained on a hot topic.

Example 4: When I’m think about buying a popular book in my area of ​​interest, I want read a review first, so I can make an informed purchase decision.

JTBD for existing customers

SEO isn’t just for marketing to prospects.

You can use the Jobs to be Done framework to figure out what your existing customers are trying to accomplish – and create content that helps them do it.

By looking at support chat logs, helpdesk tickets, community questions, and other places where existing customers post tasks they’re trying to accomplish, you can find a wealth of ideas. on what to create new content to help them.

Key points to remember

  • When you are planning your website content and are ready to go beyond basic keyword research techniques, consider the JTBD framework.
  • Start with the people you are creating content for – who is your audience?
  • Brainstorm common small or large tasks these people might do in their day-to-day work life.
  • Create useful content ready when they inevitably turn to Google to complete these tasks.


By using the JTBD framework, marketers can identify many good topics and keywords with lower search volume and less competition than the main terms, but will generate higher quality visits.

A target audience tries to accomplish an infinite number of jobs, from small to large. By producing great content, a brand can build trust with prospects before they are in buying mode.

This will result in increased sales when the prospect is ready to make a transaction.

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Feature image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock