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Conversion-oriented content typically nudges readers in the direction of some type of an action.

But if you just state that out right – “Click here to buy!” – inside your article, this will just throw people off.

In-content call-to-action could be to sign up for a newsletter, take a free e-course, or buy a product.

Once you’ll stop trying to sell from your content and let your content speak for what you are (or your product is) worth, then you’ll see your content marketing finally bring in real sales and loyal customers.

Here are a few types of content that sells without actually being salesy:

1. Success Stories and Case Studies

Story-telling works because people relate to other people, not brands. They want to hear how other people benefit from what you sell, and in what way.

The best types of stories typically use a structure with three acts. This model splits long text into three pieces:

  1. Setup: In this part, the environment is described and the expectations established for what people should do, act like, and be like. This scene shows normal life in this environment and at the close of the first act, something disrupts the normality and causes the protagonist to make a decision or get into action.
  2. Confrontation: This scene is where the protagonist finds solutions to their problems, but keeps on running up against bigger problems. The protagonist is not yet able to handle the problems that keep coming their way. If the protagonist wants to succeed, they must acquire new skills, or have new experience that takes them to a level they have to be to fix the world.
  3. Resolution: In this part, the story takes the reader to intense moments and the ultimate highlight. Victory is gained, and the protagonist has a new sense of self.

Users want to know what the amazing features of your product are and you have to tell them. Also try telling stories about individuals who have built their business while they conquered their own demons, found mentors, and reached the top with a new understanding of who they are. Share challenges of your users and even tell them about a bit about yourself.

Although different formats can be used to tell case studies, it is a content format that is very well suited to storytelling.

When relating case studies:

  • Talk about successes and failures: Case studies can be related to much better when they are about actual people, and people often go through failure before they achieve success. Talk about the journey people took to get to success with your services and products.
  • Make it about the user: Case studies should not be about the product, but how the product helped a person in their journey. Always keep the focus on the user with the product only forming a small portion of the story.

Question research will help you find those struggles to build an effective case study around. It can be as simple as running Text Optimizer and see what types of questions that relate to your products people ask online:

Text Optimizer questions

Text Optimizer extracts related concepts and questions from Google’s search results, so using it will also help you optimize your content for organic search positions.

2. Lists

Lists always work, with top 10 lists working the best. Almost 30% of all blog posts are lists, so using lists is likely to work for you too.

When creating a list:

  • Meet the need: Don’t create lists simply for the sake of it, but focus on helping readers and users fill a need or solve a problem. Again, question research will help!
  • Experiment with numbers: Although top 10 lists are very popular, bigger list, even hundreds of strategies, tips and resources, also do very well.
  • Make them easy to skim: Users often skim through lists rather than read them. Make sure to number the list and use good headlines so that users looking at them quickly is still able to get the information they want.

Take this idea further: Try to use lists to build connections with niche influencers and make your content more sharable. Letting niche experts create lists for you is a great strategy allowing you to generate lots of shares and links from the featured influencers.

top-lists

Read more about this strategy: How to Leverage Influencer Outreach to Build a Better Blog Post

3. Personal Stories

With social media, emotion is king. It therefore makes sense to create content that will get your audience to get engaged on the emotional level. This is a great way to connect with them.

When sharing a personal story:

  • Inspire: Although it is easy to rave about something simply to rile up emotions, this is normally not such a great idea. Readers will identify content designed to garner clicks, and this will lead to them not trusting you.
  • Vulnerability: Writing coaches will often say that the best technique in good writing is to become vulnerable. Open up and accept that some people are likely to disagree with you and may even criticize what you do or stand for.

Take this idea further: Try and get your story told on other people’s websites. Get interviewed! There are lots of podcasters and vloggers who are on the hunt for interesting stories to tell. Simply search Google for “startup podcasts” or “founder podcast” and reach out to get featured:

Get interviewed

This outbound tactic will get your story heard and bring in conversions from around the web.

4. How-to Guides

If you want to write a good how-go guide, make it long. Good how-to posts are typically 1,500 words. However the more detailed you go with a topic, the better. This will give you the best chance at achieving higher engagement and shares.

Research shows that an ideal blog post takes about 7 minutes to read, which is around 1,600 words.

When creating a how-to guide:

  • Fill a need or solve problems: A how-to guide is only useful if it solves a real problem for your specific audience. A tutorial on how to set up WordPress is probably not going to be useful for entrepreneurs who have been in business for more than 5 years. For that audience, tutorials on creating additional passive revenue streams might be much more suitable.
  • Make it easier to digest and follow: When a how-to guide gets too complicated, you can visually break them up by simplifying them using bullet points, or by adding quotes and checklists. Long, complicated guides are difficult to read if they only consist of big chunks of text.

Take this idea further: Go through your site’s outdated or short-form content and re-package those into one long-form how-to content. This will consolidate your content assets and improve your site SEO.

5. Tools and Resources

Lists of tools and resources are a great method to give your audience value while saving time on production and marketing. Lists are easy and work great.

Good tools and resources lists are often pretty long. Try to give users choices of all resources you can find and let them choose what works best for them based on their needs.

When creating a list of tools and resources:

  • Create long lists: Long lists normally do better as they add more value and accommodate a wider audience than a short list of six or seven resources.
  • Make it visually attractive: For this type of content, remember to add visual elements. These are important as they help break up text and make for easier reading.

Start integrating these content types into your digital marketing strategy and you will soon your content conversions grow. Good luck!