Content marketing is a powerful force for generating leads when done correctly.
The challenge is that most companies struggle to do it correctly. In an effort to soften the challenges of content marketing, here is a simple guide to create the quality content you need to generate leads for your clients or your business.
How to Generate Leads Through Content Marketing
1. Create Engaging Content
While the word engaging content gets thrown around more than a tennis ball at Wimbledon, the idea is essential to the content marketing process. No one wants boring content that does not bring in new visitors and prospects.
Therefore, let’s get serious about defining engaging content for your needs.
Relevant– Your content should be helpful to your audience. You can create the best article the digital marketing world has ever seen, but teenagers would still be bored about what you wrote.
Content managers should use tools like Buzz Sumo and Google Keyword Planner to find the best commercial keywords for their clients. While they might not understand the business model as well, they should be able to identify the key words prospects use when moving forward in the sales funnel online.
With the right tools you learn three important things:
- How many people search for this information?
- Can you get viral traffic from your topic?
- Is this a viable market for your content?
Emotional- Next, is there an emotional resonance for your content. Most bloggers spend so much time trying to be professional that they forget to make it emotional and personal.
While, a modicum of professionalism is good, please do not let jargon get in the way of writing content that just vibrates with your target audience needs.
Make your article entertaining, and demonstrate emotions that make them remember your content. Content marketing is only crowded when you talk like everyone else. Be yourself, and you can create the emotions your prospects want to see before working with your business.
If you are not sure if your content was emotional than look at the number of comments, shares, likes, retweets, and other social proof metrics. The proof is in the response you get from users.
Scannable– People read content in different ways. Some scan the blog post for the highlights, while thers read every word you write.
As we discussed in our article on Fixing Your Ecommerce Brand, by putting text in a sort of “F” pattern, you make it possible to increase the retention of your content.
Then the people who want to scan, can do so easily. The people who hang on every word you write are able to follow along as well.
Helpful– Finally, you need to make sure that your content helps your audience with their problem. Relevant is a great start, but when you solve one of their deepest fears you create a long-lasting emotional article they remember.
Next, you need to consistently publish content. Many agencies and businesses ask us how often we need to publish.
The answer varies. However, if you are starting out in marketing then you should publish two times or more per week. The reality is you need to put out content on a regular basis to reap the long-term rewards of content marketing.
Editorial Calendar- A number of great editorial calendar tools exist on WordPress and other platforms to help you continually create content. Once you have a plan in place, it is easy to write notes about topics you want to write about in the future.
Content managers especially need a calendar, so they can track content needs for their various clients.
Workflow– Teams also need a workflow to ensure that the content smoothly flows through the team to your intended audience. As content marketing becomes more time-consuming and involved, it often takes an entire team to make sure that it works. This is the reason why digital marketing agencies have become so important.
That is why your workflow needs to account for the various roles needed in creating the content.
A sample workflow goes as follows:
- Writer- create rough draft by X date
- Editor- edit content within 2 days of receiving rough draft
- Writer- make final revisions 2 days later.
- Graphic Designer- send article to designer for images, infographics, memes, and other relevant graphics to bolster the content. The content the designer creates determines the timeline for them to move forward.
- Poster/Virtual Assistant- finally, your virtual assistant publishes the content. In the case of articles like a skyscraper or round up they also notify influencers about the upcoming post, so it can be shared on social media.
As you can see, creating content is just the beginning of the process. That is why having a workflow ensures that every blog post gets the attention it deserves.
It also ensures your company consistently creates the content needed to generate new leads.
3. Variety of Content
While it is helpful to create a variety of content for your audience, small businesses do not need to jump into the deep end of the content pool right away.
Before having SlideShare presentations, YouTube videos, Podcasts, Infographics, and blog posts make sure that you dominate one specific medium first. Preferably one that your audience likes the most.
While you can quickly scale and repurpose your content, it is important that you do not try to do everything all at once. Otherwise, you might burn out before you can grow large enough to bring in clients.
By focusing on one specific type of content, you also increase your ability to consistently create engaging content your audience remembers when they need your services.
4. Turning Content into Leads
As much fun as it is to create content, you are not just doing it for your health.
Content marketing is serious business. Therefore, you need to not only look at the content creation process, but also how it helps you generate leads for your clients or your business.
Remember the research we discussed above on how to find a relevant market for your content?
Lead generation all starts with solid market research. Agencies often struggle to understand a customers’ core clients. However, you should look back at the research to determine what how to turn the content into leads.
Have a free offer- A good way of generating email subscribers is through free, relevant offers.
For example, if you are writing a blog post about content marketing then you can offer a free PDF with additional information on the topic.
Or you could offer free software, white papers, case studies, or free webinars. The opportunities are limitless for generating leads.
Do not just stop there. Also, give your readers the opportunity to reach out to you with their buying questions. Depending on your business, you can either use a contact form or simply place your phone number on the website.
Just make sure that a prospect can contact you to learn more about your services.
5. Measuring ROI
This is where many content marketers fall short. A good blogger loves to write, and many are personable individuals who like to connect with others in their industry.
However, they do not measure the results of their content enough.
If you want to get better results with your content marketing then you need to test, test, and test some more.
For example, you should evaluate the number of email subscribers you receive on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Because you are consistently creating new content, you are providing a number of new opportunities to generate email subscribers to your list.
You might find that a specific day or time in the week generates the most leads. Instead of publishing three days a week, you might find that publishing instead on a Tuesday and Thursday generate just as many leads.
Can you then duplicate this return by publishing on Wednesday instead of Sunday?
The more data you have, the more you can truly evaluate your lead generation efforts.
Turning your content into leads is hard work. That is why professional content managers have an edge. They spend all of their time working on various content marketing projects for clients.
They understand the best methods for creating the content and also generating leads with a solid content marketing strategy. If you are interested in learning more about how you can use content marketing to generate leads for your business, give us a Shout!