Content is king. That’s the “Om”-like mantra chanted by everyone and their dog, cat and hamster. You can have a site that’s SEO-friendly in other aspects, but if your metrics are down regardless of how welcoming your site is, or any other aspect of bringing in readers and/or customers, then you might want to revisit, and heavily revise, your idea of what makes “quality content.” After all, nobody wants want to share something mediocre. In this fourth edition of our SEO primer series, we reveal the secrets of writing content that converts leads to customers.
Good content will build an audience faster than anything else.
Browsing around the Internet, you’ve likely come across some truly uninspiring content. Think of it this way: if you want healthy, delicious homemade meals, but you’re constantly being offered unhealthy fast food, you’re going to get annoyed and disappointed real fast. Even if your home-made meals are pre-prepped and you zap ‘em in the microwave, they’re still home-made.
The same goes for website content: your readers want fast, yes. But they want something tasty, interesting and mentally fulfilling with as much variety and spice as they can handle.
By creating content that’s both useful and interesting, you rise above the landfill of Internet trash. Even though creating great content isn’t always easy, it is the most straightforward way to make you and your business stand apart from all the rest.
And at the end of the day, don’t throw away all your SEO effort by losing attention once you have it.
If you’re not entirely sure how to engage in such writerly self-examination, then you are in luck! Here are the highest ROI tips:
1. It has to be useful
Viewers come to your site looking to learn something. People for example LOVE “how-to” article. They love being self-sufficient and saving pennies. So much so that they eat up “how-to” content like it’s their favorite chocolate.
Keep that in mind when you write your content – include actionable tips and tricks with them in mind. By helping them now and showing that you have genuine interest in helping them above just taking their money, they are 10x more likely to engage further. Okay, you got me, I made up that number. But seriously, it works for our clients.
2. It has to be interesting
“Interesting content?” we hear you wail. “But…but…I’m not a writer! I was never able to please my 5th-grade English teacher.” Shhh. It’s okay. We get it. The thing is, you don’t necessarily have to please that particular person. For all you know, he or she may not even read your writing now, let alone know who you became as an adult.
But the truth remains that most of your readers will head over to Wikipedia if they want pure facts. If you want to engage your readers and keep them interested, you have to write stuff that’s both flavorful and opinionated, even if it is about those same facts.
Put simply, the best content has personality, style, and yes, authority! You can be as charming, snarky or enthusiastic as you want, but never dry or bland. Those two terms are best left to this morning’s toast without your favorite peanut butter on it.
3. Make it snappy
Writing for the web is not the same as writing out essays for English composition class. If you’re writing for the web, forget trying to re-write “The Great Gatsby.” Besides, you are you, with your own 21st-century voice, not F. Scott Fitzgerald, with his old-school stylings that would put most modern peeps to sleep.
Accept that people scan web pages, rather than reading them in detail. Work with this reality rather than fighting it.
Besides, this should actually be a relief to you, not a burden.
Here are some other ideas to help you:
1) Instead of writing one long blog post, try divvying up each sub-topic into separate posts. It keeps people coming back for more, and even your most voracious readers will find it easier to digest your content if they get it in portion-controlled sizes.
2) Go for the “inverted pyramid” style – state your conclusions first and push details to the end. Paragraphs should generally become more and more detailed, so that reader can easily follow complex subjects until they get the information they need. This method helps scanners move from point to point and decide where they’d like to dive in deeper.
3) Use formatting and imagery to boost readability. Your subsections should use large headings to clearly create breaks in the text. At the same time, major points should be in bold.
It takes just a few minutes to turn a post from an overwhelming mass of gray text to something that engages the reader and pulls her in.
4. Crush the preview
Titles, featured images and descriptions are the first things people see about your page when searching and sharing, so it’s maximally critical that you make them as enticing as possible. The preview is so critical that we’ve actually written an entire article on it (coming soon).
Short and sweet is the order of the day concerning your article previews. Shoot for no more than 60 characters for the title, the description’s character count ought to be less than 150, and the image should be both compelling and relevant. Yeah, that sounds a bit strict, but otherwise it will get cut off in previews.
Check out our other posts in our SEO Primer Series!