What is compelling content? It is text, images, video or other media that inspires action of some kind?
If you have ever read or watched something and felt inspired or motivated as a result, then that is compelling content.
If you have ever read or watched something and afterwards felt a desire to get up and do something, buy something or change something in your life, that is compelling content.
When creating content for your website or on social media for business or cause, it is usually with an intent in mind. It might be to entertain, educate or demonstrate the benefits of something.
If you have a business that sells products or services, you may want you content to lead your reader to take an action. That action might be to visit your store, a specific product or service or contact you.
Some people think of a sales funnel as beginning when someone becomes a “lead” or visits your store. This is a very common view or understanding of what a sales funnel is.
What I have found though, through years of marketing (both direct and online marketing), is that traditional sales funnels are a thing of the past. They were based on advertising methods that could not be tracked and measured until AFTER the prospect had some direct contact with the company. Sure you could measure things like how many items a customer bought, or returned to buy. But you couldn’t work out how every customer had initially become aware of your brand.
Now you can see all of this, you can track all the paths to your website…the number of visits, how the different platforms your customers have visited contributed to a sale.
Your sales funnels start at the point of first contact with your customer
Your sales funnel starts way back at your first point of contact with your potential customer. If you think this way, then you can start to fill in the necessary steps buyers need to be be comfortable buying from you which are:
- building recognition and familiarity
- offering value before they buy, answering questions, concerns and helping them make decisions
- delivering on your promises (what you promise in social media posts you deliver on your website)
- demonstrating your intent and customer service
- demonstrating quality, or other USP’s
- validating their concerns and needs
- building trust (you are the ones they feel most comfortable buying from)
- giving them a “shopping list” one of the most powerful principles we use to bring people back to OUR sites to buy, even if they go comparison shopping elsewhere first
- reminding them why it’s a great idea to go proceed with buying
- backing that up with awesome customer service (visible to potential clients and privately to existing can be combined)
Since the advent of social media, it has become much easier to build a trail of breadcrumbs back to your website through offsite posts. When I started out in 2005, we didn’t have so many social media options, and had to work alot harder to post content on other sites or on bookmarking sites,
Because there is so much more “noise” to compete with now days, you still need to write quality. You can write alot of social posts, but you need quality to link them to.
This may seem time consuming and a little intimidating, but there is a formula you can follow. to make this an easier, faster and thorough formulaic process.
Purpose of onsite content
If you think of your social media content as the teaser ad for your online content, then your online content needs to be a bigger better more helpful or interesting version of your social posts.
If people feel satisfied when they arrive on your page, after clicking a social post, then you have just begun the process of developing a relationship, and trust with them.
If you have covered enough of what they need to see, feel and understand to be comfortable buying your product, and they were interested in buying a [what you have for sale], then you have just moved them closer to a sale. You are building, earning trust with your audience.
How you lead them to the next step is what we will cover below.
How to write quality compelling content on your website
I’m sure you already agree, writing great articles that address niche market problems is one of the most powerful and effective ways to build inbound links and drive qualified traffic to a website.
When people read a blog post they generally expect one or more of the following things:
(excerpt taken from my book Copywriting Essentials For Content Marketing)
◆ To be entertained
◆ To be given something to help them make a decision
◆ To help them solve a problem
◆ To be educated and informed
◆ To be trained how to do something
◆ To feel something as a result of reading the post
◆ To solidify something they already know, but want further
Your job therefore, as a writer is to uncover your readers’ intent and what is most likely to give them satisfaction in your content.
You can break blog posts down into a series of subjects where you cover all of the points that your audience want to know.
If you have done your homework properly, you should already have a list of points they want covered. We will be using these points to take your reader through a series of steps starting with identification and qualification, then moving on to building relationship with them.
At the end of the page you can summarize what they learned, why they can safely make a decision based on this information, and what to do next.
Before you begin here are a few things to think about and jot down:
- Have a very clear objective for your content, what do you want to convey and what action do you want them to take as a result
- Understand the intent and desires of your audience (market research done so you have a picture of your audience in your mind)
- Know their top 3 to 5 wants and top 3 to 5 concerns (what do they want help with?)
- What do they MOST want, and most want to avoid when discussing your topic
- What would be their ultimate outcome as a result of reading/watching your content?
- Where can they go next if they want more of what they have just enjoyed (if they aren’t ready to buy)
- What are all the different ways you can be helpful and demonstrate value/helpfulness through your content?
