Content marketing is one of the most important SEO factors in 2017. This should be no surprise to anyone. Google has long rewarded websites with relevant, quality content. What this means however, is that if small businesses want to compete with big businesses, they need to effectively use content marketing to generate a steady flow of leads. And if done correctly, content marketing will also create awareness, build trust, convert leads, serve existing customers, and help you generate referrals too.
The good news is that you don’t need as much content as you might think. Focus on quality over quantity. Consider writing just one or two blog posts a month, but make sure you adhere to the following system for using content marketing to generate a steady flow of leads.
Using Content Marketing to Generate Leads
- Build a list of 6 of the most useful content ideas for your ideal customer
- Create a lead generating content upgrade for each of these 6 ideas
- Start promoting each idea in social media and advertising
Step 1 – What content should you produce?
The key factor here is to remember who your ideal customer is and remember that effective, lead-generating content is going to be content for that ideal customer. Using your knowledge about your business and your customers, and tools like the Google Keyword Tool, Spyfu, or Semrush, develop a list of core content topics and assign one or two to each month for the next twelve months.
Each theme should be a significant topic related to your business or industry and represent an important search term. Think about it as if it were a book. Each month is a chapter in what could be a book at the end of the year.
Step 2 – What exactly are content upgrades and how do I create them?
The idea of driving someone to your website or landing page and enticing them to give you their email address in exchange for something they are looking for is standard marketing procedure these days. However, the idea of bait for lead capture has evolved. The basic idea behind a content upgrade is this:
Write a great blog post and then when people show up to read it offer them an “upgrade” to the content (check list, video, case study) relevant to the topic in exchange for contact information.
If you can do this correctly, you can effectively convert visiting traffic to a lead funnel. The benefits of content upgrades are:
- precisely segmented visitors – you can tailor an email marketing follow-up in a highly focused manner
- improved automation and follow-up – you can use a lead generation tool like Thrive
Creating Content Upgrades
One of the best ways to create a content upgrade is to look at your Google Analytics data and find the most popular content and then consider way to personalize a content upgrade for these posts. Hubspot has a great post from 2016 with 20 example of lead generating content – 20 Types of Lead Generating Content to Put Behind Your Landing Pages.
You don’t have to overthink this. Most people just want a snack – they aren’t looking for a manual. Here are some ideas for good content upgrades:
- a checklist based on a how to post.
- take a longer list type of post and then expand on the first 10 in more detail.
- create a list of tools related to a particular type of advice.
- create and offer a screencast showing readers exactly how you do something.
- share a template.
Step 3 – Start promoting each article using advertising and social media
The Field of Dreams mantra just isn’t applicable anymore. If you build it, people won’t really come and they probably won’t find you online. You have to promote your content on social media. Here’s some advice from one of my favorite marketing blogs – Kissmetrics: 17 advanced methods for promoting your new piece of content.