These days, because of the importance of SEO and content marketing, your blog is one of the most important features of your website. Not only will the right titles attract more inbound traffic from search engines, social media, and other outside sources, they’ll also serve to retain your existing customers, and they’ll convert new readers and generate more revenue for your brand.
However, publishing a blog post is a far cry from a guarantee that it will see significant traffic or conversions. They’re simply your opportunity to get a reader’s attention; how you go about converting them can make or break your strategy.
After reviewing the work I’ve done on my company’s blog (and others), I’ve come to realize that the highest-converting blog posts have all the following qualities in common:
1. Originality. First, your blog post should have some degree of originality — and for multiple reasons. For starters, blogs with an original premise will do a better job of attracting traffic to your site — and that means you’ll have a larger pool of readers to work with. Original content will also hold your readers’ attentions better, making sure they get to the end and maximize their time spent on page. Beyond that, if your post isn’t original (meaning it’s too similar to something your readers have seen before), it won’t be memorable, or leave an impact on the reader. Finding an original concept starts in the brainstorming process, so don’t overlook it.
2. Practical value. High-converting blog posts also have some measure of practical value for readers. For example, an article about how to cook a delicious breakfast will probably fare better than one on why breakfast is delicious. Your post on why breakfast is delicious may still be informative and/or entertaining, but it won’t address a reader’s need. Addressing needs guarantees that your audience will find a solution related to your field of expertise when they’re looking for one, which increases the likelihood that they’ll convert. Figure out what problem or question your reader is trying to solve, and give them the answer.
3. Urgency. Not all of your posts need to carry a sense of urgency, but you’ll find the ones that do tend to convert more often. Urgent posts are ones that address emergency needs, or otherwise serve time-sensitive information. For example, a post on how to get into your car if you’ve locked your keys inside qualifies as “urgent.” Urgent posts are often sought by people in a genuine crisis — and who probably need your help. Even if the reader isn’t currently in a crisis, they’ll be more likely to share with their friends and family to spread information about how to respond to the crisis.
4. Depth. Your content doesn’t necessarily have to be long (though length does seem to play a big role in search rankings, inbound links, and number of shares), but it needs to be deep. Surface-level descriptions and assumptions aren’t going to convince your reader that you’re an authority, nor is it going to help them through whatever problem they’re currently facing. Deep content goes into more detail, citing statistics and outside sources to validate its claims, and it gives a full perspective on the issue at hand. You’ll need to invest time (and possibly money) into your content to achieve this, but it’s usually worth the extra cost. People won’t remember or fully read skimmable pieces, so they’ll be much less likely to convert.
5. Approachability. Your post should also carry a casual, approachable tone — even if your brand’s usual tone is more formal. Remember, readers who convert are making the decision to work with you, submit their personal information to you, or hand you some of their hard-earned money. They need to feel like they can trust you, so they need to feel familiar with your brand. Writing like a person, in your own natural voice, rather than using corporate jargon, helps people feel more comfortable with your brand, and makes their decision to convert much easier.
6. Further direction. High-converting blog posts also give their readers some kind of further direction, never giving them the complete solution to the problem. For example, a post on how to find a good neighborhood for real estate investment might give readers all the fundamentals they need to get started, but will leave them without a starting point. Your job is to provide direction to that starting point, recommending a resource (maybe even your own). This creates a kind of continuity between you and your reader; either they’ll have a reason to keep reading and researching, or a good reason to contact you directly. And speaking of which…
7. A strong call-to-action. And finally, the coup de grace, you need a strong call-to-action in your article (usually at the end). Speak to your reader’s needs, and tell them what to do next. Do this concisely and directly, without extra marketing “fluff.” For example, you could end a post with something like, “are you looking to buy a house? Make sure to get an inspection first — contact us today to schedule your inspection.” If you’re worried about the type of language to use, you can always come up with different variations, and AB test them with different individual posts. The whys and hows of conversion aren’t always straightforward or predictable, so feel free to experiment.
If you can create a blog post with all these qualities present, you’ll stand a much better chance of converting your audience. Pay close attention to how each of your blog posts are converting, however, as your specific brand and audience may yield additional factors for consideration.
For example, you may find that some subjects convert better than others, or that your demographics strongly prefer longer posts to shorter ones. In any case, if you pay attention to how your audience responds, you should have no trouble optimizing your blog for their preferences.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!