You already have a content marketing strategy, but what is the core intention of your content? Is it intended to engage and inform your readers? Is it intended to prominently display keywords that will help you rank? Or is it optimized for conversions, intended to drive people to buy or express interest in your products and services?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you either haven’t thought much about it, or you’ve tried to make your content an all-around package. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but if you aren’t explicitly thinking about how your content can work to convert your readers, you’re missing out on some key opportunities.
Incoming traffic doesn’t mean much unless you have a high conversion rate to back it up. If you can increase your conversion rate, you’ll instantly get more revenue from the traffic you’re already getting. The key is to optimize your content so that optimization is its primary goal.
These are the eight most important qualities of content that is written with conversion optimization in mind:
In order to convert potential readers, your content needs to be friendly and personal. If it reads like a high school science textbook (even if you’re selling high school science textbooks), you’ll come off as robotic, and nobody will want to buy from you. People want to buy from people, and if you present your brand with a personal, interactive voice, you’ll be far more likely to encourage those people to convert. Work on your tone by asking yourself “does this sound like a sentence I would say out loud?” and wondering what you would think of someone who spoke with the same voice as your writing. Keep your brand voice consistent, but it’s also important to give your writing a personal appeal.
Entertaining content can do a great job of entertaining, but helpful content is what really sells. When your readers come to your site and find your content, they likely have some kind of problem (whether they realize it at the time or not). If you can find a way to solve that problem with your writing, you’ll instantly win their favor, and they will be more likely to convert. In order to make your content helpful, ask your audience what types of topics they’d like to see, or at least what types of problems they are facing. Then, when you know what to write about, give as many details as possible to make sure your readers have all the information they need. Otherwise, they may seek other sources of information.
It’s tempting to write about a broad topic, or to write to a massive audience, but if conversions are your main goal, it’s better to go specific. It’s like buying one nice car instead of three deteriorating cars. You’re only going to be driving one at a time, so you might as well make that one the best possible experience. Make your content as specific as possible by creating individual posts with a niche focus and a concentrated target demographic. General, fluff-ridden content tends to be seen as white noise, and will be far less likely to encourage readers to return or, more importantly, convert. It’s even better if your specific topics are rarely written about—it means less competition.
Visual content attracts more visitors than stagnant written content, and in the body of your posts, visual content can keep readers longer. Part of the formula for conversions is keeping your users from “bouncing,” or leaving your posts, and visual content is a form of protection against that possibility. Use visually stunning unique photos to catch your readers’ immediate attentions, and use informative visual pieces like infographics or simple charts to keep their attention as they read the rest of your post. You can also play around with the font and formatting settings of your blog to make sure your written content appears as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Do whatever it takes to keep your readers’ eyes on the page.
Nobody wants to buy from somebody who doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. In order to win more conversions, you need to write with a higher level of authority. Being specific is a part of this authority building, as well as using facts and logic whenever possible. Take a firm stance on whatever subject you’re covering, but also be sure to explain and acknowledge all sides of the argument. Do extensive research before every post to make sure all your facts are in order and to stand apart as a new authority on the scene. The more authority you are perceived to have, the more likely it is that your readers will trust you and want to buy from you.
Simple content is effective content. Simple doesn’t mean short, nor does it mean introductory. You can have a long, detailed post on a complex idea and still have it be “simple” at its core. Simple means it doesn’t have anything extraneous that it doesn’t need. The article is focused on a core concept, and covers it concisely yet fully. Simple means that someone completely unfamiliar with the subject matter should be able to read the article and get up to speed. In order to write content that converts, you need to make your material approachable and reduce it to its most effective form.
Shareable content also wins more conversions, although not necessarily from the person who first reads it. By writing shareable content, you’ll open yourself up to a higher number of conversions from the fans, followers, and friends of the people sharing your piece. Sharing content automatically gives that content more potential readers, but it also imbues it with a greater authority; because the friends of the sharer trust that sharer, they are more likely to read the content with inherent trust, and are therefore more likely to convert. Make your content shareable by making it surprising, unique, and entertaining in addition to its informative foundation.
Finally, if your content is to have any hope of converting readers, it needs to be actionable. Most readers will not read a piece and immediately think “I should buy from this person” or “I should give this person my information.” Instead, it is your responsibility to direct that person to another destination. You don’t necessarily want to make a sales pitch, since that defeats the purpose of inbound marketing, but you do want your readers to spend more time on your site. Use links within the body of your content to persuade your users to venture deeper within your site, and help your readers by directing them with phrases like “for more information…” or “if you want to learn more…”
Writing content with these eight qualities is no guarantee of increasing your conversion rate, but over time, as you perfect your strategy, you should start to see more conversions. Experiment with different content subjects and posting frequencies to see which are the most effective for your client base, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your readers for regular feedback. It won’t take long for you to find a perfect rhythm for your business.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.