In the world of website marketing, blogging is seen as one of the most efficient ways to strengthen a company’s online image, drive traffic and generate quality leads. However, strategic delivery of fresh content can also bring higher conversions regardless of a company’s target audience. Namely, as revealed in HubSpot State of Inbound, 2013, 82% of marketers who blog daily and 57% of those who do so on a monthly basis acquire a customer via the blog.
Undoubtedly, blogging opens multiple possibilities for customer acquisition, which is why it is an integral part of any well thought-out online marketing strategy. However, too many companies still fail to turn their blogs into conversion generators mostly because they tend to skip some highly relevant optimization steps.
The pillars of a successful content strategy
A corporate blog is not another sales channel, but a place for building relationships with consumers who seek out specific types of information about a brand. Recent studies show that online consumers increasingly require original content from brands directly, whereupon blog posts play a major role in providing the necessary pieces of information.
As outlined in the WP Engine survey from 2014, the largest portion of online consumers (52%) prefers to read about a brand on its website than on its social media pages. The survey also reveals the types of content they seem to like most:
- 25% like to read news style articles such as those on New York Times
- 21% read feature articles (i.e. People Magazine)
- 17% like short blog posts
- 11% prefer fun “listicle” posts such as those encountered on BuzzFeed
Evidently, depending on the target audience, corporate blogs should aim to present brand information in a style appealing to their readership. Typically, the topics consumers expect to see on corporate blogs are company/product updates and industry events promotion, but these may be too generic to inspire engagements. Instead, a company should balance generic types of posts with those that follow users’ overall preferences:
- Provide personalized insight into latest industry news or events
- Discuss major trends with other influencers in the industry and publish it in a form of interviews or a post that summarizes thought leaders’ opinions
- Give tips and write life-hacking posts to attract your social media fans and help them solve their everyday problems
Conversion path optimization
Once the content strategy is in place, the next step is defining a goal and preferable conversion path. The idea is to use both content and design to make it easy for a visitor to navigate through the website and complete the desired goal. For example, if the goal is to generate leads on social media, social sharing buttons and potentially real-time Twitter or Facebook dashboard should be the most prominent elements in a sidebar. Similarly, if you intend to lead a visitor to a specific product/offer page, an actionable call-to-action button should stand out from all the other contents on a page.
This way, you can optimize content for multiple purposes and measure its performance more easily. Furthermore, to lead your prospects naturally towards the goal, you should consider including relevant links in the article body itself. When used in context, such links help readers understand how a product or service may be applied to their everyday lives or specific situations. Therefore, this isn’t only a strategy that increases click-through rates, but also the one that helps users understand the offer better.
Call to action: design and placement
Including a conversion source in the form of a widget in a sidebar is an efficient way to direct traffic to specific internal pages. However, given the overall purpose of a blog, a CTA designed in such a way to resemble a banner may not be the best solution because it may appear overly promotional. Instead of the bluntest “Buy xxx Now” or “Sign up for our Newsletter,” a CTA should be relevant to the context of the blog. Some of the excellent examples of blog call to action buttons are presented in this post on Serps.com, which suggests that they should include:
- Actionable language
- Compelling headline
- Clear benefit
- Design that stands out
With a CTA that nicely follows contents of your blog but is at the same time conspicuous enough, you increase the chances of converting your readers. For example, in one case study by KISSmetrics, simple CTA tweak lead to 591% higher conversions, which clearly illustrates the importance of adding it to corporate blogs.
Based on the data presented above, it’s easy to understand why corporate blogging can be a true conversion booster. Even though the primary purpose of a blog is to deliver objective, informational content, some tweaks can definitely lead to higher conversions. Therefore, with a strategic approach to both content and overall design, companies are likely to see some notable improvements in their conversion rates.