Google Search On Apple iPad2Business owners have been investing in content for quite some time now – something that looks set to increase as we move into 2015. However, the majority of content is still underperforming and small business owners in particular are missing a trick. SEO appears to be the main aim of smaller firms who publish blog posts on a regular basis, but content has a much bigger role to play.

Even if your blog posts are loaded with quality and your audience can’t get enough of them, they’re underperforming unless they come with that next vital step. Like every other piece of content you publish, they need to push visitors on to the next stage of the conversion process.

Reassess your objectives

If your content is underperforming there’s a good chance you haven’t got the right targets in mind. Increasing traffic and building brand awareness are two fine examples of targets for a successful content strategy – especially blogs. But the overriding goal of everything you do is to increase conversions.

Conversions are where the money is so you want to use every tool you have available to increase your conversion rate and improve your ROI. Content has a vital role to play here, but so many businesses overlook this and settle for underperforming content.

Lead your audience

It’s not a question of quality content on an individual basis either. Let’s assume that your content is top-notch and you have a stream of comments, shares and likes. People are reacting to your content, but what do they do when they finish reading or watching? If they leave your website or social media pages then you’re missing out on a potential conversion.

Obviously, you can’t convert every member of your audience into a customer, subscriber or whichever action taker you want. But your content needs to guide the maximum number of prospects in the right direction. Which means there should be no such thing as an isolated piece of content – rather a network of pieces that path a journey for your audience, towards an all-important conversion.

Creating journeys

In the most simple form you need to make sure every piece of content comes with a next step for users to follow. Calls to action come into play, but you can do so much more than direct people to your contact page. Let’s start with your social media accounts and a post that highlights an exciting development in your industry. You know your audience will be keen to find out more so offer them the information they’re looking for by linking to a short blog post that goes into more detail.

With prospects on your website you now need to turn that traffic into a conversion. As this is a news story you’ll probably find a better conversion rate by offering more news via a subscription, rather than the promotional approach. Subscriptions come with invaluable email addresses and a chance to continue the content journey with your audience – all from a simple two-step process from social to your blog page.

You can get more strategic as well and implement guest blogging into the process, a clear direction throughout your website and ensure every piece of content acts a next step along the conversion process.