We've defined the importance of quality content on this blog before. Long story short? We believe that creating high quality content can help your business truly stand out on search engines and social media - making content creation the single most important thing you can do to get customers to your site.
But before you get cracking on that latest blog post, it would help to make sure it’s primed and ready to add value for your business. It’s important to always create content with a strategy. You should take time to identify the specific goals of your writing, and organize it in a way that will let you accomplish your chosen goal - whether that’s to expand your brand reach, to retain your existing clients, or, perhaps most important of all, to attract warm leads.
A lead is a party interested in your product, who is also able to eventually make the purchase. Sounds pretty critical to the success of your brand - let alone your content marketing - right?
Let’s look at how you can create content that helps you gain leads, from two different angles. First, we’ll dive into how you can make sure that you’re reaching an audience that’s eager to hear from you, and ready to sign on the dotted line (or at least fill in that lead capture form).
Then, we’ll focus in on the types of creative content you can craft to help sway different audiences, guiding them down your conversion funnel and helping create real value for your brand.
How to Connect Your Content With the Right Audience
All the content in the world won’t do your brand any good if no one can find it!
If you want your content marketing efforts to result in warm, ready leads, then it’s important to make sure it’s tailored to the right audience, and easy for your next customers to find on the digital channels they’re already using.
Broadly speaking, you might think of this as a three-step process:
Research Your Audience
Before you can craft high quality content, you have to know who you’re crafting it for. Audience research is one of the most important steps your business can take for future digital marketing success. Build a buyer profile - age, gender, demographics, likes and dislikes, and so on. Immerse yourself in what your ideal audience is reading, watching, and doing online, and you’ll better understand what they need, and how you can serve it to them.
Find the Right Channel
There’s a reason we often refer to content marketing as inbound marketing: It’s all about getting your next customers to come to you, by reaching them where they live online.
Once you understand who you’re trying to reach, you can understand how best to reach them. Generally, we advise brands to adopt a multi-pronged approach to best distribute their content and pull in new leads, using strategies including:
- SEO: This allows your content to rank highly on search engines, letting you pull in an audience of eager searchers and creating organic traffic opportunities
- Social media: Your audience is spending more time than ever before on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Not only are they consuming content and interacting with their favorite brands, but they’re also looking up customer reviews and other vital information.
- Email: Want to make a final push to finish the sale? Or keep your brand top-of-mind for your fresh leads? Then email marketing can help you establish trust with your audience, and generate brand loyalty.
Tailor Your Content
Now, your brand - and your marketing company - can focus in on the nitty gritty, making sure that your content is written for your ideal audience, and also optimized for the platforms that will deliver it to them.
From targeting your social media ads, to thoroughly researching and testing SEO keywords, to optimizing your website for mobile device users, there are all sorts of granular ways you can help make sure that your great content gets found by the audience most likely to need it.
And once you’ve attracted those eyes? Now it’s time to focus on...
Finding a Style That Converts
The good news is that creating digital materials that will win over all those new leads doesn’t have to be hard! All it takes is a little bit of creativity.
Structuring your content marketing according to your potential clients' needs requires a little bit of writing savvy, and a certain understanding of the different ways that audiences like to engage with digital content today.
Here are the six different types of online content that may help your brand “warm up” your next lead. (We think of them in terms of “articles,” but bear in mind that you can, and should, feel free to diversify your content marketing, with everything from infographics to podcasts to videos.)
1. Troubleshooting Articles
While everyone believes that their service or industry is beyond reproach, it's time to eat a slice of humble pie and acknowledge that there will probably be customer concerns that crop over time. You can handle consumer questions and problems efficiently, and perhaps even secure new leads, by offering accessible solutions to common FAQs or issues.
By getting in touch with your IT and customer support teams, you can weed out the top troubleshooting issues that clients have (with your service or a competitor’s), and compose friendly pieces that politely work to educate and inform. Use this as an opportunity to show off some serious people skills and demonstrate the kind of support and insight your leads will receive when they become customers.
2. Price Articles
It may be tempting to list your services without their prices to avoid scaring off customers and to prevent competitors from viewing your strategies. But, the thing is, your competition can find out how much you're charging if they really want to, and being upfront about prices will help consumers decide whether or not they are a good fit for your business - while saving you from pursuing empty leads.
3. Countdown Articles
People are on the lookout for the best, and countdowns (sometimes called listicles) are a great way of doing some of the research for your leads ahead of time. A 'Top 5' or 'Best Of' article breaks down information into shorter, digestible information - which audiences tend to find irresistible. This kind of article also provides you with a chance to illustrate your expertise and knowledge in your given field. The more readers trust you as an authority, the more likely they’ll be to follow up with your business when it’s time to buy.
4. How-To Articles
Just like a countdown article, the how-to piece lets you show off your skills. Leads will feel more trusting in your services if you possess a well-rounded knowledge of your field, and, by learning a new skill, they will also feel empowered to continue involving themselves with your subject material (hook, line, and sinker).
For example, a coffee distributor might write up a piece on how to brew a perfect cup with French press. This kind of writing doesn't detract from their business, but it does offer their reader a new way to use their product. Keep this in mind when coming up with how-to topics!
5. Review Articles
Is there another product closely related to your service? Give it a feature or a review! To take the example of the coffee distributor another step further, this company could review different grinders as a way of enticing people to use their product at home. Use this as chance to show how your product or service would work well with this given product! Bonus? You’re building relationships with other sites and businesses - which can pay off for your SEO efforts over time, through link building.
6. Comparison Articles
The comparison article can work two ways:
- You can use it to compare multiple services that your company offers.
- You can also use it like you would a review article, where you compare related services or products.
In either case, this type of piece is a great way to bring in organic traffic (how many times have you Googled, say, “mac vs. pc?”), and is a method of introducing consumers who might not have been looking for general knowledge to your specific product.
When setting out to build your leads, it's important to manage the quality of your content while understanding the goal or category of the article. In conveying this information clearly and communicating it in a way that relates to your audience, you can increase sales and continue building your business.
Have any more questions about creative, original content marketing? Ready to see how we can harness the power of different digital platforms to expand your brand reach and generate new leads? Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!