How To Leverage Content Marketing To Get More Sales
A lot of marketers who leverage content marketing find that their traffic numbers don't increase in a significant way no matter how many posts they publish.
Some may have figured out how to boost their traffic numbers but even with increased visitors to their blogs, they still don't see any new customers and are confused as to why that is.
To those people, it may seem as if there's some secret that nobody's sharing about how to turn content into new customers. But there isn't really. The simple truth is that most people don't fully understand content marketing.
So, what's the secret to generating sales from your content marketing?
And why does content marketing work for some businesses but not for others?
Most marketers don't realize that the visitors they get on their site aren't all the same. We're not talking about income or demographics here, but INTENT.
When people land on web pages that rank on the search engines it's because of content marketing.
When you land on a web page that ranks on Google because of content marketing, your actions are going to be different than if you clicked on a paid listing, and the reason isn't that one result is paid while the other one is organic.
Let me explain what I mean...
When you conduct searches on Google, the results page that you get includes paid listings and organic ones and you're going to either click one or the other.
When you look closer at the two results, however, you will notice that the organic result almost always has way more content than its paid counterpart.
It's educational (and even salesy, to a certain extent), but you're not being sold quite as hard as those paid listings.
If you click on the paid listing, you'll see that the landing pages from those paid results typically have just a few words on them, and they give you only a couple of options with their call to action.
However, if you click on the organic result (those sites that leverage content marketing) you will be met with lots of text instead of a simple lead form, and that's what your brain focuses on.
So, if you were to perform a search for, say, the best hosting service, you would most likely buy from those paid listings with the more aggressive landing pages as opposed to the sites with lots of content because they put you in a more educational mindset where you're going to read, do some research and comparisons, etc. versus just getting the details that you need to make an immediate decision.
For the most part, those sites on the results page that provide tons of content aren't doing so because they want to educate, they do it in order to rank organically. It's really hard to do so without providing a lot of good quality content.
We all know how much Google loves content!
This is why most results on the first pages are those that contain about 1900 words or more. And it's also why Wikipedia always ranks on the first page for everything.
If you want to effectively leverage content marketing, then you must understand that when visitors come to your site, your content will likely put them in a 'reading and learning' mood instead of buying.
Does All This Mean That Content Marketing Doesn't Work, Then?
Not at all. In fact, content marketing works really, really well... as long as you know how to leverage it the right way. While it doesn't produce nearly as many conversions as you would get from paid advertising, it's a great way of building up huge amounts of traffic to your site without paying through the nose.
So, What's the Best Way to Use Content Marketing?
The first thing you need before you can do anything else is traffic, right? So let's take a look at how you can increase your traffic using content marketing.
You're going to need to create some content. We won't go into how to write great blog posts here because we have tons of posts on our blog that discuss that topic in detail.
Your options, when it comes to creating content for your blog, are as follows:
You either write the posts yourself
Whether you choose to do all the work yourself or if you hire someone else to do it for you, make sure that you follow the rules listed below.
Rules for Crafting Awesome Content
1. Use 'you' and 'I' in your writing
This makes it more like a conversation than a monologue.
"Don't you just hate it when you publish a blog post, wait for traffic to flow, but all you get is crickets? I know I do."
That sounds more conversational and is more likely to get engagement from your readers.
2. Structure your blog post with three main sections
The intro, body, and conclusion. Structure all your posts the same way so that your readers know what they can expect, and so that it's easier for them to skim your content.
Remember, the majority of people who come to your page are going to skim the content, not read it. You want to make it easy for them to see the value you're offering at a glance, so use plenty of subheadings in the body of your post.
The subheadings should describe what that section is all about. If you can, try to place the keywords in your subheadings naturally, but don't force it.
3. Keep your paragraphs short
About 5 lines or so. It's much easier on the eyes, particularly on mobile.
4. Use lots of facts, stats, and data
Reference other sites to back up your talking points and feel free to link to them. This helps to validate your content and brands you as an expert in your niche over time.
Use photography and screenshots to get your point across.
