Content marketing 101: How to write blog posts that convert

Move over outbound marketing — inbound marketing is the cool new kid in town.

People want control over the sales process. They no longer want to be sold to. They want to discover the ways your brand can enrich their lives. 

That’s where content marketing comes in. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, yet it delivers three times more leads. 

But content marketing alone won’t push people toward a sale. Lackluster content can turn into a money pit and drive visitors away. 

Today’s post will go over how to write blog posts that convert. We’ll provide a step-by-step guide to understand what compels people to buy after reading a blog — rather than converting right away.

How to write blogs that convert and why content marketing matters.

Source: SEMrush

How to write blog posts that convert

Good, great, and amazing content are three totally different things. 

If you want your content to fall in the “amazing” category, you’ll need to account for several moving parts. Some parts your visitors will see, others they won’t. 

1. Understand your audience

It’s one of the first things you learn in middle school composition class: Who are you writing for and what are you telling them?

To write blog posts that convert, you’ll need to define a specific audience. It’s helpful to build complex personas if you can. Create an idea of a specific person who would read your post. 

You can later target these audiences on social media and email with your finished blog.

How to write blogs that convert through audience personas.

Source: Sprout Social

2. Choose targeted keywords

Keywords are important because they help new visitors discover your content. You can also glean the searcher’s intent through the keyword.

For example, a search term like, “how to get an MBA online” means that the person who’s searching is more likely in the research phases. Meanwhile, a term like, “sign up for MBA on Coursera” signals that someone’s ready to convert. 

Ideally, you’ll want to choose long-tail keywords (three words or more) because they’re highly relevant. Plus, searchers are further along in the buying process.

3. Pick a topic that solves a problem

Blog posts that convert work because they solve problems. As you develop your content, focus on improving the lives of your readers. Google has a concept called "Your Money or Your Life". If you can boost someone’s safety, financial stability, or happiness, Google will reward you with better rankings.

4. Consider your reader’s stage of the buying cycle

Some folks who visit your blog will be ready to buy right away. Others will need a little convincing. 

With your topic and keyword in mind, consider your reader’s stage of the buying cycle. Which type of content should you create for them? How can you help them most at this stage?

Getting too promotional in the early stages can leave a bad taste in visitors’ mouths.

5. Write with emotions in mind

Although you don’t want to exploit emotions, it’s always important to play into emotions while writing — no matter what you’re creating. Emotionless content is bland and only suitable for a few industries. Tap into emotions (like frustration or stress) and calm the minds of readers.

6. Build authority with statistics

Did you know 36% of people consider a blog post credible if it includes case studies? 

(See what we did there?)

Statistics show readers that you did your research. They also show you aren’t trying to insult a person’s intelligence by rattling off falsehoods just to win a sale.

7. Create urgency to act

If you don’t add urgency to your writing, people won’t feel compelled to act. They’ll assume they can just finish later. (Hint: “Later” never comes.)

Instead, let readers know the value of acting right away. It’s especially important to add urgency in your call to action (CTA). Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, and it can help you write blog posts that convert.

8. Stick with a single idea per blog post

We all deal with enough distractions online. Blog posts should avoid adding to the digression by sticking with a single topic. 

If you find yourself running off topic while writing, that signals a second blog post is in order. (Bonus: You can interlink both blogs.)

Blog posts that convert are straightforward, concise, and to the point. 

9. Pepper in case studies or testimonials

As previously mentioned, 36% of people find content credible if it contains case studies. If you have them, why not include them in your blog posts?

You don’t have to be obvious about it. Simply add off-hand remarks about certain clients and link to your case study. You can still mention the product without explicitly mentioning your brand.

10. Skip a salesy tone

People respond better to content marketing because it’s not overtly salesy — at least when it’s done well. 

If you get too promotional with your content, you risk losing credibility. People will think you’re in it for the money instead of helping them. 

When that happens, they’ll wonder if your products are as great as you say they are. 

Eighty-four percent of consumers and 83% of buyers say the key to winning their business is treating them like a human instead of another sale.

How to write blogs that convert and treat people like human beings.

Source: Salesforce

Skip the salesy talk for a conversational tone. People respond better to conversations.

11. Get your search engine optimization (SEO) in order

In blog posts that convert, SEO is never an afterthought. While you can’t control many things about SEO, you can control some aspects.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet: 

  • Keyword density should hover around 1%. For example, in 1000 words of content, your keyword should appear 10 times.

  • Include your keyword in headers — specifically, in H2s and H3s.

  • Write an intriguing meta title and description (the part that shows up in Google search results).

  • Try to write something better than the first three Google pages for your chosen keyword.

  • Answer Google’s suggested searches and questions from the keyword results.

12. Knock your CTA out of the park

If you want to learn how to write blog posts that convert, you’ll need to hit it home with your CTA. 

Your CTA should be straightforward and concise. Don’t beat around the bush. Be confident with your words and explain what you want visitors to do.

On that note, your CTA doesn’t necessarily have to demand readers buy something. Instead, consider their stage of the buying cycle. If they’re not near a purchase decision yet, include a link to another blog post or a downloadable lead magnet so you can stay in touch with them.

Make sure to add some urgency to your CTA, too. Make people feel that time is of the essence.

12. Include links to downloadable lead magnets

Beyond your CTA, blog posts that convert include internal links throughout.

You can include internal links to related blog posts in some places. You can also include links to downloadable lead magnets. 

But don’t stop at a text-based hyperlink. Design custom graphics for your lead magnets and insert them in strategic places throughout your blog. 

Downloadable lead magnets are useful for staying in touch with your visitors through email. Without them, your readers will slip back into the internet void. 

Just make sure that everyone opts into your email list. It’s a violation of spam laws to email people without their permission — even if they gave you their email address for another purpose.

13. Retarget on social media and email with relevant content

Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy to stay in touch with visitors through targeted advertisements.

However, you can also target Facebook users who visited a specific URL on your page. 

Don’t just intubate previous visitors with promotional content. Consider their stage of the buying cycle when they read your blog and gently nudge — not shove — them down the funnel. 

Follow up with more helpful and beneficial content. 

Email is also useful for connecting with your visitors one on one. Instead of fighting against social media algorithms, you can have a personal conversation with leads. Plus, email offers incredible personalization features and automation to deliver highly relevant content to your subscribers. 

That’s likely why 59% of people prefer email for communicating with brands.

How to write blogs that convert and retarget on social media.

Source: Facebook

Wrap up

Content marketing is one of the most effective tools for building authority, boosting brand recognition, and winning over customers. However, to make the most of this marketing strategy, you’ll need to learn how to write blog posts that convert. Keep these things in mind:

  • Choose long-tail targeted keywords and consider the searcher’s stage of the buying cycle

  • Write conversationally — not salesy

  • Publish helpful posts that solve problems

  • Stay focused with one idea per blog

  • Don’t forget SEO

Looking to improve your email content? Check out this post on writing welcome emails and start creating content that gets results.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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