So You Want to Create Content That Actually Converts?
What a novel idea, right?
Creating content that leads people to a desired action on your website (filling out a form submission, downloading a piece of content, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.) isn’t just a good idea in content marketing – it’s the very essence of content marketing.
That said, it’s not the ONLY important aspect of content marketing. As search marketers, we also need to concern ourselves with driving leads, traffic, B2B brand awareness, etc. when building out our content strategies. In fact, it’s how we measure against our performance and tailor our strategies to drive success over the long term.
But the fact of the matter is this: While organic traffic, referrals, and social shares are extremely important to SEOs, they may not mean as much to our clients and customers. When justifying an investment in content marketing, we need to be able to show that our content is leading to actual website conversions and driving prospects further down the sales funnel.
And that means creating content specifically tailored toward driving conversions.
Let’s take a walk through how to do it:
When you dig into Google Analytics and see that your content has led to a conversion, you may be all like BOOM.
But what does it take to get there?
For starters, you need to have an idea of what type of content is already converting. To do that, you need to get comfortable in Analytics and be able to filter out the landing pages driving web visitors to your desired action.
From there, you can begin to develop patterns and trends in the data. Is there a particular blog post (or set of posts) that consistently drives conversions? If so, take a look at the content of that post: What is it covering? What does it tell you about your audience that that particular topic is leading them to convert?
One of our clients in the manufacturing space consistently sees, for example, conversions on blog posts that deal with warehousing best practices. What this tells us about their audience is that they’re looking for specific tips and recommendations on how they can make their warehouse operation leaner and more efficient.
As a result, our content team focuses our efforts on these types of posts, leading to greater conversions, in addition to more relevant content for our client’s audience.
It’s obviously great to have your conversion analysis in hand when you’re scoping out your editorial calendar (for the month, quarter, whatever) and deciding what your team will write about in blog posts.
It’s equally, if not more, powerful to be able to highlight that you’re creating content that drives conversions when you go to report on your content efforts to your clients.
But analyzing the type(s) of content that leads to conversions is only half the battle. You must also do something with the content that’s converting.
Let’s say you have identified the top-performing posts (year-to-date) for your client’s website, for example. With this information, you can recommend inserting calls-to-action (CTA) on these highly trafficked posts to drive website visitors to whatever it is you’re looking for them to do on your website, whether it’s downloading a whitepaper, registering for a webinar recording, etc.
You may recommend a CTA banner (pictured below) or simply insert text leading visitors to your desired action (request a demo, contact us, etc.).
In our experience, CTA banners are particularly effective in driving website visitors to a desired action. We recommend that clients insert CTA banners at the end of blog posts so as not to disrupt the flow of reading, but we’ve also had clients who’ve experimented with banners in the middle of posts AND at the end of posts.
Additionally, we suggest that clients use brighter colors in CTA banners (green, red, orange, yellow, etc.) as research shows colors can affect conversion rates.
In addition to banner CTAs, it’s also a good idea to close each blog post with a “Related Posts” section. That way, you’re driving website visitors to similar content (ideally, high-performing posts you’ve identified previously) and linking to other posts that may help to drive conversions.
The conclusion of this post from my colleague Derek, for example, has an entire section that links to third-party resources as well as a KoMarketing presentation on how to build out various aspects of LinkedIn profile information.
While hyperlinks to related content are helpful, what’s even better is to supplement these article links with images to draw the reader’s attention to the related posts.
There are a variety of related post plugins in WordPress. Two of the most popular are:
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP): Displays pages, posts, and custom post types related to the current entry, introducing readers to other relevant content on your site.
- Contextual Related Posts: Allows you to display a list of related posts on your website and in your feed. The list is based on the content of the title and/or content of the posts, which makes them more relevant and more likely to be of interest to your readers.
When immersed in content marketing initiatives, it’s easy to get caught up in traffic numbers, B2B brand awareness, social shares, etc. as a means to measure content performance. While these metrics are obviously important to measure to evaluate the success of a content program, website conversions must also be taken into account.
The reason is simple: You want to develop a solid understanding of the type of content that’s leading your website visitors to a desired action – whatever that may be. With that knowledge in hand, you can continue pushing out content that you know will drive readers further down the sales funnel.
Want to read more about driving website conversions? Check out these resources: