Everybody knows that these days, content is king. But not everybody knows how to create effective content for their brand. Brands that create content on the fly without a strategic plan and objectives in place are sure to be disappointed in the results their efforts return. Those that don’t know how to optimize content with an eye toward conversions will be similarly disappointed.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy. Unlike paid search, for example, it simply isn’t a channel that will generate immediate returns. Content marketing must be built and nurtured over time, and it must be designed with conversion potential in mind. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when creating and optimizing content that will convert..
1. Test site messaging and copy
Content is about more than just blog posts and whitepapers -- content is central to every single marketing message your brand creates. Every piece of content has the potential to impact conversions. That includes everything from a million dollar Super Bowl ad to the button text of your homepage call-to-action. We often see brands in such a rush to create new, exciting content that they fail to optimize the content their users encounter on a daily basis: website copy.
Website copy -- button text, product copy, main messaging, etc. -- is one of the biggest conversion influencers. It will either create user desire to browse deeper or it will convince the user to look elsewhere. One of the best things you can do to use content to drive conversions is to audit your website copy, searching for opportunities to speak more clearly and effectively to your audience. Test different value propositions and messaging to identify the highest-performing variations.
2. Include a Call-To-Action
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of CTAs to your content’s ability to convert its audience. Every promotional message should include a CTA because without one the audience will be at a loss about what they’re supposed to do next. It may seem like a pretty basic recommendation and it’s not one that’s usually missed on more obvious pieces of content like emails. But what about the rest of your content? Do you include CTAs on your blog posts? What about your videos? Your whitepapers? Don’t miss an opportunity to tell the user what to do next. Include relevant, logical CTAs in all your content.
3. Tell a story
Few things are more powerful or more memorable than a good story. Our recall for statistics and facts can be shaky at best. That’s because those facts and statistics don’t usually have any emotional resonance. Even the most surprising statistics don’t hit us as hard as a compelling anecdote does. This is why we see politicians, for example, repeating the stories of individual constituents to illustrate trends. They know that these personal stories are more memorable to voters than a parade of statistics.
Placing an emphasis on storytelling in your content marketing is an effective way to lead users down the path toward conversion. Even if your content reaches a wide audience, much of which is not currently in need of your products or services, it’s far more likely that they will remember your brand when later they do have such a need if you can manage to tell them an interesting story in the first place. This kind of brand recall has a big impact on the results you can generate with content marketing.
4. Drum up testimonials
You can think of testimonials as a form of storytelling -- one in which the customer tells other customers the story of how your brand has made his or her life better. Testimonials, when executed correctly, make for persuasive content that can drive conversions. They are the closest you can get to creating your own word-of-mouth marketing.
Soliciting testimonials or reviews should be a point of focus in your content campaign. Think beyond wordy text-based testimonials and short snippets that don’t say much of anything. One compelling video testimonial featuring a real client telling their story will be far more effective than a dozen short blurbs that all say effectively the same thing.
Use your content to shine a spotlight on your brand’s expertise in your industry -- whether it’s by becoming a press resource for stories related to your field or by creating thought leadership around issues that are relevant to your audience. People trust those they perceive to be experts and developing your brand expertise is a move that will pay off in the form of future conversions.
You can’t expect content marketing to drive immediate conversions, but you can optimize it so that it has the highest potential of driving user action.
Image Credit: Lululemon, Bark Box, Charity: Water
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