No lead generation strategy is complete unless you’re creating content. We talk a lot on this blog about using ebooks, webinars, popups and your blog to generate subscribers and lead information. And for a long time we just it took as a given that you were creating content in the first place.
Let’s take a step back. What is content marketing? Why should you do it? What types of content should you create? These are incredibly important questions, and knowing the answers (front and back) is essential for finding success with lead generation and marketing online.
Here are the answers to the top 10 most frequently asked content marketing questions
1. What is content marketing and why is it important?
As a content marketer, you’ll hear this question a lot. And I mean a lot. Every time you meet someone new (or someone old who’s, shall we say, out of the online marketing loop), people are curious about what it is content marketers actually do. Is it blogging? Is it journalism?
Content marketing involves writing pieces of content – articles, ebooks, guides, whitepapers and so much more – that are valuable to your business’ target audience. By sharing this content publicly, content marketing drives awareness and ultimately results in the acquisition of new paying customers.
Having strong content on the web that meets the needs of potential leads or answers their questions, allows them to categorize you as an expert in that area. As an expert, they look to you for advice and are more likely to return to your site to convert in some way down the line.
Basically, content marketing is writing to drive sales (though most of us tend to avoid thinking of it that way).
2. Why is content marketing effective?
Giving valuable information to potential or current customers develops trust in your business from the start. It allows them to become participants who interact and communicate with the business and who are constantly engaged. It does everything traditional advertising can do but at a fraction of the cost.
Content also allows you to target specific keywords, driving audiences to your blog or website through organic search. It can easily be shared across social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. This allows you access to readers’ personal networks and lets face it, the content does the work of gaining new leads for you. If it’s content that you know is applicable or relevant to your target audience you can also implement it into your newsletter subscription. Just another bonus and purpose for creating awesome content.
3. Does it replace traditional marketing?
Plain and simple, no it does not. Anybody who tells you otherwise needs to seriously examine their marketing strategy.
The majority of the time content marketing works in tandem with your other marketing campaigns or platforms, not in replacement of them. Not every member of your target audience is going to be searching the web for answers. Consider other marketing strategies such as Facebook Ads, email marketing (hell, conferences kick ass) to create brand awareness and recognition in the minds of potential leads.
4. Can it be used for B2B and B2C brands?
Absolutely. Both types of businesses need to generate brand awareness. Both types of businesses need to build trust and authority. And both B2B and B2C businesses have content they can use to educate readers.
Whether you’re a SaaS like Wishpond, an auto-mechanic looking for new customers or an online retailer of wool and craft supplies, you have the opportunity to generate leads with content. No, seriously, there’s a pretty popular haberdashery blog out there (I didn’t believe it either, until I saw [https://haberdashery.com/blog](https://haberdashery.com/blog)).
In B2B content often means being the best source of information in your area, while in B2C it means providing valuable, relevant information on issues or topics your customers care about. While they do differ, content marketing is crucial in both forms of business.
5. Is content marketing sustainable for the future or worth investing in?
Straight up the answer is an emphatic yes. But that yes is followed by the dreaded lingering “but.”
If you’re going to be dedicated to content creation or content curation, it will reward you with valuable leads. It’s a far cheaper form of communication than any paid platform. But, as with all things in life, you need to dedicate yourself to see success. Having a half-ass content strategy isn’t going to get you very far. If you’re willing to put the time in each week to come up with topics, writing, and publishing content you will be rewarded.
The internet becomes more saturated with content each and every day, so if you’re going to start you better start now. But remember that your efforts need to be minimum 6 months in length to see any measurable return on your time and resources.
So yes, it’s sustainable and worth investing in as long as you make it a priority and stick with it.
6. How often should i create content?
As often as possible. I know that’s probably not the answer you were hoping for, but it’s the truth.
While I can’t give you a number that is 100% correct for your business or sector, there is one thing we know for sure: if you want to see real results you need to be creating content on a consistent basis.
