With the ever expanding growth of internet usage over the past twenty years, humans now have access to more information than ever before.
Whilst this presents a fantastic opportunity to content marketers to reach wider audiences, it does pose a significant challenge.
If a piece of content is not fulfilling a need or creating value, visitors will simply drop off in favour of something else
And, with multiple devices and platforms vying for a consumer’s attention, marketers face an increasingly larger challenge in engaging their users.
Previously, when access to information was low, people would read items such as newspapers word for word – however, with such swathes of information now available, people rarely read web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page.
- 79% of web visitors always scan a new page they come across
- Only 16% read a page word-by-word
So, how do you ensure that your content is not only being read, but also being actively engaged with?
Establish your goals
Before you can create content that converts; you need to first understand what the goals of your content is. This will require taking an internal look towards your business, and establishing a series of objectives that your content should look to achieve, for example:
- Achieve more sales
- Build awareness
- Further your pipelines
- Create a community
Once you understand the goal of your content marketing strategy, you will be in a much better place to create a series of content that will meet these objectives.
Understanding your audience’s needs
To create content that engages with your target audience, you first need to understand them. To do this, you need to conduct research on your audience and discover their:
- Problems – what actively impairs their day to day activities?
- Desires – what motivates your audience?
- Challenges – what gets in the way of your audience achieving their desires?
By understanding this, you can begin to create content that is tailored towards your audience, and more likely to convert.
How to research your audience
When researching your audience and its needs, it’s important to look internally as well as externally. Within your business, you already have access to some of the most important audience research tools at your disposal; your customers.
It’s vital you take the time to understand your existing audience, what brought them to your company, why they choose to use your company, and what needs you are and are not meeting for them currently.
Once you understand this, you will be in a much better position to reach and communicate with new users.
As well as looking internally, we also recommend using third party tools to gain a greater understanding of what your audience is searching for online.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool for finding search volumes for your target keywords and phrases, use this as a foundation for building your content calendars.
- Google Trends – alongside Keyword Planner, Google Trends is another fantastic tool for better understanding your customer’s searching habits. For example, searches for ‘Romantic Gifts’ rise rapidly in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, and drop straight after (charming!).
- Answer The Public – if you’re stuck for content ideas, Answer The Public will be your new best friend. The tool scrapes Google to provide a list of comparisons, prepositions and searches around a provided keyword to give you a list of ideas to delight your audience.
Top tip: To communicate with your audience, you need to speak their language. As part of your research, uncover how they talk online, and how they digest content. For example; a fashion brand may have more success using video rather than long-form blog content.
How to write for web
Writing for the web is an art unto itself, so it’s important to get the basics right to make sure you are engaging your audience to read as much of your content as possible. The more they read, the more likely they will be to convert.
- Create bulleted lists
- Put important information near the beginning of sentences and paragraphs
- Highlight key points in bold
- Use plenty of descriptive subheadings to make sure scanners get the most vital information
- Write in short paragraphs
- One idea per paragraph
- Create plenty of whitespace to guide the reader’s eyes towards the content
How to answer the question of ‘what’s in it for me?’
Every piece of content you create must answer the question ‘what’s in it for me?’
It should be immediately obvious for the reader within the first five seconds of a piece of content what they will gain from it.
If you don’t provide this, visitors will bounce off your website.
So, how do you do this?
First, be benefit-led. Provide outcomes to your readers across your content title, headings and copy. This could be a simple header such as ‘Learn how to create content that converts’ – you clicked the link didn’t you?
Once you’ve created a killer title, follow up the answer to the question with more benefits. Use headings to clarify what it is a customer will gain from this content, and how it will help them.
A great way to format your copy in answering this question is via the advertising principle of AIDA.
- Attention – what will draw their eyes to your content?
- Interest – how are you going to keep them engaged?
- Desire – what will make them want to use your product or service to meet their need?
- Action – what action do you want your users to take after reading?
How to turn features in to benefits
Turning what, on the surface, can appear to be boring features in to benefits can be hard. But you need to look past the function and instead focus on the outcome.
What does the customer gain from a feature? For example, here’s how Apple turn what on the surface are non-descript features into benefits that sell!
|9 hour battery life
|Keep scrolling to your heart’s delight
|All-new dual-camera system
|It just got a whole lot harder to take a bad photo
|Shoot and edit highest quality videos
|Take your video up a notch. Over a smidge. Or down a hair
|New night mode feature
|Not enough light? No problem. Shoot high quality photos in the dark
Implementing a content strategy
When implementing a content strategy, the key to success isn’t quality, but consistency. Like most things, creating high-quality content takes practice and time.
It won’t be long before you are creating constantly amazing content, but in the first few months ensure the content you create fulfils a need and is engaging – it does not need to be Shakespeare. Focus on the substance of your content, and make sure that it delivers value.
Be regular in your content creation – at least one new piece a week. If that’s not possible, try to make sure it’s at least 2 pieces of content a month.
We all thrive on routines, creating and posting at similar times each week/month will boost engagement, and help create a community of readers waiting for your next blog / whitepaper / video. .
Also, use different channels to test engagement with your audience. For example, you may find that more users engage with your blogs on LinkedIn than Twitter. Think about how you can use this information to tailor your content calendars and sharing strategies.
How we can help
To create content that converts, you need to first understand the needs of your audience.
Our expert marketing team will work with you to dive deep into your audience to understand their challenges, desires and aspirations. Once we have this insight, we can help your business communicate more effectively with your audience – using the right language and correct medium.
From blogs to brochures, video to landing pages, content marketing can take many different forms, and our marketing team will develop a content strategy for your business that is designed to convert.
To learn more, speak to one of our expert content marketing team.