Have you ever stumbled upon a site that seemed intriguing, but then completely lost you within the first 30 seconds? Maybe they had an amazing image or intro, but then they lost you when it came to navigating their site?
Ya, it's the worst.
I can't tell you how frustrating it is to find an awesome boss, killing it in their field, and then go to their site and get so distracted that you can't even remember what you wanted in the first place.
Content is a HUGE part of a successful marketing strategy, and when it boils down, your marketing strategy is what will ultimately help you to gain clients and grow your business.
So, how can you take your content strategy (and content itself) from distraction to attraction? I'm glad you asked. Here are 20 ways to keep your visitors engaged and active, not distracted and confused, when it comes to our content marketing!
1. Know who you are writing to
One of the most common mistakes small business owners make when it comes to crafting content for their website is writing for too many people. Who is your intended audience? Are they creatives? Are they moms? Are they professionals?
You can only have ONE intended audience for your brand, no matter how niche they may be. When it comes to crafting content, you have to be sure to know WHO it is that you are writing for! If you don't you are almost guaranteed to miss them altogether.
The best way to figure out who your audience is (or who it should be) is to take a sheet of paper and write out all of the characteristics of your "ideal" client. Then, take that "client" and evaluate why each characteristic is important to your business. One you have done that? Write to them. Tell that one specific client why they should trust you, work with you or support you.
That my friends is personifying your target at its finest.
2. Have a purpose
Beyond knowing who you are writing for, you need to know WHY you are writing. Why is your content important, what is the ultimate reason that you are creating content in the first place. Is it to drive conversions or digital sales? Maybe it is to grow your following and become an influencer?
Whatever your goal, you need to have a clear picture of that purpose from the beginning, crafting each piece of content with that end in mind.
3. Use a content strategy
So, if you hang around me long enough, you will know that this is my jam. When it comes to content marketing I am all about that strategy. Having a purpose + target audience is great, but if you don't have STRATEGY you aren't going to actually get anywhere.
When I talk about strategy, I mean a clear roadmap to your ultimate purpose or objective. I mean developing a long-term plan that can help you to clearly navigate the content waters in a attractive (non-distractive) way.
This means taking your purpose and breaking it down into categories that need to be developed in order to ultimate give your ideal "client" (from above) the information necessary to satisfy your ultimate purpose.
See? No big thang.
4. Don't over-complicate
When it comes to your website, less is more—especially when it comes to your content. And no, before you get me started, I do not mean less content I mean less crazy content.
Content is a huge piece of a successful SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Each page on your site should have at least 350 words. But, those words need to be clear, organized and purpose-driven.
In other words, it is great that you know everything about how to create successful blog post, but if you sell graphic design services (and driving more clients is your ultimate purpose) then this is unnecessary content.
You are only going to confuse your ideal "client" and drive them further away from actually fulfilling your ultimate purpose.
5. Give the most important info up front
First, let me just say that your website content is critical. In most cases, your website if the first face of your brand that anyone will see, so you had better make sure it is an accurate reflection of who you are as a business.
Second, make sure that you make your ultimate purpose clear from the beginning, right up front. Whether it is introducing your services, or explaining why you are an influencer in your field. Make it easy for your ideal "client" to know exactly who you are and what you want them to do.
6. Categorize like it's your job
I mean, it kinda is. Make sure that your content makes sense where it is. Your niche may allow for numerous categories of content and information, but having it all strewn together will only make navigating difficult and timely for your ideal "client."
Instead, use categorization to lump your information or content into groupings that make sense and ultimately cause your ideal "client" to stay on the page (or your website) longer.
The point is, when someone stumbles upon your website, social profiles, etc. they are looking for something. If they fall into a blog post about content marketing, they want information about content marketing. Make it easy for them to find more content that they will be interested in!
7. Use an internal link strategy
That leads me right into my next point, use an internal link strategy. Internal links are links within your own site to your own site. These are a great way to keep your ideal "client" moving through your website and ultimately falling more in love with your brand and purpose.
Remember how you outlined that ideal client above? Well, now that that client and ask yourself, "what would I want to know next?" on each page of your site. Then, take that sentiment and use it to create an internal link structure that will lead your "client" through your site.
8. Include other resources, but have them open in a new tab
Using external resources is great, but not if it drives your ideal "client" away from your site. Include useful resources in your content, but have the links open in a new tab rather than navigate the current tab away from your site. This will keep your ideal "client" engaged longer, and ultimately build more authority and creditability to your site.
9. Make it easy to flow through your "funnel"
I am sure you have all heard "funnel" thrown around annoyingly in marketing circles, but stick with me here. Your sales funnel is really just an outlined extension of the purpose you defined above.
The main point is that you need to make it easy for someone to fall into the path or strategy that you have created in order to ultimately satisfy your main purpose. Usually, that means capturing leads as they land on your site (asking for an email address, offering an ebook download in exchange for information, etc.) and then delivering them information and content that will strategically drive them to your main purpose.
However, that isn't the only way to make sure your ideal "client" can flow through your funnel. You should also be viewing your site, as a whole, as a part of your funnel. When I land on your home page, have you made it ridiculously easy for me to then find more information about your services or product, then pricing, then actually convert?
10. Tell then what to do on your site
Similar to my last point, you have to actually TELL your ideal "client" what to do next on your site. It isn't enough to have great content on your site, or even to have a great internal link structure to help your idea; "client" navigate that site. Sometimes, you just have to tell people what to do.