Hubspot found that companies who went from publishing 3-5 pieces a month to 6-8 times almost doubled their leads. Meanwhile those who published 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who did not do content marketing at all.
A great way to get a rough estimate is to keep an eye on your competition. If you want to score more leads by having higher search engine ranks or more information for leads to look through, you need to be creating more than your competitors. Come up with a consistent pattern where you can create valuable content as frequently as possible (valuable being the key word there – no content is better than terrible content).
7. What types of content are most effective?
When most people hear content marketing they think blogs, blogs, blog. And don’t get me wrong, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A blog is an awesome way to provide your target audience with specific articles tailored to their needs and wants (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing the one you’re reading…)
But blog articles are definitely not the only form of content you should be tapping. Think about ebooks, guides, infographics, Slideshares, podcasts, webinars and videos – these are all perfect forms of content that you can give away in exchange for lead information.
To capture the attention of audiences on the web you want to be varying the types of content you’re putting out. Slideshare, for example, gets over 60 million views per month and is the perfect mix between factual and visual information. We love using it as often as possible to bring in new leads who may not have seen our blog content.
You can also repurpose content in different ways. For example, compile multiple related articles into a free ebook to send out to newsletter subscribers. Make a video and podcast on the same material for different segments within your audience.
You will never know what does or doesn’t work without trying things. Test various forms of content and discover what the most engaging and effective mix is for your target audience.
8. What tone should I use?
That depends on your audience and what you’re selling. Write in a tone that you think will resonate with your readers and make them want to return down the road. Buzzfeed is the perfect example of this. They have a target audience of young adults or students who spend the majority of their day staring at a computer screen. They know what these individuals find funny or interesting and communicate it in a humorous, often sarcastic tone.
Think of who is going to be reading your piece of content and what would make the topic interesting to them. Most importantly you need to pick a tone and run with it. You want readers to be able to differentiate between your writing and your competitor’s – so make it unique, consistent, and kickass.
9. Where do we get content topic ideas and inspiration?
As a content marketer, ideas don’t always just pop into our heads in the middle of the night (although that does happen sometimes). Instead, we…
- Turn to blogs we personally enjoy
- Look at what our competitors are talking about
- Have brainstorm sessions about trends or new changes within our business’ industry
- Talk to your customer support team and see if there are any frequent questions being asked from customers.
- Look to websites or publications you enjoy that talk about the latest news such as Feedly, Twitter, Mashable or Growthhackers.
There are endless topics related to your business that you can discuss. You just need to ensure you’re constantly checking different resources to figure out what you should be writing about before your competitor beats you to the punch.
About six months ago my content manager asked me to put together a list of 51 places to find stats and ideas for an infographic, all of which work just as well when looking for a little content inspiration.
10. How do I know what content my audience values?
To get new customers and gain loyal readers you need to be creating content that is valued and desired from your audience. But how do you know what they want? What type of content would they be interested in?
Big surprise, the best way to uncover this mystery is to talk to your current audience.
If there’s an issue causing your existing clients problems, it’s likely hurting potential clients as well.
Send out an email with a questionnaire asking them to select the topic they’re most interested in or want to see content on. Politely asking them for this favor takes very little time out of their day and saves you a lot of work down the line. Another great strategy to ensure you’re creating a lead gen offer your target market wants is to post a simple poll on your website or blog. Check out [https://wordpress.org/plugins/search.php?q=poll](https://wordpress.org/plugins/search.php?q=poll) for a bunch of great WordPress poll plugins.
No one knows better what your target audience wants than those who have bought from you in the past!
Content marketing is a concept that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s been proven to cost 62% less than traditional marketing strategies and result in 3x as many leads.
It is a fun, constantly changing conept that has taken the marketing industry by storm. I can only hope that the next time you hear the position or the strategy thrown around in conversation you can bud in with your knowledge on the topic. Content marketers everywhere thank you in advance.
– Written by Claire Grayston
Claire is a digital content marketer at Wishpond. When not racking her brain for new content, you’ll find her hiking or snowboarding the local Vancouver mountains.