First off there's the fact that companies with 51-100 pages on their website generate 48% more traffic than those with 1-50 pages1. Blogging can help you smash that threshold within a matter of months, even if you're only posting 3 times per week.
Or how about that companies blogging just once or twice a month generate 70% more leads than those who don't.
Or what marketers that prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to generate a positive ROI from their inbound marketing efforts2.
All enticing reasons to be blogging considering its direct correlation to Content Marketing's performance in key areas, wouldn't you say?
But let's hone in on that lead generation nugget for a moment. While your blog can help you achieve a number of important marketing goals, generating leads to nurture along the buying cycle is an important one. It is, after all, one of our primary objectives. Simply throwing up a blog article isn't going to equate to leads streaming in though. You need to optimise your blog for lead generation and I'm going to take you through 5 steps that will help you do just that.
Setting the Stage for Lead Generation from Your Blog - Attracting Traffic
1. Get to Know Your Buyer Persona
In order to attract the right type of people to your blog, i.e. the kinds of people you'd like as customers, you need to know what it is they are looking to solve, what pain points they have and what challenges they are looking to overcome (in order to be able to write about the solutions).
This also means writing in your buyer persona's language. I'm not referring to whether you write in English or Spanish (although that should definitely be taken into consideration too!).
I'm talking about the tone and style of language you use in your posts. Using vernacular that your buyer persona is familiar with will ensure that you come across as a brand that they can relate to and will want to engage with. Consider variations of terms, for e.g. ‘home’ vs. ‘house’, and be sure to use the iteration your buyer persona would use in their everyday conversation.
2. Optimise for Search Engines Too
Before you’re able to convert these visitors to leads, you have to get them to your blog first. Considering the majority of people start their research using a search engine, you’ll need to optimise your post for the best possible rankings. Using what you know about your buyer persona’s lingo, optimise your blog posts for keyword terms and topics in the way in which they would search for them.
Ensure you’ve run through your on-page SEO checklist including:
Keywords and terms in your Page Title
Keywords and terms in your Headings and Subheadings
Use your keywords throughout your copy (take care to preserve readability, don’t just stuff them in wherever you care) and pay attention to your formatting that makes it easy for your readers to scan copy, i.e. use bold, italics and bullet points
Write a keyword enrich Meta Description that entices search engine users to click through to your article
3. Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
Social media sharing buttons will encourage those visiting your article to share it out. This increases reach and reach equates to more traffic. The more traffic you have the more opportunities you have to convert those visitors to leads.
Social sharing buttons will also show how many people have liked, shared or +1’d your content. The more this happens the more likely people are to trust you as an authoritative resource and therefore be open to download more in-depth material (convert on your offers).
Filling Up the Funnel - Converting Visitors to Leads
4. Create Valuable, Downloadable Content Offers
In order to generate leads from your blog, you'll need to create free, downloadable marketing content in exchange for your visitor's contact details. Using what you know about your buyer persona's needs, interests, challenges and obstacles you'll want to create content that resonates with them. Content can take the shape of eBooks, checklists and how-to-guides that help to solve their pressing issues.
5. Include CTAs on Your Blog
Use your blog as a medium to promote your content offers by creating compelling call-to-action buttons and including them on your blog. You can include them:
Inline as hyperlinked text or as buttons within bigger chunks of copy
On the sidebar (be sure to present different offers to cater for the various stages of the buying cycle)
At the end of a blog post where the topics are tightly aligned (like at the end of this post, for example)
Don't forget that a subscription call-to-action can also be effective in converting new visitors to regular readers who will receive notification as new posts are published. This can help grow your contact database considerably and as such you can present them with new offers on topics they have shown a particular interest in.
Remember that blogging is not effective when done sporadically. One of the key traits of successful bloggers is that they are consistent and blog frequently. They are rewarded with more traffic and subsequently more leads for their efforts. Create a blogging calendar that is achievable for your available resources and stick to it. It takes time for blogging to render results but once you find your rhythm, and apply the pointers mentioned above, you'll be generating leads with each post - and for a long time to come.
Is your blogging generating leads for your business? Any pointers you would add to the above? Share in the comments below.
1 HubSpot's Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 Businesses (2013)