August 5, 2016
Why do you create content for your website, blog, or overall online presence?
Chances are, the simple answer is “to drive conversions.”
Sure, your content might be meant for customer enjoyment or to help readers solve problems and address issues, but at its core, it’s all about conversions.
You want people to read your content and then act on it – either by clicking, downloading, purchasing, or navigating to a place that you tell them to.
But is your content driving the real conversions and ROI you want?
There are many approaches to writing conversion-oriented content, but finding out if yours fits the bill is a powerful first step to ensuring that your content is working as hard as possible for you.
Read on to learn more.
10 Crucial Traits of Conversion-Oriented Content
While there are many things that make good content, the following 10 things are the foundation posts of conversion-oriented content. Content that possesses all of these 10 things is the most likely to drive a positive ROI and is what you want to shoot for in your marketing strategies.
1. Conversion-oriented content includes visuals
Visuals are a powerful tool. You’ve probably heard that the human brain processes visuals about 60,000 times faster than textual information and that content with video or images earns about 94 percent more views than its text-only counterparts.
Because of this, conversion-oriented content includes images, infographics, pictures, and videos. In addition to making the content more interesting for readers, including visuals also helps readers absorb your information more efficiently and interact with your content more immediately.
2. Conversion copy focuses on relevance and value first
While conversion-oriented content needs to have an eventual conversion in mind, it can’t focus solely on this end point. If that seems paradoxical, you’re not wrong. While it’s important for content to have a goal in mind (clicks, downloads, etc.), its first goal should be to deliver value and relevance to readers.
Once it’s done this (through means like valuable statistics, insider tips, hints, and information, and high-quality writing), it can move on to asking readers to take action. This approach is much more functional than swinging for conversions from the get-go and alienating readers in the process, which isn’t good for your ROI.
3. ROI content offers specific, actionable headlines
You’ve probably heard that while 80 percent of people read headlines, only 20 percent venture deeper to read the body copy. While this is bad news for people who write bad headlines, it can be great news for people who write good headlines.
To be conversion-oriented and earn a positive ROI, content needs to feature a strong, actionable, specific headline. While it’s all well and good to call your blog post “Content Marketing Success 101,” you’ll get more clicks and conversions if you go with, “Content Marketing Success: How to Build an Audience and Earn 1,000 Followers in Just 30 Days.” Since the second headline is more specific, it’s more effective and will earn more conversions (clicks).
4. Conversion content uses power words
Good content features strong writing, and strong writing can’t exist without power words. While it’s critical to include power words throughout written content, it’s most important in places like the headline, e-mail subject line and CTA.
Power words help inspire emotional responses in readers and are the perfect tool for making your content as powerful, valuable and actionable as possible.
5. Actionable content has a hook
Did you know that the average human now has an attention span (eight seconds) that’s shorter than a goldfish’s? Because of this, good, conversion-oriented content needs to have a hook that grabs the reader within the first eight seconds. If you miss this, you’ve likely lost the reader and sacrificed your ROI in the process.
For best results and the most possible conversions, you should be placing your content’s most interesting points at the top of the page – right up in the header and opening paragraph. This does a few things. First, it tells readers exactly what your content is about and why they should interact with it.
Second, it shows them that you write well and you know what you’re talking about. Third, it displays that you understand and identify with their problems, which means that you can probably help fix them. These things are often enough to drive conversions on their own.
6. Targeted copy is specific
Readers today are very niche-focused. They want to know that your content was created specifically for them and that you can provide targeted, specific relevance and value on a consistent basis.
Because of this, it’s important to dig deeper in your content. Conversion-oriented content includes valuable statistics, unique viewpoints, expert information and insider perspectives. Readers love specific content and offering it to them is a fantastic way to boost your conversions.
7. Conversion copy asks questions
One of the most interesting foundations of conversion-oriented content is that it asks questions. By constructing content in a way that sets up a question and response pattern, you can hook readers, make your content more valuable and offer more relevance while also establishing yourself as a leader in your industry.
8. Conversion-Oriented Content is Formatted for Readability
If you’re anything like me, you’ll click away from pages that feature big, unbroken blocks of text.
In addition to being difficult to read, these pages don’t communicate to me (the reader) that the author cares enough to break it down into a readable flow.
So, I leave.
To prevent this same thing from happening with your audience, be sure to break your text up with bolded lines, headers, subheaders, bullets, and lists. In addition to making your content easier for readers to digest, this is also a great way to make your content more attractive on the page.
9. ROI copy is easy to digest
Conversion-oriented content needs to appeal to a wide variety of readers, which means it needs to be simple and actionable. For best results, keep your content to approximately an eighth grade reading level.
This will help ensure the content is easy to digest and that your readers can interact with it easily and quickly, without wading through complex sentence structure or a bunch of jargon.
10. Conversion-oriented content shows authority
For your content to be successful at making people convert, it needs to display authority. There are several ways to do this; for one, you can reference authority figures with your content and pull statistics and information from reputable sources.
Secondly, you can reach out to influencers and ask them to share your content, which immediately boosts its authority and encourages people to share it.
Regardless of which approach you take, you should always seek to write from a standpoint of authority and relevance to hook more readers.
Facing Content That’s Not Conversion-Optimized? Here’s What To Do
If your content isn’t conversion-oriented but you want it to be, here’s what you can do:
- Dig deeper. People value relevant, in-depth content that answers questions and addresses concerns. With this in mind, dig deeper into the facts, material, and topics you choose to work with in your content. You may also want to boost your word count — studies show long-form content converts better than short-form content.
- Build authority. If you can include authority figures in your content – both in citations and in mentions, you’ll be in a better position to provide value to your readers. Consider who the thought leaders in your industry are and find a way to draw them into your content. Gaining a mention or share from one of these leaders can overhaul your content strategy forever and may well change the way you think about sharing.
- Overhaul your writing. If your content isn’t conversion-optimized, the problem may be in your writing. If you’re not using power words, relevant statistics, and a format that allows the most intriguing points of your content to be located near the top of it, you may be missing out on conversions. Check out the blogs and articles you love for inspiration on how other people organize their writing and then identify and fix your own weak points. This simple tip can make a huge difference in your own writing. Think about a sales writer if you don’t have one.
- Poll your readers. If you’re not sure what your readers want to see more of, don’t dally around trying to figure out how to get them to convert more effectively. Instead, ask them. Polling your readers on a regular basis can help boost your conversions and make it easier for people to interact with your content.
The Case for Conversion-Optimized Content
Everyone wants conversions, but not everyone knows how to create them.
By following these tips and understanding what makes for ROI-positive, conversion-optimized content, it’s easy to ensure that your content strategy is supporting your goals and enhancing your brand across the board.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.