A lot of things are being said about content marketing and lead generation. Some say that it works like magic while others are skeptical. What’s your take?
One thing we can all agree is that it needs to work, else there is not point putting money in increasing traffic. The sales engine must crank. We asked content marketing experts the same question and here’s what they have to say about content and lead generation.
1. Hard Sell and Soft Sell Content Marketing
“There are two types of content marketing, which I refer to as ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell’.
Hard sell content marketing focuses on turning the consumer into a lead. So your content might be a webinar on the importance of franchises making sure their stores are all well-lit, which you know about because you’re a B2B lightbulb seller. The webinar ends with you offering a free package of light bulbs, which stores can try before fully committing to buying light bulbs from your company.
Soft sell content marketing is more focused on building relationships. If you’re a personal chef, you might write a long blog post that ranks well on Google for the term Indian cuisine. At the very end your call to action will probably offer your services, but the main thrust of the article is focused on information and entertainment, as opposed to selling.
My tip is to use both hard sell and soft sell content marketing. Hard sell content marketing converts leads more quickly, but it can turn people off. Soft sell content marketing doesn’t close leads as quickly, but it does allow your brand to form relationships with potential clients.”
Billy Peery from Web Traffic Expert
2. Make every piece work
“If lead gen is an organizational priority and you’re already spending the time on content creation, make sure you’re making the most of this investment. Turn every piece of content into a lead capture opportunity using .pdf formats to encourage email opt-ins on your website. Transcribing interviews, podcasts or videos and making blog content available for download as a .pdf are all simple, low-cost solutions to getting the most mileage out of your content.”
Scott Severson, President of Brandpoint
3. Grow your list
“All too often, we put a huge emphasis on technology, when in fact we need to remember that people do business with people. The most gorgeous website in the world will not guarantee that prospects will reach out to you. The most tried and true method of growing your list is to get out (of your house and your comfort zone) and present valuable information about your industry and expertise in a seminar, workshop, or webinar.
Partner with other synergistic businesses and put on a show. A presentation that is down to earth and packed with easy to understand and actionable information will get you more leads than 100 social media posts. You know how you like to taste that free sample at the store? Your presentation is the taste of what you bring to your business prospects. Be real, speak their language, and pack on the value. Then ask them to sign up for your email or follow you on social – or better yet – offer them a free consultation.”
Susana Fonticoba from Right Click Advantage LLC
4. Patience is the content lead generation key
“Content marketing is a qualitative, deliberate process to drive leads and definitely does not yield results overnight. Content almost has a lifetime online – first it is born (i.e. published) and then it grows. By that, I mean it gains traction, attention, shares, comments, etc. It can be sped up with active promotion however the lives of your content live largely on their own and it is up to you to be patient and wait for it to perform by delivering a steady stream of leads.”
Angela Zade, Content Marketer for Evus.com
5. Some important things
“A couple of tips that I would give.
Publish videos on YouTube
It is the worlds largest video search engine and people can easily find and engage with your video content. It is easy to demonstrate value and position yourself as an expert. It is a great way to create networking and referral opportunities.
Answer questions on forums or Q&A websites
This is another great way to position yourself as an expert. Simply go onto web forums or Q & A sites like Quora or Yahoo Answers and provide insightful expert answers. Over time, people will start to follow or recommend you.
Publish blog posts on your website
It is another quick win that is often overlooked. It helps with your website’s SEO performance and it helps people that are searching on websites like Google discover your business. It will help to reinforce your expertise and can answer customer’s questions, which will help you close the sales cycle quicker.”
David James, Founder of Business Growth Digital Marketing
6. Important tools
“Success in B2B lead generation via content marketing is a byproduct of three things: content relevance, format and syndication. Google Trends, Google Alerts, Hashtag Monitoring, BuzzSumo and Google Keyword Planner can help you find relevant topical areas for your audience. Understanding readers’ preferred content formats (video, podcast, webinar, long-form, blog post, etc.) will increase overall engagement. Test these different types of content against each other to determine which formats they prefer.
Finally, using the proper syndication channels is what will help your audience find your content. Social media platforms, YouTube, Medium, Hacker News, Reddit and more will help your content gain traction. Analyze which platforms drive the most traffic and focus your efforts on these channels moving forward. As your relevance grows, so will referral and organic traffic. This will lead to satisfied readers and increased lead generation.”
Daniel Lambert, President of Plush Republic
7. In depth content
In the B2B arena, having a reputation as someone who is knowledgeable in your field is especially important. Unlike the general public, when businesses are your customers, they will actively research you and your company to make sure you’re a good fit to do business with. This means getting articles published in your name in your industry’s most influential publications. It’s not a matter of having a whole bunch published. A dozen articles published on Forbes might not be as impressive to someone in your industry as three or four published in your industry’s top trade magazine. So, be discerning and aim for where your customers are, as it can make a big difference.
Rafael Romis, CEO of Weberous
8. Creating value for success
Most people hate to be sold to, which makes it tricky to have a conversation about how your product or service can benefit them. However, we also live in a time where people crave information and will spend their time reading, watching or listening to content to learn something or solve a problem.
Businesses are leveraging this inclination by creating content specially designed to appeal to their ideal customer, while at the same demonstrating their expertise, knowledge and credibility, with a tiny sprinkle of self-promotion.
Content marketing is a subtle marketing tactic that allows prospects to find you, rather than the other way around. If done correctly, is an effective strategy for generating relevant leads.
To create value for your reader and attract a warm lead, you need to create high-quality information, be specific and detailed with the solution or answer they are seeking.
Promoting your content is just as important as creating quality content. Your promotional effort will take perseverance and patience. This is often why good content fails to get noticed.
Be sure to use multiple marketing channels to make the most of your hard work and reach as many of your intended readers as possible.
Liz Jammal, Owner of Vivid Marketing
9. The logical solution
Marketers often focus too much effort on capturing a customer at the moment of intent, or right before the customer is ready to buy. This can be expensive, because everyone is fighting for the spotlight at this crucial moment before a transaction. Brands should spend more time focusing higher in the funnel with their content marketing. I suggest taking a few steps back and thinking about where a customer is 6 months, a year, even 2 years before they need a product or service. Most content marketers focus on the quickest path to results, or the audience closest to making a purchasing decision. By doing this, they fail to think of marketing as a long-term investment – and also fail to reap the long-term benefits.
Jason Brewer, CEO of Brolik