How to Write Content that Converts
Marketers leverage content for a number of reasons, from increasing website traffic to growing brand awareness and generating engagement.
But one of the main reasons is, quite simply, to get more of their audience to convert into customers. However, that’s easier said than done, especially in a very crowded marketplace where it seems (and rightly so) like there’s a sea of content to compete with.
So, how do you write content that converts?
How can you get people to take action after reading your content?
And ultimately, how do you generate a positive ROI from your content marketing strategy?
In this blog post, discover 7 essential tips to help you write content that converts:
Step 1: Know your audience
Are you writing content for your audience, based on their needs and wants? Or are you writing content based on what you think they need and want?
Because there’s a big difference between the two and it’s so easy to forego this important step when creating content.
Great content – that converts – needs to:
- Target a very specific audience
- Solve a common problem or pain point of your target audience
- Provide real value to your readers by giving them a solution to their problem (I know, we hear this all the time – and yet, there’s still so much bad content out there that provides no value whatsoever… just content for the sake of content!)
But in order to know what your audiences’ problems, needs and wants are, you need to first know this audience in greater detail:
- What common problems they encounter
- What frustrates them
- What gets them excited and happy
Because once you get to know them and have a clear idea of what they want to know and learn, you can create content specifically targeted to them.
For example, Neil Patel is truly a master at this; you can clearly see that he knows exactly who his audience is and what their problems are and he quickly addresses them within his content:
In this blog, for example, he starts off with a question that drives emotion and addresses a very specific pain point of his audience: not being able to rank for a keyword, despite all their efforts.
And then he proceeds to give them tips and strategies that will help achieve those results.
So, your goal as a content marketer is to find out what issues and pain points your audience has – then, you can use that to create powerful content that helps them achieve the results they want and therefore:
- Increase trust in your brand
- Give readers a reason to come back to you for more content
- Give them a reason to subscribe to your newsletter and engage with you on other channels as well
- And ultimately, give them a reason to convert
Step 2: It’s all in the headline
You’ve probably heard this time and time again – but your headlines are so incredibly important, it really bears repeating.
After all, it’s as simple as this: if your headline isn’t getting people’s attention and interest, then they’re not going to read it. And if they’re not going to read it, then you’re not going to increase your conversions either.
So, don’t leave your headline as an afterthought because it has a massive impact on your click-through rate and traffic, as well as on your conversion rate.
Follow these tips to help you write more effective headlines that convert (i.e. get people to read your content):
- Make sure it’s very clear what the content is about so that readers know exactly what they’d get out of reading it
- Use numbers in your headlines: Studies show that numbers are incredibly powerful and can help you generate more clicks and readers. Here’s a list of the most powerful numbers to use in your headlines, as found by Buzzsumo in their study of 100 million headlines (spoiler: 10 is by far the most popular!):
- Use emotional headlines where relevant; they too can drive a lot of traffic and engagement. They don’t work in all situations, but where possible, use emotional phrases in headlines to drive emotional responses; for example, in the same study from Buzzsumo, they found that phrases like “tears of joy”, “make you cry” and “shocked to see” tend to generate more interactions
- Focus on one of your audiences’ problems: Remember the Neil Patel example from earlier? Just like your content should solve one of your audiences’ problems, your headlines should also make it clear what problem that specific piece of content will help with.
Step 3: Learn to structure your content and increase readability
While online content has definitely improved a lot over the last few years, I still often see content that’s simply not readable enough – even if the information provided in them is good.
The thing is, it’s not just about providing value; it’s also about creating content that’s easy to read through and makes you want to keep reading.
Considering that, here is a checklist to use every time you write content, in order to increase its readability:
- Use the introduction to relate to your reader’s problems and/or clearly explain what the content is about and what they’ll get out of it.
