We are always asking the tough questions – how do you generate leads with content marketing? Can you create a sustainable and scalable content development strategy for any client? Can you use it as a lead generation strategy? Will it increase your blog’s reach, and what kind of content will you write? How does it fit in the digital marketing, what about your click through rates, and other important metrics?
The Short Tiered Answer
“Content marketing is the process of researching, creating, publishing and sharing types of content to various marketing channels as a method of advertising. When used correctly it will generate leads that are qualified and grow your online presence.”
If that’s all you were looking for, thanks for coming, and don’t forget to bookmark our site!
However, if you want something a bit more comprehensive, including some take away steps on how to create a content strategy, stick around.
The Internet Runs On Content
“Content” makes the Internet go ‘round. When you search for something on Google and click a link, whatever you land on is content.
It can be a blog post, video, white paper or words on a web page. Maybe a map, an infographic or a downloadable game. It could even be a comment you place on a blog post like this one.
Having said that, it’s important to make a division between the marketing aspect of content and the create quality content aspect.
Some people may say, it’s easier than ever to create content. With a few clicks, anyone can produce an online blog post or social media update without having any skill set in design and marketing whatsoever! This means that the quality of information available on today’s internet has increased exponentially with time – this makes finding good sources all but impossible for modern consumers who are looking solely through Google search results when they need something new related their industry topic at hand…or just curious about what’s happening around town .
There was once such thing as “quality” journalism back when people actually put effort into crafting articles instead consisting mostly off recycling other publications’ work
Content marketing is an involved process. Generating leads through the use of content is not easy. I’m going to outline the steps here, but won’t get into detail about each one individually- you’ll have plenty of opportunity for research and development on your own!
There are many types of content, but for the sake of this outline below is a great place to start your content production stage.
The Content Marketing Process in 10 Steps + 1
- Research – The research phase helps you define the topic of your content. What does your intended audience want to read about? How does it relate to your company offerings? What key terms fall under the above topic, and have the highest search volume vs the lowest competition percentage?
- Brainstorming – Once you have the key terms and topic, how are you going to approach the content? Is it an informational post like this one? Here, the point is to come up with content that you think your audience would find useful, high quality, and worthy of being shared.
- Content Development – Is there anything else that will make this piece worth sharing? For example, we’ve started creating images with key points on them for easy call out and remembering. Will your post have an infographic or download with? It’s okay if it doesn’t (not all pieces do or should), but this is where you decide how much you’re going to offer in a specific piece.
- Marketing Channels – There are as many ways to market content as there is to create it. One of the things we do during the content marketing process is to decide which channels we’re going to share our client’s content on. This step is interchangeable with step 3, depending on how your brain works.
- Content Creation – You’ve pretty much done all the deciding you can do before putting it into practice. Here your writer begins creating any written content for the type of content you previously decided on. It’s important that your writer is familiar with copywriting for SEO, and doesn’t just try to shove all your terms into the first paragraph. The reader always comes first!
- Analytics Tracking – Every piece you create should have a goal in mind, and a way to track if that goal was successful. Always keep your Google analytics account close by, because ultimately it’s about your efforts and search engine optimization that will win in the long game. Even if the goal is that the visitor reads the entire blog post, it’s still a goal. Before you publish, make sure your analytics tracking and goals are set up and in place, or you may want to consider doing an audit on your content.
- Publish and Check – Always, always, always check to make sure your content is published correctly. Don’t make the mistake of scheduling something to go out and then not checking for a few days. Even if you’re using a platform that has never had problems, it could have problems today.
- Implement Content Marketing Campaign – It’s time to send your content out across whatever marketing channels you decided on, whether it’s sharing it to social only, or using a content repurposing method.
- Track and Tweak – Finally, check back in occasionally to see how your content is performing. Does is have a high bounce rate? Sometimes making small tweaks to the content as you watch it perform can help the final outcome do better.
- Rinse and Repeat – This is pretty self-explanatory. Online or off, marketing is a never-ending process. This will help you generate leads when done correctly. Content marketing is no different. Once your marketing campaign is off and all you’re doing is tracking, it’s time to start again!
- Editorial Calendar – Do you have one? Are you looking through your Google search console for ideas, what does your conversion rate look like and are you using a tracking id in your social media?
Types Of Content Marketing
As I said before, there are as many marketing channels as there are types of content marketing. Convince and Convert has an absolutely awesome list of content types: 105 of them to be exact. It’s worth bookmarking in and of itself.
Some of our favorites that we’ve utilized with great success over the past 10+ years include:
- Website/Web pages
- Landing Pages
- Blog Posts
- Content Hubs for Curated Content
All of the above have proven to provide long-lasting, shareable content. For example, guides tend to be evergreen, with an extended expiration date. I love having high quality, shareable assets as part of our content offerings. If you have people on your marketing team that are good writers, a guide is a worthwhile endeavor.
Content Marketing Metrics
One of the most vital parts of content marketing beyond the content itself is tracking how well the content performed. The best way to do that is by generating leads by managing your data. Keeping your data close is another great way to measure and manage your goals. To help you make sure you don’t make the same mistakes over and over, and to utilize the great aspect and information things from each piece of content.
But how do you know if a piece has done well? With all the things that you could track, what are some key things you should be watching?
There are others, depending on your goals for each campaign, but here’s the overview:
- How many people read, downloaded, watched or listened to your content? This is a critical question to answer. If you don’t know how many people saw it, none of the other metrics will give real information.
