8 Content Marketing Strategies That Generate Leads
Content marketing is one marketing channel that every business absolutely must invest in.
- High conversion rate — given content marketing provides potential customers with value/knowledge before asking anything of them, it enables you to establish your authority and builds trust, which leads to higher conversion rates than say ads.
- Scale — while it may take many weeks or months to fully rev your content marketing strategy up, once in full swing it’s an ongoing, automatic lead-sending machine that requires much less effort to maintain than it takes to start up due to the benefits of established authority, social/SEO momentum and the referral/word of mouth benefits of increased brand awareness.
- It’s free — while ads require significant budget (and largely disappear if/when you stop feeding them budget), your content marketing strategy produces free leads via SEO, natural referrals/WOM and social.
Sounds great, right? Your next question is probably:
Sold! How do I set up a content marketing strategy?
You’re in luck. Today’s post details 8 content marketing strategies which you can put into place today, to start driving leads tomorrow:
- Your website blog (SEO)
- Email marketing
To give you a sense of distribution amongst each channel, here’s a breakdown of the last 30 days showing our email captures and form contact (leads) captures by source:
Your Blog (SEO)
Blogs are a must for several reasons, including:
- Acquiring SEO visibility on a diverse set of keywords, given you only have so much space to rank for keywords with your main pages and don’t want to clutter your main message.
- Giving you a chance to build authority in your field with potential customers.
- Providing users a reason to continue coming back to check your site out.
Be sure to keep these tactics in mind as you determine what content to cover and start to write your first posts:
- Setting and sticking to a certain post cadence is important, just as it is for your social strategy. The more frequent the better, yet take the quality > quantity approach and figure out what the right cadence for you is, so that you can build expectations on consistency with your visitors.
- Pick a topic you’re an expert in and write on trending topics that few others are writing about for best results, as you will encounter less competition.
3. Create a comparison of how many searches are available vs how much competition exists and target keywords that have high searches and a low number of results. But don’t get greedy! Target terms that have only a few thousand or ideally less than 1,000 page results at first until you build up your SEO strength and ability to compete.
While it’s hard to find general results in the low thousands, it’s much easier to find keywords with less title tag competition, which indicates an opportunity to gain an advantage by putting that keyword into your title tag. Use the search modifier “allintitle:” before your search query to identify title tag competition.
4. Build backlinks by guest posting or post swapping with reputable websites.
5. Optimize your title and description tags for CTR.
By putting these tactics into place for our blog strategy, we’ve put some great new user growth numbers on the board for SEO performance in general, as well as growing the number of leads sourced from SEO.
One great way to grow your performance in SEO, email marketing and total lead terms is to create and distribute whitepapers. Whitepapers are PDFs that package up a set of related information and are usually gated access, requiring visitors to provide information such as an email address before allowing them to download the whitepaper.
While we haven’t yet converted any whitepaper signups into contact leads from our 30 Must Use Tools for Mobile App Startup Teams whitepaper, we did capture 30 new email addresses so far; and as we note below, our email campaign has been instrumental in converting some of our leads. Whitepapers are also great for SEO given their names can contain important keywords and because the valuable information they hold makes them magnets for backlinks and citations.
Keep these points in mind when creating your own whitepaper:
- Make references to or cite information from influencers and be sure to reach out to them to let them know you have done so, and to ask whether they would be willing to help you spread the word to their followers. We reached out to each of the tools mentioned in our whitepaper and were pleasantly surprised when more than half replied and agreed to provide us with visibility through retweets and replies on Twitter!
2. Repackage content from your blog or other existing information sources, but be sure to add fresh, new insights to give people a reason to keep reading.
3. Invest in design to make sure your whitepaper looks as good as it reads. Just like websites and apps, people are quick to judge and abandon ship if they aren’t greeted with an appealing and professional aesthetic.
Webinars are a chance for you to showcase your authority on your topic in 3D, whereas your blog, whitepapers and even pre-recorded videos are only in 2D. Webinars lend you more credibility by not only pushing information to people, but educating people in real-time (exposing you to the risks that come along with that and giving you a chance to impress), allowing your audience to ask questions and explaining topics through dynamic conversation that a static text post simply couldn’t cover.
We just recently did a private webinar on Apple’s new search ads with some folks from Grow.co’s invite-only community and MobileDevMemo on Friday, October 14th. Since then (one day since writing this post), we’ve identified one social email capture that was influenced by the webinar.
Keep these points in mind for your webinar marketing efforts:
- Don’t skimp on the platform — invest in a solid service that mitigates A/V glitches, can handle a large audience, provides reminders and enables people to dial-in with minimal effort in order to keep your credibility high.
- Do not “wing it.” Prepare your content and take several practice dry-runs in order to get the kinks out, ensure your delivery is within the time frame and make sure you have everything covered. Even after practicing, be sure to overestimate how much time you need to get through your content and allot 10–20 minutes for Q&A.
- Record your webinars so that you can roll them into your general content marketing strategy and extract more value from your time and effort.
Email marketing has been a staple of content marketing strategies since content was a thing and, despite the rise of spam blockers and separate inboxes, will be for many more.
Email marketing works so well because it delivers content to people rather than requiring them to go to your brand, and also because people have indicated that they want to hear from you by signing up from your list.
When it comes to setting up your email strategy, Mailchimp is one of the most popular vendors and allows you to install an email capture form directly into your website.
