As we wrote in Lead Gen: Marketing That Sells, content marketing is one of the essential “bricks” of a good lead generation campaign.  If you aren’t engaging in content marketing, you have untapped value residing in your organization. Why? Your organization’s knowledge and experience are your most valuable assets. They are already driving your business. Let them push you a little further.

What is content marketing?

A common buzzword among marketers, the term “content marketing” is the practice of using meaningful, relevant content in the form of blogs, thought leadership articles, case studies, etc. to attract and engage potential customers and drive warm leads to your sales team. Content should be driven by what potential and current customers are interested in learning – not features and benefits.

Why? Today’s buyers are more educated than ever before. When they have a pain point, they know they can look to the web for solutions.  Someone, somewhere will have the answer.  If that pain point falls within your area of expertise, that “someone” might as well be you.

Why use content marketing?

Outside of capturing the top spot when prospects Google a pain point related to your organization’s solution, there are three big reasons why content marketing is such an excellent tool for lead generation:

  1. It will help position your organization as the expert in the field – one that cares about solutions, not just selling.  This will help you initiate relationships that you can turn into sales.
  2. It will help you nurture leads, keeping your organization top of mind with prospects that have shown interest but are not ready to buy.
  3. It will improve your search engine optimization (SEO) rating.

Initiating Relationships

Customers like to be educated, but they don’t like being sold to. Good content will bring prospects to your site because they are interested in what you have to teach them, not necessarily because they are ready to make a purchase. Once on your site, you can use calls to action to further engage them, pull them into your sales pipeline or encourage them to consider a purchase.

Nurturing Leads

At any given moment there are only so many people who are ready to buy. Good solid educational content sent via email is an excellent way to stay in front of prospects in a positive way.  They may not be ready to buy yet, but when they are, they will remember you.

Improving SEO

When you build relationships with your customers by generating content that responds to their needs, they are likely to want to share that content. This sharing will give you more exposure and drive more users to your site. In addition, when other websites link to your content it will also help your site appear higher in search results

A good online library of blogs and articles will also help your site’s SEO by adding pages that include key search terms important to your site. The combination of increased links to your site and the inclusion of more key search terms on your site will help you show up higher in search engine results.

How do you come up with content?

When trying to decide how to come up with what to write, consider what your targeted audience wants to learn about. Remember to always start with what your audience wants first. Ask your sales team what their conversations with leads are like. What do your customers want to know?

After you have identified a few topics your audience is interested in, find a few topics that you – or someone else in your office – have expertise in. If you can combine expertise with a subject of need for your readers, you will be on track to creating some great content.

Making the Investment

Generating content marketing requires an investment of your company’s time, but it will allow you to leverage the knowledge and experience your organization already has.  By putting that knowledge and experience of the marketplace to work for you in a new way, you can build better relationships with your prospective and current customers and make your company easier to find on the Internet.