August 23, 2016
As an online marketer, you know how critical it is to bring in quality leads.
Did you know, though, that content marketing can help you do it in a big way?
While many marketers focus the majority of their efforts on things like paid advertisements and carefully segmented lists, content marketing is actually one of the simplest and most effective drivers of revenue available for marketers today.
Read on to learn more.
Our Own Case Study: Why Content is the No. 1 Lead and Marketing ROI Driver for My Agency
I’m the founder of Express Writers, and over here we don’t just “sell writing:” we actually maximize the power of creating content as our primary lead marketing channel. Content brings in 99 percent (you read that right: 99 percent!) of all of our online leads and what makes up our entire base of ROI as a company. Our agency income and clientele base is founded on how we’ve established ourselves through online writing.
We win by creating a lot of consistent, high-quality content.
Let me break that down:
- We post three to four blogs weekly on our own site, The Write Blog. Each is a minimum of 1,500 words, and on every topic, we go in-depth and work on being the full solution to the question posed in that topic. I work on every skeleton and have a day every week where I simply brainstorm what’s new in content marketing with my team, and research best topics for our blog. We have an artist who helps us come up with the illustrations, and we use Canva to create an engaging brand photo per blog. This is all tied to ongoing e-mail campaigns.
- Our Write Podcast: When transcribed, one episode adds 6,000 words (published as a new post on the site). We try to post at least one podcast every month. (Podcasts are a lot of work, so we’re still altering and fitting it into the schedule.)
- Our Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat: We create 1,000-plus words of content from this alone in the form of a blog post recap each week.
- Guest blogging: We guest blog on other sites, including Search Engine Journal, Content Marketing Institute, and Site Pro News, publishing an additional max of 15 pieces of content monthly through those channels.
We’ve been around since 2011, but here’s the tell-all revelation: we never really dedicated ourselves to content at the level we’re doing now until 2013. By now, we’ve hired multiple people just to manage the content add-ons: for example, a custom illustrator who creates custom drawings, and a separate designer who works in Photoshop, as well as a social media manager to promote our content daily and manage the conversation flow there.
In total, we have more than 700 published blog posts.
Here’s what our current stats in positioning look like (from SEMrush):
- We have more than 4,500 keywords indexed in Google, with several hundreds in the top 10 results;
- We have an estimated worth of $13,000 in organic monthly traffic;
- We currently outrank nearly every competitor we have (including those who have millions in funding—we’re 100 percent bootstrapped). And that’s no small feat with literally hundreds to thousands of competitors.
The Secret Is Simple (Or Is It?)
If you’re wondering how to produce the same results for your company, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you have to consistently create a lot of great content.
Our success really took off when we renewed a dedication to high-quality content back in 2013. When we redoubled our efforts to create high-quality, long-form, varied, unique content that really catered to our users’ needs, we saw huge gains.
It’s not that we were necessarily offering anything different (in terms of services) than we had been before, only that we were connecting with our customers through content, which is a hugely powerful tool.
In fact, he cites one Hubspot study that shows that companies who post 11 times or more each month grew their traffic the most.
In addition to growing their traffic, they also grew their leads, which allowed them to stand out in their industries and provide more targeted value to their customers.
10 Ways to Generate Quality Leads from Content Marketing
With that in mind, here are 10 tips to make content marketing your lead revenue generator:
1. Create evergreen content
In another Hubspot study, the company found that their “old,” evergreen posts actually generated more monthly traffic and leads than their newer content. The reasons for this vary. For one, Hubspot is a company that’s done a fantastic job of creating cornerstone content meant to offer value to readers even long after its publishing date.
Because of this, readers who may be new to Hubspot or may simply need some help answering a question or addressing a concern are heading to Hubspot’s older posts for in-depth information and assistance. Once they’ve done that, chances are that they’re heading to Hubspot’s newer stuff for guidance, as well.
Plus, since Hubspot generates so much content, they have more than enough leads to fill out their older material and not sacrifice the number of views their newer content earns.
2. Develop goals for your content
At Express Writers, our goal for our content has always been to create material our readers love. We want to provide value, spread knowledge, and help people solve their content marketing questions and concerns through relevant information.
This goal is what’s informed our entire content strategy, and it’s one of the largest things that has helped us grow over the years.
For content marketing to become a lead revenue generator, it’s not enough to simply create tons of content. Instead, you have to create tons of good content. Easier said than done, right? Not really.
You see, when you have a goal for your content, it’s easier than ever before to create things that reinforce that goal and provide ongoing value to your users.
