Businesses that blog and create high-quality content see 126% higher lead growth than their non-blogging competition. But your blog can do more than generate traffic — it can help you make the sale. When you know how to create content that converts, you can turn site visitors into paying customers.
The secret lies in understanding the consumer journey and how to create a great post that can guide a reader through it. Whether you blog in-house or employ expert content writing services, you can use these tips to get the most from every article.
How to Create Content That Converts
Get your target audience started on the right foot. High-converting content starts targeting the sale before a potential customer ever reaches your website.
1. Define Your Objective
Be precise. What action do you want readers to take after reading this piece?
- Should they sign up for a free trial?
- Do you want to direct them to browse offerings in a specific category?
- Would you like to steer them to another piece of content that discusses your product?
You may also want to use your post to move the customer into a different channel, such as email. Adding a customer's email address to your email list is a great way to stay connected with them and send relevant pieces of content to them directly.
If you already have goals in mind for your content marketing efforts, then the next step is creating valuable content for your target audience.
2. Pick the Right Topics for Your Blog Post
Do your research. Who is your target audience, and what is most likely to make them buy what you’re selling?
Start by looking over your archives and note what’s worked in the past. These are strategies that you can repeat with every expectation of success. Check out competitor blogs, too. After all, these are the businesses most like yours, so content that performs well for them will show you similar ideas that you can implement for your own brand.
Study Others' Success
It also helps to read posts from highly successful writers for insight on what content converts best. Deconstruct top-earning blogs, particularly those that also offer paid content or heavily feature affiliate links. For this exercise, you want insight into what makes the reader shell out money, not the advertiser.
SEO research is important, too. You need to find the right keywords to lead potential customers in the right direction. Free tools such as Google Trends and Google Ads Keyword Planner can be priceless — figuratively and literally. This will give you an idea of more highly-searched subjects to use as content topics.
The trick is to apply these insights intelligently. Which keywords are most likely to produce the effect you want? What questions are potential customers asking?
3. Nail the Headline
A strong headline brings in your readers and sets their expectations. A good headline:
- Specifies the topic. Don’t title your article “Digital Marketing Tools” when talking about “The Best SEO Tools for Competitor Research.”
- Makes the article’s value clear. Is this piece going to help the reader do something, introduce them to available products, entertain them, etc?
- Is the right length. Try for a title that’s about 60-65 characters.
- Engages the reader. The title should inspire, intrigue, excite, etc. Get their emotions involved from the very top of the piece.
When possible, use power words that encourage the reader to act. If your goal is conversion, establish the expectation of action from the beginning.
Keep Them Going
Once you have them on the page, you need to keep them reading all the way through. Content that converts is strong from the first sentence to the last.
4. Answering Questions Directly (Avoid Fluff)
Your reader came to this page because they want something. Give it to them. Be clear and direct throughout the piece, and don’t take too much time with unnecessary wind-up.
In addition to cutting the fluff from your writing, remember the objective you outlined in step one. This content aims to convert by driving a specific action.
While there’s room for personality, your writing isn’t the thing that you’re trying to sell — unless it is. If you’re a writer, your voice and skill should be the focus. Just ensure that the piece represents the content or service for sale.
5. Do Detailed Research on Your Content
Quantity may help you with SEO, but quality wins the conversion game. Write longer, better pieces that outperform your peers. Incorporate extra research on the topic. Don’t write one headline — write 10, and choose the best one.
Content marketing isn’t quick — it's effective.
6. Be Persuasive
Remember all the things you learned in high school or college about rhetoric and argument? You can adapt the same persuasive writing strategies to create high-converting content for your blog.
Be Realistic and Precise
Your claims should be clear, exact, and believable. Don’t tell your reader that a kitchen tool will change their lives forever. Tell them it will cut their meal-prep time in half.
Speak with confidence. Avoid qualifiers such as “somewhat,” “maybe,” or “in my opinion.” Your readers understand that you can only present the best information you have.
Don’t do anything to strain your credibility, and double-check any dubious assertions. But give your audience the credit they deserve. They understand the difference between facts and opinions and will ultimately make their own judgments on any topic.
Know Your Pathos From Your Logos From Your Ethos
- Pathos is an appeal to the reader’s emotions.
- Logos is an appeal to reason through evidence and logical argument.
- Ethos is an appeal to personal authority, either your own or that of an expert you cite.
Each has its place, and the best persuasive writing blends all three. Pick your approach to suit your subject, and know when to change tack.
Offer your reader concrete proof to back up your claims. Bring in pictures, charts, diagrams, or anything else that breaks up the text but reinforces it.
Use anecdotes and data. Sometimes you want your reader to envision a situation or relate to an experience. Other times, you want to cite compelling statistics in service of your point.
