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Content Marketing 101: Generating Leads with Content

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Content marketing can help you grow your business. Here are some key considerations and options for generating leads with content.


Key takeaways: 

  • All leads are not created equal: There are different lead levels to understand so you can cater your content appropriately.
  • Your content options are endless: From blog posts and social to email and white papers, you have a lot of avenues for releasing great lead generation content.
  • How do you get people hooked? Lead hooks help you pull readers in with content, and should be paired with landing pages or forms.
  • Don’t make these common lead gen mistakes: 
      1. Not thinking through the buyer’s journey
      2. Not evaluating competitors
      3. Not using automation
      4. Not considering the user experience

Marketing is all about getting new business. Combining the right voice with great content that inspires your target audience boosts brand trust and drives sales and revenue. Most people are online at a near-constant pace throughout the day. Digital content has thus been at the forefront of lead generation for a while now, and its importance only continues to grow.

This guide will cover the different levels of leads and how multiple types of content impact each stage. It will also dive into generating leads with content via the right methods, where they’re most appropriate, and lead gen mistakes to avoid.

The different levels of leads

Key takeaways:

  • These three example actions represent different lead levels: RSVPing for a webinar, subscribing to a newsletter, and signing up for a demo.

It’s helpful to point out that any contact you have, no matter how you get it, is a lead for your business. Someone who attends your event and signs up for your newsletter is a lead. A user who clicks on your call-to-action (CTA) on a blog post is a lead. A consumer who downloads your ebook is a lead.

There are lots of different outlets from which you can pull in leads. Your approach will vary based on:

  • Your target audience
  • Your industry
  • Your current goals and campaigns

Let’s walk through how leads are generated at a few different example levels:

RSVPing for a webinar

Someone who signs up for an event or webinar is ready to learn, not buy. They want to hear what you have to say or get a specific answer to a problem or question. They’re potentially researching solutions and are not yet far along in the sales funnel. Make sure you’re not being overly salesy with your content to these leads. Focus instead on inspiring them with interesting facts. Discuss how your webinar will be a valuable resource for a specific topic. 

Subscribing to a newsletter

Whether you meet someone in person or inspire them to subscribe after a great digital experience on your website, getting someone to sign up is a big win. Subscribing shows they are interested in your brand and want to stay in touch. This level requires you to focus your content on value: Why should they follow you? How are you similar to them? How can what you do and say help them with a specific pain point? They’re not necessarily ready to buy but are interested in you.

Signing up for a demo

Leads that sign up for a demo or consultation are farther along in the process. They’ve officially crossed over from a general lead to a prospect. They are interested in your product or service and want to learn how it will work. They’re probably comparing you to competitors. This is the time to really hook them in. You want content for this group to be focused on value as well as how your products are different. What makes you stand out: Price? Customer service? Experience? Efficiency? You can talk more about your brand when leads are in this stage and close to buying, too. Make your products sound irresistible.

These are three examples of the different stages leads go through. Remember that failure to identify and consider the entire buyer’s journey means you’ll probably miss out on a lot of great leads.

Types of lead generation content

Key takeaways:

  • Types of lead gen content include emails, blog posts, social media posts, webinars, videos, white papers, ebooks, and podcasts.

You have a lot of content options for lead generation. Your audience will interact with these different pieces on three key channels – email, social, and blog – and these outlets work together. 

Say you post a how-to blog post and include a CTA at the end for a reader to learn more by heading to a landing page to download a white paper. You can also link to your blog post on your social channels and in your email newsletter. One piece of content can do a lot of work for you, boosting your chances of getting leads to that landing page to fill out your form.

