Whether you are starting a new blog or you’ve been blogging for a while, you need to challenge your content strategy continuously. Especially if you have a few goals in, you’d like to reach such as lead generation, boost sales and so on. You may wonder why to change your current strategy? Well, it’s quite simple: because your visitors are changing continuously. Visitors change the way they think and act, interests change, and you may have new competition stealing your traffic. Collectively bloggers produce more content than ever before, and it’s an actual ‘battle’ attracting new eyes and ears to consume your content. Take this blog as an example: There are thousands if not millions of blogs on how to create a useful blog, whether it’s a professional or hobby blog. And yet you are here, reading mine. Thank you for that. In this ultimate guide, I will share the ins and outs of creating a successful lead generation business blog
. I will share the tools we use, the tactics, and we’ll even talk you through the basics of improving the basics of your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy focusses on the planning, creation and sharing of the content. Like everything else on the Internet, many different definitions are floating around what the exact definition of a content strategy is. To me, it doesn’t really matter which content strategy definition you favour. I think it’s more important to understand why you need a content strategy by looking at the benefits. I know, creating a content strategy sounds boring and it is. Creating such an approach will cost time, and that’s precisely why most bloggers don’t have one. But blogging without a clear strategy is actually costing them more time than with a plan in place. The lack of a strategy can cause the writing of generic content, usage of mediocre images and videos and last but not least, targeting the wrong audience. Generic content won’t engage well with your readers. Because of this, your content won’t rank organically, nor will the reader want to share your content with their contacts. I once read, people only share content if the content makes them look funny, useful or smart. So if your content isn’t being shared or liked, you may have to reconsider your content and lead generation strategy.
Find your target audience?
Before creating your first blog, you must research what your potential visitors are searching for. There’s absolutely no point creating generic content. No one will be interested and no one will become a lead. So let’s assume you’ve quit your job and decided to launch your own web design agency. Your website is up and running. You’ve asked your relatives to take a look, and they all reply with thumbs-up icons or encouraging words about how proud they are of you. You are asking the wrong group because most of these relatives aren’t your potential clients. They are your friends or family and hope you’ll do well. Real potential clients don’t really care who you are or what your background story is. All they want to know is if you have a solution to their problem or can your service save them time. So ask them to rate your site and content first. There’s no shame in doing that. It shows you’re human. Now let’s say you are not a just a generic ‘web designer’ that knows how to move ready-made widgets from one place to the other. What are you going to write about? What kind of lead generation are you planning to set up. Generic companies have a hard time profiling themselves. The only way they try to profile themselves is by discounts. Let’s say you’re a web designer specialising in lead generation. By defining what you specialism is (lead generation), what you deliver and what you are good at, will assist you in finding your target audience. Because you are becoming more specific about the services you are offering, you are also narrowing down your audience. This isn’t bad all. It’s a good thing because it prevents the creation of generic content. Creating a clear perception of what your company has to offer, is good for business. The blog content you will create is dedicated to the subject of generating leads and not some generic mumbo jumbo. But don’t let your client and service filtering deter you. As a lead generation specialist there are many aspects you can write about. Here’s some examples of relevant topics:
- Lead Magnets
- Marketing Automation
- CRM systems
Think about your niche for a moment and create a list like I have done above. Creating such a list not only helps you to create the content strategy, but it also supports the definition of the audience you want to reach. A list, such as the one above, helps define what my company does and who we want to work for. Deciding who you work for and who you don’t work for is equally important. Not only for your mental health but also for your content strategy and lead generation. As I mentioned above, there’s just too much generic content floating on the net, and most of it is outdated our completely useless. There are equally many generic web design companies and most of them are struggling finding new clients. Don’t get despaired though, narrowing down your target audience also means you are slicing down the number of visitors and that is completely fine. Wouldn’t you rather have 10 super relevant and interested potential clients reading your content than 100.000 visitors that aren’t relevant? Don’t make the mistake of thinking a heavily visited blog post will improve your rankings. It won’t. Search Engines monitor the usage of your pages. If the majority of visitors only visit one page or the view time is short, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Search Engines aren’t as interested as much as they were about your SEO tactics. Search Engines are increasingly interested in their clients behaviour on your site. They want to make sure they are sending their clients (visitors) to the best possible websites. This doesn’t necessarily imply the best SEO-ed website. The only way to keep the target audience engaged with your posts and website is by attracting the correct audience and helping them find a solution to their ‘problem’. Off-course there are always going to be random visitors, visiting your site. People browse around when they’re bored. Over time, by following your strategy, you shall notice you are reaching less and less clutter.
