Usman Raza

Usman Raza is a marketing specialist at and co-founder of Christian Marketing Experts. He has been writing for magazines and newspapers since 2001, and editing and managing websites since 2006. A generalist, his most covered topics are business and technology. Follow him on Twitter @usmanintrotech.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to connect your brand with the masses that you want to do business with. The problem is that you only got about 3 seconds to make the right first impression. And even then you need to keep delivering the goods if you want to get that all-important conversion.

To give you plenty of fresh ideas, take a look at the 5 principles of content that converts. Apply each of them to your output, and before you know it you’ll have transformed your business.

Write in a conversational style that connects with your audience

Who loves to get a message from their friends? Who hates to get a long rambling sales pitch that adds nothing to their life?

Just in case you hadn’t guessed, the answer to both of the questions is ‘everybody’. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to when they’re not in the mood. But everyone wants to start a meaningful dialogue where they get something out of it. This is where a conversational style can really help get things moving:

  • Make your text light, fun, and engaging by keeping it professional yet conversational
  • The text in this article is a great example. See how it flows and asks you questions?
  • Conversational text is the most pleasant to read and stops the reader from feeling like they’re being given a hard sell

Finding the right tone for your new conversational style is all about knowing your brand’s core message inside out. If you know what it is you stand for, and you can articulate it fluently, then you’ll be already halfway there. You can even check translation services reviews to take your message to an even wider audience.

Create headlines that hook readers instantly

If you want people to stop and read, then you need to do something to catch their eye. Take this article, for example, quite a lot of thought and research has gone into choosing the title:

  • The first 3 words instantly tell you what it will be about, and the use of the word ‘tips’ indicates that you’ll be given something for nothing — added value
  • The word ‘principles’ gives the headline an air of authority and provides the justification you need to choose it over other competing articles — a voice worth listening to
  • The odd number catches your eye and tells you that you’re going to get easy to digest article if you click on the link — readability awaits

The great thing about these 3 parts of the headline is you know that they work because you’re reading the article that follows! If you want to create headlines that hook people in then focus on conveying authority, readability, and added value. You can also use the Title Generator tool for getting title ideas.

Make people want to do something by always including a call to action

A call to action is perhaps the most pivotal part of any piece of content. It’s what turns an avid reader into a converted customer. Of course, you need all the content to make that possible. But it’s the call to action that provides the tipping point.

It’s a skill that has been used by all the top businesses. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Coca Cola and Nike, then you need a call to action. In fact, Nike’s famous Just Do it’ slogan is really just a great little call to action in disguise. Here’s a couple of top tips on how you can create a stunning call to action:

  • Don’t be overly sales-orientated and repeatedly say: ‘buy, buy, buy’. This will just make the rest of your content feel insincere to the reader who has spent the past 5 minutes enjoying it
  • Position it in the right place by building up to an aspirational moment. If you can make someone really want something, then it naturally follows that you’re going to tell them to go and get it

By getting the balance right between pushing the sale, and making someone feel like they deserve to have it, your content will really take your business to new heights. Calls to action can be a tricky thing to get right, so run some split-run testing to find which ones work best for your audience.

Focus on the goals that you set yourself and don’t go off on a tangent

Creating content is always a case of quality over quantity. When you publish your first few bits and pieces it can be tempting to look at some of the world’s biggest content distributors. What you’ll probably notice is that they cover so many more areas than you. What you probably don’t appreciate is that they’ve taken a long time to get to that point.

The worst thing you can do in the early stages is diversifying too much. Ask yourself these questions to avoid going off on a tangent:

  • Does this article speak to my core audience?
  • Does this piece of content help me reach my medium-term goal?
  • Does publishing this piece help me further my brand’s story?

If the answer from any of the above is ‘no,’ then you need to regain your focus.

Make it readable by choosing the right layout

Take a look at this article. If you’ve got this far then the chances are that you find it easy to digest. This is what readability is all about.

If you link people to a huge block of text they’re not going to read it. This article has been broken up with bullet points, questions, and short succinct paragraphs. You’ll also notice that the subheadings tell you everything you need to know about the subsections. That way you can skim the subheadings and decide whether you want to invest your time reading the entire article.

You know it’s an approach that works because you’ve just invested your own valuable time reading what I’ve written. Now go out there and do the same with your content.

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