For years now, content marketing has been a hot topic in the digital marketing landscape.
As a result, the web today is flooded with content assets that are meant to hook the audience and lead them down a conversion funnel.
When everyone is creating content, how do you make yours stand out?
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The short answer, of course, is to create great content that converts.
But then again, what’s the big secret behind content that converts?
Whether you’re writing informative blog posts for top of the funnel audience, or writing a script for your next Instagram video, these writing tips will ensure your copy, regardless of the content asset, converts.
The beginning needs to be strong
If the copy does not entice the reader/viewer in the first 20-30 seconds, chances are, the user will lose interest. Technology is making humans impatient, and marketing writing needs to adapt to this change.
This doesn’t mean bombarding the user with seemingly relevant statistics in the first two lines will work.
Instead, concentrate on creating a feeling of relevance in the beginning. The two most common ways to achieve this are:
- Address the problems of your audience:
If your copy starts off by mentioning the most common problems of your audience, talking about how said problems can lead to more problems, chances are, the reader will instantly relate.
Moreover, since you are mentioning their most pressing problems in the beginning, they will be motivated to read further in hopes of finding a solution to their problem.
Think of this as a noise coming out of your car engine. If someone tells you that you need to get the problem fixed otherwise it will lead to more expensive issues with the car, you’ll automatically be interested in knowing about the issue and possibly finding a solution
- Begin by talking about what your reader knows:
Mentioning information that your reader already possesses helps build a subtle form of relevance. It makes them feel good about themselves and motivate them to read the rest of the content with a positive state of mind.
Not to forget, doing so is a great way to direct the whole “conversation” towards their problem(s) and its solution(s)(A.K.A, your product/service).
That being said, make sure you are not using long sentences and enormous paragraphs to achieve this purpose. A reader will instantly get repulsed by looking at a big slab of content.
Short, snappy, and relatable introductions work like magic.
Which also brings us to our next point.
Say more with less
Several great writers have said it, almost every article/blog post about writing better says it, and I am going to say it, cut out the clutter.
As mentioned earlier, users these days don’t have the patience or the time to go through paragraphs and paragraphs of content, no matter how well-written or relevant it is.
Great content, be it a landing page, a blog post, or a video script, is to-the-point. Every sentence adds value to the information being provided. Each sentence serves a purpose.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot produce long form content. In fact, long form content has been known to perform better on search engines.
So even when you’re writing a 3,000 word guide, the same rules will apply.
Talk to your readers
While the crux of content marketing lies in offering your audience useful and actionable information, since it is marketing, it needs to be more interesting than a school textbook.
The best way to make your content interesting and your reader feel involved is by making your content conversational.
While this may sound like vague advice, all you really need to do is use more of “you” and “your”. Similarly, don’t be afraid of using the word “I” in your copy.
Sure, everyone knows that there is (usually) one individual that has written the content they are consuming. However, when you use words like “I”, it reinforced the belief and makes them realise that the information they are receiving is the result of someone’s real-life experience (or effort).
The best example of this is the “Cosmos” series that features Neal Degresse Tyson. The series talks about history and scientific concepts that were taught to everyone in grade school. But it does so by creating a gripping narrative, and illustrating it in a conversational manner.
Make it about THEM
Sure, the purpose of a marketing copy is to sell a product/service. For this reason, it makes sense that much of the copy would be dedicated to highlighting the features of your offering. After all, these benefits are supposed to convince your audience to purchase your product/service. Right?
Content marketing is a customer-centric approach to marketing.
Instead of focusing on the USPs of your own offering, your content should focus on the pain points of your audience, and how your product/service addresses them.
Instead of talking about the salient features of your offering, you copy needs to talk about the benefits your potential consumers will enjoy when they use your product.
For instance, a corporate law firm should talk about how they have eased the legal side of running a startup for their clients, instead of talking about their success rates and experience.
While mentions of success rates and experience do add a lot of credibility to the brand image of a law firm, and should definitely find a place in their content. But should never be the focus of their communication to potential clients.
Get to the point, but don’t give everything away immediately
This one is a bit tricky to understand.
The key to creating interesting content lies in understanding the balance between giving out useful information and creating information gaps.
Let’s understand this with the help of the example of a blog post about improving conversions.
In the beginning, the blog post will give out stats and information about how improving conversions is a challenge.
The blog post will go on to talk about different conversion challenges, and at the end of each point, will give out the information needed to overcome said challenges.
This way, the reader will be motivated to keep reading to know about how to overcome conversion-related challenges they are facing.
In the end, I would like to remind my readers that great marketing, whether it is writing or planning a complete campaign, is always led by an in-depth understanding of your target audience.
Your marketing communication, tone, targeting, and everything in-between, will depend on your understanding of your target audiences’ pain points, web surfing patterns, and purchase decision behaviours.