Is your content solving a problem?
Writing compelling and problem-solving content is one of the most important guidelines you should use while writing a piece of content. Your readers are interested in reading about problem-solving solutions, new insights and tips. It goes without saying that the definition of ‘problem’ differs per niche and even per article. We use search engines multiple times a day because it’s, in fact, solving a problem we have at the moment. The search engines’ solution to our problem is the results. Just think about it: search engines offer free solutions day in, day out. Let’s get back to solving a problem. If you have created a blog, whether it’s a company blog or a hobby blog, you need to spend time researching. Researching your audience, for example, can be much easier than you would expect and here’s a little secret how to do so. So let’s keep the web design agency as an example: With the world becoming a smaller place, each and every web designer is a potential competitor. You can check their blog posts and see what they are writing about, but it won’t get you any further. You have no idea if they’re writing for their specific audience or if they’re writing content hoping the Google Gods will index them. So it’s not really interesting, at this point, to view the competition. I have two tactics you can utilise that will help you find content to write about.
1. Google Search
Before you go “oh, really….that’s a new insight I never could’ve guessed, hold your breath and read on. Google introduced a feature named “People also ask”
. Think about it for a minute what this means. Yup, you got it; it’s Google helping you find better results based on clicks to sites from other users. It’s not really that different than the “Did you mean X ” when you searched for Y. In the screencast below you can see I searched for “How can we improve lead generation?
“. In the “People also ask” section you can click on any question and you’ll see 3 new questions popping-in from the bottom. What Google is doing, is narrowing down the results based on the answer you gave them by clicking on one of the more profound questions. You are also helping Google to ‘understand’ much more about you and your search intent. This is a great feature, and I use it before I post anything.
So my first secret to obtain solution-based content is by using the best free tool there is, your good ole neighbourhood friend; Google. I’ve noticed the People Also Ask
section isn’t available in all countries. If you default Google is local (i.e., Google.nl) then head over to Google.com – Don’t translate and then see if all works.
2. Forums and Social Media
Sorry to share another no-brainer but it took me a while to figure out the easiest way to find what my niche is talking about. First, I joined a bunch of related Facebook groups and started to become quite active in replying to people that need help with solving website related issues. Once you’ve been active for a while, you should see specific post patterns. When WordPress, Elementor or any other software pushes an update, there’s going to be a storm of fellow web designers complaining about the new update. When I knew an update was about to arrive, I would head over to the different groups and then write up a compelling piece of specific content about the latest update. The title would be “How to prevent your site from downtime | WordPress 5.0.1 update What I found were many visitors were visiting my site, consuming the content, liking my Facebook links, and suddenly people saw me as an expert. Stupid really because all I was doing was sharing advice that any webmaster would do before updating even a simple plugin. “Back your site up”, “deactivate this or that” etc. When the next WordPress update arrived, all that had to be done was to change the title, edit a few lines of content. I stopped this later on because I noticed it wasn’t attracting the right audience. Well, actually it was, but I decided not to focus on solving those kinds of issues. So, back to social media: Join relevant groups, participate, and once you’ve determined some kind of trend, publish a post about it. Publish compelling and fresh content which you can then share with that group. Don’t just join the group and publish your content – that would be seen as spammy. People will read and come to trust your content, and when they trust, the step to becoming a lead is much smaller. Visitors don’t signup because you stuck a signup form on your site. They signup when they are convinced your solution will help them save time or money. And there you have it: two easy to use and free tools to improve your Content Marketing Strategy and Lead Generation.
How to draw readers attention?
