Are you struggling with lead generation? Content marketing can change all that.
Let me explain why.
When searchers look online, they’re hoping to find useful, quality content. Ideally, they’re looking for actionable content from people with expertise, which they can apply immediately.
If you meet that need, your users feel they can trust you. Building that trust is an essential step toward content marketing lead generation.
The number of leads you generate can vary depending on your content type. For example, at one point in the early days of my blog, I generated 17 leads a month out of over 500,000 monthly visitors. To me, that’s not an impressive media marketing conversion.
Today, I attract hundreds of potential clients every month, largely because of the type of content that I’ve come to focus on. Read on to learn what that content is and how to generate leads with content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing Lead Generation?
Are you looking for an effective way to attract and convert potential customers? Content marketing lead generation is a proven strategy to achieve this goal.
By creating and distributing high-quality content that resonates with your target audience, you can establish your brand as a trusted authority in your industry, build strong relationships with prospects, and generate more leads likely to convert into sales.
With this approach, you can enjoy long-term customer loyalty and profitability while providing real value to your audience.
Why Lead Generation Matters
Generating leads is crucial for any successful sales and marketing strategy. Using content marketing lead generation, you can attract potential customers, establish long-term relationships with your target audience, and increase sales. You can do this by offering valuable and informative content your audience can engage with, building credibility and trust for your brand over time.
Additionally, content marketing lead generation is a cost-effective way to reach your target audience and generate more leads for your business. According to Demand Metric, it costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing.
By creating relevant content that speaks to the needs and challenges of your prospects, you can drive more traffic to your website and build long-lasting relationships with potential customers.
How to Generate Leads With Content Marketing
It’s time to delve into content marketing and how you can use it to generate leads.
I’ll also provide you with practical tips you can use to create content that not only drives engagement but increases conversions.
1. Extensive Market Research
The importance of market research in content marketing lead generation can’t be overemphasized.
You want to make sure there are potential customers for the product you’re offering. You also want to leverage research other marketers have conducted to turbocharge your marketing and reach more prospects.
Keywords are a powerful way to see what your target audience wants to learn more about. In particular, keyword intention tells you what your prospects intend to buy and exactly what they’re looking for.
Here’s an example.
Suppose you’re a plumber in California and want to attract prospects in your city. Here’s how to find out precisely what these prospects are searching for.
Go to Google Ads Keywords Planner. First, enter your main keyword (e.g., plumbing service) into the search box. Next, click “Discover New Keywords.”
The planner will return keywords you can use to identify what people are searching for and the keywords you’ll need to target that audience. Doing this well results in high lead generation and successful media marketing.
Here are the results from that search:
You can see how many potential customers you could reach and attract to your plumbing business via various content marketing strategies. For example, you could develop a specialized social media channel for plumbing, incorporating the keywords listed above.
By creating content that addresses the questions of a specific niche, you can develop each member of your target audience into a lead for your business. This is the simplest form of content marketing lead generation.
Furthermore, you’re building up your brand by answering questions that potential customers ask. Over time, you’ll amass a loyal audience that trusts you enough to pay money for your products and services because your media marketing focuses on demand generation—targeting marketing for higher awareness.
It won’t happen overnight, but when you stick to it and keep marketing with this strategy, you’ll succeed as others do—people like Marcus Sheridan, for example. Sheridan was once considered a “pool guy,” struggling to generate leads and attract clients.
Eventually, Marcus realized that content and social media marketing was the way to go. He wrote blog posts that generated over $2 million in sales by tapping into its potential.
He took his River Pools and Spas from a struggling business to a multimillion-dollar success story.
What does that tell us?
Market research remains pretty much the same. It’s all about understanding your target audience’s needs and where they search for solutions, usually on search engines. Once you get that right, you can direct searchers’ attention to your website for a more tailored response.
In short, focus on the right audience and platform. That’s the key to successful online marketing.
2. Create Compelling Lead Magnets
A lead magnet is a valuable piece of content related to your target audience, typically in exchange for their email address or other contact information. Lead magnets can be anything from eBooks and white papers to an educational course on something specific to your niche.
Lead magnets are a great way to incentivize leads to click.
