What is Content Marketing?Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. For example, this blog by SEMRush shows you how to do proper keyword research. While they do mention their tools, the purpose of the blog is to educate the user, not promote the product.
Why Does Your Business Need Content Marketing for Lead Generation?Customer journeys are becoming longer with more touch points as there are more channels and content options to choose from. Customers are going to use a variety of sources to research the best solution for their needs. Creating content that aligns with your audience’s needs and level of intent will help them discover your organization during this stage in their journey and increase the chance of them becoming leads. But, where do you begin?
Create an Audience Persona
Who They AreThe first thing you need to understand is who your audience actually is. By combining a number of data sources such as Google Analytics and social media analytics, you can identify the following:
- Their stage of life
What Are Their Ambitions?What does your persona want to achieve? What is their goal?
What Are Their Pain Points?What problems does your persona face and what solutions do they need? Consider what questions they may be asking to solve their problem.
What is Their Role in The Buyer Journey?Consider the role your persona plays in the buyer. Are they the decision maker? Or, are they presenting the solution to a higher-up? Depending on their role, the content they need could change.
Will They Have Objections to Your Solution?Will your persona have any reason to object to the solution you provide? If so, what are their reasons? By answering these questions above, you can start to map out the content your audience will need to make a decision and convert. This is because your content will speak specifically to them and their needs.
Keyword ResearchOnce you have an idea of the content your audience will be interested in you will need to do some keyword research. Keyword research will help you identify the most popular search terms and provide more of an understanding of what your audience is looking for. You will be able to identify what types of content your competitors are producing as well. You won’t want to copy others’ content, but if you feel as if you can produce something better, go for it.
Consider Search IntentIn addition to identifying keywords and content types, you will want to consider search intent as well. If you create content that doesn’t align with your persona’s buyer journey you will miss out on the conversion as you were not able to provide what they needed. There are 4 levels of search intent your users will go through:
- Navigational – Users will use this when they know what page they want. Example: “facebook login”
- Informational – Users will use this when they have a specific question or topic in mind. Example: “How do I get leads from my website?”
- Transactional – Users will use this when they are ready to make a transaction. Example: “Subscribe to New York Times”
- Commercial – Users will use this when they are considering a transaction. Example: “Best newspaper”
Creating Lead Generating ContentNow that you have completed your research and understand what your audience needs, you can start creating your content. Depending on your audience and their needs, one type of content may be better for lead generation versus another. Your keyword research will provide you with an idea of the content you should produce but you could take it to another level and test a variety of formats. Common content types include:
- Reports / research
Content UpgradesTo help generate leads and provide additional value to your audience, you can offer “content upgrades”. For example, if you are providing a course, you could offer the first section for free and lock the remaining sections behind registration. Your user would need to sign up in order to continue and collect their contact information. This tactic is repeatable for almost all content types such as an extra video, or piece of research.
Include Calls to ActionWhen creating your content, include Calls to Action (CTAs) that align with your audience’s needs. CTAs encourage your users to take action. When deciding on what to offer your audience be sure to consider where they are in their journey. If your user is still early in the sales funnel, consider offering them more information to help them with their research. This could be as simple as sending them to another piece of content, or they could sign up for a related email series. But, if your user is at the bottom of the sales funnel, they won’t need any more information as they are ready to convert. In this case, you should be encouraging them to take action, including CTAs that promote this such as “Buy now” or “Book now”. If your user does not take immediate action be sure to follow up with them and offer more incentive, such as a discount. Here is a common CTA we use:
Distribute Your Content to The Right ChannelsWhen you created your audience persona you would have identified their preferred social channels. To help increase awareness of your content and generate more traffic, distribute your content where your audience is most likely to see it. For example, if you’re a local non-profit organization you can share your local stories across social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Your content will reach your local audience and resonate with them as it involves their community.
Continue to Update Your ContentAfter you have created your content it is important to regularly optimize and update each piece as needed. You will want to keep your content fresh and up-to-date with the needs of your audience. As your content ages, tactics and trends will change. Your competitors will also be busy trying to capitalize on any opportunities they may find, such as old, irrelevant content.
ConclusionNow you not only know how to generate more leads from your content, but your leads will be more qualified and better prepared to convert because you:
- Created an audience persona to understand their needs and challenges
- Conducted keyword research to identify their search terms at each step in their buyer journey
- Created content that provided exactly what they needed to make a conversion
- Distributed your context where your audience was most active
- Updated your content to stay current