Research has shown that inbound marketing generates 54 percent more leads than outbound marketing, and that 88 percent of companies now have content marketing as a key part of their strategy for generating leads.
Research has also shown that content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, while costing 62 percent less.
Unfortunately, only 41 percent of businesses can confirm having positive ROI from their content marketing efforts.
If you’re utilizing content marketing and your content is not geared towards generating leads, you’re essentially wasting your time and resources.
I’ve been blogging for five years now, and over this relatively short period I’ve learned a lot about creating content that works; I’ve written articles that have gotten hundreds of thousands of views, articles that have generated thousands of subscribers, and articles that have resulted in five figures in revenue.
I’ve learned a lot about creating content that generates leads, and this article will provide practical tips to help you create content that generates leads as well.
1. Focus on Content Types That Work
There are plenty of content types that you can use, but some content types are more effective at generating leads.
To make content marketing work for you, you’re not just hoping to create content to meet a content schedule or to increase your traffic count. Instead, your aim should be to create content that will have an impact on your bottom line.
Here are some content types that you shouldn’t do without:
Case studies: Creating and actively promoting case studies can do wonders for your bottom line; case studies basically demonstrate the efficacy of the solution you offer to your clients. The idea is to identify a problem, document your approach towards solving this problem and show people the success you achieved.
Case studies work well to establish your credibility and, if done right, you’ll always see noticeable increase in the number of leads you’re getting whenever you publish a case study.
Success stories: Success stories work in a similar way to case studies; you can either invite people to share the success they achieved by following your advice, or you can feature a success story from anyone in your industry that gives credence to what you teach.
Ultimate Guides: Ultimate guides are usually very comprehensive and definitive, and they quickly establish your expertise and authority in an industry. The typical ultimate guide will contain several graphics and multimedia, and it is usually several thousand words.
Like case studies, Google and other search engines also favor ultimate guides; research has shown that the top 10 results in Google usually have at least 1,500 words. This leads to improved rankings which results in more traffic and leads for you.
Resource Content: Resource content is usually a big hit, and it isn’t unusual to see the average resource content get up to 10,000 percent more views than the other types of content on your blog.
The mere fact that resource content will get significantly more views means it can still generate a lot of leads, even if its conversion rate is lower than other content types.
Typically, resource content gives people solutions instead of tips; as a result, they share the content more and link to it.
2. Mine Your Analytics Data for More Content Ideas
Once you’ve published a few big hits, the next step is to replicate that success by creating similar content.
For example, a few years back I published a resource article that quickly got over 100,000 views and yielded thousands of new subscribers; realizing that traffic to this resource article keeps increasing, despite the fact that the information is gradually becoming outdated, I saw an opportunity to replicate its success. I created a more recent version of the article and it quickly became a big hit; the new article soon took off, getting a lot of links and traffic that eventually led to more conversions.
I’ve done this with other article formats as well, and it’s always yielded massive success. If something is working, keep doing it until it no longer works.
When you find that you’re stuck and lacking ideas on what to write, it might be a good idea to go through your analytics and make a list of the 10 most popular articles ever on your blog, or the 10 most popular articles on your blog in a certain year, and then try creating a new version.
To foster originality, you can also observe successful content from a particular segment of your website and try doing something similar for a different segment.
3. One Content = One Action
When it comes to creating content that generate leads, it’s not about how popular content is but about how well it converts.
Ensure that every piece of content on your blog directs your readers to take a particular action; this action could be subscribing to your newsletter, signing up for a webinar, buying a product, or inquiring about consulting.
Your content should not be isolated from your business; instead, it should actively aim to get people involved.
This isn’t restricted to new articles; go back into your archives and update old and popular articles to encourage readers to take a particular action. I did this earlier this year when I updated a few old and popular resource articles on my blog; I simply offered a comprehensive PDF version of the articles in exchange for readers’ email addresses, and this simple content upgrade has resulted in thousands of subscribers.
I’ve also used this tactic to generate five figures in revenue from individual articles; when an article becomes a big hit on my blog, I simply update the article with a call to action asking people to consider my freelance services.
That said, it’s important to ask readers to take just ONE action; asking for more will usually make your article less effective at generating leads.
Various studies have shown that giving people too many options will often lead to them taking fewer actions, so it’s better to limit the number of actions they are asked to take.
4. Use a Clear Call to Action to Encourage People
Once you’ve decided on the goal of your content, it’s also important that you use a clear CTA to tell people what to do.
Avoid any ambiguity when directing people to act; don’t leave them second guessing the decision you want them to take.
Often, it helps to encourage people to take the same action more than once in your article.