As a marketer, it’s understandably easy to fall into the trap of pushing out weekly blog content for the sake of improving your SEO or meeting a content goal—after all, it’s a lot of work to keep up with a consistent content schedule.
We all know that creating content regularly is crucial, however, your blog posts need to be more than a check off your to-do list, otherwise you’ll end up delivering content that doesn’t deliver value to your brand or your readers, which ultimately means you won’t reach your conversion goals.
One of the most significant advantages you have in your marketing role is that you know your audience inside and out, and blogging is a great way to reach them. So don’t give your audience lackluster content, make sure you’re putting careful thought into each post with your audience’s needs at the center of your content strategy.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to reach your conversion goals, and keep your readers wanting more:
1. Clear Benefits in the Headline
The only way your audience is going to consider reading a post is if you are offering something special that helps them in some form. It all starts with your headline, which unfortunately is where many marketers miss the mark as 80% of readers don’t even make it past the headline.
If your headline promises a reader improvement in some area, they are more likely to check out the rest of your post. Your audience needs to see the value of what they will be reading immediately, or they will move on, so your headline must be stellar. Because of the digital era we live in, individuals are exposed to content several times a day, meaning general and vague headlines simply won’t have an impact.
Let’s say a website development company produces a blog post about the financial benefits of blogging, and they go with this title:
How to Make a Living from Blogging
While nothing is pressingly wrong with this title, there are some simple steps we can take to improve it. The biggest issue is that this headline lacks that initial hook factor and it’s not a unique offering— it’s pretty generic and there are many posts out there with similar content. The second issue is that it needs more focus—the doesn’t make it clear exactly who the audience is, after all this article will read differently from a beginner to an advanced blogger.
Some might say that “make a living” could be over-promising the reader. Making money and making a living are two very different things, and in the end, you don’t want your reader disappointed.
Here’s how to improve this title:
Practical Steps Beginners can take to Profit from Lifestyle Blogging
This title is now targeted to beginners who want to blog about Lifestyle topics, and it makes a reasonable promise by replacing “make a living” with “can profit.” Simple changes like this make a huge difference.
Here are more examples of improved titles:
Title: 10 Beginner Graphic Design Tips
Improved title: 10 Expert Design Tips for the Rookie Graphic Designer
Title: Using Engaging Fonts for Visual Presentations
Improved Title: How Marketers Can Use Fonts in Visual Presentations to Drive Actions
2. Simple to Digest
After you’ve hooked them with a fantastic headline, the goal is to get them to continue reading. This is another area where marketers can experience a disconnect between their customers and the content they produce on their blog, as more than half of average users spend less than 15 seconds on a website.
The key to motivating readers to stick around is to first ensure the content delivers on the headline promise, and then to make your content easy to read and grasp. This rule applies to both long and short form blog posts.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your content digestible:
- Bullet points – they are a great way for readers to quickly assess your information.
- Break up your text – do this as much as possible either with visuals, videos, or just by keeping your paragraphs around 4-5 lines.
- Use subheaders – It’s visually easier to digest, and it allows the reader to know exactly what they are getting into.
- Don’t be salsey – if you have too much self-promotion in your blog posts, this will leave a bad taste in your readers mouths.
- Include data (and link to source) – if you make a large claim and have no data to back it up, you make it hard on yourself to be a credible source.
3. Subtle CTA’s
Now you’ve gotten the reader to your site, and they are engaged in your blog post, but you haven’t achieved the most important part – the call to action. It’s great to get your reader through an entire blog post, but it’s even more of an accomplishment if they act because they like what they are reading.
It’s all about subtly dropping hints to your readers that you want them to act, without making it obvious. As difficult as it seems, it is possible – it just takes practice.
Bombarding your reader as soon as they get on your page probably isn’t going to generate any leads. Consider using a slide-in pop-up for your reader to join the monthly newsletter, even better, only enable this feature when you know your reader has gotten through more than 50% of the post. If you are sure they’ve made it that far into the post, it would make more sense to hit them with your newsletter because they are already showing interest.
Aside from just reading your blog posts, you want your reader to check out the rest of your site. Maybe it’s one of your service or product pages, another related article, or the contact us page. Linking to pages on your site is a great way to improve your web traffic, use your blog as a lead generation tool, and improve your overall SEO. Just be mindful that linking to other pages must flow naturally, just as the entire blog post must provide value to the reader, so should the links.
For example, this blog title from Adobe aligns with the call to action link a the bottom of the post. Instead of forcing a sales action, Adobe is providing a resource that will further enhance the reader’s learning.
4. Visual Appeal
Marketers have a challenging task because attention spans have decreased, while content expectations have increased. If there are no visuals in your blog post, you will have an extremely difficult time meeting the standards of your audience.
However, don’t place an image for the sake of visuals – it won’t benefit your audience or enhance their learning. These images need to be selected strategically in order to help your reader better understand the content.
One way to incorporate visuals is to use screenshots to aid in demonstrating “how-to” or explain relevant examples that are helpful to visual learners. They also keep your post interesting and visually appealing.
For example, Crazy Egg did a great job in a recent blog post using screenshots to further describe instructions for setting up MailChimp ad integration:
Infographics are also a great way to get readers engaged and digest content quickly. Not only are they easy to read, but they can also contribute to brand awareness and reach because they are more likely to be shared on social media.
5. Easy Searchability
The worst mistake any content marketer can make is investing a great deal of time crafting a beautiful blog post, and not making it convenient for their audience to find. The good news is you don’t have to be an expert in SEO to make your content searchable.
Keyword research is your ticket to being found in the world of blogging. It’s important to know the terms that your readers are searching for so that you can create content surrounding those topics. The more you include these keywords in your blog headlines and content consistently, the easier your audience will find your posts.
Another way to get your content found is to build relationships with others in your industry who cover similar topics. Write guest articles that will link to a post on your blog to drive more traffic to your website and improve SEO. Don’t shy away from establishing relationships with high authority sites, because those links can really position you as a thought leader in your industry.
It’s still possible to launch consistent content that will improve your SEO while also keeping the reader as the focus. As long as you keep your audience at the forefront, and figure out ways you can benefit them while keeping the structure of your content and call to action simple, you’ll have them coming back to your blog wanting more.