Content + Marketing = Qualified Leads
Content marketing is the new digital advertising. Your target audience is tired of ads. They want something more challenging, interesting, and worthwhile. You want to present content that will make your audience a better them. The content has to be digestible information, whether it's presented in the form of an article, a blog post, online quiz, downloadable template, an infographic, video, memes, or whitepapers. This content gives the user a better understanding of your company and your approach, which allows them to qualify themselves before they reach out. The following six steps are necessary to succeed with your content marketing initiative.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience.
Do you know who your ideal customers are? What age brackets do they fall into? What about their job titles and industries? Have you established their needs and wants? These questions about your target audience will help you develop a buyer persona - the focus of your inbound marketing plan. It's one of the key factors of success in content creation and marketing.
Step 2: Brainstorm Topics
Based on your target market and buyer persona's needs and wants, brainstorm content ideas that will be valuable for them. Do they need a downloadable template that will help them make easy calculations? Would they benefit from a cheat sheet when researching a provider? Brainstorming helps you generate ideas to solve a problem. Make sure to establish what the goal of each content idea is - what action do we want our readers to take and what do we want them to get from reading.
Step 3: Writing Content
When writing your piece of content, make sure you keep your audience in mind. Writing a piece for a purchaser or buyer will be a very different tone / voice than if this piece is geared for an engineer. Also, make sure to think of great headlines that clearly state what the audience will take away from it, as well as what will get them to click.
Step 4: Posting Content
When your content is ready, make sure to have a great landing page for it. On this landing page you will want to have a way to capture your leads. A great way to do this is offer a downloadable piece that users can get by providing their email address. But make sure it's worth it! If you ask for email addresses before providing any part of the content, chances are you will anger your users and they will flee. By providing a landing page that lets users know what key features the download will contain, they will be more likely to supply their contact information. For example, if you have a whitepaper on 'Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Supplier', your landing page can feature the first few questions with a call-to-action asking for their email to download the full list.
Step 5: Content Promotion
Once you have your piece of content ready, now it's time to promote it. At the very least you want to send it to your email list or current prospects to get it in front of your prequalified leads. Give them a teaser in the email of what they will get from it and have them click over to the landing page to download it. Let's say we have a piece of content that is geared towards the Oil & Gas industry and is meant for purchasers. Using LinkedIn's Sponsored Content ads we can get our content in front of those with jobs in the oil and gas industry with job titles like purchaser, buyer, senior buyer, etc... Essentially, getting hyper targeted to get our content in front of the people that it will be most valuable to.
Step 6: Harvest Leads
If everything goes well, you will be able to see leads come in based off who has downloaded your content. This will give your sales team a targeted list of qualified prospects to follow up with.