21 Content Writing Secrets to Convert Leads Online

Posted by Manage Inbound's on

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Publishing valuable, educational content is one of the keys to converting leads online. Web users search because they're looking for answers, for information.

But while the need for information may get visitors to your page, what will make them stay? return? convert?

It takes more than facts and figures to gain a customer. In fact, studies show that 38% of those who land on a web page will instantly bounce from the page - they don’t interact with your page at all. 

Only one half of those left will read several hundred words into the story.

What’s the trick to getting visitors to read and engage with your content?

If you're looking for some practical content writing tips you can use on your site today, then you'll LOVE  this infographic.

Bonus: Download our 21 Content Writing Secrets to convert leads online. Easily save it to your computer or print for reference for your next piece of content.

Make Content More Appealing to Your Readers With These Content Writing Secrets

The infographic has 21 actionable tips to make your educational content more attractive, shareable and ‘clickable.’ And will give the most stubborn of prospect's a kick to take action.

Don’t let your high-quality content go unnoticed...

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Like it? Share it:

1. If You Want the Sale - Keep it Simple 

The best teachers explain complicated subjects in very simple terms. This doesn't remove complexity, but it makes content easier to understand and digest — one concept at a time. As Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Brands that make it easy for consumers to gather and understand information are: 86% more likely to get a sale - 115% more likely to be recommended to others (Source: Harvard Business Review)

How to Explain Something Simply:

  • Step 1: Review concepts using ideas and associations the audience already understands
  • Step 2: Break your topic down into steps, lists
  • Step 3: Keep it general, know which details to leave out initially
  • Step 4: Encourage questions for more in-depth learning.

2. Add Humor - Bond With Your Readers 

Nothing breaks up a presentation, a class or a blog post like some relevant humor sprinkled in. But adding humor doesn't mean memorizing jokes or being impersonal! When it comes to inserting humor into your content, make it natural. This takes practice, but it can be learned, even if you’re not naturally “funny.”

Tips to Add Humor:

  • Tip 1: Make humorous observations in real-time
  • Tip 2: Make it natural
  • Tip 3: Point out irony
  • Tip 4: Make a funny, relevant reference to a current event.

3. Make Content Interactive and Fun

Digital marketing is inherently interactive — a prospect clicks, fills out a form, reads, replies, asks. All these actions are carried out through yourinbound marketing strategy. But now that digital marketing is becoming the norm, these actions are expected by most online searchers.

How do you create interactive experiences outside of the expected?

Research from a March 2015 blog post published by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) by Julie Wingerter (@JWingerter) shows that interactive content averages a 50% click rate and a 40% percent conversion rate.

How to Make Content More Interactive:

  • Step 1: Use graphics, animation, video, other visual content
  • Step 2: Think quizzes, polls, comments and rewards
  • Step 3: Offer plenty of follow up material

4. Be Unpredictable - The Surprise Element Works Wonders

Remove the routine every once in a while. For example, if you’re known for a certain type of content or communication style, weave in something different occasionally. Scott Redick  comments in an article published in Harvard Business Review that "...the element of surprise is the most powerful marketing tool of all."

Tips to be Unpredictable:

  • Tip 1: Add emotion
  • Tip 2: Add a branded video or an infographic
  • Tip 3: Introduce a new color scheme and design to attract attention and new viewers.

5. Give Them Facts to Help Convert

In the end, your prospect wants and needs your information. Remember, the whole reason someone searches online is to learn something new, so keeping content educational is a necessity.

For B2B decision makers, the task is still to find the best solution that will improve some aspect of their business. Entertaining content is great, but solution-based content leads to conversions.

As "Joe Friday" would say...

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photo credit: just the facts
The average consumer looks at 10.4 pieces of content. (Source: Heidi Cohen) (@heidicohen)

Up to 50% of potential sales are lost due to inadequate information. (Source: IDC)

Appealing content educates and attracts! This is an effective content writing tip!

6. Become Better Storytellers to Win Their Hearts and Minds

If you're trying to convert leads into buying customers, you need to build your relationships and nurture your audience. You need to ignite a feeling/emotion in your readers.

Telling stories will engage your readers and make your content much more relatable. A top professional blogger will master the art of storytelling.

Tips to Become Better Storytellers:

  • Tip 1:  Know your audience/Do your research
  • Tip 2:  You need a hero (hint: your customer should be the hero)
  • Tip 3:  You need a goal and a conflict that goes with the goal
  • Tip 4:  You need a Moral (how your hero conquers conflict)

7. Entice Your Visitors With Compelling Intro's

This is your first and only chance to grab your users attention. You want them nodding their head in agreement  and knowing exactly what lies in front of them, content-wise.

Tips to the World's Greatest Intro's:

  • Tip 1: use the APP formula makes users (and Google) love your content
  • Tip 2: use the APP formula makes users (and Google) love your content
  • Tip 3: use the APP formula makes users (and Google) love your content

Get the point...

