Improve Content Marketing

via User Research


Growth Marketing is a consulting agency that helps its customers to optimize the benefits of content marketing. I collaborated with Growth Marketing to help one of their customers - Jella!, an online Korean language learning platform, to conduct user needs exploration and guide them on how to do the user research on their own, so that we could help them to improve content marketing and their products. There are 2 researchers involved in this project (including me) and the CEO of Growth Marketing.

The Challenge:
Improvement of Content Marketing to Reduce the Overall Marketing Costs

Jella! hoped that they can increase the Google search ranking by content marketing and SEO while decreasing the marketing cost from advertising. 

Our main goal is to help Jella! to illustrate the profile of the people who are willing to purchase their online Korean learning courses, and phase into the content marketing to achieve the following benefits:

  • Let the articles on their website be more easily be found by users

  • Let the users feel that the services Jella! provides match what they want after reading the articles, hence increase the intention for purchasing the courses


We first listed the following tasks from our goals:

  • To understand what keywords the Korean learners when searching for learning resources
    ​→ so that the articles on their website be more easily be found by users 

  • To understand Korean learners' learning journeys/behaviors/pain points
    ​→ so that the content of the articles can meet the users' needs

then we could apply the discoveries from the above to the articles for content marketing.

Preliminary research

  • Business study
    We had an interview with Jella!, gained knowledge about their previous research and their understanding of their current customers

  • Desktop research
    We studied the keywords related to Korean learning based on Google search volume, then utilized these keywords to help us find the learning pain points, journeys, and most-viewed topics from the main Korean learning forums

By the above studies, we could capture brief pictures of Korean learners from different aspects, including how they learn grammar/culture, how they care about the pricing and how much time they spend in learning etc.

We use the research result to construct the interview questions considering the attitude, skills, and knowledge of a language learner.

Selecting and interviewing the users

We defined the selection criteria based on our research goals: 

  • Profound learning experiences: who can give us more insights about the learning journeys

  • Profound online searching experiences: who can tell us more keywords that we may not know when searching for learning resources

  • Continuous learner: so that we could filter out the users who might stop learning Korean for a long time and can not give us effective answers because of vague memories

The questionnaire was created based on the criteria and delivered to the current learners of Jella! 

5 users were recruited, we then demonstrated interviewing one of the users for Jella! and instructed them on the overall interview process and techniques, so that they could keep interviewing the remaining 4 users.


After the research data from all 5 users were gathered, we applied the following approaches to analyze those data:

  • Affinity Diagramming
    We collaborated with Jella! as a professional operator of a language learning platform to reorganize the research data by Affinity Diagramming, and classified them into 3 behavioral categories based on the research goals:
    - Behaviors of searching
    - Learning journey (motivation/pain points/joy points)
    - Attitude toward learning material


We used Miro to collaborate the Affinity Diagramming with Jella! 

  • Behavioral Patterns
    From the Affinity Diagramming we could extract the behavioral variables, including approaches to learning/searching, learning scenario, attitude toward learning skills etc, and created the behavioral patterns among the 5 users.


The 5 users are labeled separately from #1 to #5  and be categorized on the Behavioral Patterns

  • Persona
    ​Based on the Affinity Diagramming and the Behavioral Patterns, we created the Personas from users with similar behaviors. 

Persona #1
  • Learning Goal: To have a coversation naturally with Koreans 

  • Searching Goal: To search for multiple Korean topic and  vocabularies in different social platforms, and make the Korean expression be more closly to the native speakers

  • Learning Pains: Easily to get confused of understanding the semantics or complicated grammer, hence can not speak confidently

  • Searching Pains: Needs to compare searches in Chinese/Korean/English multiple times to understand the semantics

Persona #2
  • Learning Goal: To understand the K-pop information and focus on listening and reading instead of speaking

  • Searching Goal: To focus on searching for systematic explanation that can help understanding the context of Korean

  • Learning Pains: Want to improve the oral ability but afriad of speaking out

  • Searching Pains: Can not digest more complicated information because the current learning material is difficult

Instruction for the Writters of Utilizing Personas

When the fisrt version of Personas were created, we instructed the writters how to utilize the Personas for content marketing. The keywords from motivation, goals, behaviors and pain points of learning and searching in the Personas could be applied into the articles on the website, so do the detailed scenarios from Affinity Diagramming. Then the articles which are more easily be found by users and match the users needs would be created, hence to improve the benifit of content marketing.


We finally delivered the followings to Jella!

Research material and synthesis result

We helped them to initialize the research and synthesis the research data, including

  • Provided interview material

  • Analysis from Affinity Diagramming and Behavioral Patterns

  • Demostration of Personas and instruction for the writters to utilizing them for content marketing


Instruction of User Research

We also gave them guidance of user research so that they could keep conducting user research on their own for their content marketing. The guidance includes

  • Planning for an interview

  • Interview techniques

  • Synthesis after interview


Align the Research Goals with Business Goals

The final goal of the research is to help the business to solve business problems, hence it was important for us to fully understand Jella!'s business goal before we started to research. We asked Jella! to provide previous research data and information about their products and customers, so that we could know more about the business. On the other hand, we conducted desktop research to gain domain knowledge about learning Korean.


Prioritize for Research Goals

For a business they may eager to know a lot of things at the beginning, which might let the research direction and goals not clear enough, and the TA can not be specified. This issue relies on how we communicate with the business and then clearly define the "primary goals" and "secondary goals", and we can prioritize our interview questions meanwhile illustrate the TA more precisely.

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