With the amount of content published, it’s extremely complicated to catch the attention of potential leads. Most visitors are randomly browsing sites and click around. They don’t necessarily have the intent to signup for a newsletter or relevant piece of content. This human behaviour makes it for us content marketeers challenging. Well, luckily there’s been a bunch of research done on how to draw peoples attention. All you have is a few seconds of attention, so your headline has to be top-notch. CopyBlogger.com have a great post with ten different formulas which work – read here
For my site I like to use ready-made headline tools such as Kickass Headline Generator
and The Best Title Generator
. When I feel like I’ve got the perfect headline, I then move over to another tool which measures the emotional value of the title. You don’t need to be a psychologist to know that emotion sells pretty well. Test the emotional value here
. Now that you have a tremendous emotional valued title, which should draw attention to your blog article, it’s time to make sure you do the same for your headings. I like to have my headings in the form of a question so the user can quickly scan the content and decided which section they want to start reading. Let’s take this article as an example. At this very moment, this article consists of 2300 words (I am only halfway). I don’t expect every single visitor will read this article from top to bottom. I do expect visitors scanning the content, then stop at a question that appeals to them individually. If the content meets, the users’ expectations chances are they will scroll back to the top and consume more content. However, you may also expect some of the visitors are out of time or don’t feel like reading a 5000-word article. Consider offering the content packaged in a different medium like a PDF, video or podcast. The only issue is, people won’t be able to become direct leads via a video or podcast. They will need to remember your website and article to find the lead generator.
Which content types / formats will you be utilising?
We just touched on different content types in the last paragraph of “how to draw readers attention”. You need to decide which content types will you be utilising for your content. It doesn’t matter if you start with a written blog and then add other content types such as a podcast or explanatory video. What’s most important is that you make a choice. As a beginner, you won’t have sufficient time to re-create your content for all available types of media. Creating content takes a lot of time to accomplish. This article, for example, I’ve just passed the 2500 wordmark, and it’s taken about 6 hours so far. That’s excluding the grammar and spelling check, modifications, adding media, and so on. Just to give you an idea – my goal is to create one masterpiece of about 5000 words. The article you are reading now will touch lightly on the most important ‘rules of engagement’ for generating leads with your blog. The following articles will be more in-depth, but all of the single in-depth articles will point to this one. Google will then ‘understand’ that this article is a crucial cornerstone article. Having said this, I have decided not to create a podcast about the contents of this article, but I will create a podcast for the single, more in-depth articles. They won’t be as long as this one, but they will be more specific and to the point, because the article will focus on solving just one single issue. Take, for example, Google Analytics. Many marketers have no idea how to use Google Analytics properly. Coming back to the “am I solving a problem” this will be a super relevant and interesting article for many people. However, my goal is not reach as many people as possible. My goal is to reach a particular audience. The kind of audience that relates to the problem and is in dying need of a solution. My ‘commercial’ goal is to generate a fresh stack of leads.
Blogging frequently is vital. If you want potential clients to revisit your blog, you will need to create a blogging schedule. You can’t write one article and then come back next month and write another one, expecting your visitors will come back. They are looking for information surrounding a specific topic. They want a daily news update, they want to stay informed. It is your choice if you want to become the ‘go-to website’ for your readers. In other words: do you want to be seen as an authority. If the answer is Yes, then you need to write frequently. At least three compelling pieces of content a day. Remember, the Internet is full of bloggers trying to make a million bucks without hard work and dedication. I once had a copywriter that would write a blog day. In retrospect, the content was great, it really was, but most posts lacked a call 2 action. Let alone, a concrete lead generation such as white paper download. Adding some frequency to your blogging will also encourage you to write content because you feel like you owe your audience something. All you have to do is be extremely patient when it comes to blogging. The real benefit of blogging is in the longer run. Your content won’t vanish unless you remove it from your website. Because of this, the time you invest now will pay back, maybe not tomorrow or even the next month. I have written blog articles which have been picked up by forums, social media channels many months after the post was initially written. How cool is that? So be frequent and stick to the schedule and you’ll be fine.
How to create Content Marketing Strategy
Creating a content marketing strategy for your lead-generating blog isn’t as complex as it sounds, but it does require you to remove yourself away from the screen. In this chapter, I’ll explain how to create a Content Marketing Strategy. The next section will be all about creating articles and promoting them. So let’s go.
What are your lead generation goals?
