This is a guest post by Amy Cowen. Amy works as a content marketing strategist and manages a talented team of content writers at Aussiewriter, always trying to find new ways to maximize the commercial impact of content. Feel free to contact her at Facebook or Google+.
Content is one of the most powerful tools that a marketer has at their disposal – if done correctly. Engaging articles, informative e-books, revealing case studies – all of these can prove to be a real boon to your content marketing efforts.
Their goal, however, should always be to capture more business and more leads for your company.
A lot of times I notice businesses dishing out content that is flowery, pretty, and well-written yet serves no actual purpose. It’s not outstanding so it doesn’t get particularly shared on social media but its usefulness is lost because businesses get nothing out of it.
It’s time to set the record straight: a good portion of your content marketing strategy should be focused on getting you leads. Content that you put out has to be appealing enough to get people to leave their email address with you so you can follow up with your offer.
Here are 7 ways you can leverage your content and use it as the best lead generation tool at your disposal.
1. Create a webinar
Webinars have proven to be an excellent lead acquisition tool time and again. Partner up with some of the thought leaders in your industry – and if you’re the thought leader, even better!
Keep it free and keep it short – this is crucial! You do not want to be handing out great advice to the people who are not paying for it. Invest in creating a 1-hour holistic lesson on a snippet of information you’re an expert in. Remember, the point of this webinar is to capture leads that you will then target with your core offer.
Make a strong, compelling case for your webinar and market it like crazy. Have it up on your social media pages, encourage your subscribers to send it out to people they know will benefit from it. Qa Symphony, a SaaS service for devolopers has been doing this regularly and to great success. Notice how they don’t miss out on an opportunity to collect your email address there – neither should you when you’re creating a webinar.
2. Distribute a case study
Case studies work great in turning readers into leads – and if you’re doing a case study of one of your customers that managed to make it big using your product, then they work even better.
People want actionable stuff and gated content like this is something they will certainly want to read. Take a look at the following case study. It touches on much sought out topics of web design and web page building that are extremely in demand today. It actually went viral and allowed the author to get a bunch of new leads through the door! Read what Janet, the author, has to say about it.
3. Create videos
If you have something to say and show to your audience, consider making a video. After all, videos are the most popular type of content on the web today and get a lot more views and shares in comparison to other content.
But here’s the thing. You don’t want to publish your video straight away because people will watch it – some might even appreciate it – and leave.
Instead, shoot a video, make a short teaser trailer by taking the most interesting points and draw up a list of benefits people will get from watching that video. Publish that and encourage people to leave their email address so you can email them a link to the whole thing. Backlinko’s own Brian Dean is a huge proponent of this particular technique. Head over to one of his video’s to check out how he does it.
4. Build an informative whitepaper
Whitepapers are insanely popular these days. That’s because people crave good, solid information backed up by quality research and sound data. But there is a caveat – your whitepapers should always be actionable and you need to make sure you’re not simply rehashing all information.
Make sure you use other people’s research as well – particularly if they are thought leaders in your industry. That way you can mention them in the paper and later on engage them and convince them to become an advocate for your cause. You need all the help you can get to reach your target audience and have them opt in and download your whitepaper.
For example, Xpenditure is a company that focuses on expense management. Instead of avoiding the subject of other way to manage expenses they’ve created a whitepaper that references every other expensing method and then drives home the point about why their service is more cost-effective and efficient than those listed there.
5. Create a podcast
Podcasts are another great way to connect with your audience and get them to follow your every move. The trick with podcasts is to center them around your business without directly marketing it. No one wants to listen to a 20-minute sales pitch in their car while they driving to work.
People want actionable information and interesting, knowledgeable guests. Build around that and get people to subscribe via email to get notifications every time you publish a new podcast. That way you will capture their email without seeming too pushy.
Adding a nice little squeeze page with an opt-in form like the guys at Niche Pursuit do is a great way to unobtrusively offer listeners a chance to subscribe and get more of your awesome content in the future.
6. Organize get-togethers
Content can take many shapes and forms and this is one of my favorites, especially if you are a locally owned business that depends on the local community.
People love getting to know businesses they buy from so organizing an informal meet and great is a great opportunity to mingle with your customer base. Go down to a local coffee shop or bar, rent a room for an hour and start organizing a get-together.
After that, market the event and invite people to join you. Ask for their email so you can send them the tickets and stress that there is a limited number of people who can attend.
7. Run contests
And the last, but definitely not the least, are contests. These are a very popular way of capturing leads. Who doesn’t want free stuff?
They are great for capturing email addresses of your social media followers since you are basically looking for a small action on their part – leaving their email address with you – while often offering a possibility of a substantial reward.
For more of the inside scoop on how to get your contest viral and really worth your while, check out this post.
The whole point of this post is: if your content is not creating the desired effect and provoking action then that is all it’s ever going to be – content and Internet clutter. You can’t really turn around and call it marketing. In order for it to start creating the desired effect it’s going to have to be well-thought out and written. For your podcasts, partner up with experts and fun personalities that can keep people engaged. For videos, make sure you have a great team of copywriters and video editors – or hire them out as needed. And for great written content make sure your work is up to snuff or hire a content creation service such as DOZ.
Remember, the whole point of content marketing is to drive additional business your way. Failing to do that is a cardinal sin and means you’re not fully utilizing content to its maximum extent. What is your favorite content-driven method of generating leads? Drop down to the comments section to let us know!