Using the Jobs to Be Delivered (JTBD) Framework for SEO Content

The JTBD framework, also known as job theory, is a method of analysis used to support innovation in product development and marketing.

JTBD has existed in various forms since at least the 1980s with the famous Don Norman book, Everyday design.

It was published in the 2000s by Clayton Christensen and colleagues at the Harvard Business Review (and again in 2010) and the MIT Sloan Management Review.

JTBD is unique because it is centered around the job – not the customer or the user.

Although it is mostly used for product innovation, it can be well applied to SEO and content marketing.

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

Many examples are from the B2B SEO world, but the theory should apply well to other areas of web content marketing.

Getting started with JTBD

Many traditional forms of marketing and advertising research focus on demographic data, searching for the “average” customer for a product or service to find ways that are more attractive to and reach those people.

Rather than focusing on data points such as age or gender, the marketer’s “jobs to be done” framework focuses on the problems the target audience is trying to solve.

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

For direct product development and product marketing, the task to be performed may be largely related to the product itself.

However, the use of the framework should not be limited to the functions that the product can solve.

For SEO, it is probably best to apply it to small tasks that a potential client might complete throughout their day.

When a potential customer turns to Google to find information or complete a task during their typical workday (not necessarily when they’re looking for products to buy), brands with useful content build trust with their audience and the immediate opportunity to generate conversion, according to the Christensen Institute,

By understanding the ‘function’ for which customers find themselves ‘hiring’ a product or service, companies can develop and market well-designed products based on what customers are already trying to do.

Applying this kind of thinking to create compelling content for a website yields tremendous results.

Find your audience

Start by defining your target audience.

These are not the only people who will buy your company’s product or service.

Your target audience includes journalists, bloggers, and podcasters – people who create content in your target market.

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

  • Searching for a conference To attend later in the year.
  • Find stats, trends, graphs, and photos To use in your next presentation.
  • Find answers to technical questions in their immediate field.
  • Find examples of a plan or roadmap while creating their own roadmap.
  • Search for books, authors and influencers In written or audio formats for inspiration, best practices and industry news.
  • exploration tools to improve their daily operations.

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

After they come to your website, you can provide a wide range of relevant content to engage them and, in many cases, create a conversion.

JTBD User Stories

Rather than worrying about demographic data, a user story format can help knowing three basics:

  • when.
  • I want to.
  • So I can.

Consider the situation, motivation, and desired outcomes of your target audience, and develop user stories that can help create content.

Here are some examples of how user stories work.

example 1: when I am a member of an interview committee, and assist with recruitment for a position outside the usual wheelhouse, I want to Prepare by understanding the responsibilities that the role typically 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 will do basic research to help me with everyday tasks.

A website that provides useful information at the top of Google results will benefit from my visit, the opportunity to provide relevant content or conversion, and begin to build credibility with me that can influence future purchasing decisions.

Example 2: when I am developing a feasibility study to support a new initiative, I want to I’m looking for a search to direct my thinking, So I can Formulate a convincing argument in support of my initiative.

In this scenario, I might turn to Google to search for data points, trends, and statistics to help guide my thinking and convince others.

example 3: when I am preparing for a trip, I want to Find a podcast to listen to, So I can Be educated and entertaining about a particular topic.

Example 4: When I’m I’m thinking of buying a popular book in my field of interest, I want to Read the review first, So I can Make an informed buying decision.

JTBD for existing customers

SEO is not just for marketing to potential customers.

You can use the To Do framework to see what your existing customers are trying to achieve – and create content that helps them do just that.

By looking at support chat logs, help desk tickets, community questions, and other places where existing customers point out jobs they’re trying to get done, you can find a wealth of ideas about what to create new content around to help them.

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  • When you do a content planning for your website and are ready to go beyond basic keyword research techniques, consider the JTBD framework.
  • Start with the people you’re creating content for – who is your audience?
  • Brainstorm common small or large tasks that these individuals may be dealing with in their daily working life.
  • Create useful content that is ready when they inevitably turn to Google to complete those tasks.


Using the JTBD framework, marketers can identify many good topics and keywords with lower search volume and less competition than key terms but will generate higher quality traffic.

The target audience is trying to accomplish an infinite number of jobs, from small to large. By producing great content, a brand can develop a trusted relationship with potential customers before they are in a buying position.

This will translate into increased sales when the potential customer is ready to make a transaction.

More resources:

Featured image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

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