Most business owners understand that content is an integral part of succeeding online, but when pressed to explain how exactly can content help their lead generation, few know the answer.

The truth is, a lot of companies waste precious time and resources developing content that no one’s interested in reading, so it’s no surprise that this type of content doesn’t do anything to attract new customers for the business.

However, that doesn’t mean that content can’t be incredibly powerful for generating targeted leads.

In fact, if done correctly, content marketing can become the centerpiece of all your online marketing and help you gain a significant advantage over your competitors.

Content is at the forefront of all communications between businesses and their customers online, so those companies that can provide value and know how to use content to grow their business will never have a shortage of new customers.

To help you get started with generating leads using content marketing, here are four things you must consider if you want to reap the full benefits that it can offer.

Study the Best in Your Industry

Create quality content that appeals to your target audience

If you don’t have prior experience, creating quality content that appeals to your target audience and gets read can be a challenge.

You’re competing with dozens or even hundreds of other blogs that already have an established following and have developed their own style, which helps to write in a way that’s not only informative but entertaining as well.

So, if you’re going to have any chance of succeeding with your content marketing strategy, you can’t dive head first into producing content without first figuring out how the landscape looks in your field.

That means that you have to conduct thorough research about who’s creating the best content in your industry and identify thought leaders that are guiding the discussions, introducing new ideas, and shaping the opinions of the audience that you want to reach.

By researching the type of content that’s produced by others in your niche, you will gain invaluable insights about the most relevant topics that you should cover, common problems that your audience are facing, not to mention the opinions and concerts of the people that you want to address.

But what are the best approaches for analyzing your competitor’s content?

Well, the process is pretty straightforward – become an avid consumer of content and go through all of the most prominent blogs in your niche, taking notes about the type of content they tend to produce, the voice that they use in their writing, and how they interact with their audience.

You should also look at the ways that the content is promoted – check if the blogs have a presence on social media platforms or if they use guest posting to broaden their reach. If they add social share buttons to their articles, look at how many people decide to share the posts, and you’ll start seeing which articles get the most attention and shares online.

If you want to take it a step further, you could even use tools that help you monitor competitors changes on their sites so that you can stay on top of new posts and updates to their old content.

Now, one thing you should avoid is trying to copy what others are doing – after all, if you just do the same thing as someone else, there will be no reason for the readers to come to you since there’s already a more established content creator that covers the same ground.

However, you should use this research phase as an opportunity to combine different ideas and look for opportunities to present a fresh and relevant angle, or to talk about problems that aren’t covered, which is all but guaranteed to attract the readers to your site.

Take the Time to Create Top-Quality Content

Turn your content into a lead generation tool

Creating top quality content is an integral part of achieving success with content marketing – after all, if what you’re creating doesn’t add value to the reader, no amount of effort is going to turn your content into a lead generation tool.

What’s more, Google has started penalizing websites that use thin or scraped content, so if you ever want to achieve results with SEO, you’ll need to put in the effort into creating content that’s on par with the expectations of both your readers and the search engines.

But creating content that’s better than everyone else’s isn’t an easy task – more companies are beginning to use content marketing each year, and thus the bar for quality that’s required to attract readers keeps getting higher as well.

But while the task of creating content may seem daunting, the good news is that entering your market later than your competitors can actually be an advantage.

If you take the research phase we discussed in the previous section seriously, you will have the upper hand against the competition because you’ll know the quality bar that you need to measure against and thus producing better content will only be a matter of effort.

By creating content that’s longer, more informative, more in-depth, and more engaging, you can attract readers from your competition and start positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Today, good content spreads faster than ever before – social media marketing, SEO, and guest posting have all become much more effective and more powerful when you have content that people actually want to read and share.

Nurture Your Readers Using Email Marketing

Nurture Your Readers Using Email Marketing

Even though attracting leads to your site using content marketing is a huge achievement, that’s just part of the job if you want to ensure that those readers don’t end up being one-time visitors that never return to your site.

The biggest drawback of creating content on your blog is that once the visitor finishes reading your article, there’s no guarantee he’ll stick around for another one. In fact, he may choose to leave your site and never return, even if he really enjoyed the information you provided.

That’s why, to maximize the chances of converting those visitors into loyal customers, you need to implement an email marketing strategy to go along with your content publishing efforts.

If you can capture the readers by getting them to join your email newsletter, you’ll be able to have continuous interactions, educating them about your products, helping them overcome various obstacles, and guiding them towards becoming your customer.

Now, getting someone to entrust their email address to a website isn’t easy.

Still, if you provide enough value with your content and then offer an incentive such as a report or a valuable email series in exchange for an email address, a significant percentage of your readers will agree, which will help you retain a lot of leads that would otherwise be lost forever.

Many WordPress lead generation plugins allow to quickly design beautiful opt-in forms that you can customize according to your needs, which can make your newsletter seem more professional and trustworthy, increasing your chances of getting people to opt-in.

We could name countless reasons why you need to build an email list, but there’s one that’s reason enough on its own – since you spend so much time researching and developing content, you don’t want to waste all that effort by losing leads that could otherwise turn out to be your best customers.

Provide Answers Your Audience is Looking For

Provide Answers Your Audience is Looking For

Many online businesses fail with content marketing because of one simple mistake – they try to showcase their knowledge or the features of their products instead of listening to the needs of their audience.

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you know what your audience wants to hear about the most – you’d likely be surprised by the most pressing challenges that your prospects are facing, so you need to do your research and eliminate the guesswork in order to provide answers that are truly relevant and important.

Blog articles can be helpful for providing answers to the most pressing questions your audience might be having, but sometimes you need a more structured approach in order to achieve the best results and make sure that your readers and product users are satisfied.

If you’re offering a product that has a lot of features and requires technical knowledge, you will likely need to help your customers learn to make the most out of what your product has to offer. Otherwise, it won’t matter how good your product is because your users won’t be able to use it to its full potential.

But how can you ensure that you provide all the essential answers that your audience is looking for?

Well, the only way to approach the task is to get to know the people that you want to reach, and there are a few ways you could go about doing that. One method that always generates good results is to use the information that you already have – if you’ve worked with clients before, chances are that your support staff had numerous interactions with users, helping them overcome issues and answering questions.

You can use that information to start compiling FAQ’s, articles, and guides that answer the questions, which can reduce the load on your support staff and also provide them with resources they can share with your customers.

Today, this process is easier than ever - sorting and managing information with knowledge base software helps to eliminate a lot of the manual tasks and ensure that adding new materials is as efficient as possible.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have sufficient data about the most pressing issues and questions that your customers have, you can always talk to them – you’d be surprised how willing your customers may be to share their experiences and help you improve your services.

In fact, by making their opinion feel valued, you may earn a reputation as a company that goes the extra mile to please their target audience and gain a few more loyal customers in the process.

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Tom Slipkus

Tom Slipkus

Writer & Content Strategist at TomSlipkus.com

Tom Slipkus is a writer and content strategist who helps B2B companies and agencies develop content around a wide range of topics. He specializes in writing mid and bottom funnel articles that educate and engage audiences, helping increase traffic, get more subscribers and turn readers into loyal customers.