How To Write Content That Sells: The Anatomy In A 6-Figure Post
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We all know that content marketing is a great, long-lasting way to increase revenue in your business.
The problem is, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, not all the content you write actually does anything to bring in sales!
Sometimes you write a piece of content and see a huge influx of leads/sales. Other times, you’d be excited to hear a cricket chirping.
So, how are you publishing content that sells?
In this article I’d like to show you the process I go through while creating content which has led to as much as 6 figures in real revenue from a single post (and many other examples).
Before I get into the step-by-step process I go through, I first have to get you to fully understand something...
Social Shares And "Eyeballs" Do Not Matter
Yes, I know they're good at helping with SEO. But if your content isn't producing real revenue, who cares? The point of creating content is to produce sales, not shares or views.
Just think about all the cute memes you see on Facebook. They're inspiring. Sometimes they make you tear up (the ones about sons and fathers always get me!). They get insane amounts of shares.
But they don't lead to sales.
The first mental shift you need to make is to stop caring (as much) about shares and instead focus on coming up with content ideas that make real sales.
That said, let's jump into the good stuff, shall we?
Step #1: Know Exactly Who You Can Help And What They're Looking For
If you're going to sell more, you have to know exactly who it is that you're selling to. You also have to know exactly what it is that they want!
This is something we all know, but very few of us really do the dirty work to figure out.
The more important point here is that once you know exactly who your perfect customer/client is, and exactly how you can help them best, you need to structure your content around those issues.
You need to think in terms of the following sentence...
"How will this content directly pre-sell a new client or customer on doing business with me?"
Here's an example:
I have a client I'm about to start working with. She's a naturopathic doctor who uses customized treatments based on your micro-nutrient profile to help high net worth individuals live a more high-performance lifestyle through their health. Her new program will be in the range of $6,000 per year (there are various price points).
One of the things I'll be doing for her is building an automated webinar. When strategizing the content, you can bet I won't be talking about "7 steps to get a better night's sleep".
That would do nothing to pre-sell the service we offer. Instead, it will be something along the lines of...
"How A Simple 10-Minute Blood Test Can Boost Brain Performance 37% In 7 Days"
I'll come up with something better than that (I haven't started the research yet), but you get the idea. It calls out to our specific audience (high performers) and will pre-sell them on her actual treatment.
Here's another example:
I build sales funnels for my clients. My ideal client is someone who's already doing well, but wants to take their business to the next level and doesn't want to do all the work themselves.
I could write a blog post talking about the top 10 sales funnel tools I use for creating sales funnels.
In fact, considering "number" posts get a lot of shares, I'm sure it would do well!
The problem is, that doesn't pre-sell my own services. That simply pre-sells my audience on the tools I use but does nothing to demonstrate my own expertise.
See the difference?
Compare that with a guest blog post I wrote for Visual Website Optimizer.
That single blog post brought me in well over $100,000 in sales.
Throughout the rest of this article, I'd like to break it down for you.
Let's start with...
Step #2: Infuse Controversy Into Your Content
Long form sales letters are a controversial topic. I won't go into all the details on that, but if you're a marketer, you're probably familiar with them.
Maybe you even still think they don't work.
The point is, this article sparked up A LOT of controversy because the main audience was people who understood and were actively doing split-testing. I wrote this because I knew they might be interested in split-testing a long form letter after reading my article, and I was right.
When you're developing article ideas, create a list of all the myths in your industry. Then make a list of all the "truths" in your industry that are false.
For example, most people think eating breakfast in the morning helps you lose weight. The problem is, that's absolutely false. Your metabolism doesn't change over that short of a time period. In fact, many people lose weight by skipping breakfast so they can eat more satisfying meals later. Me included.
THAT is a good post, with a great chance of going viral because it might spark up some controversy.
The reason you want controversy is two-fold...
- Virality: If you're looking for more people to view your post, controversy will help make that happen.
- Resonance: Think of people like Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern. You either LOVE or HATE them. But the fact is, the people who love them are absolute raving fans! The way you make more sales is by having raving fans, not people who are moderately interested in you.
And now that you've chosen a topic that will spark up a little controversy in the industry, you need to plan out...
Step #3: Demonstrate Proof And Expertise
One of the secrets of a high-converting offer is demonstrating expertise. Infomercials are the masters at this. I'm working on an infomercial project right now and the amount of time they put into figuring out how to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products is absolutely breathtaking.
The good news is you can do this through your content.
Demonstrating proof and expertise is all about creating an "aha" in the readers' mind. You want to get them nodding in agreement with you. It creates a psychological connection... the same as sitting in an audience and nodding along as the speaker (i.e. the big authority in the room) gives his or her talk.