Your target audience will learn more about you and discover how awesome you are at what you do. As they learn about you and your brand, they’re more likely to want to work with you.
Here’s a list of potential lead magnets:
Whatever type of content you choose must be valuable enough to compel them to give you their information.
Just make sure you understand your target audience and what they respond to positively.
For example, if you’re a makeup artist and want to build a list of potential customers who will eventually buy your book or enroll in your online course, a video course is your best lead bait bet, because effective makeup instruction requires visual demonstration.
When creating lead magnets, make sure that you focus on what your target audience is looking for. Your lead magnet should be a valuable resource or tool that makes the life of your targeted visitor better.
This is vital to your email marketing success. The better your lead magnets, the better your email list.
Essential Elements of Lead Magnet Landing Page
If you live and breathe conversion rate optimization as I do, you’ll probably agree that not all landing pages are created equal. This is especially true with content marketing lead generation and lead magnets.
After all, what good are your lead magnets if they miss if the landing pages you use to promote them miss the mark?
Most landing pages don’t perform well, generating few opt-ins. Others are capable of much more, with the top 10 percent of landing pages converting at 11.45 percent or higher.
That’s a lot of underperforming landing pages that aren’t maximizing leads and converting them into customers.
It’s your responsibility to understand why you’re creating or using a particular landing page. Get that out of the way and then perfect your page.
Here are some tips to help:
- Begin by understanding the perfect landing page. Start with a compelling headline. Include a strong opening, then build interest as readers read the copy. This creates more persuasive content for social media channels.
- Focus on usability, as well as aesthetics. For example, when people click from a social media channel, you want to ensure the user experience is intuitive and the navigation is easy to follow.
- Put the interests of your target audience first. This is crucial for generating more qualified leads.
- Ensure your content is strong, persuasive, and professional.
- Don’t forget visitors expect sites to load super-fast. So the longer a page takes to load, the more likely your lead will go elsewhere.
Making Lead Magnets With Facebook Ads
Facebook’s advanced technology makes targeting qualified leads much easier.
It uses its ocean of data to discover and predict users’ buying habits.
It knows your preferences, hobbies, and personal information. However, most importantly, it understands your target leads’ preferences.
You can take advantage of Facebook Insights by running ad campaigns correctly. However, be mindful when using Facebook Ads. Most marketers fail because they use them incorrectly.
Unlike Google Ads, Facebook Ads target people looking for your business or content, and it uses native ads to maximize your engagement and conversions.
The more overt you are, the less likely people are to convert.
To win at Facebook advertising, you must make selling soft and easy.
After all, you want your leads to take the easiest step possible: Sign up for your email list.
This way, you can build strong relationships outside of the platform. However, people aren’t going to sign up just because you have an email newsletter.
How Brennan Dunn Uses Facebook Ads
Brennan Dunn of Double Your Freelancing used an email course to convert aspiring freelancers.
Here’s the ad he used:
When you’d click on the ad, it’d direct you to a landing page detailing the email course.
When you clicked the blue button, a pop-up asked for your name and email address.
Brennan won at Facebook marketing because he knew people weren’t going to buy from your first attempt.
After setting up your lead magnet or landing page, write a welcome email thanking leads for signing up, and start lead nurturing.
3. Content Creation
Content marketing lead generation performs best when you build a solid foundation of high-quality, data-driven posts.
How do you ensure that you create the right content? Just follow these simple tips:
- Identify the content users want: No marketer can claim to know what their users want. However, you can use Google Analytics to evaluate metrics such as page views, bounce rate, click-throughs, etc.
- Ask your readers what type of content they’d most like to read: Any feedback you get is profoundly helpful. Then, you can expand into related topics to solve their biggest problems.
- Write in-depth content: Once you’ve written your headline and gathered all the data you need to create your content, it’s time to write your article.
- Follow a clear outline: That’s exactly how I write my detailed and in-depth articles. They should contain 2,000 or more words because recent observations, studies, and experiments show that Google tends to rank detailed and data-driven content higher than shorter content.
Now that you know how to identify the right content to create, let’s look at how to make it stand out.
Learning how to write powerful headlines is a good place to start. Strong headlines will differentiate your content from all the others.