- How often was the content shared with others? This could be LinkedIn shares, Twitter shares, word of mouth; how often is it talked about?
- How many who read the content became a lead for your company?
- Generating leads can be any specific act, it doesn’t always have to be a conversion. It can be the first step in many, depending on your business model.
- How often do those leads turn into actual customers or clients? Because the final goal of any content marketing is leads and conversions.
Curata put out a great PDF that lays out various metrics and analytics one might track, depending on where you put your content. It’s also a great resource for content publishers.
Remember, content marketing is an important part of your website presence. It takes thought, deliberation and time to get the results you need to succeed online.
Content Marketing Vs. Custom Content
Although some people may think it’s sales or advertising, quality content is a major factor in developing an online business. -And, despite the fact that those same people may think quality content should be about the sale, about the generating a lead, developing content for SEO takes into account that people search to be informed, not sold.
Learning how to create content to inform and sell can be a frustrating endeavor, however. For both your company and your consumers to get the most of your content, it’s important to understand two powerful types of content and how to use them to your benefit: content marketing and custom content.
A Brief Comment On Content Creation
When the term content is used today it can refer to a variety of digital assets, but it usually refers to the written word. Everything your business uses to communicate with your audience is content: informational articles, newsletters, even traditional ads. Then again, so are those images you uploaded to your blog, or that video you downloaded from YouTube.
Every marketing effort uses content of some kind. It brings your audience directly to your brand. It’s the genteel approach. Generating those types of leads, can also improve your brand.
Content For The Purpose Of Content Marketing
Content creation for the purpose of content marketing is the most commonly talked about. In fact, a lot of resources and companies will lump content creation into this category indiscriminately. However, confusing all content to be “content marketing” can be a costly mistake.
All content is not created equal. Specific types are determined by the fundamental purpose of whatever content you want to create.
Using content in marketing attracts new potential customers. This kind of content focuses on driving cold traffic to your site. While return users can benefit from this experience, the ultimate goal is primarily reaching those unfamiliar with your site or brand.
What better way to start building a relationship with your audience than by answering their questions and being relevant?
The idea here is not just getting information out there but also making it worth someone’s time – which means giving them something that will help solve whatever problem they have, or at least provide some answers. Remember now when you add Semantic SEO you’ll notice Google has become your friend, it’s giving you answers!
The most successful content marketing strategies are those that offer something for everyone. A good way to do this is through email newsletters, which provide the latest updates and information on new products or services as well as inside tips designed just for you!
Creating Custom Content
Custom content focuses specifically on your brand. It’s less valuable to fresh customers looking for general information. Instead, it targets those already familiar with your brand.
Think of the newsletter example above. If content marketing is a “subscribe to insights,” the custom content might be a newsletter just for clients. Other examples of custom content include such assets as follow-up product guidebooks and updates.
This is the content you will use to actually sell your product or service and build influence in your market. It goes beyond general information, focusing more on audience influence rather than audience attraction. Sales copy and promotions are easily inserted into these articles, encouraging loyalty built upon the trust developed through content marketing.
By this point, your audience expects you to have something of value to sell and will be more receptive to hearing about it. Consider this the ‘offering’ or selling phase.
Content marketing, if used as the sole method of communication, can end up alienating your customers. After all, most customers are no longer looking for general information once they have bought into the brand.
Remember that content marketing reaches out to find new traffic, not to generate sales. Articles, videos and other informative media can be linked together to funnel visitors to specific products or services. Custom content allows the visitor to control their experience with your company.
Your audience is pulled in by the urge for information about a problem, not necessarily to buy something. When they are ready to be buy, they will seek out specific information about products or services. Using content marketing, you can make that step easier for them without being intrusive. Using a two-step process instead of content marketing alone promotes customer engagement and satisfaction with your brand.
Writing The Content
Separating these different types of content extends to the writers as well. Agency writers make better content marketing articles by researching the topic rather than promoting your brand. The content is more likely to be informative and attractive to new visitors than if written by your in-house team.
For custom content, however, hiring a team of writers familiar with your brand and products ensures accurate and targeted information. Your writers know how to convert the traffic gained from marketing into sales and repeatable profits.
Ultimately, content is created to attract traffic to your site. New traffic requires different strategies than repeat traffic, as they have different goals.
Informative content feeds into sales content, creating a powerful chain in the sales cycle. Either content type alone won’t generate the same results or profits. Don’t just develop content; leverage your writers effectively and create a content brand.
Content Marketing With A Plan
Do you know why content marketing is such a “go-to” strategy for marketing campaigns? You know marketers tell you it’s a big deal and you need to do it, but do you ever wonder why more than half of marketers think personalized content promotes higher engagement rates?
One of the biggest reasons – well, there are several of them – is due to those darling little ad blockers. It’s great going to a site and not having to deal with somebody’s idea of a discreet ad taking up three quarters of the page, isn’t it? -Yet, that makes it extremely hard for the marketers who expect those ads to help sell our brand message.
Here’s another big deal: 62% less costs, 3x the return. Content marketing costs significantly less than traditional marketing to implement and yet, it generates about three times as many leads.
The future of content marketing is now at your fingertips. With so many opportunities to create and consume high-quality information, there are never more than two steps away from creating quality leads for a company that knows what they’re doing when it comes down the strategy front door with these tactics in tow. So what are you waiting for? Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help you generate leads that will take your business to the next level.
Editor’s Note: This articles is a compilation of a few older ones. These have been updated them to be more current with today’s marketing styles, SEO guidelines and Google standards.