Conversion is the end-goal of content creation – and to persuade our prospects to reach hallowed customer status, we need them to read our blog content.
All of our blog content. After all, for a prospect to become a lead, and even a customer, we need to achieve 3 things:
- Instill trust in our brand.
- Reinforce the benefits of our content, services and business.
- Explicitly prove the relevance of our business to the pain points of our prospects.
Blog posts allow us to communicate our value to our prospects, in an honest, fair and helpful way – but only if people actually read our content. So, to help boost your conversion rate, and attract the interest of time-poor, page-skimming prospects, I’ve compiled 7 content hacks to get prospects reading your whole blog post!
7. Draw them in with a story
Nothing grabs human interest more than a story: unless it’s a story about you – the reader.
Your brain is hardwired to respond to stories, and reading well-written, immersive content will trigger an empathetic response from your body. In other words, your subconcious will live the story. Blog posts that contain engaging actions, emotions and descriptions will cause your brain to place itself within the story; firing neurons that correspond to the events of the story. Reading about physical action will trigger a subconscious desire for action; and reading about emotions will trigger the same feelings within your reader.
If you want to hook your reader’s attention, lure them in with a story. Make them feel anxious about missed sales revenue, and frustrated by wasted time – and then offer them a solution, in the form of your blog post.[box style=”1″]As it turns out, storytelling is pretty scientific. Articles with a narrative introduction (a.k.a. a story) earn themselves nearly 300% more full-page reads than articles without a storytelling element. This translates into a staggering 520% more time spent on-page, and engaging with your content![/box]
6. Spend time on a featured image
Blog posts are everywhere, saturating every website we visit – and unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to pick-out the best pieces of content from amongst the crap. When you’re presented with two pages of text, the only way to gauge the quality of each is to read – risking 10 minutes of wasted time on a sub-par blog post.
Thankfully, featured images allow you a quick and easy way to stand-out from the crowd. Visual content is digested and engaged with almost immediately – and taking the time on a high-quality, unique and interesting featured image will encourage prospects to spend some time getting to grips with your content.[box style=”1″]Stock photos don’t qualify – and if you want to maximise your chances of prospects reading your content, you need to source something unique and relevant to your blog post. If you aren’t handy with Adobe Illustrator, consider working with a freelance designer, or checking out Fiverr’s super-affordable gigs. First impressions count![/box]
5. Don’t be afraid of whitespace
Beloved by minimal artists and blog writers alike, whitespace is (unsurprisingly) the empty space on a page. Use of whitespace guides the prospect’s eye, and minimises the risk of your reader bailing because of Wall of Text Syndrome™ (not actually a syndrome, I just made that up). There’s nothing uglier and less appealing than a huge article crammed-full of text – probably because it harks back to school essays – and whitespace allows you to break-up even the longest article into manageable chunks.
4. Experiment with content length
Different audiences will be willing to commit different amounts of their time to reading your content. A busy business director may be too time-pressed to spend more than 2 minutes on your content; but a junior marketing exec, hungry for your wisdom and knowledge, may be happy to spend hours digesting your latest post.
There’s an obvious trade-off between content length and your ability to educate and engage your audience; so experiment with different content lengths. Try and tailor your content to the free time of your audience, and settle for a length that’s at the top-end of what your prospects are willing to commit to your content.[box style=”1″]Split-test an ‘Estimated reading time’ widget at the top of your post, and monitor how it affects conversions and time spent on page![/box]
3. Highlight key phases
In the battle to prove relevance, don’t be subtle. Highlighting key phrases in bold or italic (or even both) will help your prospect’s eye jump quickly to the most important parts of your content, and continually reaffirm the relevance of your article. For example, if you’re writing about the ROI of inbound marketing, highlighting phrases like 200% reduction in cost per click and 434% more indexed web pages will help hold your prospect’s interest.
2. Use the Priority Principle
Start strong, and finish stronger. By including your most important points in the first and last paragraphs of your blog post, you cater to the significant demographic of people that skim-read content. You reinforce the relevance and benefit of your article, at the most crucial points – when your prospects are checking out the intro and conclusion.
If you’ve made the benefits of your blog post clear, your prospect should feel that reading your entire piece is a worthwhile investment of their time. Even if they don’t read the whole post, they’ve at least digested the most salient and crucial points – boosting your chances of conversion… twice.
1. Distribute to the right people
If you want your prospects to fully engage with your blog posts, you need to distribute your content to the right type of people – those with problems that your article can solve. None of the aforementioned techniques will be able to overcome poorly targeted distribution and promotion of your content. The efficacy and lead-generating potential of your content hinges on your distribution; so make sure you fully-understand your buyer personas, and choose distribution channels that will resonate with them:
- Blogs and RSS Feeds
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising
- Combination of the above
If you’re looking for professional help with your blogging workload, get in touch! I’m a professional marketing copywriter, and I specialise in buyer persona-targeted blog content for inbound marketing agencies. My services are completely white-label, and designed to fit around the needs of marketing agencies!