Whatever you do in life, there are one or more goals you want to achieve. If you take driving lessons, the goal is to get that pink slip as soon as possible. When you decide to go to the shopping mall….well I go there to please my wife (which could be a goal) but my wife, sadly enough, has more than one goal. None of her goals, intentionally, make me feel poor but after one of her shopping spree’s we’re pretty darn close ;o) I’m just joking. But normally, everything we do in life, is related to one or more goals. You’re not reading this article because you have nothing better to do. You are reading this article because you want to improve your lead generation. You have decided for yourself that the combination of generating leads and a blog is a tactic that could very well be the way to reach your goal. A goal is, in most cases, equal to a specific result. So, before we go any further ask yourself “Which result do I want to achieve with my blog”. Be specific and realistic. Specific and realistic is: the amount of blogs a week you can write. The number of visitors you realistically expect to get (within 3 months), the number of likes and shares etc. Once you have defined the results, you are seeking to achieve, make sure you write them down. Next, open your calendar, set a reminder with these goals and close the calendar. Now if you’re like me, you will probably check Google Analytics daily. Just for a quick peek. You want to see people are reading your content. But my advice is not to check your statistics, especially the low traffic sites and beginners to blogging. Checking your statistics can be very depressing. When you become depressed, you automatically think you are doing something wrong, and that’s why most bloggers quit. I don’t want you to become like most other bloggers on the planet. I want you to reach the goals you seek to achieve. Because I love to analyse data, I found myself analysing data and trying to figure out why my content wasn’t read as much as I expected. It was a depressing time until I stopped monitoring daily. I decided it was better to check the statistics once a week. I blocked Friday’s at 4pm for the next 20 years. This is the only time when I take a peek at my analytics. Friday’s 4pm is an excellent time because it allows me sufficient time to think about the results during the weekend. Let’s say I have an idea which could bring me closer to my desired results, I will implement the idea on Monday. So planning and adjusting your goals/result, monitoring the facts once a week will be sufficient for most bloggers.
Research your competitors what they are writing about
Before you write a post, I know it’s tempting, it’s far more beneficial to check out your competitors first. You don’t want to copy them, but you want to learn from them and beat them at their own game. I’ve learned that the most effective way to beat the competition is by doing more than the competition. By doing more, I don’t necessarily mean, write more content than they do. What I mean is, be smarter than them. Let’s assume your competition has a post with the 10 best SEO idea’s you have to implement. If you want to beat them then what’s stopping you from creating a blog post with 24 SEO idea’s
? It’s a realistic expectation that the majority of search traffic will select your page over that of your competitors. Visitors will ask themselves: Should I read one article with 10 SEO tips, or shall I read one article with the 24 tips? Realistically you may assume the visitor will choose your article because no-one has the time to read two articles. An extra benefit is the search engines. Let’s assume the article with 10 SEO tips is written by some big corporate company, and you’re the beginner. It’s plausible, the search engine has positioned the big corporate above your article (for now). But if the search engine notices your article is clicked on more than the one above you, eventually the search engine will rank you higher. There you have it, you don’t need to write more articles. All you have to do is create more effective articles by keeping your visitors and your goals in mind. I’m sure you are wondering where to find the most viewed pages of your competitors you can head over to a free tool by marketing guru Neil Patel
. He also has a bunch of ‘easy to follow’ blogs, videos and podcasts. I follow his content frequently allthough sometimes I do feel he’s becoming a little too commercial for me. When you over-commercialised your blogs, your readers will lose trust. I mean, Neil Patel has some great tools, all built for free. I have the same tools (maybe better), but I pay an annual fee for them so I feel there must be a marketing value or some other goal behind this. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, right? In any case, UberSuggest will provide you with great insights. You can monitor your competitors. You could also give me a call contact me
, and I will help you out.
How this article will become a lead generator
The title above says it all. My goal is to make this post as attractive as possible so you will feel comfortable enough to sign up to my lead generator. It’s a white paper on how to generate leads. But as I mentioned before, you’re not going to sign up because I want you too. There’s a reason why you have read this article. Your goal is to learn how to generate leads from a blog post. Therefore you must be interested in generating leads for your business, right? If not, then I’ve been attracting the wrong audience, or you have too much spare time on your hands. This post is the cornerstone of my lead generation strategy. Once this post is published a series of in-depth articles will follow, and all posts will be directing traffic to this article. Google will pick these backlinks up and will come to understand the importance of this article. Chances are slim; this article won’t do any good in the rankings as well. Maybe some people will bother to share it on their social media profiles. Who knows? My goal is to generate at least 100 readers a month to this specific cornerstone article. So over 12 months, I’d like to see (this is my minimum goal) 1200 visitors, and from those 1200 visitors, I’m hoping to generate at least 80 leads. A lead for me is a person that has downloaded the white paper. These leads will then be nurtured by my automation system (ActiveCampaign). The lead nurturing automation has been set up by myself and tested with a handful of people. So far, everybody seems pretty enthusiastic. To give you some perspective: I’ve written a lot of articles in the past, and this is the first article I have ever written with more than 5000 words. Because of the experience, I’m extremely confident I will reach the goals I have set out by creating this monster of an article. I’ve plotted the lead generation goals in an easy to understand Excel file. The traffic to the Cornerstone article (this one) is incremented by a 20% increase. The 20% increase is caused by the in-depth (yet to be published) articles and organic traffic. Which again is pretty low-balling it. The expected conversion rate: a visitor to lead is 2% (which isn’t that high), but as I mentioned before, you want to keep realistic.
