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Douglass Hatcher, August 7 2020

5 Ways Great Content Marketers Boost Conversion Rates

We’ve all been there.  You work for hours — maybe days — crafting a brilliant blogpost. You do your research. You craft a great angle. You include a shareable stat or two. You even include a crazy-good insight. You finish and triumphantly hit…publish!

Over the course of the next day or two, you get a few views, perhaps a couple of likes or claps, and maybe a share or two. But you’re only getting minimal traction at best.Given all you’ve put into this content, minimal traction feels like a pretty low return on your investment of time, energy, and research, not to mention coming up with that crazy-good insight.Something has to change.

We both know you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.  So, what do you do?  In this post, I’ll introduce you to 5 ways great content marketers boost conversion rates.  And you’ll be able to do them right away.

1. They’re F-A-N-A-T-I-C-A-L about Headlines

Great content marketers with high conversion rates know that headlines matter and they’re ridiculously obsessive about getting those headlines right.Upworthy co-founder Peter Koechly claims that changing the headline alone can create a 500% difference in whether your piece of content will go viral. Not only that, Upworthy will go through a minimum of 25 headlines on any given blogpost in order to get the right one.See what I mean about fanatical?

Headlines matter. No real surprise there. But what can you do to create headlines that make your readers click on your content? You can start by tapping into your inner headline writer and familiarize yourself with different headline constructions. Here’s an example of a How-To Post headline: How to Boost Your Content Marketing Conversions Without Draining Your Budget.Notice there’s a promise of boosting conversions, so that readers become buyers or subscribers.  With that promise comes the added benefit of boosting conversions without breaking the bank.

Another classic headline approach is the list post headline. You’re currently reading a list post now. You see them all over the place. In addition to this post's headline, here’s another example:  8 Ways to Get More Social Shares Without Annoying Your Readers.Once again, there’s a clear promise: you’re going to learn 8 ways to get more shares with the added benefit of not being annoying. All good. But what about those pesky conversions? Pithy, clear headlines are great, but by themselves they’re not enough to convert readers into buyers or subscribers. What they can do is inspire your readers to give your content a chance by enticing them to read what you’ve shared. But once you grab your reader’s attention, you’ve got to keep it which brings us to number 2.

2. They‘re Not Afraid to Push Your Buttons

The secret to getting people to stick with your content after they’ve clicked on your content is getting them to care. Nothing does that better than emotion. Caring? Emotion? Really? Shouldn’t the focus be on making sound, cogent arguments that get your customers to yes? Well Yes, you want your content to have a logical spine holding everything together, so that it’s easy for your reader. Yes, you’ll want perhaps to include a couple of stats or cite relevant research to show credibility and thought. But the fact still remains that we buy on emotion and justify on logic. Emotions do what reason can’t. They raise the stakes for your readers and make them care in a positive or negative way that inspires action. Great content marketers understand this and use it to their advantage. But what can you do? How can you leverage the power of emotion in grabbing and keeping reader attention?

Look for words that trigger clear-cut emotion: fear, excitement, desire, anger, instant gratification, and more. It’s especially effective when you combine them. Here’s an example: 10 Amazing Hacks You Can Use Right Away to Reduce Bounce Rates. You’ve got encouragement and excitement on the one end and instant gratification with an enviable result on the other end. Power words that trigger emotion get people to invest their time and attention. But to what end? What’s the pay off? This brings us to number 3 on our list.

3. They Look for Trouble

Great content marketers thrive on solving problems that plague their readers. They demonstrate genuine care and understanding and more often than not provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step solutions.Put the problem in the headline along with the promise of a fix. Solve their problem in your post and you have a chance to convert a reader into a customer or a subscriber.But that can only happen if your content is not only relevant and useful but compelling and easy to follow, which brings us to number 4.

4. They’re the Butlers of the Blogosphere

Solving your readers’ problems isn’t enough if your solution is overwhelming and hard to digest, which is why great content marketers serve their content on a silver platter. How you present your promise and your solution is just as critical as the promise and solution themselves.Make it easy on your readers. They have limited time and tons of options. You want to maximize their time and make staying with your content the best and clear choice.

Begin by breaking up the text. Use white space strategically. Whenever possible use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs. This gives your content room to breathe, while at the same time giving your reader’s eyes and brain a break. You can also break up the text by using relevant, appealing visuals. In fact, the standard is to place a visual every 750 words.

Another way to break up text and sustain interest is the use of pull quotes. A pull quote is exactly what it sounds like. You pull a quote from your content — something you think is memorable and shareable — and separate it from the body of the text to give it prominence.All of the points in number 4 begin with a desire to help and serve. But successful content marketers don’t stop there, which brings us to number 5.

5. They Ask for What They Want

Always close with a call to action (CTA). You don’t want to provide all of this value and benefit without a concrete return. Plus, relationships are based on mutually-beneficial exchanges. Nothing fosters good feelings more than the classic win-win scenario. Your call to action must be proportional to what you’ve given your reader. You can’t always expect your reader to fork over $500 for a subscription just because they read your blogpost.But you can ask for an email address. You can ask permission to send other similarly-related material.You can ask if they would like to subscribe to a free publication or one that charges a nominal fee. But you want to ask in proportion to what you’ve given. It’s common sense and common courtesy and it leaves room for the relationship to grow.

In addition, don’t close with two calls to action. This can be VERY tempting. More than one CTA can overwhelm your reader and even appear desperate. Not only that, more than one CTA may end up diluting both. For some of us, asking isn’t easy. But getting comfortable with CTAs gets easier over time.

Begin to Boost Your Conversions

Creating content that gets minimal traction can leave you frustrated, even perhaps a little deflated. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The key is understanding that creating high-performing content is a learnable skill. But like any skill you develop, it takes patience and time. The important thing is to begin, which you’ve already done by reading this post. Make your next step substantive but achievable. Take one of the 5 things great content marketers do differently — pick one that interests you the most — and dig deeper into the topic. Perhaps, use your journey to understanding that one topic as the basis for your next post.

By consciously approaching your content creation and incorporating some of the steps above, you will slowly begin to see better results, feel less frustrated, and see a return on your investment of time, research, and energy, not to mention learning a new valuable skill.You’ll begin to see the competitive advantage that comes from being of service and genuinely caring about your readers. It’s been said that “the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” You are moving in the right direction and are on course to create great content that performs and converts. Have fun, be consistent, and be of service. And you’ll begin to see the difference — one conversion at a time.

Want to Learn More?

Take your content to the next level and check out our Storytelling for Business Results course on Udemy. As one student put it, “it’s days of training in an hour.” 

Written by

Douglass Hatcher

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