If your content is published and it’s not shared, does it really exist? More importantly, will it generate leads?
Those are just two of the questions that Hana Abaza, Marketing VP at Uberflip, addressed in her recent WriterAccess webinar, How to Optimize the Content Experience for Crazy-High Conversions.
Uberflip is a content platform that helps marketers create, manage and optimize content experiences at every stage of the funnel. In her webinar, Hana dove into how to increase your conversions with an exceptional content experience. I grabbed the top five elements of high-converting content here for all you busy marketers.
You can download Hana Abaza’s webinar How to Optimize the Content Experience for Crazy-High Conversions and read the complete transcript here.
“Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”
— Jonathan Perelman of BuzzFeed (featured in “Great Content Is Not Enough”)
Take Your Content to the Next Level
There are over 150 million blogs on the Internet and 50,000 eBooks were published last year alone. That doesn’t even begin to touch on guides and webinars and other forms of content. The reality is that we need better content, not more content, and we need a good distribution strategy.
Chances are you’ve already dug your teeth into what content means, what a good content strategy is, and how to execute a strategy. You’re making ridiculously good content. You’re not just focused on quantity, you’re focused on quality. Many of you also have a good distribution system in place. People are actually clicking on your content.
Then what happens? You send them to your backyard rather than a beach in Hawaii, which is where we’d all rather be. This is why content marketing fails for a lot of companies and doesn’t actually generate the results that you need.
It’s because the experience isn’t optimized to meet your goals. If your experience is lacking, realistically you’re going to wave goodbye to subscribers, you’re going to lose leads, you’re going to potentially lose customers. At the end of the day, this means lost revenue. For most of us, content has to become a growth driver that is impacting the bottom line for it to be worthwhile.
How do we fix this? By creating a high converting content experience. Hana says this experience starts with content that’s SASSY: Scannable, Actionable, Sharable, Scalable, and You-oriented.
This content is easy to read and well formatted. People can get instant value just by scanning through it and can understand where they should focus their time and effort and what section they should be reading. They can also dive deep into the content if they wish to. This comes down to the design, font, font size and the contrast between the font color and the background page. The shorter the paragraphs, the easier it is to scan through the content. Subheads are a great way to make the content more digestible and break it into parts.
This is incredibly important when it comes to optimizing the experience to meet your goals, whether your goal is increasing subscribers or lead generation. Making sure your content is actionable and that you have created an engagement path is critical.
Ikea is a great example. When you walk into Ikea, what’s the first thing that you see? You probably see a big black arrow. Ikea does an excellent job of creating a path for you throughout the store. They deliberately take you past different displays and bins with knickknacks that you can grab. Why not buy a pillow, a throw, or some measuring cups? Ikea wants you to walk past these things because they know that the more you see them, the more money you’re going to spend with them.
Content marketers need to start looking at content the same way and create an engagement path. Think about what happens after the reader has consumed a piece of content. They’re reading a blog post, then what? You need a way to recommend additional content. They should be able to surface content that is aligned with the topic of what they’re reading.
Next, include a Call-to-Action (CTA). These are the main drivers to get to your goals. Context, clarity, and targeting are three key elements of effective CTAs. You’re more likely to get people to click on a call-to-action that’s aligned with the topic they’re already reading about. The call-of-action must be next to content that is closely related to the topic; the offer must be clear and easy to take advantage of; and the CTA must be well targeted to the appropriate audience.
Here’s an example from Uberflip’s content hub: an article titled Top 10 Marketing Automation Resources. On the right-hand side is a call-to-action that says, “Hey, you can create a content hub like this with Uberflip.”
This is a very generic CTA, but Uberflip put it into a custom stream of content that’s especially written for people who use Marketo. This stream is called “Everything Called Marketo.” This makes sense because Uberflip integrates with Marketo so a good portion of their customers and audience uses Marketo. In this context, the CTA is no longer generic. It is tailored and targeted to the person viewing that piece of content. It doesn’t say, “Hey, try Uberflip” it says, “Hey, take Uberflip and Marketo for a test track” since you’re using both. This is a much more targeted way to use CTA, especially if you have a good idea of where your users are coming from and you have some data.
You need to make your content sharable and you need to make it worth sharing. If it’s useful to somebody, they’re going to pass it on to their friends, their colleagues, or their mom, depending on what the content is about.
One of the most common and most easily fixable things is that people don’t actually give a mechanism to share. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got a mechanism within the content experience to encourage users to share your content. Include share buttons and ask readers to Tweet it, to Facebook it, whatever makes sense for you.
There are many easy ways to do that, even if the IT team has control over that experience and you don’t. You can use a pop-up share control panel and add share buttons to your website or blog. Think about how you can make your content more shareable, not just the content itself, but the whole experience.
Scale the content experience to make sure that it fits to any screen size. We all realize how important it is to make content scalable and suitable for mobile devices. What happens if your content doesn’t scale? What if it’s not mobile-friendly? You’re going to feel the wrath of Google.
If someone goes to your blog on their phone and they have a difficult time accessing your content because it’s not Google friendly, they’re probably going to bounce off and not click on your CTA because it’s impossible to click on. You’re going to sacrifice conversion rates. Make sure that your content experience is scalable to any screen size.
Is your content tailored or personalized? Is the experience organized in a way so that your target audience can find what they and can surface the content relevant to them? Take a look at how you organize your content. What is at the top, middle and bottom of the content funnel.
Take it a step further and start to organize your content by topic, by content type or format, by vertical, or maybe even by persona depending on what makes sense for your company and business model. Remember that your content has to be easy to find and it has to be easy to find for your team. If you have a sales team, they’ve got to be able to find that content easily as well.
Frequently, people organize content by format — all the webinars together, all the white papers together, and all the case studies. Here’s the problem with that. No one ever goes to a site and says, “I want to see a webinar” or “I want to read a white paper and I don’t care what it’s about, it just has to be a white paper.”
Instead, prospects go to the site’s resource center and look for content that will help solve a problem. It’s not about the format, it’s about the topic itself. It’s about the problem and the solution.
A great example is the resource center of a company called Belly. They do it by topic, but then also by content type. If you want to understand more content around content acquisition, which is one of their topics, you can click on that and browse by content type.
Great Content Isn’t Enough
From landing pages to SEO, digital marketers are focused on increasing conversion rates by optimizing our online campaigns. But when it comes to content marketing, many simply publish and move on.
The reality is creating good – even great – content isn’t enough. You need to create an optimized content experience intentionally engineered to boost engagement, generate leads, and retain customers. Get SASSY to create better content and a high converting content experience.
Ginna Hall is the Director of Marketing at WriterAccess. An experienced marketing writer and editor, Ginna has helped startups, nonprofits, and agencies develop strategic messages and roll-out content that connects with audiences of all types.