Where to begin? Well, what better way to gauge the effectiveness of your headline than by looking at pages already sitting at the top of Google’s results?
For example, if I search for “link-building strategies in 2023,” I get 11 SEO Link Building Techniques That Work in 2023 and Link Building Strategies: 8 Ways to Build Links in 2023, among others. We could then use that headline format to inspire our own.
Let’s have a go right now at creating our own headline now. Depending on your industry or target market, you could craft one like these:
- 6 Benefits of Local SEO
- 9 Ways to Reach Your Target Audience
- 17 Proven Link-Building Tactics You Should Use in 2023
Insert Content Upgrades
This is a specific strategy or tactic used to enhance the value and effectiveness of a piece of content, encouraging audience engagement and lead generation. You’ve probably already seen it in action on several blogs. Within the blog post, you’re asked to download bonus content, like a report, eBook, or the content you’re reading in a different format.
Content upgrades are the quickest way to build your email list. Since you target the lead bait at people interested in your blog topic, the chances of converting them into subscribers are pretty good.
Here’s how it works: Start by creating a lead magnet for every blog post you write. This makes your bait attractive and relevant. Then, instead of having one universal report or eBook, create a specific and valuable bonus each time you write a blog post using this strategy.
To save time when creating bonus packages for your content upgrade, convert your post into a PDF report that readers can download. Don’t be surprised when you find plenty of people downloading the same thing they just read in exchange for their email address.
They do this because they can’t read your blog offline or because they don’t have time to read it there and then. However, they can download the post in PDF format to read on their smartphone or tablet later.
Other types of content upgrades include:
- Membership access
- Hardcover book
- License for software
- Discount code
- Templates or WordPress themes
Note: For content upgrades to work for you, you must consistently create high-quality and detailed content. Let people see you as a strong advocate of helpful content, and you’ll always attract the right people to grow your business.
Content Promotion Techniques
Having a strong mix of content makes promotion a lot easier. It frees you from the constraints of being tied to a platform you’re not terribly excited about.
If you’ve got different content formats—eBooks, articles, videos, blog posts, white papers, online courses, infographics, etc.—you need to start promoting it. Because without promotion, those pieces of content are as good as dead. That might mean getting out of your comfort zone.
However, promoting your blog posts is one of the best ways to use content marketing for lead generation. Here are a few proven ways to promote your content:
- Content upgrades: We covered this one above. Lead magnets are a great way to promote your content, build a loyal following, and build out an email list.
- Leverage social media: Don’t forget to leverage social media channels. You can get initial readership for your blog posts from Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, or Twitter if you’ve got an active fan base.
- Ego baits: Creating ego baits (a type of blog post where you highlight other authority bloggers and link to their blogs) can gain you links, generate the right leads to your business, and improve referral traffic.
- Guest blogging: Guest blogging is a great way to reach out to other blogs and hijack some of their loyal audience members to your blog, so leverage it. We’ll cover this more later.
- Target long-tail keywords: Target long-tail keywords to maximize your headline’s reach and improve its conversion rate. I’ve found that headlines with long-tail keywords tend to rank higher in Google’s results. To win the SEO game, you have to understand the state of SEO now—not what it was in 2013. We’ll cover this one more in depth later, too.
How Wishpond Used Content Marketing Lead Generation
In its own words, Wishpond’s pricing page was where it lost the “greatest percentage of its potential customers.”
What did it do to change that? It enabled visitors to sign up for free and test out the tools. It then allowed them to create a campaign, but there was a catch.
Visitors had to go to the pricing page and upgrade to launch the campaign. But, unfortunately, that’s when a lot of users would drop out.
It wasn’t clear why.
Perhaps it was the pricing. Or they might have simply gotten distracted.
The solution was simple.
Wishpond sent users an email after they left the site. The company set it to send after four hours.
The email title read:
“Oops did we do something wrong?”
The headline was enough to pique interest, but it’s the content that did most of the heavy lifting:
I noticed that you left in the middle of upgrading your account. Was there a problem on our end? If so, please let me know. Also, do you have any questions I may be able to answer to help you decide if Wishpond is the right fit for you?
You can also check out the pricing page again, here: a link to the page.
