From Content to Conversions: How to Turn a Blog Audience into Buyers by @twitter.com/malleeblue
Two months ago, the monthly visitors to one of my websites was 85,000. Today, I’m up to 110,000 monthly visitors. That’s a 25% increase. How did I do it?
I use WordPress. One of the things that WordPress has done so well over the years is to combine its content management platform with a clean eCommerce experience.
In its most basic form, this means writing a relevant article about a product, then linking to that product. WordPress makes the transition between content and product seamless.
How to Move Your Audience from Your Blog to Making A Purchase
Creating a smooth transition between your content and your product or service helps tackle several metrics relevant to higher rankings and conversions. Those metrics include time on site and social sharing.
This ability to merge quality content that Google loves with a sales experience your customers will love is what I believe to be a winning combination for a small start-up business.
Here is what I plan to cover in this post:
- How to Choose Your Content Channel
- Moving from Content to Conversion
- How to Build Content Authority with Your Audience
1. Choosing Your Content Channel
Not only does WordPress provide a smooth pathway from content to conversion, but it also allows for a variety of content marketing strategies.
Choose the content channel (or any number of channels) that most naturally reflect the product or service you are offering.
Podcasting may not be the best way to sell shoes, but it might be a great way to sell tickets to a football game. Pinterest may not be the most natural place to pitch your tent as an SEO expert, but it works great for food, clothes, and furniture.
I tell anyone who will listen that variety is the spice of life. Not all content channels will perform equally well, but having a smart marketing mix is likely to rein in a broader audience. The important takeaway here is that your content strategy should be cohesive. It should all fit together naturally and make sense to the reader or viewer.
WordPress allows content in a number of formats, including:
- The written word
- Surveys and polls
- Comments and discussion
- Social media embeds
- Podcasting and audio
All of these content channels are a way to engage site visitors and increase conversions.
This does not mean you have to create a dozen pieces of independent content. I am a big fan of re-purposing what I have.
In my opinion, the best way to get your content to drive traffic, hands down, is to re-purpose and vary the content that you create. Or, modify the channels in which you promote it.
In other words, if you are going to say something on YouTube, why not write it down on your blog as well, adding the video to the same post? If you are going to give me a top ten list in a blog post, why not add it to an infographic also?
I spent the last couple years working hard to not only keep my blog going, but also to change the channels through which I distribute my content.
Some mediums work better than others, so I give them more attention. But even then, I vary the channel of the content.
2. Moving from Content to Conversion
So, you have determined your content strategy, you’re writing and producing stunning material, and it looks oh, so pretty! But what do you want to come of it all?
The goal of all content marketing is to get the site visitor to take a particular course of action — even if that action is simply to hit a share button.
One of the factors that should determine your content channel (and will determine your conversion rate) is going to be how well it marries with your product or service.
A simple example of creating a natural and high converting link between your content and your product or service would be an e-commerce site that uses WordPress to publish recipes as a content channel to highlight its online fresh produce store.
Here is a concept I am working on at the moment with a client site in production.
The hook is nutritious health recipes. Beneath each recipe is:
- List of ingredients
- Cooking method
- Glossary of terms
- Nutritional information about the ingredients
All relevant and all of which both Google and the user would hope to find. And, as you can see, a call to action: Buy the Ingredients.
The call to action is not out of place. It’s on-topic and is a logical next step for the interested reader — making the transition from site visitor to a loyal customer much more likely.
This content strategy goes beyond simply writing about my product. I am now writing my product into the narrative.
The strategy is simple but vital. I am not going bang on about my Salmon or Coriander. I have product pages that will do that.
Your Turn: What content and what method of delivery is most harmonious with your product or service?
What are the associated ideas, industries, and opportunities that would complement your niche and act as a vehicle for your call to action?
3. Building Content Authority
Now that I have some clear direction and momentum, it’s time to open up a can of whoop-ass on my site. Ultimately, I want the site to draw relevant traffic by maintaining my chosen content strategy and enjoying consistent organic search results.
I want my business to have reliable authority in its niche and here is how I am going to build that authority. Here is how I am doing it.
Post More Often
Up until two months ago, I was posting about once per month. Then I drove it up to an average of twice a month. My new goal is to post two to three times per week.
I saw John Chow on a panel some time ago. Somebody asked him how he grew his blog traffic and said that he posted twice a day, every day. He set his Feedburner to send out an email about every 12 hours.
Now, that’s a bit extreme in my view (and possibly irritating to subscribers). But having done something similar myself, I see that John is right in principle. Posting more often does work.
Now, I think it is important to use caution here. I see so many e-commerce sites that are killing themselves to get more posts up, but they do not see conversions.
I want people to come straight to my website on a regular basis because my content is genuinely useful, informative, and practical. My weekly posts won’t all be epic masterpieces. Some will be a short post with a video. Some will be giveaways and giveaway winner announcements. Others will be how-to articles, weekly recipes that I’ve already written are sitting in my Drafts folder.
The bottom line is, post early and often. Post consistently. Same time, every week.
I know, it seems daunting. But it’s not hard, especially if you use an editorial calendar. Once you have drilled down and developed a clear content strategy, much of the hard work is done. Now it’s a matter of discipline.
Post What Your Readers Want to Read
Lately, I’ve been using my Facebook page to test content. I’ll post about something I’m interested in, or something I’ve been thinking about or experimenting with for a while. Or I’ll let them know about a product I’ve been testing.
Based on the response on Facebook, I’ll get an idea of how popular a post will be. If I get a lot of comments on Facebook, then it’s likely that the post will get a lot of traffic.
Relevant Posts Drive Traffic
Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist grew her blog traffic by 400% in one year. Sarah got up and running with around 50-75 searches per day on search engines. Today it’s over 1,000.
One of the most important things Sarah did to grow her traffic was to write controversial posts.
Her writing style is very in-your-face, and the topics she chooses to write about are hot. From vaccination to fluoridation, to why women shouldn’t breastfeed if they don’t eat right.
To miss-quote Oliver Emberton, “If you’re not pissing people off, your blog won’t grow.”
Now, this will not be appropriate for every niche. The key here is relevancy.
Personal or Professional?
If you’re not good at being controversial (it’s not everybody’s style), try getting personal. If it’s a family business, post pictures of your family. Tell your secrets. Again, put yourself out there.
People want to know you, and they want to see you.
You know who a master at that is? Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman. I guess some bloggers don’t want to post pictures of their kids, but Ree posts photos daily of her family.
For her, it works. And I’ve seen it work for many others.
For others, it’s more important to tread a strictly professional line. Give them quality information. Be the authority in your market.
Don’t offer suggestions, offer your readers solutions. If they would not look good at 120kg in this bikini, tell them to choose that one. Be trustworthy and get serious with your audience by providing real solutions.
Write Good Headlines
Headlines are huge! They are another thing Sarah Pope does brilliantly.
With headlines, less is more. Keep it snappy and to the point. And write headlines that compel people to click!
Co-Schedule offers an excellent free headline analyzer, and I will use it sometimes to get ideas.
This principle applies to your product descriptions as well as your blog posts. If your goal is search engine ranking, your titles are the first thing your prospects see and will be the difference between clicking through or not.
All Images created by David Trounce including sample site screenshot, November 2016.
Source: SEARCH ENGINE JOURNAL