The digital marketing arena is constantly evolving, but one thing that will never change is the importance of content to your success online. But sometimes it can be hard trying to come up with high quality content that not only stands out from your competitors and gets ranked high in the search engines but also gets your readers to take the desired action after consuming it.
In this post, we’re going to look at how you can create content that attracts and converts your ideal customers. The process can be broken down into two parts:
1. Choosing the right format for your topic
2. Creating a compelling CTA (call to action) that gets results
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Part 1: Choosing the Right Format for your Topic
In today’s world, we are constantly besieged with new content format options, and it can be overwhelming at times.
Because of all the various forms your content can take, it’s getting harder and harder to make those kinds of decisions.
Right now we have blogs, podcasts, whitepapers, infographics, quizzes, ebooks, videos, and even VR (virtual reality) content! And that’s not every type there is – there’s still lots, lots more.
But don’t worry, there’s a quick and easy way you can use to pick the right format that fits your topic perfectly, every time. Simply follow these steps:
- Research some of your competitors
- Assess the resources available to you
- Focus on the context of your topic (and who it is aimed at)
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps:
When trying to figure out what the best format for your content is, one of the simplest things you can do is to Google your topic headline and/or keywords so you can see how other content creators are discussing the subject.
You will instantly be able to tell what type of content ranks highest, and that shows you which formats audiences respond to the most – whether it’s list articles, in-depth guides, quick ‘How-to’ posts, or whatever else. This will help you in deciding which route to take with your own content.
Consider Resources Available to You
One of the best things about content marketing is that you can actually deliver relevant, useful content at a very low cost.
But, content marketing is more of a long-term play, and it does require time, effort, and patience.
Also, there may be times when you need to create content that you’re not an expert on. Whenever you run into such an issue, it’s possible to get insights from other bloggers or experts who know more about that topic.
Chances are that the various sources you uncover will have differing opinions on the matter. You can pick at least three pieces of content that you find most appealing, and learn what you can from them. Find out which of their ideas resonate with you, and which ones you don’t agree with. Determine what the most popular format is for that type of content.
All this is information that you can use to put together your own content packed full of ‘expert-like’ information. Just remember to put everything in your own words, and source them whenever you quote directly.
So, even if you may not know much about a topic to begin with, if you take the time to research and do some smart investigation of professional sources and your competitors’ content, you’ll be able to sound like an expert.
What is the Context of Your Topic (and who is it aimed at?)
A big mistake most people make in content marketing is trying to force various formats into their strategies just to mix things up. Even if you’re a content marketing superstar who can create every type of format, it doesn’t mean that you should. You need to make sure that the format you use for your topic makes sense within its context.
What do I mean by ‘context’?
Well, two things:
First, consider the message you’re trying to convey with that piece of content. What do you want your readers to take away? What’s the quickest, simplest way for them to understand the information you want to share?
For instance, would the easiest way be visual, such as an infographic, or would it be through a written, step-by-step process like a blog post?
Second, consider the importance of the topic to your reader. How often does the topic come up with your audience? Is it popular in terms of your keyword research, customer interaction, and media monitoring? You may use a whitepaper for topics of great importance, but for the less important topics, a quiz might be a more viable option.
Determine Your Audience’s Preferences
Use your audience persona to find out what type of content they are perceptive to when it comes to that particular topic. Is most of their time spent on social media? Or do they make up the demographic that made podcasts a mainstream type of media? Are they too busy to read an entire blog series?
These are just some of the questions that you can ask yourself when trying to determine what type of format your readers would prefer for a specific topic. If you already have well-developed audience personas, then you will be able to easily gain an understanding of the format they’d prefer.
In this section, we’ll take a look at the main types of formats, and when to use them.
Written Blog: This is one of the most popular formats in content marketing. Traditional written blogs are ideal when you want to provide useful content to your users frequently. If your topic involves taking action, tips & tricks, suggestions, etc., then blogs posts are a great way of doing this. A consistent blog based on relevant topics that your audience cares about will bring astounding results.
Video: Vlogs (video blogs) are becoming more frequent in content marketing. This is because videos typically get more shares than written blogs. If you’re in a competitive market, consider using videos to stand out from the crowd.