Customer Success Lead”
As Wishpond explains, it asked open-ended questions by design. This ensured it got responses from potential customers explaining the specific issues they needed help with.
This resulted in a 20 percent increase in its pricing page conversions.
Wishpond’s approach is content marketing lead generation at its finest. Give it a go.
4. Guest Blogging
Not only is guest blogging a great content promotion technique, but it can get you qualified leads.
Guest blogging for popular blogs in your niche or industry is effective because you’re collaborating with sites that have succeeded in capturing your target audience’s attention.
It’s attention that you need.
Before you start pitching, you must:
1. Research popular blogs (or podcasts) in your target leads’ niche.
2. Brainstorm evergreen ideas that benefit your audience.
3. Create a lead magnet connected to your email marketing service.
The last task is super important!
Lead magnets are how your content marketing will help you deliver results.
Building a great lead magnet has to be “highly relevant to the content of your guest post and the overall theme of your target blog.”
I highly recommend sharing a link to the lead magnet’s landing page in your guest writer’s bio instead of your website!
That way, when a reader clicks on the link to the lead magnet, they get directed to a landing page where they can offer their email address.
How Brad Hussey Did Everything Right
Freelancing expert Brad Hussey grows his email list through guest posting and podcasts.
Click on a link from a podcast transcription or guest post, and it takes you to this page:
It invites you to fill out your email address in return for a free, five-day personalized course, offering guidance to optimize your freelance business.
Hussey says he focused on lead generation by putting together a bundle of free courses “to get people in the door.”
5. Webinar Collaborations
Want an alternative to guest blogging? Then try a webinar. If you’ve ever been on YouTube, you’ll see free webinars advertised all the time. In exchange, all these marketers want is your email address. It’s one of the easiest ways of getting contact information.
Webinars are more complex to set up than blog posts. However, they leave a better lasting impression.
You’ll build a more personal connection with your audience by expressing your voice, personality, and mannerisms.
It makes even more sense if you’ve got an existing audience on various platforms or an email list.
However, what if you don’t?
Then partner with an Influencer or brand as a joint webinar or a joint venture webinar to gain exposure to a new list of qualified leads.
Most webinars have a Q&A section or a chat room where you can engage with your attendees.
To promote your webinar, create a blog post about it and share it with your social media platforms and email subscribers.
If you’re eager to learn more about webinar collaborations and drawing up legal contracts, the Fearless CEO has a great piece to guide you.
How I Generated $1,638,000 With Webinars
Personally, I love webinars, and they’ve worked well for me.
Some years ago at Kissmetrics, we partnered with leading marketers to publish 77 webinars.
It was a lot of work, but it was worth it!
The webinar promotion produced 518,399 online visitors. We told visitors they needed to sign up with their email addresses to attend and receive event reminders.
Here’s the landing page we used:
Of those visitors, 155,386 registered to attend.
We sent emails notifying them when we were ready.
Only 74,4381 of those who signed up ended up attending. However, that didn’t matter.
We pitched our product at the end of every webinar and sent those who didn’t see the live session a replay.
That converted 16,394 people into hot leads.
If 1 out of 20 leads become paying customers, that’s at least a few thousand dollars each in sales.
I estimated that we generated $1.638 million in revenue. That’s the potential.
6. Quizzes and Surveys
It’s too easy to underestimate the power of quizzes and surveys. They’re a fun and informative way of learning more about your leads.
Quizzes and surveys are great for customers, too. People like them because they get to know more about themselves.
You can use different quizzes, including personality, trivia, and knowledge, to gain an opt-in.
With passive questioning, you’ll discover the problems and issues concerning your prospects.
Then, you’ll have insights about what stage of the customer journey they’re in.
I can verify that this is a great content marketing lead generation tactic.
Personally, I’m a big fan of quizzes. During my $100,000 challenge, I used quizzes to increase my lead captures by 500 percent.
I can’t guarantee you the same level of success, but quizzes work great for any niche.
For example, Fitbit uses quizzes to help leads find the best product for them.
The “Find your Fit” quizzes help narrow down your choices, like trackers, smartwatches, and jewelry-like devices. If a prospect isn’t quite sure what they want, Fitbit also has a “No preference, surprise me!” link.
