It’s no surprise that content marketing should be an integral part of every marketing and sales strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the B2B or B2C arena, the importance of developing content that will resonate with your target audience should be a top priority.
In fact, the most cited content marketing goals are:
- 75% want to generate quality leads
- 86% want to build brand awareness
- 79% intend to educate their audience
- 75% expect their content to build credibility and trust
One of the challenges with blogging is that it takes time to see results. You can’t simply publish a blog post today and expect to get an influx of new leads immediately. In order to really make an impact and drive a positive ROI, you have to stay dedicated.
In today’s blog post, I’ll walk through ways you can generate leads with your blogging strategy, including the following:
- Laying out specific intentions and goals with your blog — i.e. how will it foster business objectives?
- Knowing your audience and why this is crucial.
- Repurposing content to expand the lifecycle of each blog post.
- Keys to distributing your blog content.
In a previous blog post, I talked about the following being a great exercise to consider:
- Lay out the topics you want to write about.
- Decide which ones you want to write and which you could consider outsourcing so you can amplify the output without losing the authenticity of ‘who’ you are and ‘who’ you’re writing for.
- Lay out a game plan for how you may want to monetize your blog. Understand which implementations you’re good at and where you may want more help so that you can also free up your own time to tackle the initiatives you excel at.
- Execute. Action takes precedence over anything else. This is the only way you’ll be able to truly understand what works and what doesn’t.
Here are a few tools to consider to help increase the quality of your blog posts:
Align Marketing and Business Goals
When you’re running a business and deciding to incorporate a content strategy — specifically blogging — into the picture, you should be able to answer these questions:
- How will blogging fit into the overall marketing strategy?
- How will our blogging goals align with business objectives?
- What does our target audience care about?
- What topics can we address to be a part of the conversations happening within our industry?
- How can we fit our blogging initiatives to align with where individual personas are within the purchase journey?
- What does success look like for top of the funnel KPIs?
- What does success look like for middle of the funnel KPIs?
Now dive a bit deeper and break out your goals as such.
The key is to connect your business goals with your marketing goals. Here are examples of business goals:
- Increase revenue
- Build your brand’s authority
- Reach more prospects
- Grow profits
To tie into these business objectives, here are marketing goals you can add to your road map:
- Gain more email subscribers
- Increase the number of visitors to your website
- Gain more social shares and followers
- Grow the number of click-throughs for your paid ads
Again, blogging to just have content up on your site is the old school way of doing things, and once upon a time, it worked to get high rankings. But don’t fall into the trap of implementing methodologies that no longer work. With every blog post, always think about how this will provide value to your target audience.
This then leads to my next point…
Know Who You’re Blogging For
You need to analyze what your target audience is searching for and choose topics that align with these searches. More importantly, figure out how to position your blog posts to help alleviate your target audience’s pain points, drive curiosity, and show your expertise — these will all be to your advantage.
Next up, write your blog posts based on the lifecycle stages of your target audience to help you see which ones drive the best engagement and why. Remember, not only is it crucial to write around topics that position your expertise, but if you write with your target audience top of mind, the ability to generate leads will grow.
Here is an example I provided previously:
Buyers who are unfamiliar with your brand or may not be fully aware of a problem are in the Awareness Stage. At this point, it’s your goal to introduce your brand in a friendly, non-promotional way and highlight problems that your user may be experiencing. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including blog posts, social media posts, research and reports, white papers, and educational content.
During the Consideration Stage, buyers are more aware of your brand and the problems they’re having, and are considering solutions for those problems (though they may not be ready to commit). Content in this stage could include demo videos, case studies, expert guides, and in-depth product reviews.
Customers who move through your sales funnel into the Decision Stage are those who are ready to act on a solution. They’ve done their research and have gotten to know your brand, so content at this stage should be geared toward completing the purchase. Types of content could include customer testimonials, a free trial, a landing page, case studies, and product comparisons.
Aligning themes, channels, and content with your overall business objectives can help you avoid as many detours as possible on your marketing roadmap.
Repurpose to Revive Your Blog Posts
I come across companies who write and publish amazing blog posts and then let them sit and become outdated. Rather than doing that, look at ways you can repurpose to revive your existing blog posts. Here are some quick tips that I’ve written about before:
In Google Analytics, you can easily see which of your blog posts are the most popular by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
From there, you will be able to see which blog posts have received the best engagement and then do the following:
- Sort the blog topics by similarity
- Copy and paste the content into a Word Doc or Gdoc
- Begin editing the content for a smoother transition
- Get the content designed into a workable template
- Package it up into an eBook
When you publish, you’ll have two options: you can have a landing page that gates the content (i.e. an individual must fill out a form in order to access the content) or publish the content openly so that anyone can access it as long as they have the URL.
After you make this decision, the next step is to then promote the content through paid avenues and organic channels (e.g. Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, etc.). With the paid avenues, you’ll want to look at “where” your target demographic is the most active and the top referral sites. Once you do this, I’d recommend starting off with a budget of around $200+ to drive traffic back to your eBook. Then track and measure the success of the eBook based on:
- Organic traffic
- Paid traffic
- Time-on-site (if un-gated)
- New subscribers to your blog
- New leads collected (if gated)
Distribute Your Blog Posts Like a Boss
Once your blog posts are published, the next logical step is to figure out how you can distribute them to gain more awareness, reach, and drive relevant traffic back to your site. Of course, sharing the content out on social as organic updates is the most obvious way to get started. However, here are some additional avenues to consider:
- Medium. Republish blog posts onto Medium and link back to the original content.
- LinkedIn Pulse. Same implementation as Medium, and link back to the original content.
- Push out multiple social media updates. See which organic update drives the most engagement and boost that with paid efforts to see what type of traction you can further build.
- Look to more specific communities like subreddits, LinkedIn groups, Quora, and forums.
- Don’t discount content syndication through paid advertising with relevant sites.
Wrapping It Up
Like anything with marketing, make sure that you blog with your business objectives top of mind and leverage data to help steer you in the right direction. From there, you can make the right tweaks such as expanding on specific topics that are driving engagement to ultimately get qualified leads, as well as sales.
Additionally, don’t be shy with testing specific CTAs within each blog post and even looking at building specific landing pages that are tied into those CTAs. The key here is to keep testing. The more you do, the more you’ll see what works and how you can grow upon those initiatives to essentially grow your business.
One of the most thorough and value packed articles I’ve ever read.