Let’s look at each type you should use when generating leads with content (and when they are most appropriate):

  • Emails: Email campaigns can be used to inform your audience, keep in touch with followers, and follow up with leads after they take an initial step. This content should be short, sweet, and engaging, and include very clear CTAs.
  • Blog posts: Blog posts are where leads will learn something that applies to their situations when they’re not necessarily looking for a product or service. When they feel they have valuable takeaways, they can click your CTA to learn more about you or download another resource.
  • Social media posts: Social media is a very effective way to bring people back to your site. You may already know that social ads are impactful, but you can do a lot with content on its own, too. Post short, compelling content. Incorporate eye-catching images and videos. Always include a link with your CTA.
  • Webinars: Webinar content brings in leads who seek answers and steps to solve a problem. Your webinar content should be informative, professional, and well-outlined. Include a slide at the end of your presentation that introduces your brand and includes contact information. You can promote webinars in your emails and on your social channels so people know about what’s coming up. Write a blog post about the webinar topic and include a link to sign up at the end.
  • Videos: Shorter videos – under three minutes – are typically better for lead generation. But videos are becoming more popular, especially with the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels. Consider creating product how-tos or adding a lead gen form to your video to gather information.
  • White papers: White papers are more in-depth, educational resources that walk through a current trend or a pain point your audience may be experiencing. These work great for lead generation because you can outline everything a user will learn from the content and then deliver them a PDF in exchange for their contact information.
  • Ebooks: Ebooks are similar to white papers in that they typically provide an overview on one specific topic. They can also be gated on your website so that leads have to give you their name and email address before reading. Ebooks are best for turning existing content – like several blog posts or a webinar presentation – into a valuable, cohesive document for your audience.
  • Podcasts: Finally, podcasts can be key in your lead generation strategy. Interview industry leaders, discuss trends, and talk about your brand. Today’s online users love engaging with podcasts, so it’s a great way to discuss important issues that are valuable to your audiences. 

Each of these content types can work together to effectively pull in leads, followers, and (hopefully) customers. Campaigns can reach across channels, so post about these deliverables on multiple outlets.

What is a lead hook?

Key takeaways:

  • Lead hooks are what pull readers into your content.
  • Your hook should be paired with the right lead gen tactic, like a landing page or a form.

Next, let’s talk about hooks. A lead hook is what you provide to someone in exchange for their contact information, or something that pulls readers in to engage with your content. Hooks tap into your audience members’ emotions, showing them you recognize or have an answer to an issue they’re facing.

You need pair your hook with the right lead generation tactic, though. This could be a:

  • Landing page: Link to the landing page where people can download the resource that will help them solve the problem specified in the hook.
  • Form: Sometimes all you need is a simple form to collect an email address and name next to your lead hook content.

And, don’t forget about thank you pages. Send someone who downloads a white paper or ebook to an automatic thank you page to show your appreciation.

As you become more comfortable creating content specifically for lead generation, you’ll be able to master which types of hooks should be paired with which information-gathering tactics. The key is to constantly monitor your results using analytics tools so you know what is getting the most traction.

Common mistakes when generating leads with content

Key takeaways:

  • 4 common lead gen mistakes:
      1. Not thinking through the buyer’s journey
      2. Not evaluating competitors
      3. Not using automation
      4. Not considering the user experience

Even with the best content out there, it’s easy to make some missteps with your strategy. Here are some of the most crucial mistakes to avoid when generating leads with content:

  1. Not thinking through the buyer’s journey

Your content approach should be carefully mapped against a buyer’s journey. This requires two things: digging in to know your audience with a target audience analysis, and having a fully realized content marketing strategy that is aimed specifically toward this audience.

  1. Not evaluating competitors

One of your goals should be to keep a competitive edge, and that requires regularly analyzing your competitors. Pay attention to what they’re doing, what’s working, and what isn’t. Use this research to make yourself stand out with your lead gen content.

  1. Not using automation

Automation is your friend. You want landing pages and forms to do a lot of the information gathering for you, and you should put a plan in place for automatic notifications once someone has taken the desired action. Automation can also help you follow up with leads so you don’t lose touch.

  1. Not considering the user experience

When you start creating forms and landing pages to gather contact info, it’s crucial that you consider how users will view the process. What are you asking them to provide? Is it reasonable compared to the deliverable? Is the form user-friendly? What could be confusing about your setup? Today’s audiences have pretty short attention spans, so they may move on quick if something isn’t fast and easy.

We can help you with better lead gen content

Generating leads with content is not always straightforward. There are lots of avenues to bring in potential customers, and each requires its own unique approach for the best outcomes. One thing is for certain, though: You need amazing content to attract leads.

At ContentBacon, our team helps you create the best inbound marketing strategy and get content that helps you meet your goals and keep growing your business. Contact ContentBacon now to learn about our content subscription services.

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