How to promote your posts
Assuming you already have a website in place I recommend to go easy on the active promoting of your cornerstone post. You may wonder why, well if you’re anything like me you want to share the post on social media as soon as you have hit the publish button. But I’ve learned not to do that any more, and there are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t promote the article right off the bat.
- I use Grammarly to check the grammar and typos. English isn’t my mother tongue, and my writing skills are far from being journalist quality. So you don’t want to look like a complete tool by sharing your most important content to the masses full of mistakes. I now publish the content on my site, let it rest for a few days, and then I go back and proofread it again. It’s even better if you have someone that can do this for you.
- You want to make sure you most valuable keywords (in this article Lead Generation) is mentioned frequently enough but not too much. You don’t want the search engines rating your content as keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing really says enough, but it’s an old tactic where copywriters thought it was a great idea to mention the primary keyword over and over again. Claiming the search engines would ‘understand’ what the content was all about. In the pre-historic days of search engines, this was somewhat possible. Now it’s frowned upon.
- After spending a lot of time writing this and the other blogs I found myself without any eye candy such as images and videos. For the blog posts I decided to take a subscription with Envato Elements. It’s a hassle-free, licensed image, video and much more goodies. It’s amazing, and the price is ok. I’ve seen too many other webmasters gets sued in the past for using an image they pulled from one of those free image databases. I don’t like taking those kinds of risks. Especially if the subscription fee for a tool such as Envato Elements is so darn cheap.
- I like to promote my articles with an eye-catching video. Just a short video of about 15-30 seconds. To create videos I decided to take a subscription with Biteable.com. The videos are easy to set up and doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to create a quick video. I use the video’s for my Facebook channel.
- Only recently I joined Instagram and Instagram is whole other ball game than Facebook. I actually don’t like Instagram that much, but I was told, I need to use Instagram. It’s good for brand awareness. Ok, fine the innotrends Instagram channel launched just two weeks ago. By the way, I created a post about our instagram audience building strategy. We launched Instagram on October 1st, 2019. Our weekly posts share updates what we’ve done, what we haven’t done and the benefit of Instagram. You can follow the weekly update if you feel like it. I know Instagram is a visual-oriented social media platform, so to save time I took a subscription with Canva. They have ready-made templates for Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and much more useful stuff. I find Canva to be one of the most comprehensive design suites.
As I mentioned before I’ve automated the complete lead generation process with ActiveCampaign
(referral link). If paid annually you can automate a significant portion of your business, for just $9 a month. What the automation does is real simple – it does all the lead nurturing for you. You automate it! I’ve created an automation for the lead generation white paper. When someone registers to download the lead generation white paper, the automation will kick in. You will receive a Welcome email, including the white paper, and after that, you will receive 6 follow-ups (nurturing emails). Each email goes into depth on how to create a perfect lead generation business. So if you’re willing to take the risk 😀 Sign up and grab your Lead Generation white paper (fill out your details below). [cp_popup display=”inline” style_id=”7401″ step_id = “1”][/cp_popup] To give you an idea of how the automation looks, take a look at the image below.
This article is the longest and in-depth article I’ve ever written. It’s taken me over 10 hours of fact-finding, cutting and slicing images, grammar and spell checks and whatnot. My back hurts from sitting in front of my iMac, and I require some serious sleep. I woke up at 3am because I planned to finish this article by the end of the day. I’m currently looking at the word count, and it says 4912. I promised a 5000-word article, so I’m getting pretty darn close. But let me get serious again: I hope this article will help you generate top-notch quality leads. I’m a firm believer that there are no shortcuts to success. Everything we do needs time to succeed. By reading this mega-article and stepping into blogging and attempting to create leads is better than doing nothing at all. We all make mistakes along the way. There’s nothing to feel bad or ashamed about. Stay healthy, don’t overwork yourself. Cheers Scott ps – I’ve accomplished my goal – 5121 words – wow!