With a 90% usage rate by B2B marketers alone, content marketing has become the biggest tool in the marketer’s box. Certainly content retains its kingship but the crown will slip if it isn’t used appropriately. If you are planning to increase spending in this area, you should follow these 7 best practices for lead generation to get the most out of the content marketing budget.
Who’s the Target?
Content must reach the “person to whom you are speaking.” Identify your perfect customers and determine what they need to know. The most compelling content in the world won’t generate any leads if it doesn’t attract the audience most likely to buy. Lead generation is about conversions, not likes or shares.
Do It Right
The old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression still holds true. Poorly written or produced content reflects poorly on your company. Prospective buyers want to know you are an expert. Look and sound like one.
- Use appropriate language.
- Show (don’t just tell) your expertise.
- Invest in good production.
Write for Relevancy
Those perfect customers will only stick with you long enough to convert if the content you provide is relevant to their situation. Their biggest concern is how you can solve their problem. Show them you not only feel their pain, you know how to relieve it. The content that generates leads will speak directly to the benefits of your product or service. Don’t list features; illustrate exactly how your company can help with specific issues.
How do you know your product will work for their problem? Show them the proof. Find industry reports, articles by experts, or testimonials that it has worked for others.
Tell Them the Next Step
Your content needs an effective call to action that guides your prospects to the next step: trusting you enough to share some information, try your product, or simply learn more. Calls to action are excellent tools for segmenting your audience and starting each one down the path most appropriate to their needs.
Remember, you need content for folks in all stages of the funnel. Content that brings them into the top of the funnel is just the first step. A qualified lead ready to pass to sales has different information needs than someone who is just realizing there is a problem to solve.
Write for Multiple Formats
People consume content in a dazzling array of formats. Content has never been limited to the written word. It has always included images, video, and other methods of conveying information. Make your content accessible not just for the desk top but for mobile and other digital tools.
This doesn’t mean print is dead. If your targets respond to magazine ads, direct mail, or newspaper articles, make sure your content comes across just as powerfully there as online. Mix digital with traditional print by offering content in printable yet interactive formats such as PDF.
Promote, Promote, Promote
You have the content but how will everyone know? Find ways to let the world, or at least your corner of it, know that you have something to say. While good content will be optimized for search, you also want to reach those who may not be actively researching but whose attention may be caught by information that helps them identify a problem to solve.
Use every outlet to promote your content to those who need to know. Sure, you can use Twitter but don’t neglect other methods of getting the word out.
- Industry specific forums.
- Your blog.
- Someone else’s blog; preferably an influencer with followers matching your buyer persona.
- Newsletters, both electronic and print.
- Social networks: the usual (Linked In, Facebook) and more specialized (trade group forums)
- Press Releases
There are many reasons to use content marketing from brand awareness to building loyalty. But without generating leads that become customers, your business will not grow. The best content has a specific job to do. Lead generating content must do its job as well.