Does your website content generate leads? What about your blog posts? Do readers find your articles so compelling they react with comments, social sharing, and downloading your products and services information?
Content marketing can be more effective in generating leads than advertising or any other type of marketing. Because you’re targeting your content toward the type of people you’d like to have as customers, you’re effectively creating a lead generation tool that will lead them down your sales funnel.
Let’s Start With a Strategy
Too many businesses start blogging or using content marketing without a clear strategy in place to generate leads.
- What is your goal in using a blog as a marketing tool?
- Who is your audience, and what do they care about?
- Do they even read blogs?
Answering these questions can help you decide the best strategy to reach your target market and turn readers into leads.
Part of your content marketing strategy should also determine how often you blog (I recommend no less than once a week; more is always better), and what channels you will promote your blog through. You may want to find guest blogging opportunities, or invite other bloggers to contribute to your blog for another voice and perspective.
Drawing in Leads
Simply having a blog won’t get you more customers. But focusing your content on topics that your target market wants to learn more about will. The greatest blog content in the world might get you admiration but unless it generates leads, it’s not working as an effective business blog.
Start with your FAQ page to get an idea of what your customers want to know about your product or industry. Branch out and see what folks are talking about on Twitter or LinkedIn, or Facebook. You can even look at your competitors’ blogs to see what subjects they cover. A great way to do this is to go to Quicksprout and type in your competitor’s blog URL. Quicksprout will run an analysis on the website and it will include a social analysis. Click that link and take a look at the URLs that are shared most often. That gives you an idea of the type of content people are most interested in.
The key is sticking to your niche. Go too wide on your blog topics and you start to dilute your readership. Be too tightly focused and you’ll lose their interest.
Creating a list of topics to cover for the next few weeks or months can make it easy for you to quickly grab a topic and write about it. You can always fill in the gaps with news, seasonal or promotional topics.
Connect the Dots
Your blog should quite clearly connect to your website, and vice versa. Is there a link back to your site that a blog reader can click to find out more about your products or services?
And while you shouldn’t solely write content about your products, it’s a good idea to tie in to them from time to time. Sprinkle in a how-to post about one of your popular products, or a video tutorial in between other posts.
Create Calls to Action
Having content targeted to the types of customers you want to attract is a start, but unless you’re also tying in strong calls to action, your work will be useless. Find creative ways to encourage people to buy or contact you for more information.
Consider a sidebar advertising a promotion on a product or service. Use a visually appealing graphic (aka call-t0-action) and include a special discount or offer. Or provide an overview of a product in a blog post, then include a special offer at the end of the post, again, linking to the product page.
Content works best when it’s shared so that a wider audience has a chance to click the link and read your posts. Set up your blog RSS feed to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, and any other social channels you have a presence on (as long as it’s in keeping with that platforms best practices).
Also include social share buttons in your blog template so that any reader can easily click a button to share your posts with their followers. This will help others—likely with the same interests as your readers—to be exposed to the content you’re delivering. More readers means more qualified leads for your pipeline!
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