Another example is Virgin Points. It uses a personality quiz to help people decide how to spend their points. It’s fun, engaging, and provides an excellent place to promote its partner offers.
7. Long-Tail SEO
Want to drive and convert more qualified leads? Then start with your keyword choice.
You must rank highly for long-tail keywords that satisfy users’ search needs. This helps leads find you easily via search engines, making them more likely to join your email list.
Targeting Long-tail Keywords
If you want to maximize your headline’s reach and improve its conversion rate, you will do well to target long-tail keywords.
I’ve found that headlines with long-tail keywords tend to rank higher in Google’s results.
Using long-tail keywords can allow you to target keywords that your competitors have neglected or don’t know how to identify and implement themselves.
Let me show you how to research thIs low-hanging fruit using my free SEO tool Ubersuggest:
In the search box, type your seed keyword (e.g., attract clients):
The Keyword Ideas tab will reveal the longer keyword phrases related to your seed keyword.
From the screenshot above, there are long-tail keywords that you could use as is. However, you can take it further by plugging one of the long-tail keywords into the search box and digging deeper.
You can easily target those long-tail keywords in your headline to improve your search traffic.
Most importantly, focus on the user intent—the user’s reason behind the keyword—and optimize for users first, before search engines. That’s how to fly safely in the Hummingbird SEO space.
How a UAV Coach Grew Leads With Long-tail SEO
In a guest post, Michael Karp explained how he exploded his client’s organic traffic.
His client UAV Coach wanted to attract more clients to its website, so Michael used long-tail SEO for the company’s content marketing lead generation.
He wanted his client to rank No. 1 for the keyword “how to fly a quadcopter” and other related terms.
He wrote a 4,400-word blog post titled “How to Fly a Quadcopter — The Ultimate Guide” (the title’s changed a bit since then) and used the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin to make the blog post as Google-friendly as possible.
Karp used the keyword “how to fly a quadcopter” in the title, meta description, heading tags, and image alt text.
After he was finished optimizing the blog post and its media, he focused on creating a PDF article as a lead magnet:
He added a pop-up form that converted at 5.12 percent and a lead box that converted at 20 to 50 percent.
8. Upgrade Your Landing Pages
We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth its own section: Landing pages are integral to your success as a content marketer, which means you must get it right.
That means a great-looking website, customer-centric copy, and a relevant landing page.
If you’re getting any of these things wrong, no worries. You can fix them.
Start with your design by following these tips:
- Keep it simple: Use a clear headline, simple language, and a compelling call to action. You could go with a headline like “Transform Your Business Today” and use a single, prominent call to action button, like “Start Free Trial.”
- Use clean and organized design: Include plenty of white space and consistent branding elements, colors, and typography throughout.
- Test everything: Use A/B testing to test different elements on your landing page, including headlines, copy, call-to-action buttons, and images to see what works best.
- Focus on benefits: Instead of focusing on features, highlight your product or service’s benefits to the customer. Be clear and specific about how your product or service will help them solve their problem or achieve their goals. For example, a fitness app could say “Get Fit in Just 30 Minutes Per Day” instead of “3 Workout Modes Available.”
- Use social proof: Show testimonials, reviews, user-generated content (UGC), or other social proof to demonstrate the value of your product or service.
Next, If you’re content isn’t generating leads, update your copy and explain exactly how your product or service can help solve their pain points. That way, you know you content resonates with them.
VividBoard Gets a Makeover
VividBoard asked Karon of UnBounce how they could improve their lead conversions. Unfortunately, their major landing page was only converting at 2 percent.
Here’s the original page:
Karon looked over it and saw these mistakes:
- Too many CTAs
- Complex design and bad copy
- Form asked for too much information
The landing page’s copy focused too much on who VividBoard was instead of how their book could help leads.
Karon explained that all the leads “wanted was the free whiteboard e-book that was promised.”
After a few revisions, the new landing page looked like this:
The results? A 2 percent conversion rate became 27 percent (a 1,250 percent lift)!
9. Publish High-Quality Content on LinkedIn
To grow your business’s brand on LinkedIn, you need to develop and publish high-quality content that your audience or connections desire.
