When thinking about conversions and conversion rate optimization, we often contemplate product and service pages. After all, they are the most direct route to taking someone from lead to customer. However, your blog posts can impact your bottom line just as significantly.
Long gone are the days when blog posts were written purely because publishing them was “something that needed to be done.” Short and uninformative posts are also on the verge of extinction. And if you combine composing informative and carefully selected blog posts with some conversions, you’ll strike a winning balance.
Let’s take a look at the basics of optimizing blog content for conversions:
Select different keywords for different stages of the customer lifecycle
In order to have the most impact, every blog post should be written with a specific keyword in mind. However, to ensure your blog posts convert as many visitors as possible, you should also align them with different stages of the customer lifecycle rather than choose them based on keyword difficulty or monthly search volume.
Most sales and lifecycle funnels have three stages: top, middle and bottom. They should be populated with distinctly different kinds of leads, and you should tailor your posts to one of these stages quite specifically.
Posts that are written with top-of-the-funnel audiences in mind aim to hook a wider range of readers and generate leads. They provide answers to the most general of questions. They also serve to provide interest, introduce your brand to a new audience or widen your reach.
Here is a post from Ahrefs that targets this top-of-funnel audience segment. The topic is very general, and it would most likely appeal to those who are not yet very familiar with organic search and how it relates to their business.
Posts written with a mid-funnel audience in mind should provide more value. They don’t need to go too in-depth and can be a straightforward sales pitch, but they should speak to an audience that already has a certain level of knowledge or has perhaps already come into contact with your business before.
Posts targeting bottom-of-the-funnel audiences want to make a sale. They are speaking to leads who are ready to convert. Furthermore, they can also address customers who want to learn how to make the most of your product or service.
Use different keywords for your various offers
You should also select keywords based on the services and products you offer. If you only have one product or service, this will be fairly straightforward. But if you offer different tiers and packages or dozens of products, tie in your keywords (per customer lifecycle) with different sections of your offer.
The main challenge you will face is aligning the interests of leads in different stages of the funnel with said offers. However, when you understand their needs, pain points and the queries they use to solve them, the task will not be as daunting. This is why market research is of key importance.
Align your CTA with the customer lifecycle, too
Calls to action, or CTAs, are probably the most underutilized and underappreciated blog post elements. When chosen and styled correctly, though, they can significantly boost your conversions. When aligned with your offer and hyper-relevant for the point in the sales funnel a lead has reached, they can practically do wonders.
Top-of-the-funnel CTAs should be geared toward collecting your visitor’s contact information. You are not as likely to be able to convert these people, so your best bet is to capture them as a lead, send more content their way and slowly lead them further down the funnel.
Bottom-of-the-funnel CTAs, on the other hand, need to be geared toward your main offer. Remember, you have carefully selected just the right offer that matches the funnel stage, search query and blog post topic. These are the “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Call,” “Buy Product Now” kinds of CTAs.
Sometimes, your conversions include driving a lead further down the funnel, and the CTA should reflect that. For example, this post from Aura on retail arbitrage pushes traffic to another one of their posts, a guide on online arbitrage. The guide then specifically highlights two of the brand’s tools and points them out as solutions to the problem readers are most likely trying to solve.
Lead into the CTA
Another important CTA-related point to remember: Don’t just randomly throw them into your posts and hope for the best. You can’t expect to be handed the keys to the kingdom after having invested zero effort. In order to work effectively, a CTA needs to be the natural extension of the sentence that came just before it, and that sentence needs to be the extension of the previous sentence. And so on.
You don’t need to start thinking about the CTA while writing the intro of your blog, but if you do, chances are you will ensure a flow that makes your call to action logical and much more convincing. After all, you want your leads to understand what they are getting and what they are missing out on when they don’t click on your CTA.
For example, take this post from Transparent Labs that perfectly leads up to the section detailing its products and how it can help improve muscular endurance. The products mentioned align with the purpose of the article perfectly, and they are also tailored to the funnel stage the lead is likely to be in.
Work on your content
There is a point about blog posts we have failed to cover so far, yet it is crucial to the success of your optimization efforts: Write good content.
Consider this: Should you spend a lot of time doing market and customer research, ensuring your keywords and your CTA and your offers are all aligned like a neat row of ducks only to write a boring blog post, all of your effort will have been in vain.
Parallel to perfecting your sales pitch and mastering the art of alignment, you should also perfect your content writing skills.
Writing for the web comes with some very specific rules:
- Stick to easy-to-digest formats
- Break your content up with images or video
- Speak the language of your audience
- Showcase your expertise
- Write descriptive yet fun headings
- Keep grabbing your reader’s attention
Your ultimate goal is to ensure your readers reach your CTAs. However, many of them there are, you want all of them to be more than just seen. You want them all reached via your carefully mapped out and flowing content.
Get to the point
Burying the lede is probably the worst thing you can do in a blog post. Sure, it’s understandable why you would want to do it: you want readers to spend as much time on the page as possible. However, they are more likely to stay if you get to the point quickly and then provide further details down below.
If readers need to keep scrolling and scrolling down the page and can’t actually find the answer they’re looking for, they are very likely to click off and look for the answer somewhere else. However, if you do satisfy their search intent, a potential customer will be much more likely to come back to your blog or brand in the future.
Here’s a good example from Finli. The question posed in the article headline is answered in the very first paragraphs of the transcript of the video. Further down the page, they elaborate with additional information.
Perfect your offer and your sales pitch
We’ve already touched upon the importance of writing engaging and interesting content. The other writing component you need to be mindful of is copywriting.
After all, your converting blog posts are a little bit of both. They are informative, yet they are also a sales pitch. They aim to convert, yet they also aim to answer a question or provide a solution (other than your own obvious product or service).
Only by aligning your product or service with the needs and interests of your customers and sprinkling your best copywriting skills through some cleverly written content can you hope to earn those valuable conversions.
Here’s a witty example from Ad Badger. The copy is outstanding throughout the post, and the post concludes with an “If you have read this far, you must really like us” CTA. This way, they’ve given credit to their readers for sticking with them through a very lengthy post.
Final thoughts on optimizing your blog content for conversions
While never simple, optimizing your blog’s conversions is often the fun and exciting part of content creation. If you take your time with each post, ensure your creativity is at its peak when you sit down to compose your sales pitches and stick to our guide detailed above, you should be seeing those conversions going up in no time.
Originally published July 26, 2021.