In the era of online marketing, it’s generally accepted that good leads begin with good content. At the risk of using an old cliché, content is king. Why? Because similar to cash, it’s the universal currency for generating demand in the digital world.
While most businesses understand the need for good, shareable content, they don’t always have the budget to support in-house creatives and copywriters. The good news is, all you need is a good content strategy and a system for collecting and sharing it.
Case in point: This year, our marketing department was tasked to grow event registrations by over 50% from last year. A hefty order from our company President, but as the Director of Marketing, I was up for the challenge. In lieu of using a “dialing for dollars” campaign, which is flawed for a number of reasons (not a believer? read this fine piece on the shift toward permission-based marketing, an oldie but a goodie!), I opted to develop a content marketing strategy that would essentially a produce a content schedule to promote our events, and, in turn, generate leads.
Here’s how it works:
- Develop a list of topics around key product or service areas.
- Identify subject matter experts (internal or external) on topic areas.
- Create a Content Contributor Program that clearly conveys “what’s in it for me.”
- Sell the program to your SMEs.
- Collect, package and post your content.
Keys to success: Of course there’s a lot more that goes into it that a few bullet points, but hopefully you get the idea. The key to remember is that when you’re creating your content piece (whether it’s a blog post, article, white paper, infographic, etc.) it needs to be “shareable” for your niche.
Shareable: What exactly does that mean? Well, if you’re a consumer product company, shareable would most likely be a piece of content with strong imagery, such as an infographic or slideshow. If you’re a service company operating in the B2B industry, a white paper on best practices or a “how-to” article might make better sense. Regardless of industry, the key takeaway is you need to think about what your target audience wants to see and interact with. It’s all about them.
The second piece of advice I have for a successful content marketing strategy: Make sure you’ve set up your lead collection system properly. If you don’t have a system to collect, nurture and qualify your leads, you may as well throw the whole initiative out the window. Ask yourself this: Are my calls to action in the content piece clear? Where am I pointing people to? If you’re promoting a webinar using a white-paper, make sure you link to the webinar registration page within the white paper! Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget the proper placement of links in your content.
Next step: where are my leads being funneled? Once they download the white paper, are you collecting their information? Once they reach the webinar page and sign up, how are you collecting the registrations? You’ll want to make sure all lead information being funneled properly in your CRM with an accurate lead source, so you can run reports on anyone who has shown interest in your content that might be a good candidate for follow-up.