Founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting
Great content—blog posts, case studies, newsletters, etc.—is a valuable tool for engaging your audience while providing value. Before ever asking for a sale you’re able to give them something, which drives a makes a great impression on anyone who comes across your content.
However, quality content doesn’t always drive conversions. The good news is, great content can rank well, support your customers, and drive readers to act. After writing 700 guest posts, and thousands of other pieces of content, I’ve learned that these five small changes can turn your engaging articles into actionable content that turns readers into leads.
Traditional content marketing places the call to action (CTA) at the end of the content. In theory, the audience reads the article all the way through and is so captivated by your writing that they want to learn more.
In reality, your audience skims through your content, rarely making it to the end. One study by Sumo found that only 20 percent of readers make it to the end of your article, with the average reader making it just 25 percent of the way through your content. Placing your call to action at the end of the article is a great way to hide it away from potential customers—which is exactly what you want to avoid.
To make the most of your CTA, create more than one and place them strategically throughout your content. For example, you might:
Along with improving your CTAs, update your internal linking strategy to engage customers and keep them clicking. When a reader clicks on an internal link, they stay on your website longer, allowing to connect deeper and find more value with your brand. This link doesn’t even have to go to a product page or high-quality cornerstone content. Relevant and informative blog posts will keep people clicking. Plus, this increases time on site, which signals to Google that your content is providing value in some way.
Review your current internal link policies and make sure you update all existing content to follow the new protocol. The longer people stay on your website, the more likely they are to remember your name and buy from your brand.
We live in an era of skimming, where readers are rarely taking in all the content and instead, jumping to different sections to get the information you need. This means the reader is less engaged, and therefore, less likely to act.
The key is to add flow and tell a narrative, whether you’re writing content for the B2B or B2C space. One simple way to do this is to bring better transitions into your content. The guide, 9 Lessons Content Writers Can Learn From Stand-Up Comedians, explains:
"Transition sentences carry the reader from one scene to another or from one idea to another without causing confusion or losing fluidity. Good transition sentences can connect topics and turn disconnected ideas into a unified whole. Instead of treating different paragraphs as separate ideas, transitions can help the reader understand how the paragraphs work together."
You need to develop a sense of flow in your content to keep them engaged, and therefore more likely to act.
What is the purpose of the content you’re creating? While reviewing industry trends and discussing best practices can help build your authority, everything you do needs to tie back to your products or services.
“The typical sales cycle is 3-1/2 months long,”
says Nels Gilbertson-Urtel, digital marketing specialist at Brandpoint.
“If you’re like most organizations, most of that time is spent in the consideration stage where your prospect has identified a problem and is trying to find the best solution.”
With this in mind, consider the types of problems that your customers have and what they will be searching to solve it. Then create content that promotes your business as the best solution provider out there.
Content marketing is particularly valuable in the B2B world. Not only does your brand need to stand out, but it has to win over several stakeholders within an organization—just because a middle manager is excited about your brand doesn’t mean their supervisor or vice president will be.
However, great content is hugely valuable in the eyes of decision-makers. In fact, 88 percent of decision-makers surveyed believe that thought leadership enhances their perception of an organization, according to the 2020 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study.
Create content that can be used to persuade. Give readers the tools they need to bring your products or services into their business—and then repurpose that content into sales tools for your own sales team.
Creating engaging content that your customers find valuable is the hard part, but you’ve already done that. Now you just have to make that content work for your business. By improving the flow, adjusting your CTAs, and taking a few other simple, yet powerful steps, you can drive readers to take action once and for all.