You can take it one step further by integrating Hubspot’s Lead-in tool. Lead-in not only does it do a fine job at helping you capture email addresses with its ability to customize your form’s style, appearance and trigger-style, but it also acts as a CRM for all of your site’s form fills, gathering information if available on each person and what source they came from (which is how we have so easily identified all of our email/form capture source data!). Plus, it’s 100% free and as easy as installing a Wordpress plugin or adding some website code.
We began by using Mailchimp’s email capture form, but when we added Lead-in we more than doubled our daily subscriber volume.
While we haven’t sourced any leads last-click from email, we have noticed that several leads require one or more email touch points in order to convert from visitor to lead. For example, lead-in enabled us to see that one of our leads required five Google searches, two email newsletter link clicks, two site referrals and one direct visit in before we saw a contact form fill, which helped us validate our efforts in each of those channels.
Keep these points in mind when setting up your email marketing strategy:
- Be sure to set up an initial, automated email in order to educate your list a bit more about your business and prime them to be ready for more communications.
- Do communicate regularly with your list, but don’t over-do communications, which will cause more people to either tune you out or unsubscribe. Remember: less is more.
- Regularly test out different variations, from your subject line, to the opening line, to the mix of text-to-visuals, to emojis and more.
- Add engaging links collected from other brands/businesses in your newsletter that your users may be interested in, which can boost your credibility and the value of opening your emails. Use Pocket or Revue to make this process easy.
Some of the most engaged users in the world are on Reddit and there are unending numbers of sub-reddits covering all sorts of topics where your target market may congregate. Not only have we seen digital trails leading back to Reddit from various email captures, but during one of our discovery calls a prospective client volunteered that he had seen us in a Reddit thread and decided to chat about a potential project. Also, outside of an organic shout-out from iOSDevWeekly (that came about from our blog posting), Reddit has remained our all-time one-day high source in new user contributions.
Keep these points in mind when using Reddit as part of your content marketing channel:
- Beware of the spam posting rules and be careful not to post a bunch of links without becoming a contributing member the community, as these will get you banned.
- Use an engaging title and also pose questions in your post to encourage people to not just read, but engage and give feedback.
3. Make sure to do a search for your topic before posting, as Redditors really dislike when you spin up an unoriginal topic that has been covered before.
Of the social channels that we regularly post to (Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook), Twitter, with its hyper-engaged user base, has delivered the highest flow of traffic and represents the lion’s share of social email captures/leads.
Keep these points in mind to generate results from your Twitter campaigns:
- Engage with your followers to build rapport with them and encourage them to engage back with you and your content, which boosts the impressions that your posts receive.
- Pin posts that you want to get more engagement with directly to your profile.
- Make sure to use images in your posts, rather than text-only to boost engagement.
- Be aware that starting a tweet with “@user-handle” will prevent that tweet from getting visibility, only displaying it to to the person you’re replying to. Add a space or dot (.) before the @ sign to cast the net wider.
- Use tools like Buffer, Tweet Jukebox and Socedo to keep a constant flow of content throughout each day and engage with the right users.
With its unique focus on answering questions and the great positioning in the organic SERP that threads can often achieve, Quora is one of the best places to establish your credibility, build trust and (tastefully) grow your business’s brand awareness.
That said, many people turn to Quora when trying to learn about a brand new topic, meaning that leads coming from Quora may often need more nurturing than other channels.
Additionally, the more views and up-votes that your account racks up (overall and moreover within specific topics), the better position that your answers will show in. This means that Quora, like SEO/Twitter/Reddit, is a more medium-to-long term game, but one that will produce increasing returns over time, proportional to the effort that you invest into it.
Keep these points in mind when setting up your Quora marketing effort:
- Pick a select few topics and focus on addressing questions in those topics to gain “most viewed writer” status and accelerate the visibility boost that your answers receive.
- For the most part (and with authority scores equal), the longer an answer is, the more likely it will be to show higher in the results. Make sure to add more detail above and beyond a straightforward answer to give your answers the best position.
- Answer questions you’ve been requested to answer to have a better shot at being up-voted.
- Ensure that you track your Quora links with UTM parameters as Quora by default appears as direct traffic in Google Analytics.
- Boost your answer visibility by having your coworkers up-vote your answers, like Brand24.com here:
Naturally, Medium is on the list and has been a good channel for us to establish credibility and acquire email addresses and leads. With the tags and recommends system of visibility, Medium can produce faster results than most social channels (similar to Instagram), but the more followers you gain the better your visibility will be.
Keep these points in mind as you get down to work on Medium:
- Become a writer for publications, who can broadcast your post to their readerships. If you don’t have target publications, use SuperMeditor to find publications in need of authors.
- Pick a mix of niche and high volume tags and analyze posts by tags to figure out which tags produce the best views/reads/recommends/follows.
- Recommend your own stories to “salt the tip jar” and give them a little more credibility out of the gate.
- Analyze your story referrers to see which keywords, posts and other sources people engaged with before they found your post, which can help inform your target market research and content strategy.
- Customize your Medium URL link and title/sub-title and to gain extra keyword visibility and improve your article CTR. To get there, click the 3 dots (…) in the top right of the story page.
- Lastly, be sure to track your Medium links with UTM parameters.
Thanks for following along!
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– Gabe Kwakyi & Team Incipia