Everything you publish must be as actionable as possible. Write your content for the right persona and address either something they need or something they struggle with. Everything you produce is a complete mini-marketing campaign. Every web page, every blog post, every tweet. Each of them has to have the following components.
5 Content Components
You always need a headline, something that grabs people’s attention, whether it’s the title of the blog post or the name of the web page. Make sure the core idea comes across. But beware. There is no such thing as a headline that’s interesting unless you’re able to articulate the benefits for your audience. If you write a piece of marketing content, what’s in it for the person whom you’re trying to reach? Unless they can grasp it within seconds, you will lose them.
If you did manage to hook people with the headline, the next thing they want to know, "Now what?" In your content outline the benefits. However, they won’t mean anything unless someone else confirms them. You’re not the credible party here. You’re the person who’s trying to sell a product or service. You need a confirmation from someone else that your stuff is good not because you claim it is, but because your customers and/or partners have already enjoyed it.
This is your confirmation. Proof. Proof can be a simple quote, a customer case study, a video testimonial, a picture. Anything your current customers or partners are willing to say about you, in any format. Having someone else state the advantages of using your product gives you more weight. Someone else’s voice is more credible because those people are not making money off the audience you’re trying to reach.
After you've figured out the way to communicate the benefits, you need to have an offer. What's the thing you’re offering to people whom you're trying to reach? Will it make them feel special? Why would they be interested? Is it suitable enough for them? Timely? Does it match their exact needs? An offer doesn’t necessarily mean a discount or a promotion. It could be, but it also could be something very special. A special piece of content, for example.
- Call to action.
After you got your audience convinced that your offer is cool, you need to have a call to action. How do people go forward? It could be a document to download, an event they can sign up for, a product or a service they can start using immediately, etc. When they click on the call to action, there has to be the next experience, which is typically a landing page. This is the place where you make it all come true and fulfill your promise.
To summarize, every website, page, blog, or tweet — every piece of content has to combine the aforementioned components. Your visitors have to get answers to their questions. What's the catch? What’s in it for them? What do you offer? How do you allow them to follow up with you? What’s the next step? How does that lead to the landing page? Answer these questions, and you’ll convert curious visitors to happy customers.
Your to-do list:
- Make sure every piece of content you produce has the 5 components we have discussed: headline, benefits, proof, offer, call to action.
- Set aside time every month, or, better yet, every week, to analyze the response to your content. Play with it. Try new things. Experiment.
- Keep it simple. Before you publish anything, edit, edit, edit. The more content you produce, the better you'll get at saying more with less.
- Entertain. Inject humor. Don’t be a bore. Be human. If you'll make people smile, people will remember you.