Websites are so flexible and have many intended outcomes. If that intention happens to include growth through content (maybe blogging, or product pages, or your portfolio).
- Sometimes an idea can turn into a great piece of content
- Sometimes an idea requires additional content to make the point
- Sometimes an idea needs to be a part of a bigger picture
Ideas are great. Keep working with them to see how they will be best presented to your audience.
The difference here is that content can help you win with your growth strategy, but it needs to be in line with the other goals of your website. We recently had a similar discussion as agency partners about having collections of premium WordPress themes included in our blog
. It was agreed that these can help build the case of a client to work with us because the themes showcase beyond what’s included in our case studies and portfolio. This strategic decision will increase organic traffic since premium WordPress themes are more popular than an one creative agency’s portfolio. Piggy backing off a search term? Yes. Increasing traffic? Also, yes. Do we still need to convert traffic into leads? Always, Yes.
To think about the different types of content, it helps to understand the outcome and the structure of each type. Here’s a breakdown of the content pieces.
Product or Services Page
The bones of most websites that have a purpose of generating leads, making sales and/or taking orders on their website. These pages are the gateway to your revenue. The product and services page defines what you do. Make sure they are first priority. While I was working at an e-commerce company, the two largest departments were dedicated to customers. One for sales. One for merchandising. Each had a very different process, but the same intention. Both are increasing the likelihood someone would buy a product from us.
Tip: Product pages require all the details you can get your hands on. Instead of dedicating space on the page for FAQ, try to anticipate the questions and answer them all in the main copy about the product. Beat out your competitors by giving more information. It helps your conversion and when competing head to head, can create doubt in the prospect’s mind about your competition.
Its best to help convert by having these two things go together when possible. Try to frame products with the problems they fix or the things they do (their services). Try to turn services into productized services with fixed packages and price points. This allows for you to automate some of your sales process.
Writing a blog post is an opportunity to share. While product and services pages give the what, a blog allows for the why and how. Look at the many box-office success stories of movies that are biographies. We naturally love the behind-the-scenes look at someone to figure out their how any why. Start telling stories through your blog.
Why you get up in the morning can be useful for your audience if it relates to your business. There have been too many content consultations I’ve done with professionals that have been told to blog about “your kid’s sports on the weekend, so you’ll seem more approachable.” While that sentiment is true, its not appropriate for blog content unless its your personal blog. For your content to be successful, it needs to be on topic. Relevance is highly valuable for your SEO, don’t hurt yourself by going off topic. Being relevant and discussing the why about your company is powerful, especially during a launch. Your differentiation can be clarity, but more importantly, context to your discussion. Teaching someone why your product is the best choice for them because you designed it a certain way, can be your top sales tool.
How-to blog entries are some of the most shared online. Your audience is always curious, give them information on how to do something. Just make sure it works with your brand message. The how-to should help increase your brand awareness and expertise or lead to a sale of your product or service that the how-to addresses.
Tip: Keep your blog posts to a minimum of 300 words. If your draft doesn’t exceed that word count, save it to be added to a list or collection in the future. There’s no point over exhausting a brief topic.
List or Collection
A list or collection can be an excellent gateway to more content. Getting someone deeper in your website is successful message that you’ve found a good lead. Make sure you have a way for these people to convert.
On to the tips about lists. What better way, than with a list.
The Top 5 Content Tips for Lists and Collections
- The number of items included should be 3 or more, but is totally irrelevant.
- Each item needs to be built out elsewhere (link to that content)
- Introduce with a reason why these things go together and are beneficial
- Items can be included in multiple places that are relevant
- Don’t just make lists. Have a variety of content
Tip: Lists can be very easy to convert into an infographic. Take the time to make it visually appealing when sharing.
Like mentioned above, sometimes an idea for content just isn’t big enough. For example, I come across a lot of anecdotal ideas while working with clients and I know the situation isn’t just limited to that one client. But, its never enough to have a full blog post dedicated to. However, these anecdotal situations can be great introductions to bigger pieces. Situations can be the relatable information that hooks a reader.
Combining content follows the theme of staying relevant. Talking about how web design and cookies may go together (talking about a recipe for a website) might not be the best for your readers. They won’t know if they are about to read your advice on web design or preparing for a holiday feast.
Combining content that seems to be outdated or stale can be a great place to start. Let’s stay the post you did about laying out a landing page needs updating because of new plugins you’re using or design standards. Freshen it up with other things that need to be updated as an “up to date” post.
Fitting Content Together
Successful content marketing is measured on how the puzzle fits together. Moving a visitor from one step to the next in your sales funnel is crucial to meeting your goals. Make the puzzle pieces fit a bit easier by measuring three things.
1. How many clicks to conversion?
2. Where should they go from here?
3. How does this look to a first time visitor?
There is no hiding what converting content is for. This is your sales page. Having “buy content” is not a bad thing, its where you eliminate the people feeling you out and those who want to take you up on your offer. Some of you experts might be thinking, “Chris, with my newsletter signup widget in the sidebar, every page can be considered converting content.” You’re right, but converting content is when you’ve dedicated the entire page to directly selling. A product page, a lead page. This content is designed to only do one thing: convert.
Clicks to Conversion: The next click should be converting. When they are here
From here to: Completing your funnel
First Time Visitors: Might be a bit overwhelmed by this page unless they already know what they want.
Having the How & Why discussed above fits with introductory content. Its the justification for all the specs listed on the converting content page. The next step here is for someone who is engaged to get to the converting content. If the intro is successful, they will want more. Being warm, truthful and offering something special (like a pro tip) are all great ways to hook prospects.
Clicks to Conversion: 2 to 3
From here to: Converting Content or a Related piece of introductory content
First Time Visitors: A comforting welcome to those familiar with the topic
Most websites have more content that a beginner can absorb in the first shot. Using introductory content like a collection or list makes all of the information seem more manageable. This is a roadmap of what they need to know before making a decision. Typically their next step is to dive into the introductory content. Getting a new person to introductory content through a gateway page actually lowers bounce rate, and they are more likely to read the full article and read another. You’re on the right track to a solid conversion.
Clicks to Conversion: 3+ since visitors are warming up, feeling comfortable
From here to: Introductory Content or Converting Content
First Time Visitors: The perfect landing with navigation of where they should go next
Creating Content doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Each of these creates boundaries for you to work within to create awesome content on your website. Creating content with the right mix will drastically improved your conversion rates in every step of your sales and marketing funnel. While being generic throughout the post, the idea is to stay away from concrete examples so you can insert your metrics and intended conversions.