Every time Google mentions SEO lately they talk about content. They continue to reiterate that the best way to increase rankings is to produce quality content. The content will generate shares, +1s, and visitors. It will generate backlinks and engagement.
The reaction in the last 12 months or so has been feverish. Marketers are practically jumping up and down on their keyboards in an effort to impress the omnipotent Google with their content genius.
But, amidst all this content creation haste, there is another thing marketers often overlook: actually generating leads from the blog posts they write. Considering that a marketer’s main job is to generate leads, this is a rather unfortunate. This article will discuss a foolproof plan to generate leads with your blog.
1) Write Useful Content
Most marketing content isn’t all that useful. Most of it, in fact, is pretty self-serving and generic.
That’s why so many people read Hubspot’s blog, Marketo’s blog, KissMetrics’ blog and a few others. These companies consistently produce great content. Marketers can read it and actually do something with it.
But, here’s the big question: what constitutes useful content?
Content marketing expert Jeff Molander has the answer:
“Content that creates leads is content that fosters confidence in buyers. The difference between content that converts and all the other crap out there is the ability to give prospects a taste of success. “
In other words, content needs to empower the reader. It needs to teach them how to do something. It needs to solve a problem for the reader, allay a fear, or improve their situation in some way. Before you write a blog, ask the following questions:
– Would I read this post?
– What does this teach my audience?
– Does this help them make more money?
– What problem does this post solve for my audience?
– What fear my audience has does this blog post allay?
2) Write A Lot of Useful Content
Writing 1 blog post a week won’t cut it. And certainly writing a blog post a month won’t cut it either.
If you want to move the SEO needle—that is, get people to your blog organically—and then generate leads from that content, you have to write regularly.
You’ve probably read our case studies about what happened to our leads and our organic traffic when we wrote 3 posts a day on our blog. You can read the results here:
– 150 Blog Posts in 50 Days: Staggering Traffic Results After 10 Weeks
– 300 Blogs in 100 Days: Traffic Results After 20 Weeks
In the case of Blog.LogMyCalls.com, we didn’t notice an increase in traffic until we had written 3 blog posts each day for about 3-4 weeks. At that point the needle started moving. The same was true of Tresnic Media, a New Jersey-based agency. They did a similar experiment and didn’t notice major traffic improvements until several weeks of writing 1 post a day.
One of the biggest problems is that some marketers simply don’t write enough content. They assume that one well-written blog will spark a deluge of traffic.
Marketers have to write regularly and consistently for an extended period of time.If you don’t have anyone on your team that has the capacity to write every day, day after day, then find someone that can help. Creating content quickly is critical. Writing a blog shouldn’t take 5 hours. Get content created quickly.
Every blog post won’t win a Pulitzer. Now, that does NOT mean that you should produce terrible blog posts (we addressed that above), but it does mean that 47 managers don’t need to read through every post to determine if it’s good enough for publication on your blog. You don’t need a Congressional oversight panel to approve your blogs. Don’t let bureaucracy get in the way of good content.
Hire someone who can do the job quickly and well, and then let them do it.
And keep in mind what Hubspot has said about writing frequently:
“The key is multiple blogs a week, or better yet, per day.
We first went to 1 article per day…comments links, and views went up. Then we kept pushing to 5 articles per day…comments, links and views went up. We learned that you can’t generate enough content.”
3) Include CTAs on EVERY blog post
Invite your readers to do something at the conclusion of every blog. We had a 212% increase in leads per blog when we started creating CTAs and posting them at the bottom of the blog. We literally put CTA buttons on the bottom of every blog. Our CTAs generally offer a free White Paper about the same subject the blog is discussing.
Here’s an example. We wrote a blog about how agencies can use call tracking. And at the end we included a CTA button about how call tracking helps marketers prove ROI. Check out the blog, if for no other reason than to see our CTA button at the bottom.
This specific CTA alone—on dozens of blogs—has generated hundreds of White Paper downloads in the last 6 months. Imagine how many leads we’d have missed out on if we hadn’t put the CTA there?
And other companies do it better than us. KISSmetrics actually puts several short forms on the sides of the blogs and several CTAs.
4) Include Authorship and Share
When Matt Cutts says he is excited about rel=”author”. And when Cutts says he is excited about something, everyone should be excited about it.
“I think we’ll continue to look at it as far as seeing how to use rel=”author” in ways that can improve the search experience.”
5) Do this for Several Months
Blogging to generate leads is a marathon, not a sprint. It is hard. It is time-consuming. It takes creativity and someone who can write quickly and well.
It also requires patience.
Even if you follow this 5 step formula with precision, your blog still probably won’t generate leads for 1-3 months. But, slowly that will change. Eventually you’ll notice a trickle of leads. You’ll notice an occasional click on your CTA button. You’ll notice an occasional White Paper download. Then you’ll start to notice an occasional phone call generated by your blog. Eventually you’ll be able to track traffic, leads, and eventually customers from your blog.