For example, if your goal is to help readers learn how to start their own WordPress blog, then your content is guided by that goal. While the material you create can vary from blogs about popular plugins to listicles on what not to do, you’ll still manage to create a cohesive, organized, valuable content strategy that will leave readers wanting more.
This, in turn, makes your content marketing program more valuable and helps ensure that you’re living up to your own expectations.
3. Hold yourself to a schedule
A great content marketing strategy is made up of two things: quality and consistency. You know it’s critical to create quality content, but you’ve also got to understand how critical it is to create consistent content.
If you post four great blogs one week and then nothing for two months, even the customers who were most excited about your company are going to bail out and you’re going to be left with nothing.
Because of this, it’s critical to ensure that you’re posting good content on a regular schedule. While establishing a content schedule for yourself can be a bit difficult, at first, there are plenty of fantastic ways to ensure that you get it done without excess stress.
First of all, you’ll want to set a goal for yourself. Do you want to post two times a week or five times a week? Whatever your goal may be, it’s important to define it before you move on.
Secondly, you’ll want to create some guidelines for when you want to post. You see, posting on a regular schedule is almost as important as posting often. If your readers know they can count on a new post on Tuesday mornings, they’re likely to show up and read your fresh-off-the-presses content, which is great for you and your business.
To decide which days and times are best for you to post, take a look at your analytics. Notice which days your sites receive the most traffic and where your users seem to be hanging out during those periods. Once you’ve done that, compile that data into a posting schedule that allows you to provide value to your readers at predictable weekly intervals.
4. Eliminate the distractions
In order for your content marketing program to shine, you’ll need to eliminate distractions where they exist. For example, if you’re running social media ads but you’ve noticed that they’re not doing much but costing you money and causing you stress, it might be time to re-think the ads in favor of more content.
While content marketing is drastically less expensive than paid advertising, it’s often more effective. Here at Express Writers, for example, we’ve grown our traffic organically through our content and the amount we’ve paid into advertisements is incredibly minimal. In addition to being more effective, our content marketing is our goal, so we’ve cut out other distractions and chosen, instead, to focus on creating content.
5. Set up a routine around content creation and distribution
Habits are easier to form if you make them routine and predictable. Because of this, it’s critical to establish set habits around your content marketing. For example, maybe you write two posts each Monday, edit them on Tuesday morning, send them to an editor Tuesday afternoon, schedule them Wednesday, and post them Thursday and Friday.
In addition to making your content creation process easier and more streamlined, setting up a routine around your content creation is also a fantastic way to ensure you’re not missing the mark on your content and that you’re posting reputable, quality material each week at the same time and on the same days.
6. Diversify your content
In the section of this post where we talk about how we’ve done so well with content marketing, you probably noticed that we have a lot of different content streams. We have our blog, our podcast, our Twitter chat, and all of the guest blogs we write for other sites. None of our content marketing success would be possible without all of these things working together like a team.
In order to reap the same results for your company, seek to diversify your content. The way you do this will depend hugely on your specific audience. Ideally, however, you should be evaluating what your readers find valuable and which platforms they use the most, and then creating content designed to promote engagement in those areas.
This approach can help boost the success of your content marketing while also providing more value to your readers.
7. Hone your niche
Trying to succeed at content marketing in an area that bores you is like laying down on a bed of nails. Instead of dragging yourself over the coals to create content on a topic you don’t care about, do your best to create content on the topics that matter to you.
In addition to making for more streamlined content, this approach also makes it easier for you to meet your content goals.
8. Experiment with different forms of content
There are dozens of different content forms out there for you to try, and you’ll never know which drive the most revenue for your business unless you experiment a bit. Your customers may love infographics, for example, or might be ready and waiting to devour your first podcast.
Regardless of what the content you’re curious about may be, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for your company and what doesn’t.
9. Write everything in advance
Having a schedule is important. One of the reasons it’s so important is that it keeps you from cramming your content in at the last minute. If you want content marketing to be your primary revenue generator, you need to ensure it’s as good as possible.
This means writing in advance and then taking the time to go back, edit, and alter before you turn it in. This approach helps you save time and effort and ensures a better end product.
10. See yourself as a content marketer
In order for your content to thrive, it needs to be something you focus on rather than just shoving off to the side. By seeing yourself as a professional content marketer, you give yourself space to learn, grow, and enjoy what you’re doing, rather than just scraping by.
The Case for Content Marketing as a Revenue Source
By creating quality, consistent content, you can easily blow your revenue goals out of the water. Regardless of which industry you work in, content marketing is a powerful tool that can help your company succeed.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.