Preparing your content – blog and article formatting
Articles can be about resources, how-tos, solving a problem, teaching something, or addressing an issue, and they’re easy to write when you use this simple template:
- Write a headline that points out a problem and contains your primary key phrase, for example: “How to break a bad habit in 5 days”
- Add a quick Summary (and include a relevant secondary key phrase). This should be only one paragraph, 3-5 short succinct sentences summarizing what your article is about.
- Use your first paragraph after the summary to point out how the problem or concern might impact them.
Try to include your primary key phrase or a variant of it for relevance. Elaborate on the problem and highlight it to make it more apparent. Explain the ways this problem can impact them.
- Offer solutions outlined in bullet format.
- Next suggest a few examples of how the reader can solve the problem or improve their situation.
- Summarize: close on a positive note.
- End your article with a paragraph or two that summarizes your most important points. Wrap up with a positive spin that gives them hope and something to move towards. Walk them to the next step. That step might be a product description or how to make contact with someone (a sales lead).
The REAL reasons people buy
There can be many reasons why a reader might not immediately act on an offer, and these reasons could well be hidden.
The point here is that knowing who you are talking to, what they really want, what they want to avoid, and what’s important to them, is the only way to know how to motivate someone to do what you (and they) want. This is the foundation of copywriting.
There is some emotional payoff people are looking for a result of buying something.
The obvious ones are:
Feel popular and/or included by peers and society Feel abundant (or wealthy)
- Feel attractive
- Feel healthy
- Feel secure
- Achieve peace and happiness
- Have more time
- Have fun
Buy really they want to meet their internal needs:
- Certainty and Security
- Uncertainty or Variety
- Feeling Significant or Important
- Feeling Connected or Loved by Someone Growth and Contribution
- Contribution to something important
These payoffs are what your readers REALLY want. What you are selling is just a conduit for fulfilling their needs in some way. So your content needs to address your audiences’ specific human needs. You need to link those needs to the benefits of your products and services.
Readers go through both conscious and subconscious processes in order to feel confident enough make a buying decision. This process has not changed much over many decades and changing sales formats. The only real difference in this day and age is that the online shopper is less likely to read an ad, go to the store and eyeball a salesperson to help them decide what they want. They are more likely to buy online and have stuff shipped to their door.
If you have done a good job of building curiosity and validating their concerns the reader is much more likely to want to follow your next lead.
Copywriting language tips to help people connect with their inner reasons for buying:
When I say language, I am not talking about French! I am talking about words that inspire action, or build curiosity. You can inject statements in your content that stimulates questions in a readers mind, or emotion. Words can also instil feelings of security and confidence.
Examples of the above are as follows:
I could say “many people who are considering buying air conditioners are concerned about humidity, ours have dehumidifiers built it to them”
or I could say “many people who are considering buying air conditioners are concerned about humidity causing cold and mildew damage in their household items and health risks , ours have heap dehumidifying filters that filtrate their air to remove microbes and help prevent expensive damage to your belongs and harm to your lungs”
The second statements is a bit more of a mouthful I know, but you can see how it addresses specific things that might be personal to a buyer. Even if they weren’t concerned about those issues, before, it’s just become important to them.
It is now more likely that all on their own, they have just added “help filter system” to their must have list of requirements of an air conditioning unit. You didn’t sell them on that, they have sold themselves – based on an enlightening statement.
Another example is more positive:
I could say “check out our reviews for x product”
Or I could say “check out the reviews from over 500 homeowners who also wanted safer, cleaner drier homes”
It’s a way of saying join the crown of people who are already enjoying what you want. They are like you, they bought and were happy so you’re making a good sound decision by doing so too.
Adding photos of faces and people that are similar to your audience further reinforces this.
An example of a call to action is:
Rather than saying “Buy XYZ here” – you could say Learn more about “Hepa Dehumidifying Features XYZ’s Here”
Or select from our top 3 “Hepa Dehumidifying Features XYZ’s” here
Don’t make them think about whether or not they want to click on the link, make it the next logical step to take.
I cover this topic a lot more in detail in my book…
The essentials here are:
Remember that the better you know who you are talking to and what they want, as well as want to avoid, you can better construct content that connects with them. If your content can resonate with the part of readers that wants to feel safe, secure, validated and confident they are making a good decision, you’re building a solid relationship with them.
I always ask the question, how can I be helpful and deliver value to my audience from day one. How can I answer their questions and earn their trust.
Earn is the operative word here! Because you earn their attention, and you need to then deliver satisfaction every step of the way.
Deliver what you promise at every step and teach your audience you not only understand them, but have shown you are trustworthy.
Then you can ask them to follow your links to the next step in your funnel!