With LinkedIn, you have an opportunity to build authority among your fellow peers. Just make sure every article you publish on LinkedIn is the best content you can deliver. To optimize article views:
- Write about trending topics.
- Cover subjects relevant to your audience.
- Ensure titles are between 40 to 49 characters.
- Share a high-quality image a cover.
How Audi Used LinkedIn for Lead Generation
Audi wanted to find a way to market its Audi A8 in the Middle East. It aimed to raise awareness, create high-quality engagement, and access a “pipeline” of high-quality leads for its new model.
The car company did what many other businesses did and chose LinkedIn for its lead generation campaign.
Audi used sponsored content and LinkedIn’s InMail feature to drive engagement with a 30-second video. The video resulted in a 35 percent view rate and 22 percent completion. The sponsored Inmail, which featured a personalized introduction to the Audi A8, had a 66 percent open rate and a click-through rate of 5.7 percent.
As Audi Middle East’s Digital and CRM Manager, Karen Weibrecht, explains, “The headline message that the future of luxury is now available really resonated with the audience we were targeting.”
The key to using content marketing for lead generation is knowing your audience and understanding what resonates with them.
Follow up your initial messaging with personalization and you can’t go far wrong.
10. Use the Power of Annotations to Get Leads on YouTube
YouTube annotations are interactive elements that allow you to add clickable links, text overlays, speech bubbles, and other useful information to content. They provide additional context or information to the viewer.
By adding annotations to videos, creators can increase viewer engagement, drive traffic to their website or other online platforms, and better promote their brand.
Here’s an example of good use of annotations in a recent video from Leggari Products:
When you click on the links, you can view other how-to videos or subscribe to their main YouTube channel from the link to the right, but you could also include a link to your website here.
Another way to link to landing pages from YouTube is to include links in the description section of your video. It’s not as visual but very easy to implement. Here’s an example from one of mine:
From here, viewers can easily navigate to my website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram.
Wait! There’s one more tip: Don’t forget a verbal call to action.
To reinforce the methods we’ve discussed, help your viewers to find links by telling them where they can sign up to your landing page.
Shameless Maya tells her audience how they can see related videos, subscribe to her channel, and find information from links in the video description by pointing to them and telling viewers about them.
How Digital Marketer Generated 140,000 free leads
Digital Marketer helped YouTube channel ILoveBasketballTV grow over 100,000 leads simply by using proper keywords and annotations.
First, it planned its video to rank high for specific keywords, like “how to shoot a basketball perfectly.”
Next, they put the keyword in the video’s headline, description, and keyword tags; whenever someone searches for that keyword, they’ll rank pretty high.
Next, they published a high-quality video about shooting a basketball and added an annotation at the end to promote a free basketball workout:
When you click on the annotation, you’re directed to the landing page:
When first published, the video had almost 800,000 views with 140,000 leads generated.
Currently, it has over 1.7 million views! So the leads are much higher now.
Frequently Asked Questions
The top tip for generating leads is to create content that provides value to your target audience. By understanding their needs and challenges, you can create content that speaks directly to their pain points and positions your brand as a trusted authority.
Content marketing helps lead generation by allowing businesses to provide value to potential customers through informative and engaging content.
It can also drive traffic to your website and improve your search engine rankings, which can further increase your opportunities for lead generation.
Some popular lead-generating content examples include eBooks, white papers, case studies, webinars, and blog posts. You can attract potential customers to your website by creating informative and engaging content.
Additionally, including calls to action in your content can encourage readers to take the next step in their customer journey and ultimately convert them into qualified leads for your business.
No specific content type is best for lead generation, as the most effective type will depend on your target audience and industry. However, content that provides value to your audience, such as eBooks, white papers, case studies, and webinars, tends to be effective for lead generation.
There you have it! Ten ways to generate qualified leads with content marketing.
Got a brain overload? I hope not.
I also hope you appreciate these case studies and understand that you can attract and convert leads in so many ways.
Want to grow leads with a podcast? Turn a transcript into a content upgrade. Then, promote it in the show notes.
Whatever you choose, make your offer or lead magnet worth sharing.
How does your business use content marketing for lead generation? What content type do you use?