Content marketing is the one form of marketing that in many ways has remained stable through the years. Sure, there is a difference in some of the strategies used, such as in SEO, or in the general style used to really catch attention. A viral article from 15 years ago posted today would be unlikely to gain the same traction as it did back then, without a new gimmick to give it legs.
It is the power of content that allows it to continue to wear the crown, even though every year on the internet can be counted in the same way dog years can. Trends move fast, but the right tools remain the focus of marketing as each one floats by.
When speaking about content we have to specify it not by style, but by purpose. That purpose will inform on the audience, the tone, the format, its placement, and everything it is meant to achieve. In this case we are looking at content that converts, and converts well.
Use the following tools to up your content game:
Brainstorm content ideas, collect expert quotes and have your articles edited and improved for free. There’s something for everyone here.
Stay away from duplicate content and check who copies your content on regular basis.
Collaboarte on your content concepts and ideas with these awesome mind maps.
These five examples are the pinnacle of what we should be aiming for.
The Live Contest
Grow and Convert has an interesting idea: create a contest where the winning B2B website gets to be the guinea pig of a traffic experiment involving one high quality, high conversion piece of content on their blog, written by the experts at the G&C agency. Out of the 86 that applied, it was TAR Productions that beat out the competition.
We can use this example two-fold. First, we have the initial content, which not only brought a lot of attention to G&C, but it led to the 86 interested B2B companies taking part, sending in their applications and (presumably) helping to spread the word.
Second, we have the conversion-leading post written for TAR. They identified one piece, improved it, and in part three of their case study we learn that they improved traffic by 67%. This leveraged into increased conversion rates, and proved the value of their strategies.
I won’t go into it here, but it is worth heading over and reading all three parts to go step by step into their process.
Use The “LIFT” Model
The Landing Page Influence Function For Tests (LIFT™) is an awesome strategy created by the brilliant conversion gurus at Wider Funnel. It hypothesizes that you can test, analyze and increase conversion rates by using a landing page format rather than a traditional content or blog style.
LIFT bases the entire concept on their model of six different factors leading to conversion: Value Proposition, Relevance, Clarity, Distraction, Anxiety, and Urgency. Using these factors you can analyze the effectiveness of a landing page, or content that uses the same general format as a landing page. The idea can actually be applied to any content neatly, which is really cool.
Introduce (Holistic) Clarity
Syntaxis wrote an awesome breakdown of clarity as it applies to business writing. This should be applied to all content when you are trying to push for conversions. Because clarity is not just for the words you use, but every element of your presentation. That is where the idea of “holistic” clarity comes in…as in, being clear in each aspect of your content, from headline to page colors.
Coherence is key here. You want to make sure your content remains relevant and tightly worded throughout. Your headline should have punch, but never bait and switch the reader. Your format should be clean and easy to read. Even the colors on your blog, side advertisements, links and images should have a uniformity.
This creates holistic clarity, and it makes it much easier to convert.
The human brain has a number of interesting quirks, and we exploit them in marketing on a daily basis. That is all conversion is: using tactics that appeal to the subconscious and conscious minds to lead to an eventual benefit for both the user and brand, right?
Sony used a psychological tactic when they released their ads in October 2012, teasing a release with next to no information behind it. Any brand that uses a “offer ends soon”, or “only x left in stock” tactic are taking advantage of the Scarcity Effect, or the customer’s fear of losing a deal.
Another good idea is to make the user feel a sense of being part of an exclusive club. For example, they sign up for your newsletter, you give them access to a new, free ebook. They follow your social media, you give a heads up about new products or services. They join your VIP list, they get access to new features months before anyone else.
Make Sure You Aren’t Reducing The Value Through Choice Overload
Marketing Experiments did a fascinating case study that exposed what they call “value inhibitors”. The idea is that too many brands will offer a glut of choices that overload visitors with options. This reduces the overall value on a page, and so lessens the conversion rate, By eliminating these choices they were able to boost conversions by 162%, not by adding anything, but by removing it! This reinstated the value represented by the page.
Select cool WordPress themes that allow for impressive content presentation. Remove distractions and you will see better conversions. One I like to point to a lot (and not everyone agrees with me) are popups. Don’t get me wrong, these still work when you are trying to get people to sign up for email lists, or get free content. But placement is important, so keep them away from areas where you are funneling your conversions.
To Recap: Here Is What You Can Do To Make Irresistible, Convert-Crazy Content
Write. Good. Content.
OK, I realize I just went through five examples of intensive strategies and you should use those, too. But none of those tactics will amount to a cent if you aren’t applying them to high quality, incredible content that people want to see, read, and share.
If you really want to make content that converts, make content people like. Then apply the above ideas to give it that boost.