Last updated: December 14, 2015 by Loz James
How to turn readers into buyers
Tom Hunt of Virtual Valley

This is a guest post by Tom Hunt. Tom is the founder of SaaS Marketer and bCast (B2B podcast hosting for high growth businesses). He lives and works in Hackney, London with his delightful partner Rebecca and little dog called Bear.

OK, so you've decided you need to grow your business and have just finished reading that book about online marketing - and it preaches the following philosophy...(you know the sort of thing, you've read it now a thousand times)...

1. Start a blog

2. Help your audience

3. Watch the sales roll in

So you set up your blog and social media profiles…

You are pumping out multiple articles per week and sharing them furiously…

You are motivated and have a LONG list of topics to cover.

And yes you see some small traffic spikes (though they quickly drop off when you stop posting right?).

But the sales don’t just “roll in”.

Trust me, I know; I have been there… multiple times.

And you are now getting tired of producing content yourself so are considering outsourcing…


Now there is nothing wrong with outsourcing, but there is something wrong with an incoherent, unfocused content strategy that doesn’t encourage your readers to buy.

By the end of this article you will start your journey on the road to developing a deep clarity and focus in your content strategy that will be evident in EVERY post you publish that will eventually skyrocket your ROI.

1. Understand Your Reader's Desired Outcome

What does your reader truly want?

Depending on your business this could be the ability to play the piano, clean their carpet or to make more money.

It is only when you truly understand this can you create an ethical and profitable business, as let’s face it…

You will only be profitable in the long term if you are able to deliver the customer their desired result.

Back to content…

Example: Content Champion

Head over to the Content Champion About page and take a read…

Does it seem like these guys know who they are targeting?

Content Champion about

Exercise #1: What is your reader's desired outcome?

2. Understand Where Your Reader Is In That Journey

When your reader reaches your blog/YouTube Channel/website, where are they on their journey to their desired end result?

If we take blogging for example…

An aspiring bloggers end goal (I suspect), would be income and impact.

And to be able to reach those desired outcomes a number of steps would have to be made, such as:

  • Choosing a niche
  • Buying a domain
  • Building a website
  • Setting up social media profiles
  • Building a content schedule
  • Learning to write headlines
  • Learning about lead generation
  • Building an autoresponder

The list goes on…

My blog could potentially target people that are starting out or I may focus on those with an already established audience.

Example: Virtual Valley

Virtual Valley is a Virtual Team Building Platform connecting Entrepreneurs and Virtual Team Members (Full disclosure, I am a founder).

When considering the type of content to produce for our company blog, we really attempted to get into the minds of our target customer (a 29 year old, male, location independent entrepreneur) to understand where they would be on their journey before they would use our platform.

Virtual Valley

And we decided that the thing an entrepreneur would do after they grow their business, is to outsource low ROI tasks to perpetuate the growth.

Thus we made the tagline and focus of our blog:

How To Bootstrap The Growth Of Your Virtual Business.

As we knew that if we were able to produce content that would help them grow, they would be more likely to come to us to use our platform to hire Team Members with the increased cash flow, to help them grow further.

Exercise #2: Where are your readers on their journey to their desired outcome?

3. Create Content That Starts At That Point

As a blogger, blogging about building a blog, you would need to understand at which stage on this journey my readers are…

And then need to create content that would help them move down the path.

For example…

Let’s say your blog will target readers that are just starting out on their blogging journey, you would produce the following content:

Now, these headlines would REALLY stand out to people at the start of their blogging journey and would be bound to receive more traffic, links and shares from relevant readers.

Example: Buffer

Social media automation tool Buffer know the score…


They understand that their potential users may be new to using social media networks such as Twitter and that if they can help engage these users with the social media networks, these users are then more likely to require their automated social media services.

Exercise #3: What information can help your readers with the first step in their journey to their desired outcome?

4. Ensure That Your Content Progresses Them Down That Road

Now here is the tricky part…

You need to make sure that EVERY piece of content walks your reader down the path closer to their desired outcome.

For example in “Niche Research - The Ultimate Guide”

You would need to cover EXACTLY what you need to consider when researching the niche of your new blog, including images and diagrams, links and infographics showing what you have done in the path.

You need to make it as EASY as possible for them to take action…

Because your business depends on it.

Example: Robbie Richards

Robbie is an expert in creating detailed, long form, actionable posts that really leave his readers (myself included) with a clear roadmap for what needs to be done next on their journey:

Robbie Richards

You can see that Robbie has gone away, achieved awesome SEO results and then produced an incredibly detailed post on how he achieved those results

Exercise #4: What have you or other people in your network done that you can use as a case study to help your readers achieve the same results?

5. Enable Them To Take The Next Step (With You)

Now we get to the exciting part…

Because when you become one of the few…

And you start actually ensuring that your readers’ move down the journey to their desired outcome with you, something strange will happen:

1. Your readers will start to believe that they can actually reach their desired outcome

2. Your readers will start to look at you as an authority in the niche

Pretty sweet right?

And do you know what these two things are awesome for?

Yes you guessed it:


So, it is at that point when your readers reach end of your awesome, action inspiring post that you have to enable them to take the next step on their journey with YOU.

Now this could be in the form of another piece of content or software that they can access in exchange for a newsletter or it could be in the form of a product.

This is up to you…

But if you are not offering them a chance to continue down their path with you, then you are doing them a disservice.

Example: Digital Marketer

Founder of Digital Marketer, Ryan Deiss has been quoted as saying:

Every blog post must have a call to action

At the Digital Marketer annual Traffic & Conversion conference, and his company definitely live up to this, you will be challenged to find a CTA-less post on their site.

Here is their call to action at the end of this massive, value offering post on email marketing:

Digital Marketer

Note how this is not a hard sell, it is simply the next step in the journey that their reader must make on their journey to online business success through email marketing.

Those links and a banner below link to a landing page where your potential customer is to enter their email address to access the 3-part video training.

Exercise #5: What is the next logical step for your reader to take after consuming your content to help them along their journey?


Now you have the knowledge.

The knowledge that will force you to stop pumping out useless, unfocused articles that will bring you little traffic, no leads and even less customers.

It is time to head out there and:

1. Understand Your Reader's Desired Outcome

2. Understand Where Your Reader Is In That Journey

3. Create Content That Starts At That Point

4. Ensure That Your Content Progresses Them Down Their Road

5. Enable Them To Take The Next Step (With You)

Which will enable you to create content that matters, that helps and most importantly… sells.

Bu oh no, I’m not done with you yet…

Complete exercises #1-5 in the comments below...

I need to see each of your answers to the following 5 exercises in the comment box below, go on, do it NOW!

And for everyone that does, I will give feedback and if required, we can have a quick Skype call to go through your content strategy step by step 🙂

Finally, if you are aware of anyone in your network that is struggling to convert readers to buyers with their content marketing, feel free to share this article with them using the buttons on this page...