Here's the APP formula:

Agree -  start off with something your reader's will agree with. Shows you care and understand their problem.

Promise - give your reader a peek into a better world. There is an easier way for them.

Preview - Tell your readers what you have in store for them.

(source)

8. Create Crazy-Effective Calls to Action

Kick off your conversion process with an attention grabbing CTA. Make it action-oriented  with your keywords that are consistent with your article, offer and landing page.

Tips to Strong Calls to Action:

  • Tip 1:  Influence your user's to do something. Take that next step. "Learn more", "Try Our Free Trial", etc. Band the word "Submit" from your vocabulary.
  • Tip 2:  Use detailed and branded images. You can gain 67% more audience attention
  • Tip 3:  Make it STAND out so your visitors see it and click it. The goal is to place your CTA where the user is going to "look" next.  A natural progression.
  • Tip 4:  Use compelling copy.

If you get your Call-to-Action right, you're conversions will naturally go up.

9. Stimulate Your Readers - Ask a Thought-Provoking Question

One of the most powerful assests on your keyboard is the question mark. Engage your readers and ask them a question. They will feel like they are in a real life conversation versus being "talked" to. 

Tips to Asking Your Questions:

  • Tip 1:  Give readers the chance to have their own input
  • Tip 2:  Ask a question at the begining to get them fired up and ready to engage in your article.
  • Tip 3:  Ask a question at the end of the post to entice them to leave a comment or ask another question.

This will make your content more appealing because you included the reader. ProBlogger goes over the top 7 questions you can ask for more reader engagement.

10. Add Images to Boost Your Content Performance

According to a study conducted by Skyword, embedding relevant images in content meaningfully improves content performance. 

On average, total views increased by 94 percent if a published article contained a relevant photograph or infographic when compared to articles without an image in the same category.

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Tips to Using Images on Your Site:

  • Tip 1: Always use an image in your content to break up the text.
  • Tip 2:  Images will make your content more appealing and relatable and relevant for your user.
  • Tip 3: Inserting the right image at the right place will enhance the value of your content.

Bonus: Are you creating shareable images on your major blog posts?

Want to use easy Infographic Template Tools to create stunning infographics… but don’t know where to start? Donna Moritz at Socially Sorted, shares 4 Infographic Template Tools for creating infographics easily and quickly… even if you are not a designer.  

11. Establish a Tone for Your Blog To Keep it Real

It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Why is tone of voice important?

"It's an expression of the people behind the brand".

The quote by Philip Kotler, Professor at the Kellogg School of Management sums it up...

"The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner.”  

The quote points out it’s not just what a company does, but who it is that makes it a brand.

"A tone of voice both embodies and expresses the brand’s personality and set of values. It’s about the people that make up the brand – the things that drive them, their loves and hates, and what they want to share with the world."

Tips to Creating Your Tone:

  • Tip 1: Be unique and be you.
  • Tip 2: "People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou
  • Tip 3: Make it memorable

"Through the use of tone you will turn a faceless company into a group of people with their own special way of working or, in other words, a brand."

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty of language and finding your brand's voice, Hariett Cummings writes an amazing article on Distilled doing  just that. 

12. Nobody Likes an Eye Sore - Stick to a Modern Website Design

What Makes a Good Website Visually Appealing?

It is crucial to have a professional looking website that is both modern and visually appealing to keep your readers engaged.

At the most basic level, in terms of design and theory, there are six elements that need to be considered when designing a website to be visually appealing.

Tips to Designing Your Visually Appealing Website:

  • Tip 1: Color - The site’s color should match your brand and present consistency throughout the site.
  • Tip 2: Font - The site’s font doesn’t necessarily have to match the brand or logo. Making sure that the font is legible is the most important goal.
  • Tip 3: ImageryPictures will give your website the look and feel that will set your website apart from competitors.
  • Tip 4: Simplicity -  The simpler the better. Keeping design simple allows for the “clean” look that people are looking for.

You can read the full article on Visually Appealing Websites and learn the other two elements.

13. Be the First to Write on Latest Industry News

Everyone wants to be in the know. If you scroll back up and take a look at the bar chart from Skyword, you'll see an image and news packs a powerful punch.

In order to position yourself as a thought leader and report the latest industry news before any of your competitors, SEO expert Steven MacDonald  recommends marketers subscribe to the following resources:

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source: Writtent

Tips to Reporting on Breaking News:

  • Tip 1: Google's top trending searches is a great start. 
  • Tip 2: Check out your social media feeds. You'll soon know what is on top of your industry's mind.
  • Tip 3: Be a good listener.

14. Mix Up Your Content Formats to Keep'em Coming Back  

"Variety is the spice of life". Getting your audience to read, consume and engage in your content is no easy task day after day. 

Create or repurpose your existing content with a new look with some of the "content frameworks" ...

 Tips to New Content "Frameworks":

15. Make Your Content Skimmable

  • 81 percent of people only skim the content they read online. (Usability expert Jakob Nielsen has written that the average user reads at most 20 to 28 percent of words during an average visit.)