Speak Directly to the Reader
There’s a place for first-person (I) and third-person (they) in blog content, but don’t neglect the second person (you). Bring the reader into the piece and strike up a conversation by speaking directly to them.
7. Sell By Addressing the Reader's Issues
If aggressive salespeople make you want to run and hide, you’re not alone.
Part of the challenge in creating blog content that converts is that overt sales tactics often backfire. As soon as people feel pressured, they activate their defenses. Take your focus off potential customers' wallets, but make readers want to grab them anyway with these strategies.
Don't sell the product. Instead:
Sell the Community.
People want to be part of something. A lot of today’s marketing is about social proof and community rather than fantasy. Your rhetoric should be directed to that end. When possible, think in terms of “Join Now” rather than “Buy Now.”
You can also get your existing customer base involved in your content. Here are a few ideas:
- Pose group challenges or host competitions.
- Crowd-source pictures, tips, questions, and other content.
- Incorporate independent research such as fan survey results.
- Re-publish fan favorites with updates and incorporate feedback.
If you want to see this type of content strategy done well, check out Love Sweat Fitness, a subscription-based fitness app with a powerhouse blog. The brand continually promotes a fitness community of women rather than just an effective tool.
Sell the Solution.
Address your clients’ pain points. Instead of simply declaring yourself the one and only answer, help them out with free, related advice. For example, if you’ve developed a scheduling app, present several low-tech lifehacks to help busy people keep on top of their appointments.
You can and should still add a line or two introducing what you offer, but focusing on a more holistic solution gives the impression that you’re more interested in the customer’s success than their money.
Sell the Expertise Behind It.
We’ll let you in a secret. This is what we do. At Compose.ly, we know a lot about effective content marketing, and our blog is filled with articles just like this one. We provide other businesses and writers tips to help them improve their content.
Are we kind and helpful people? Absolutely. We want all writers and businesses to realize their potential and succeed. But we also want to assure potential clients — people who don’t want to do their own writing — that they’re safe in our hands.
Sell Its Product.
What can your customer do or make with your product? Give people tips to get the most out of their purchases or inspiration for future projects.
King Arthur Baking puts out a terrific blog with tons of baking advice, tutorials, and recipes. It’s hard to make someone salivate with a post on flour. A guide to the perfect pizza, on the other hand, will have customers' mouths watering.
It’s easy to see how this content marketing strategy works with cooking or crafting supplies, but you can get creative and apply it to other industries. Let’s say you provide a product or service that saves your clients 45 minutes a week on average. Write a post on the 10 best things to do with 45 minutes of free time. It’s fun and makes your value proposition abundantly clear and concrete.
Move Potential Customers Forward Through Your Content
It’s time to take the reader all the way to the point of purchase. Don’t lose them at the crucial moment.
8. Remove Potential Obstacles
Clean up the page and sweep away potential distractions and barriers.
The user experience should be flawless. Review website health factors like site speed and watch out for broken links.
Take out clutter, too. You want the reader to have one clear action at the end of the article rather than any number of options. Limit the number of internal links on the page. Then make sure that the main call-to-action (CTA) stands out relative to any other opportunities for the reader.
9. Create Urgency for Better Conversions
Leave readers with the sense that they need to strike while the iron is hot. Even if customers want what you’re offering, they often defer both the purchase and the decision to some later date.
Here are a few tips for creating urgency in your content:
- Set a deadline. Use limited-time sales or remind them about an upcoming seasonal event.
- Limit availability. Warn people when things are low in stock.
- Provide a special, time-related opportunity. Offer the first X people an extra discount or a free gift with purchase.
- Warm up your color palette for graphics and other design elements. Cooler colors tend to relax people. Excite them instead.
10. Land the CTA With Your Content
The CTA should be bright and bold on the page. Its action should be singular and clear. In other words, it should be abundantly obvious exactly what you want your reader to do next.
Once these basics are in place, you can take your CTA to the next level. When you’re writing a blog, the best way to optimize CTAs for conversions is to focus on the keywords that brought your reader to the page.
That means two things:
- The CTA should be relevant to the search term.
- It should include the exact term.
Note that placing your keyword in the CTA will also help SEO and bring in more potential customers.
Don’t limit this strategy to fresh content. Go through old posts and improve their conversion rate by optimizing the CTAs. In content marketing, it’s easy to focus on generating new material when old material could be doing more for your brand (and refreshing takes much less time than creating from scratch).
Consistent Content Creates Conversions
These tips for creating amazing content that converts aren’t single-use propositions. Use them again and again — or have others do the work for you through a content writing service.
The customer journey is at the heart of any good content conversion strategy. Ask yourself what would bring you in, keep you reading, and finally make you commit.
Then make it easy for the customer to follow that path. Conversion is about guidance rather than force. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting out of the customer’s way.