In today’s marketing world it is equally important to be a content creating machine, and a lead generating machine. These two things go hand and hand, but just creating content does not guarantee more leads. You need to create strategic content and, yes, there are quite a few nuances to that. Think about the sheer number of blog posts, articles, and newsletters that are published in one day on the internet. You are competing with a lot of noise, and similar content to yours most likely already exists out there. How do you stand out? How do you get Google to rank your content higher on the results page? And how do you attract your target audience to your content and then get them to convert? Read on for five tips to keep in mind when creating your next piece of content.
1. Create Content for Your Buyer Personas
If you haven’t pinned down who your target audience is and created buyer personas, I insist you take the time to do that immediately! But go ahead and finish this post first. Mapping out your company’s buyer personas is a worthwhile exercise because it gives you strategic direction for your marketing. You will have clarity around what content to create, the tone of the content, as well as on which channels you will post it.
The reason it’s important to know your buyer personas before creating your content is because you want your content to resonate directly with those who will find it most interesting and relevant. If you are reaching the right audience with your content, your engagement and conversion rates will go up. You want your forms on your gated content to be filled out by quality leads that have a great chance of becoming a customer.
So, what exactly constitutes a quality lead? It’s a prospect who fits one of your buyer personas, is in the same stage of the buying cycle for which your content was intended, and who has gained trust in your company and what you are offering.
When creating your next piece of content, put yourself in the shoes of one of your buyer personas and think about their problems, challenges, and goals. Speak to them in your content, and better yet, speak to their specific industry. This will not only create trust that your company is a thought leader on the topic, but it will deliver a quality lead close to converting to a customer.
2. Take a Deep Dive into Long-form Content
There’s no doubt about it: long-form content gets read and shared more online. In fact, long reads of 3000+ words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words) (Source: SEMRush State of Content Marketing 2019).
While it does take more time to create long blog posts, articles or eBooks–it’s worth it. For one thing, it really helps the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your website. You are giving Google so much more to crawl and learn about your website, thus adding to your authority and credibility on the topic. Since long-form content is read and shared more, Google pays attention to this and will start to rank that webpage higher.
So, take the time, map out your content, choose your headings wisely, and write away!
3. Content That Solves a Problem for Your Audience
If your content can offer a solution to a problem for your audience, then they start to see your company as a subject matter expert and will come back for more, and/or share the content. They also see you as a problem solver whom they should hire for their business challenges.
This also goes back to your buyer personas (see, you really need to have them!). What problems are they encountering in their life or work? How does your product or service solve that problem? For example, if your company specializes in tree trimming and tree removal, you could write a blog post dispelling myths around the types of trees that grow well in the local area, as well as ones that should not be planted there. Or, you could share information about tree-boring insects and how to identify them in your trees. While the information is not directly tied to tree-cutting, it’s showing your audience that you are a subject matter expert on all things trees. It demonstrates that you understand the questions and issues that homeowners with trees on their property encounter. The more they read from you that is educational and informative, the more their trust and general like for your company grows.
Consider answering a question that is frequently left unanswered by your competition. This requires research of course, but if you can identify a challenge that is widely experienced, yet rarely addressed, your content will shoot up in value. Examples include discussing price information, a recommendation that is slightly controversial, or a how-to guide that lays out the steps in a process that others haven’t expanded upon.
Even though your content isn’t a hard sell, it should still give the reader information about your products or services. Include links to pages on your website within the content, and a solid call-to-action at the end (we’ll talk more about that in a moment).
Just remember to inform, educate and offer solutions first; don’t start selling right out of the gate.
4. Pay Attention to Search Engine Optimization
As with anything you do on your website, you should be thinking about SEO while you do it. Content such as blog posts or articles are no different. If your company has an SEO strategy or has hired an SEO consultant you will be set up nicely for optimizing your content. Take a look at the long-tail key phrases for which you should be optimizing and incorporate them into your content, as appropriate for the topic. Also, ensure you are following SEO best practices such as adding customized title tags, meta description tags, alt tags to images, and writing descriptive headings and sub-headings.
But even if you haven’t hired a professional to help you with SEO you can do some research on your own that will help guide your content.
Take a look at what Google fills in when you start to type in a few keywords related to your content topic and take note of the phrases that people are typing in to find things. Quite often you will be surprised by what terms people are searching on and it will guide the direction of your topic. And this way you know you are providing information on something that many people want to know about.
You will also want to see what’s already out there on the topic you are covering. Check out similar posts or articles and see what the author focused on, what the reader comments were, and form your own ideas around a different angle you could take. Or, you may decide to scrap your idea altogether, if you find that it’s been covered ad nauseum and you don’t think you have anything new to add on the subject.
5. Create a Compelling Call-to-Action
You’ve attracted a visitor with your great headline, they have clicked through to your landing page, and they actually read the entire piece of content. You don’t want to lose them now! This is where a call-to-action comes into play. It’s the action you want them to take after consuming your content. Do you want them to sign up for a free trial? How about scheduling a consultation? Or maybe it’s downloading a more comprehensive guide on the topic, such as an ebook.
Whatever the call-to-action is, it should relate to the content the reader just consumed. Think about what they want to do next, after reading or watching your content. What step would they mostly likely be comfortable taking for where they are in the buying cycle? Turn that into the call-to-action.
The placement of the call-to-action can be at the end of the article, or you can feature it twice, once in the middle of the content as a link (in case they don’t read until the end), as well as at the end.
Stay away from boring and vague words such as ‘click here’, ‘download now’, or ‘submit’. There are so many better ways to compel the visitor to move to the next step. Have the call-to-action wording describe what they will be doing or getting once they click. It should give them no doubt as to what they are doing, thus, no reason to hesitate. Examples could include, ‘try one month free’, ‘get the 30-page guide’, or ‘join today and save 20%’.
If You Build It . . . They Will Not Necessarily Come
In summary, just because you have put new content on your website does not mean the visitors will start coming in droves. You have to be strategic about your content. If you keep the five tips above in mind prior to creating your content you will be on the right track to bringing more visitors to your website via search engines.