Lots of people are visual learners so try to use images whenever it makes sense. Just remember, if you're going to use someone else's images, then you need to cite your sources.
6. Write at least 2,000 words per post
This varies from industry to industry, but if you're in a very competitive niche then consider making your posts at least 2,000 words.
As previously stated, Google prefers to rank content that is about that size on their first page.
Your headlines have to be absolutely amazing! There's just no way around that if you want your posts to perform well traffic-wise.
80% of the people who land on your page will read the headline but only 20% will actually click through to read the entire article.
So, before hitting that 'publish' button, stop to check that your headline is appealing and compelling.
Get Some Interesting Topic Ideas
That is the writing process, and now that you've got it down, it's time for you to come up with some interesting topic ideas. Find out what's hot and trending in your industry.
You can use the simple tool from Buzzsumo to get that information.
All you have to do is to type in some of the major keywords in your space and Buzzsumo will display all the popular articles from around the world that are related to that keyword.
Doing this helps you to see what audiences similar to yours like.
Now, don't go out and copy these articles. Instead, use them to generate ideas of your own. Don't skip this step because the last thing you need is to spend dozens of hours of your time crafting great content that NOBODY will care to read.
Buzzsumo also has this neat feature which lets you type in a URL and then it shows you all of the top articles on that particular site.
This is great for sussing out what your competition is doing and what's working for them.
Time to Start Writing
Now you've got some topic ideas, it's time to get writing.
Just do your very best to ensure that your posts are better than your competitors'. If your content isn't better than the rest, then it's going to be very hard to get those social shares or to outrank them.
Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself the following questions:
Is your post more actionable than your competition's? If it isn't, fix it.
Is your chosen topic unique? Or does it provide a new perspective on an old topic? If it doesn't, fix it.
Do you feel confident asking others to link to that content and share it on social media? If not, fix it.
Is your headline powerful and persuasive? If it's not, fix it.
If you pass all these questions then (and only then) you can press the publish button. Your content is much more likely to generate real traffic now. But...
How Do You Generate That Traffic?
Well, there's no quick method of growing your traffic with content marketing. It's slow work, but your traffic WILL go up over time.
What you can do is use the following tips and tricks to help that process along (we'll assume that you don't have a huge social following, so there are no basic 'share your post on social media' types of tips here).
3 Effective Strategies to Grow Your Traffic Quickly
1. Boost Your Posts
Boosting your posts on Facebook helps to generate that much-needed traction when you're building up your traffic. If you can, try to boost all the posts that you publish (particularly the in-depth ones).
When boosting, try to pick the regions where your ideal audience is. Don't spend your boost all in one day. Spread it out over two weeks and the clicks will be much cheaper.
2. Email all the people that you linked to
As previously mentioned, link to other sites within your content. Cite your sources and then link to the places where you found the data or stats.
Whenever you link to a site, go to the site and find out who the owner is.
Get their email so you can let them know that you linked to them.
You can send a simple email that goes like this:
Thank you for taking the time to create those stats on [….]. It's hard work, I know, but bloggers like me really appreciate it. I borrowed some of the stats from your site for my latest post, and I gave you the credit and linked to you.
[Insert the link to your post here]
Feel free to check it out and let me know your thoughts.
PS: If you think the post is great, please share it on your favorite social network.
PPS: Let me know if you come up with other cool research stats. I may want to include them in one of my future posts.
3. Top Sharers
One of the best features of Buzzsumo is it lets you see everyone who shared any of your competitors' content. Just type in your competitors' URL and then click 'view sharers'. You will then be shown a list of people who shared that content.
Do some Googling or go to each of their Twitter profiles to find their website or email address.
Just as in the previous strategy, you want to email them gently asking them to share your stuff, and you can even offer to share theirs in return.
We've just scratched the surface of how you can make your content marketing more effective to get the traffic results that you want.
But, there's a whole lot more we haven't touched on yet, so stay tuned for the next post where we discuss other tactics to help you create a successful content marketing strategy.
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Updated: Originally published August 18th 2018