Cha-ching! How To Write A Blog Post That Turns Into Paying Customers
A tried and tested formula for creating content that makes the right kind of customers whip out their credit cards
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You’re up in the wee hours, eyes on fire, finally ready to hit “publish” on your latest blog post.
There’s also a familiar burn in the pit of your stomach because as you schedule your post and think about all the unpaid hours you’ve put into it, you realize…
…you’re playing content roulette.
A game of chance that banks on luck instead of strategy when it comes to getting the kind of results you want. The kind of game that explains why less than 50% of startups survive their first year.
Most people are on autopilot online.
When they hit search, they endlessly scroll through different articles without knowing why they gravitate towards some posts but not others. If your goal is to consume information, being on autopilot is perfectly fine.
But if you’re serious about blogging and online marketing, then you need to understand the process of creating content.
How an article on sleep woke a realization.
In the interests of showing, not telling, let me share with you a story that walks you through the end-user experience of content that converts.
Having had a baby, I went for months on precious little sleep. So when she finally started sleeping through the night, I figured I’d sleep in and get all caught up.
I figured more is better, right?
But despite the fact that I went to bed early and got a solid 8 hours, I felt groggy and tired.
Mystified by this, I searched “How come I’m more tired when I sleep longer?”
Immediately, it took me to a post with almost that exact title by sleep expert, Dr. Michael J. Breus on Huffington Post. Not only did it help solve my sleep problems, but the article’s structure grabbed my attention.
It was the embodiment of what a good blog post should be, when conversions are the goal.
Title: The question your ideal client is up at night Googling
In this case, quite literally! In the example above, the article I found posed a question as its title. Though it was simple, it was a question a lot of people probably google.
Now, this doesn’t mean every title should be a question, but it does mean it’s worth really listening to the way your ideal prospects articulate their pain points or aspirations.
Remember, it’s always about the audience and their needs.
Introduction: Meet the audience where they are (in their “now”)
Before presenting solutions, Dr Breus mentions something that is also vexing me – why does sleeping in sometimes help me feel rested and sometimes make me more tired? Now I know I’m in the right place!
Headers/article sections: Create an interesting sound bite.
Headers, when done right, do more than divide articles into segments.
“A Rhythm Beating to a Different Tune” succinctly describes the section on circadian rhythms while adding a musical flavor.
By melding two images, it transforms an ordinary phrase into something new and interesting.
Main Article: Use easily digestible bullet points.
A lot of people like to skim through the entire article first before reading the details. Large blocks of text tend to discourage people in a rush.
Each point should have a bolded bullet followed by an explanation.
When reading the article, you can easily scroll through the list of solutions like, “Expose yourself to bright morning light.” or “Avoid alcohol and caffeine.”
This makes it easy to absorb and remember key information.
Pre-conclusion: Segment your audience
This may not be something you need to do explicitly or even on every blog post, but I love the way Breus’s main bullets speak the the 80% of readers (like me) who are never going to hire a sleep doctor because our problems are just not serious enough.
He captured my trust by giving me just enough information to understand the context of my problem and just enough practical how-tos to solve it. This makes his post wildly shareable. I have it saved in my Pocket app.
He accepts that this will be enough for most of his readers. But this is where things get serious for his real audience. They might have Googled the same question as I did, but those bullet point strategies aren’t going to help them. They have more serious underlying issues.
In a way that feels more compassionate than salesy, Breus writes, “Sometimes, our best efforts to get a good night’s sleep can be thwarted by another big culprit to unrefreshing sleep: a sleep disorder. And if you suffer from one, then all the hours in the world spent in bed might not help you feel that much better, and maybe even worse.”
He lets you be the one deciding whether this is you. And by leading you to the water without forcing you to drink, the epiphany that follows (if indeed you happen to have a sleep disorder) feels that much more powerful.
Conclusion: Call to action
Your call to action can go either of two ways: You could offer hope or you could sound an alarm. Which makes more sense will depend on the context of the entire piece, your brand and the actual media outlet. For example, if you were writing a column or being interviewed in O Magazine, you’d always want to finish your piece on an upbeat, hopeful note because positive transformation is the hallmark of Oprah’s brand. Scare tactics will likely turn her audience off.
If you’re writing in Business Insider, on the other hand, you really could go either way, and again it would depend on the context you’ve set up.
In the Huffington Post article, Dr Breus writes, “Remember, you may think that you’re a “bad sleeper,” but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of solutions available today to help the worst kind of sleeper achieve the best kind of sleep.”
It’s a subtle, but clear call to get help if you feel you need it.
Then he shares his Twitter handle, so his readership can follow him.
Author: Add your background.
To seal the deal, he has crafted a byline that gives him undeniable legitimacy and credibility.
Dr. Michael J. Breus, is a PhD, FAASM, Clinical Psychologist and Board Certified Sleep Specialist.
That’s pretty impressive!
While you may not hold a PhD, you do have credentials of your own. The idea is to show why you’re an expert on your topic. Keep it short. If you need a template to create your own byline (and bios of various lengths), you can take our Best Bio Ever mini-course in the Baby Got Booked Lab.