8 Tips for Creating Quality Content that Drives Sales

According to a 2011 study conducted by Focus Research, businesses are increasingly relying on quality content such as blog posts, email newsletters, white papers, case studies and webinars in order to generate sales leads and conversions.
The Custom Content Council and ContentWise estimate that company spending on branded content reached its highest level ever in 2011. Furthermore, thanks in part to the recent Google Panda update, even established authority websites will be investing in higher quality content and content management.

Can quality content really drive sales or is it all hype? Consider the example of a local business, The Gents Place: when this place posted an article about the superior quality of one of its razors, that content quickly went viral. Within 24 hours of the article being posted, The Gents Place had generated $300 in sales revenue. Consider also the example of Delivra: when its director of marketing began publishing company blog posts and sharing them via email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, website traffic increased by 20%, inbound leads by 70%, and revenue by up to 40%.

When comScore conducted a study to determine what factor was most responsible for converting prospects into customers, it found that ad content accounted for 52% of sales changes. Ferris Stith, a PR and social media manager at PostcardMania, increased the number of her company’s sales leads tenfold by offering LinkedIn members free articles, case studies and white papers. Clearly, providing website users with quality content that both educates as well as informs can result in an increased number of sales leads and resulting customers. Additionally, quality content can result in an increase in organic web traffic, website rank and unique visitors.

For any business that is looking to increase sales leads and conversions via the addition of quality content, there are several factors to keep in mind. To begin with, quality content is located via SEO. Relevant keywords allow search engines to relate content to the business and vice versa. In fact, posting quality content is becoming the biggest (and most successful) SEO tactic of many businesses.

However, there is more to great content than just making sure that search engines are able to locate it. Engaging the audience with fresh, relevant, informative and even fun content is no small feat, requiring extensive research and time. This is especially the case when posting white papers, pillar articles and case studies. Furthermore, web and blog content must be posted regularly, a prime issue for any webmaster who is short on time and/or ideas.
There are no “hard and fast” rules for creating great content. However, the following eight tips can enable web pages and blog posts to consistently attract readers, generate user traffic, and build brand loyalty. These tips can also help increase sales leads and conversions, leading to an improved bottom line for the business.

1. Define one purpose for each web page.

Users who are searching for given web content typically think about one page at a time. To this end, every given web page on a website should have one clearly defined purpose. Defining one purpose for each page also creates pages that are better geared towards SEO.


2. Create a complete and honest title tag for each page.

Web page titles tell visitors what to expect in the content of that page. If the page title is too short, including only certain keywords, visitors will be left guessing the true meaning of that page. Because the goal is to increase the number of visitors who are truly interested in reading about the subject content of a page, one’s title must be as descriptive as possible.
Conversely, it is not a good idea to use misleading words in the title of a web page. For example, using words such as “The Best…”, “The Only…” and “The Greatest…” may initially lead visitors to click on the page. However, if the content does not accurately deliver on the promise of a Best of or Only of, that web page will quickly achieve a high bounce rate. This will effectively lower the quality of the website or blog.


3. Content should be “evergreen”.

Depending on what topic or product is described, it is imperative to keep content “evergreen”, or relevant to visitors who read it today, tomorrow, or even a year from now. To this end, one may need to update content from time to time, adding information or data, or just scrapping certain paragraphs or pages. Such content “overhaul” prevents a website or blog from becoming dated and irrelevant to visitors.


4. Content should provide value for the visitor.

Web page content should provide something of value for the visitor to gain insight and learn from. To this end, one can post tutorials, research studies or even personal experiences. Such qualiy content is often linked to, reposted on social media platforms, or otherwise recommended to other visitors. Considerable traffic and conversions may be generated as a result. On the other hand, one should not post content only to make a sale, since this single-minded focus can “turn off” visitors and even make them consider that content to be spam.


5. The content should be organized.

Website heatmaps have shown that most visitors do not read a page from start to finish; instead, they typically scan through the content first for relevancy and subject matter. Furthermore, more attention is paid to organized versus non-organized content. To this end, web content must be organized differently than content found in a novel or textbook. One should create a definitive title and sub-titles, emphasizing given text with numbered lists or bullet points. Content may even be written in the journalistic style of the “inverted pyramid”, where the point of the content is presented first, and then the details are elaborated upon in the subsequent text.


6. Refrain from using black hat techniques.

Many websites and blog owners consider keyword stuffing, link buying, and article spinning to be legitimate methods by which to gain high ranking on search engines like Google. Such methods can initially result in a gain in visitor traffic and conversions. However, these techniques inevitably backfire once a search engine like Google “sandboxes” the site, resulting in its virtual disappearance from the search results. However, even if a search engine does not crawl and discover the offending website or blog, visitors do note if given content is relying on black hat methods for traffic and sales. Once visitors realize that they are not on the right website, they leave.


7. Be truthful about affiliate links and insert them sparingly.

Many visitors are aware that webmasters insert affiliate program ID links into their pages to increase earnings. Many of these visitors also become frustrated when they click on a link that appears to go to another website page only to be directed to a sales landing page or Amazon. If affiliate links are inserted into a web page, it is a good idea to be truthful and label them accordingly. For example, one can include an affiliate link on a page and follow it with the label “affiliate link”, as shown below in the following examples:

  • Travel to the Mayan pyramids (clicking this affiliate link will credit my account).
  • This kitchen appliance does the job of three (affiliate link).


8. Include descriptions of exact page content in meta tags.

Meta description tags should include a description of the exact nature of the content, not just general keywords. Using only single keywords (e.g., airplanes) does not provide search engines with enough information to categorize web page content. This results in a web page or blog post not achieving optimal search engine placement. In fact, according to Google’s Webmaster Tools, meta descriptions should be at least 15 words long. Thus, including a full meta description such as “how to build a Citation airplane model” is far better than just inserting the keyword “airplane” into that area.

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