When you’ve had a website for several years and it just isn’t converting at a high rate, it’s tempting to want to scrap it and start over.
But that isn’t the answer to your problem. Instead, performing a simple content audit to see what’s working and what’s not, and providing a more focused effort, will get you moving in the right direction.
So in today’s post, I’d like to share 5 ways to develop a smarter content strategy in 2014. You don’t need to ditch your website and start over from the beginning. We just need to get clean house and get your website content in order, that’s all.
Let’s get started!
1. Figure Out What’s Working Well
When you’re been writing on your blog for years and the leads just aren’t pouring in, it’s tempting to want to scrap it and start over.
Instead, do a content audit to see what is working well. To do this, look at your analytics:
- What are your top landing pages?
- What are you most frequently read blog posts?
- What blog posts have the most engagement (comments, shares, etc.)?
- Do you have more content in some categories than in others?
- How much of your content is out-of-date or inaccurate? Granted, if you’re writing a real estate blog, a lot of content is going to be out-of-date quickly, but that’s ok. What we’re looking for in this case is the accuracy of the information in your community landing pages.
Armed with this knowledge you can then work on rewriting or repurposing some of that other content so that it flows better with the stuff that’s working well.
You’re writing content to satisfy your audience. To provide them with information that addresses their needs, and educates them on the buying/selling process. But along with satisfying your audience, the content that you write needs to benefit your business in order to make it worth your time and energy.
So when you’re writing something new, ask yourself:
- Is this any good? How is this helpful to my audience and will they care to read it?
- What key message or call to action am I trying to communicate with this piece of content?
2. Create Less, Not More
Creating more content is often perceived as creating more selling opportunities … The more you write, the more leads you’ll generate. But that isn’t always the case.
In order for your content to be effective it needs to do two things well:
- It needs to be useful to your audience.
- It needs to be actionable.
The content that you write needs to speak to a specific audience and it needs to drive them to take action.
Remember, you’re using your content to establish yourself as an expert in your reader’s eyes and to build a relationship with them. Once you’ve built your “know, like, and trust” factor with them, you ask for the sale.
Writing more content isn’t the answer. Writing more useful and actionable content is.
3. Listen To Your Customers More
Marcus Sheridan runs a fiberglass in-ground swimming pool company called River Pools & Spas. In 2008, the market tanked. And by 2009 Marcus was on the verge of losing his business and having to lay off all of his employees.
He needed a marketing strategy to bring in sales … fast!
The answer: content marketing.
Marcus sat down and wrote answers to every possible question potential customers were asking:
- Are fiberglass pools stronger than concrete?
- Will a fiberglass pool increase the value of my home?
- What are the biggest and smallest sizes for fiberglass pools?
The end result? 183 pages of content that addressed customers questions, objections, and concerns all while building the company’s “know, like, and trust” factor.
And guess what … the company didn’t close it’s doors. Marcus’ focus on creating high quality useful content that addressed customers questions paid off and River Pools & Spas successfully turned things around.
The lesson: listen to your customers more. Write content that addresses their questions, objections, and concerns. Soon, your own content will be winning you new customers as well.
4. Involve Your Community
Your goal with your content should be twofold: first, to attract new customers and second, to retain old ones. To do this well you should be creating content that focuses on the interests of your target user.
The more you involve yourself in the local community and the harder you listen, the better you’ll understand the rationale, emotions, concerns and motivations of your target audience. Armed with this knowledge you can really start to creating content that speaks to their needs and desires.
In order to do this well, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who specifically do you want to attract? What type of buyer or seller?
- What are their interests? What are they interested in learning about the local community?
- How can you create an environment for them to connect and discuss?
The social networking site Nextdoor for example allows you to create a private social network for your community where residents can engage with one another over everything and anything about their community. In the Content Smarts membership I interviewed an agent who closed 2 deals with buyers whom he met via his own private social network using Nextdoor.
5. Perform Self Check-Ups Regularly
Once you have your content train moving, perform self check-ups regularly. Look for things like:
- What are my top landing pages?
- Do you have a high or low bounce rate?
- How many pages are users viewing per visit?
- What content is converting users the best?
Start treating your website like a business because it is one. Once you start to understand how your content is performing you can start to identify website leaks and fix them. You can start to focus on optimizing what works so that you do convert more visitors into leads. But in order to do this well you need to check in on yourself regularly (at least once a month).
Become the Leading Informational Provider for Your Community
Becoming the leading go to resource in your community isn’t about who has the most Facebook Likes or Twitter followers. So forget about “building a better presence” through becoming a social celebrity.
Focus instead on developing the best content you can possibly create for your customers and potential customers.
Is it useful? Hit publish.
Is it actionable? Hit publish.
Listen to your customers more. On social networks (like Trulia Voices) and anywhere else that they’re spending their time looking for information. Armed with that knowledge, use it to create content that speaks to them and answers their questions. Answers to these questions should be coming from you.
The more people interact and engage with your content, the more they get to know, like and trust you. The more they know, like, and trust you, the more likely they are to want to work with you when the time is right.
Lastly, create less, not more. But make sure it’s the best damn content out there. And then, make sure you keep your website copy in order optimizing what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. Do that and you’ll be well on your way to building a smarter content strategy in 2014.