Here’s a great example from Backlinko, a blog that generates huge amounts of traffic and often gets those coveted Google first page rankings:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs, as well as bullet points and lists:
Keep in mind that people are reading your content on small screens, while on-the-go and also while being distracted by other tabs, social media and notifications. If you want people to read through your content, then make it easy for them; and there’s nothing easy about reading long, chunky paragraphs. Remember the Backlinko example above: it perfectly shows what your content should look like – clean, simple, well-structured and easy to read.
- Break down your content with subheadings: Always use subheadings throughout your content. It makes it so much easier to read and skim through.
- Use more visuals throughout your content: Visual content – such as screenshots, photos, videos, GIFs and so on – makes it easier to read and provides good “breaks” within your content.
- Avoid using jargon: Always use language that your audience will understand.
Step 4: Write more personalized content
Another important step in increasing your conversions from content is to write more personalized content for different members of your audience.
It’s important to remember that, whatever your niche, your audience is not one unified mass of people with the same questions, needs and wants.
So, if you want to increase conversions, then you need to write targeted content for all of these audience segments, focusing on their needs and pain points.
Step 5: Include interactive elements in your content
Interactive content has come a long way in recent years, becoming highly accessible to marketers and businesses too. And research shows that it can also be an incredibly powerful tool for your marketing strategy.
In fact, interactive content generates double the engagement than regular static content.
And when people engage actively with your content, that’s great news for your business: it means they’re spending more time on your site, that they’re likely to come back for more content and last but not least, it can increase your conversions from content.
There are numerous types of interactive content that make your content better and more engaging. Here are some of the most popular types that you can try right now:
- Mini-games: Research shows that they are some of the most effective forms of interactive content in the awareness/discovery phase
- Interactive infographics: Infographics are still very popular forms of content, but you can make them even better and more engaging by making them interactive
- Interactive calculators: Calculators are particularly great in some situations because they also provide value; for example, in a blog about increasing conversion rates, I included this easy-to-use interactive conversion rate calculator to both increase engagement and give readers something more and exciting:
- Quizzes and polls: Include relevant quizzes and polls within your content to get readers to engage and keep reading the rest of your content
Step 6: Include content upgrades to generate more leads
An easy “trick” to increase lead generation from your content is to include content upgrades. It’s probably one of the most effective ways to grow your email list quickly.
But first, what exactly is a content upgrade?
It’s a lead magnet created specifically for a blog post or piece of content.
And what this means is that you’re essentially creating highly-targeted lead magnets.
And because they’re so well-targeted, it means that readers are more likely to opt-in.
For example, if you were reading a guide on how to rank first page in search results, then you’d probably be very interested in getting a checklist with all the steps you need to take to optimize your content and achieve the top ranking.
Here are some of the best-performing types of upgrades you can include in your content:
- PDF versions of your content (particularly for high-value, long pieces of content, such as how-to guides)
- Cheat sheets
- Case studies
Step 7: Track and measure your results consistently to increase your conversion rate
In order to increase your conversions from your content, you need to closely track your content marketing results so that you can understand:
- Which content generates the most conversions
- What types of content generate the most conversions (listicles, how-to guides, content with interactive content and so on)
- What common traits there are between your best performing pieces of content
- Which headlines get the most clicks and traffic
- Which content doesn’t generate enough results
You can find all this out by using your web analytics.
But in order to track your conversions from content, you need to set up conversion goals in Google Analytics; you can find them in the Admin section, under the View column.
From there, simply follow the instructions provided to finish setting up your goals:
But first, you also need to consider what constitutes as a conversion: from the obvious ones, such as buying your product, or making a reservation, to other, more complex conversions, such as visiting your contact page, looking for one of your store locations, watching a video, visiting a landing page, and so on.
The conversion goals in Google Analytics are easily customizable so you’ll be able to track any conversions that matter to you. Then, once set up, you’ll be able to see which content generates conversions and which doesn’t.
Writing content for the sake of it – a.k.a. filler content – can’t get you the results you want and need.
Instead, you need to create carefully-crafted content that’s highly targeted and offers huge value.
That’s how you grow your traffic, engagement, and perhaps most importantly, conversions.