Last week I was delving into SEO for blogging. But making sure people find your blog is only half the battle. The other (arguably harder!) half is writing blog posts that convert readers into paying clients. This week I want to address a related issue a lot of entrepreneurs run into: writing blog posts that keep visitors engaged… all the way to the end of the page! Exactly how do you write blog posts for easy conversions?
Tough truth time:
[Tweet “Most people landing on your blog posts stop reading before they get to the end.”]
Even more people see your posts promoted on social media and never so much as click through to start reading them.
And while SEO is great at helping your posts appear on Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPs, as we in the Techverse like to call them), that won’t help you unless people:
- Click your post
- Read all the way to the end
- Do whatever you’re trying to get them to do.
Easy Blog Conversions: Lesson Number One
Blog posts only convert when you have a crystal clear objective, and consistently drive readers to take action to fulfil that objective. From the first to last word, your posts need to lead people towards the inevitable conclusion that doing exactly what you want them to do is not only a good idea, but the only rational thing to do!
The biggest trap that prevents blog posts from converting is, shockingly, failing to have a clear goal in mind when you write them.
Your overall goal in blogging will (almost) always be to convert your readers into paying clients.
But that is a big picture goal.
Every post you write needs to have a micro-goal within that larger objective.
When you sit down to write, ask yourself, “What can this one post, specifically do, to get me closer to my larger objective?”
If you’re focusing on building your email list, the post needs to convince people that you know your stuff. That way, when you offer them an easy way of learning more on exactly what they’re already reading about, they will jump on the opportunity.
The objective is always to get people to sign up, but you need to give them something worth signing up for, and a compelling reason to claim it.
On the other hand, if you’re currently promoting a specific offer and you want people to buy immediately, your objective will be for them to make a purchase, book a discovery call, or make an enquiry via the website for more information.
Lesson Number Two
Once people see your post you have less than three seconds to convince them to click on it.
Writing blog posts that convert is seriously tough. Fortunately, I have thoughts (they may even be wise) on how to do exactly that…
Write For Your Ideal Client
We’ve talked at length about ideal clients and there’s a really good reason for that: they inform (or should inform!) everything you do in your business.
Blogging is no exception.
What do your ideal clients want from your blog posts?
[Tweet “Your posts won’t convert readers unless they effectively meet reader needs.”]
It’s pretty impossible to write to your readers’ needs when you don’t know what they are.
So as a priority, figure it out!
Nail down your ideal client, get as specific as possible, and if you’re still unsure ask them!
Do some market research and take the guesswork out of it. Here are a few really handy resources you can use to help:
- Twitter Advanced Search – type in your topics and keywords, then filter the results using the ‘questions’ option. It will show you exactly what people in your industry/audience are asking about the topics you cover.
- KeywordTool.io – a super-useful keyword tool that’s free to use and shows you how popular various keywords are in your industry.
- Quora – another great source for finding current questions concerning your niche and ideal clients.
- SEMRush – this one is more of a Ninja tool, and won’t be for everyone. But if you don’t mind paying a little money and playing at James Bond, you can sneakily spy on your competitors and see which of the topics they’re writing about are performing well. Then write your own (completely unique!) version.
- BuzzSumo – very handy to find out what topics and headlines are getting the most traffic and engagement in your industry or field of expertise.
Write Captivating Headlines
The first hurdle in ensuring your blog posts convert is to write a truly captivating headline.
If you panic at the thought, and are generally convinced you should give it up as a bad job, think again.
[Tweet “There’s a science to writing clickable headlines that convert. It’s a skill you can learn!”]
CoSchedule have an amazing and totally free headline analyser which is perfect for optimising every title you write. Take full advantage of it!
It may feel like a lot of effort at first, but consider that there are more than 2.73 million blog posts published every single day. Competition is fierce, and your headline is the first thing people generally see. First impressions count!
There are a few things you can do to help hone your headlines so they are as effective and compelling as possible:
- Focus on the first and last three words. Make sure you place your action words (verbs) at the beginning and end, with the middle reserved for less vital words.
- Don’t be cryptic. Clarity is key here: the headline should tell readers very clearly what to expect when they click through. If it’s humorous reflect that. Explicitly state if a post is a how-to or a step-by-step guide.
- Around 25% of readers are happy for you to exaggerate. Be as positive as you can be and use strong adjectives (i.e. exhausted rather than tired, hilarious rather than funny, huge rather than big, tiny rather than small etc.), as well as adverbs (e.g. beautifully, easily, recklessly, quickly etc.).
- Play on people’s emotions using words that make them feel. Words like ‘help’, ‘easy’, and ‘love’ are big on emotion and will make your headlines more powerful.
- Speaking of which, you should also pack your headlines with power words (CoSchedule’s analyser can help you with this!).
- Choose the best structure for your headline (for the most popular types see the image below, based on research from Moz).
The most popular structure for headlines by quite a way are number posts (i.e. 5 Ways To Ensure You Have A Consistent Online Brand).
They’re followed by:
- Titles that directly address the reader (i.e. ‘You Need To Start Using This One Blogging Trick RIGHT NOW!’).
- Then How To posts (i.e. How To Schedule Your Content Like A Boss).
- And regular titles (i.e. Digital Marketer or VA: Who To Hire For Online Marketing).
These three are relatively close in terms of effectiveness, but you will find it far easier to write an effective headline if it’s formatted as a How To than you will the others.
For that reason, How To titles are usually a better choice, even though they aren’t technically the more effective.
Question posts (i.e. Is SEO Worth The Investment For Small Businesses?) are the least effective of these five types, but they are still effective! I generally reserve this format for times I’m answering FAQs and client inquiries, when the question is the whole point of the post.
If you’re really sneaky, you can combine two of these highly effective formats – this works really well with number and How To posts (i.e. 10 Growth Markers: What They Mean And How To Use Them).
Hook Your Reader
Now you’ve written a killer headline it’s time for another painful truth:
Only about 18% of your potential readers will click it.
For this reason it’s VITAL that the very first thing they read after they click through hooks them.
[Tweet “You need to start your blog post with the tastiest piece of bait you can find.”]
Readers won’t convert if they don’t read beyond the opening few lines of your post.
You need a hook that grabs their attention and refuses to let g