Tips to Show You Exactly How to Focus Your Content to “Reflect the Reading or Skimming Habits of Your Audience”:

  • Tip 1: Use easy, digestible bullet points to make your content stand out
  • Tip 2: Use whitespace to focus your visitors on your content not clutter
  • Tip 3: Use Bold and Italics to get your point across

16. Get Creative With Your Images

You've heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words".  The images you use with your blog content matter.  Most social platforms pull in those images with the URL that people ideally share.

But you can also have some fun with them...

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 (Image Credit: horslips5) and Hubspot

Tips to Get Creative With Your Images :

  • Tip 1: Add humor to your images
  • Tip 2: Create custom images specifically to use on social media platforms. Size does matter.
  • Tip 3: Convey an emotion by adding an image

17. Stop Trying to Sound Smart

You don't want to come off pretentious.

Marcus Sheridan, aka "The Sales Lion" explains, Why the Goal of Blogging and Marketing is NOT to Sound  Intelligent.

The most important goal should be that your reader “knows what the heck you’re talking about.” For most companies, that means writing simply, and removing any “five dollar words.”

Do your research and put it in your own words. Don't over complicate where your readers need a dictionary to figure out what you're saying.

Tips to Creative Writing:

  • Tip 1: Write for your audience to understand
  • Tip 2: Your message should be clear and simple
  • Tip 3: One main goal—action through understanding. (thank you Marcus)

18. Have a Clear End Result in Mind

Don't write to just hit the publish button. It's a BIG waste of time, not to mention a complete turnoff.

Tips to Help You Get to Your End Result :

  • Tip 1: Research your topic. Back it up with stats.
  • Tip 2: Have an end goal to your post. What do you want your readers to get out of it and what is their next step?
  • Tip 3: Write for the human on the other side of the screen. This will make your content more appealing.

19. Boost the Value of Your Content - Use "Benefit-Driven" Headlines 

Your readers want to know the WIIFM Factor, WIIFM = “What’s in it for me?” 

WIIFM is the stuff that shows how or why what you have to sell or say matters to those who you are trying to sell or say it too. It’s the value proposition, the thing that makes them realize that what you’re offering is worth their money or their time.

When you include a benefit in your subheadings you'll boost the "perceived" value of your content.

Tips to Create Benefit Driven Headlines:

  • Tip 1: Make a promise and make it specific
  • Tip 2: Use power words when describing your benefit.
  • Tip 3: Check the emotional value of your headline. Our go-to Headline Analyzer gives you a percentage score of the emotional value. (the higher, the better). Have fun with it...

20. Use "Bucket Brigades" to Segue Your Readers

Thanks to Brian Dean at Backlinko, I learned this powerful SEO Copywriting Secret.

What the heck is a Bucket Brigade?

Bucket Brigades are an old school copywriting tactic that were originally designed to keep people reading sales letters.

Here's a few tried-and-true Bucket Brigade classics Brian shares on his post:

  • Here’s the deal:
  • Now:
  • What’s the bottom line?
  • You might be wondering:
  • This is crazy:
  • It gets better/worse:
  • But here’s the kicker:
  • Want to know the best part?

Bottom line: whenever you have a section where someone may get bored and leave, add a Bucket Brigade. (It will keep them on your site longer too!)

Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged With Adding a "Bucket Brigade":

  • Tip 1: Be witty. Make it Fun
  • Tip 2: Use a bucket brigade in the beginning, middle and end of your content. Sprinkle any place you see fit.
  • Tip 3: Save your vistors from getting bored. Make it conversational.

21. Cut Out the Sales Message

In fact, 97% of the respondents in DemandGen’s study agreed that marketers should “curb the sales messages” to improve their content, driving home the message that content should be about the buyer, not the company.

One of Hubspot's key takeaway's from their State of Inbound 2016...

for long-term growth and development,  sales and marketing need to work in tandem.

Tips to Plan the Perfect Inbound Strategy and Curb the Sales Message:

    • Tip 1: Smarketing - Align your sales and marketing teams. Get them on the same page with the same goals. 
    • Tip 2: Communication between teams will boost your ROI and ultimately improve the way you speak to your buyers.
    • Tip 3: Educate your buyer.

Sales staff state that prospecting becomes increasingly harder if a lead is poorly educated on the sales topic. 36% of sales staff say prospecting is difficult when a lead is ‘not at all knowledgeable’ vs. ‘very knowledgeable’ (26%)" - State of Inbound 2016

Back to You...

Start refining  your content writing.

Using these 21 "secrets", you'll begin to look at content creation in a new way in your organization.

As you improve your content writing and make it more appealing to site visitors, your reach and engagement will improve as well. 

Bonus Content: Free PDF Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist

blog author

Ginny Dwyer

Ginny is a Hubspot certified inbound marketer helping companies build their brand through blogging, social media and other inbound activities.