At times, you may have to decide if a topic is best put into written or video format. To help you make the choice, simply decide if the topic allows (or calls for) the incorporation of visual demonstrations – in which case, video will be the way to go. You can use it to promote your brand while educating your audience.
Podcast: For those extremely large, expansive topics, you should consider launching a podcast. Podcasts are long-form audio media formats, which means you have to ensure that the topic is one that is very engaging and of great importance (as far as your audience is concerned). You can use podcasts to show your creativity, in much the same way as you do with video.
White Paper: This is a large, in-depth form of content that involves lots of research and data. In contrast to a podcast which is formed around more light, engaging, even humorous topics, white papers need to be very professional documents.
If you don’t know where to start with your topic research, just look to your blogs and other forms of content that get the most shares, traffic, and overall engagement, and you’ll have the topics your audience finds most appealing.
Quiz: These don’t have to be reserved only for the serious topics. You can turn any subject matter into more digestible bits using a quiz. This helps to make it easier and more fun for your readers to consume your content.
For instance, if a real estate company created a quiz to help you determine ‘What Kind of House You Are’ based on your personality, wouldn’t you find that format informative and entertaining?
Infographic: If data is the major driving force fueling your topic, then you absolutely need to make use of infographics. Even if you decide to write a blog, it’s important to incorporate infographics to help your audience retain and understand the information better. There are many free or paid platforms online where you can create attractive infographics with a few mouse clicks.
Use Your Formats Strategically
Just as you considered your topic carefully, it’s also vital to give the same consideration to the type of format you’re going to use when creating your content. As you know by now, there are tons of variables to consider when deciding on which format to assign to your subject matter.
Even more importantly, make sure your content has a clear purpose, not only in terms of the topic and the format you choose, but also in the call to action that you incorporate in it.
Before you write, design, or record a piece of content, you’re obviously going to have to define what your reasons are for creating it. Do you want to build awareness, drive leads, increase engagement, or boost sales?
And after you’ve done all that and created your content, it’s time to add CTAs – which brings us to the second part of this post:
Part 2: Create a Compelling Call to Action
You can create the best content under the sun, but it won’t bring you any results if it doesn’t make your audience want to take action. If your readers only browse through your content and then simply leave your site and continue about their day, you’re doing something seriously wrong.
Any content you create should have a goal of getting your reader to take some sort of action, whether it’s to comment, read a related post, download a lead magnet, buy something, etc. But this will only happen if your content makes an impact and you provide your audience with a strong call to action to take that next step that moves them through the conversion funnel.
How to Write a (Great) Call to Action
A call to action is simply one or two sentences of your content designed to compel your audience to take action. Your CTA needs to incorporate a link to something that will move your audience down the sales funnel.
When crafting the perfect CTA, you shouldn’t directly tell your readers to click somewhere. That’s viewed as a tacky way of trying to get users to go to other sections of your website, and it doesn’t work very effectively.
Your call to action needs to flow with all the other content on the page, and not feel like something separate. Keep in mind that your content isn’t for you, but for your audience. So if you write CTAs that are all about you, it’s unlikely that you’ll get those clicks. Putting your readers’ needs above your own is a surefire way of getting great results with your calls to action.
Here’s an example of bad CTA use:
‘Click here to find out more about the products we offer.’ (Nay…)
Here’s what a good CTA looks like:
‘Check out the tons of amazing products we offer to find out which one is the best fit for your bathroom remodeling needs!’ (Yay!)
Where to Place Your CTAs
Placement of your calls to action is just as important as writing good ones. A lot of people place CTAs at the bottom of their content. This is a great place to have them because they tie in everything you discussed, and act as a sort of final push to get that conversion.
- Contact us to learn more
- If you’re in the market for a new tonneau cover, reach out today
- Set up a free consultation
- And so on…
But, it’s also possible to use them effectively within your content. You can sprinkle CTAs in different areas of your content such as the sidebar or in the body of your posts.
However, when using CTAs within your posts, make sure they are more subtle than the ones you use at the end of your posts. One way of doing this is by mentioning one of your products or services as past casework, or you can refer to it as work related to a particular subtopic.
When it comes to creating content that attracts and converts your ideal customers, it’s important to not only present that content in the best format possible, but also to incorporate well-crafted CTAs organically within it.
When done right, this can help to drive your audience down your conversion funnel and have a massive impact on the results you get from your content marketing efforts.
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