Content Creation Tips
Due to search engines becoming smarter through the increased use of machine learning algorithms, businesses that utilize traditional and holistic writing standards are claiming higher search positions and stronger brand authority.
The content creation practices of yesteryears are over. The days of simply inserting keywords and writing a short, 500-word description are gone.
While content production is the centerpiece of any digital marketing campaign, many businesses continue to simply churn out ill-informed content believing that brand recognition and product pricing will simply carry out the conversions. But this isn’t the case; content is king more than ever, and this trend will only get stronger in 2017.
Following are five standout content creation tips–a mix of traditional writing and modern SEO standards–that will help increase your website’s conversion rate.
1. Content Creation Tip: Layout
Grab Reader Attention
Digital content is held to a strict 30-second rule–this is all the time you have to capture reader attention. According to a Microsoft study of 2000 people, the average attention span of the participants was eight seconds.
All opening paragraphs must start with an attention grabber. One of the most effective attention grabbers comes in the form of a question, particularly a question that is relevant to user search. Avoid vagueness; research shows content that features exact figures and statistics is more likely to be trusted than content that is vague.
Remember to spend time crafting a strong, attention-grabbing headline; it will be the top reason why users click on a piece of content. Within your snippets in search engines, the headline will represent the clickable link. Research and many content experts have stated that headlines with a colon and a valuable supporting detail proceeding it grab attention quicker. The Daily Mail is notorious for stating all of the important supporting details in a bulleted list just below the headline.
The Nut Graph
The most valuable rule of content writing is to release as much information as possible in the opening paragraph. In journalism this is referred to as the nut graph. The opening paragraph should state the who, what, when, where, and why of the article. The paragraphs which follow seek to release supporting details with the most valuable details being mentioned in the immediate following paragraphs. Content, in this process, should be written as an inverse pyramid with the most highly valued details at the top, followed by all supporting details.
2. Content Creation Tip: Write for People, Not Search Engines
More personalized content naturally leads to greater user appeal and potentially more conversions. As machine learning algorithms becomes more advanced, search engines are beginning to spot frail and flimsy content. Basically, poor content won’t rank anymore. According to a Survey Monkey study of online shoppers, 94% will abandon a site if they don’t find the information necessary to make a purchasing decision. Content should seek to answer as many questions as possible–and as soon as possible–and provide the information necessary to make an informed purchasing decision. Content that does not accomplish this will result in a high bounce rate.
Using emotions and strong words to communicate the appeal and urgency of reading your content will be highly effective for gathering user conversions. There are many emotional approaches you can undertake, such as writing content on self-improvement, the fear of missing out, or even using peer pressure. Here are some ideas to segment content ideas around: “Check out this limited time offer…”, “ Find out why everyone is using this….”, and “How I lost 26 pounds using this….”
While producing content it’s important to address audiences directly, and to communicate a perceived benefit from engaging with your content. As we discussed how to capture reader attention, the next step is to increase your reader dwell time. The average dwell time of top-three search result webpages in 2016 had an average of 3 minutes and 10 seconds, giving plenty of time necessary to complete a conversion. Content should seek to address readers directly from the opening paragraph all the way to the big and beautiful CTA button between and at the end of the content. By writing like a traditional writer and direclty addressing your audience, you should see your conversion rate increase in a very short time.
Finally, keywords are only as meaningful in content as they are in communicating industry jargon and knowledge. In fact, we recommend excluding most jargon from product descriptions and written content, and substituting jargon for clarity. You don’t want to confuse readers with fancy lingo and technical terms that they may be unfamiliar with. Jargon can be effective only if it’s used sparingly and purposefully. When using an acronym, it’s ideal to use the entire word first as a reference points–an example is click-through-rate (CTR).
3. Content Creation Tip: Research is the Keystone
Content that seeks to create conversions typically follows the sales funnel: create awareness, interest, and then a sale. As stated before, content should seek to stress value over the process.
Conducting thorough research of a topic is the best way to establish value. Find exact statistics when crafting a headline and attention grabber to create awareness. Headlines, such as “How LED Retrofits can Save you $50,000 a Year” will perform better than “How LED Retrofits can Save you Money on your Energy Bill.”
One tip when producing content is to reference another subject authority. This helps ease readers who may be skeptical of your product and helps to establish your own knowledge in the manner. This could be accomplished through a direct quote, a testimonial, product review, or an external link with a highlighted anchor text.
Research has shown that articles with a word count of 1000+ words are more likely to be shared and rank higher in SERPs. This is because longer articles naturally convey more information and allow content producers to utilize as many keyword variations as possible to address other topical niches.
Marketers are aware of the 80/20 rules when it comes to sales. This states that 80% of sales will come from 20% of your customer base. When creating content you are not merely writing to generate more sales from more people, but to gather conversions from existing customers. Essentially this means establishing authority over a particular topical industry.
One important content writing tip we stress is to create content around trending topics. Whether you are sharing this content or simply publishing this on your blog, keeping your consumer base up-to-date on the latest news will help establish yourself as an industry leader and communicate such authority. Content strategies must be adaptive to industry changes and sometimes pricing cannot reflect this change.
This is where strong product content can help bridge the gap between high pricing and a perceived benefit from still purchasing this product. The LSEO content team continually produces articles on the latest events affecting their customers, and for its own blog to keep consumers up-to-date on important digital marketing news that interests them.
4. Content Creation Tip: Calls to Action
It’s important for content webpages and landing pages to insert clear calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout their content for consumers interested in making a purchasing decision. CTAs should be clearly visible to readers, and should not require scrolling or navigating to a different webpage. CTAs utilizing a different color that matches the overall theme of the page will benefit; this differentiates the CTAs from the background and font color.
If you are trying to create a conversion for something other than a product, such as a mailing list, subscription, or donation, than there are many other CTAs you can use. The main idea is to be clear in your CTAs or else readers will simply abandon a webpage before they fill out a vague form. If you have a sign up form, state how long the trial will be active or the price of it.
5. Content Creation Tip: Optimizing Content Webpages
Other Elements to Consider
If your content production efforts are strictly focused on product description, you will most likely fail to gather more conversions. Aside from tweaking the necessary technical components, such as UX design and speed, it’s important to consider the appearance of your content. Utilizing white space and substituting written content with images will give your content greater visual appeal. Without this, content will appear more intimidating and boring, and users will most likely bounce.
If you are running an e-commerce website, it’s important to provide visuals for your products. Consumers often work in 3s, meaning they want to view at least three different images of a product. A majority of online shoppers also want to view at least three customer reviews before making a purchasing decision. Consider inserting a comments section as this will help give customers more information about a product you may be leaving out; this also has SEO benefits due to constanlty updating pages, something that search engines like.
Experimenting with Media
Video can be very effective in communicating information. Videos have greater visual appeal, can increase dwell time, and even provide testimonials and a first-hand look at your product or service. Mainly, when producing content you want to demonstrate the benefit of completing a conversion, and images and videos can help accomplish this. If you are using video for content, be sure to include a CTA at the end of the video and to follow the same rules of writing we stated before. Capture viewer attention and convey the most important details early in the video.
A/B testing should be conducted on content webpages that may be underperforming. When marketing to consumers it’s key to segment audiences to sell directly to consumers who are interested in that particular product or service. Consider testing different headlines and content layouts to see which ones gather the most conversions. It may be ideal to scrap some content webpages altogether that are underperforming for their particular keyword, and are not gathering the necessary conversions.