You also want to make sure you sprinkle bits of proof throughout your content.
One of my structures for an article is talking about a specific issue, and then giving some sort of example which adds credibility. This is why it's important to have a running list of case studies/testimonials and experiences you can pull from while you're writing.
It doesn't just have to be a testimonial, though. There are a lot of different ways to be seen as an authority on your topic.
Here are 7, just to get you started...
- Publicity: People gain instant respect for anybody who has been talked about on the news!
- Scientific studies/statistics: I use this primarily for health-related projects, however, you can find studies on almost anything these days! Simply look up "your topic statistics" in Google. For example, "email marketing statistics".
- Stories: Stories are the gateway to someone's heart. Compelling stories allow you to tap into the subconscious mind of your prospects and develop an instant bond unlike any other method of persuasion.
- Specialization: Who do you trust more to fix your clogged arteries... your general doctor or a heart surgeon?
- Comparisons: Showing comparisons is the equivalent of demonstration. I've seen increases of 20%+ in conversion rates for my clients when adding comparison charts in the right places!
- Dismantling myths: If you can break someone free of a myth that's hurting them, and get them to believe you, it gives you instant authority.
- Empathy: The key to great marketing is understanding your customer better than your competitors. Similar to stories, empathy opens up the mind and allows them to quickly trust you, even if they hardly know you.
Those are just a few pieces of proof you can sprinkle throughout your content. Once you've added in enough proof to get the readers to realize you're an authority they can trust, it's time for...
Step #4: Salt The Wound
Salting the wound is a crucial step. This varies for each person because you're all selling different products/services, but the point here is making the following connection in the reader's mind:
- The normal way is hard and/or ineffective
- My way makes it easy and effective
The product/service you're selling is likely already making it easier, faster, and more effective for the person who's buying it. But you have to demonstrate that!
In your content that sells, you have to spell out, in detail, the process needed to get the end result. You don't want to skimp here. You want to be extremely thorough and take it step-by-step.
(Note: You should also do this in your main sales pages, like I do here.)
You do this for two reasons...
- For The DIY'ers: You want to make sure you're adding a lot of value to those people who will take your advice and actually do it themselves. If they do, great!
- Show How Complicated It Really Is: You'll also have a huge portion of people who want to get it done, but then see how much work it's going to take and subconsciously decide that they'd rather hand the project to an expert (i.e. you).
In other words, you're selling the process and end results. Yet by laying everything out in specific detail, you'll automatically attract those people who want the end result, but don't feel like going through the work to get it.
For example, I once wrote an article for another very well-known blog (CrazyEgg) talking about crafting emails.
In that article, I went into depth about my process for writing emails. For me, it's all intuitive and quick because I do it everyday... However, if you didn't write emails everyday like I do, it seems very daunting.
That's why this step is so important.
You're adding tremendous value to those who want to do it because you're telling them exactly what to do. Plus, you're proving your authority, because experts have step-by-step systems in place to do the work they do. Finally, you're automatically attracting those who see that you're an expert, understand why to do it, but don't want to do it themselves.
It's a beautiful thing!
And that's where the next step comes into play...
Step #5: Understand The Exact Next Steps That Need To Happen
Finally, you need to have 2–3 different lead generation options to send people to, based on your goals and the level of sophistication of your content.
Let's say you're talking about a very basic topic in your marketing. An example could be a chiropractor talking about 3 ways to reduce lower back injuries. People who respond to this type of information will be at the beginning of their buyers' journey. In that case, you shouldn't immediately ask them to do business with you. Instead, you should send them to some sort of lead generation offer that is similar to what they just read.
(So for example, a free report with 7 more steps to reducing injuries.)
Compare that to an article talking about a 30-second stretch that reduces back pain NOW.
People who resonate with that article will have back pain at this very instant. That means they would be much more open to calling you immediately to come in for an appointment because they want the solution right away.
If you put all these tips together and keep them in mind as you're strategizing your content, you should see an increase not only in CTR from your articles, you should also see a noticeable increase in readers turning into customers and clients.
The best part is, all of these strategies can be directly applied to your sales funnel in your emails, webinars, sales pages, and everything else you're using to make more sales!
I developed these strategies while building sales funnels for my clients, and simply used the same ideas for the very beginning of the funnel (i.e. the content/attraction part).
Take a few minutes to re-read this so it really sinks in. Then go ahead and start figuring out how/where you can implement them in your business.
And, of course, let me know if you have any questions and if this article has helped you!
September 16, 2015