Some people may call it pushy, but I call it effective. If you want someone to go to your pricing page, put a big ole pricing button on your home page and tell them to click it. Bada-bing, bada-boom,
11. Make the most of your navigation bar
The main navigation on your site is huge. What you choose to place there is critical to the success of your content strategy. Whether you choose to incorporate certain pages will determine the level of importance your ideal "client" gives those pages as well.
Make sure that you use the navigation bar as an opportunity to highlight your pillars of business or purpose. If you are service based, this may mean including your "Work with me" page, as well as your main services. If you are a fashion blogger, this may mean including your key areas of interest or expertise.
Regardless, make sure that you are using your navigation to its fullest potential as a key asset to your content strategy and flow.
12. Call it what it is (not what you think Google will want to hear)
I cannot tell you how many times I have clicked into a blog post because I was interested in the topic, just to realize that that content had virtually NOTHING to do with the topic in the title.
Stop the madness.
IF you are writing about how to write an about me page, don't call it 7 secrets to content marketing success. Just don't! Call it what it is, your ideal "client" will thank you!
13. Don't force it
Not everything will fall into your wheelhouse of expertise. that's ok! You do not have to be the mast at everything under the sun, or even everything in your field! You just need to know how to do what you do. If you are a landscaper, then focus your content on the areas of landscaping that you are great at, the areas that you are an expert in.
Leave the hardscaping, floral arrangements and other off-brand topics to the experts. Having content is great, but if it doesn't support your brand, it is in vain.
Which leads me to my next point:
14. Filter everything through your brand
Your brand precede's you, my friend. Every piece of content that you produce is adding to your brand. Whether it is a page on your website, or a post n social media, make sure that the content you are associating with your business makes sense with what you are doing and the purpose you are trying to achieve.
Content that is not in alignment with your brand will only lead to confusion when it comes to building your brand's authority.
15. Use images that engage AND explain
Content is not all about the written word. I think I may need to say that again, content is NOT all about the written word. You can have the greatest, meatiest most wonderful written content, but if you cannot support that content with useful images and visuals, you will never fully engage your ideal "client."
Using images that give reference, add influence and attract the eye are great ways to support your written content strategy. Just be sure to only use images that are applicable to your written content, not distracting from the overall purpose. (I.E: Cat photos are great, but if your business has nothing to do with cats, and your content has nothing to do with cats, let's not play the cat meme game, ok?
16. Make your homepage killer (and I mean KILLER)
Imaging that you are auditioning for a modeling contract. You show up having not showered in days, three night old eye makeup smeared across your face and an ugly cut across your lower lip from falling the night before. Do you think anyone is even going to give you a chance to clean up and show them what you're worth? No.
Your homepage of your website is the same way. You have one chance to make a killer impact on your ideal "client." You have to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward, not only in visual appeal, but also in content.
Make sure that you are optimizing your content strategy by offering your audience the most important information upfront (remember that tip?). And make it memorable, I mean, really memorable.
17. Use every content opportunity as a chance to "sell" yourself
Whether you are writing a blog post or sharing on social media, make sure that you are setting your brand up as an influencer, sell yourself. Now, now. No, I do not mean take every opportunity to toot your own horn or promote yourself. What I do mean, is that every piece of content that you produce will be a part of your brand together. Each and every piece should, in some way, lead back to your ultimate goal or purpose.
Make sure that you are making the most of your content opportunities by beginning to strategically build yourself up as an influencer and expert in your field.
18. Make sure you have one voice—even if you have 10 writers
Like I said before, your brand precedes you. In order to attract your ideal "client," they need to be able to tell your brand apart from all of the noise bombarding them on a daily basis.
Content that sounds jumbled and multi-faceted is not attractive, in fact it often distracts the sole "client" that you are trying to engage! Make sure that your content is following simple guidelines that cause it to feel like it comes from the same voice, your brand's voice, even if you have 10 writers on your team.
19. Simplicity is key
Simplicity is key when it comes to content. Having a bunch of awesome stuff is cool, but it will ultimately drive your ideal "client" away from your main goal or purpose. Take time to simplify your content, remove the dead weight, and make it easy for your purpose and "funnel" to shine through.
Sometimes that means simplifying your offerings or narrowing your niche. Go back to the ideal "client" that you defines earlier. Are they specific enough to actually give you a real person to "speak" to? Or are they broad, allowing numerous opportunities to veer away from your expertise?
Make your life easier. Simplify it. you will eliminate the confusion and add to your appeal.
20. Re-evaluate often
This is probably one of the most difficult pieces for me. Ever as I sit here writing I am thinking about all of the ways that I fail to do this on a daily basis. Content is fluid, your business is fluid. That means that you need to take the time to re-evaluate and assess your content needs on a regular basis in order to eliminate the clutter and confusion.
Set time on your clan dear to audit your brand. Take a look at all of the pieces of content that you have produced. Look at the structure. Look at the flow. Then? Clean it up. Remove what isn't working, shift around what could work better. Your content strategy will change, and that's ok. But, you need to make sure that you are taking the time to follow behind yourself and change with it!
Phew! Still with me? I would love to hear your thoughts below! Is your content distracting instead of attracting? What do you do to combat the clutter?