Your blogs, articles, and ebooks should complement your goals. But, unfortunately, too many content marketers produce material without thinking about what they hope to achieve with it. Sure, they want to rank high in Google. And they want to get the content shared on social media.
But to what end? High rankings and lots of shares are merely stepping stones. They are the meansto the end. Why are you spending so much time and effort to create high-quality material in the first place?
If you answered, “to help people find me,” you’re on the right track. That is essentially what inbound marketing is all about. Rather than pushing your message out to the masses, you leave breadcrumbs that lead targeted, qualified prospects to your doorstep.
Why Focus On Inbound Marketing?
Think like a consumer. You’re watching your favorite TV show and are interrupted by a commercial promoting a pharmaceutical drug. Or maybe you’re listening to your favorite artist on the radio and are interrupted with ads for products you couldn’t care less about. Or suppose you and your family have just sat down to enjoy dinner together, and the phone rings. It’s a telemarketer selling something you have no interest in.
Those are examples of outbound marketing. They’re part of a shotgun approach to selling products and services. Given that you probably mute TV commercials, switch stations to avoid radio ads, and hang up on telemarketers, they’re arguably ineffective.
For example, let’s say you’re thinking of buying a new laptop and need one with a long-lasting battery. You open your browser, head over to Google, and type “laptop review long battery life” into the search field. Here are a few of the titles you’ll see:
- Laptops with the Longest Battery Life (LAPTOP Magazine)
- Best Battery Life: 10 Laptops That Last 7+ Hours (Gizmodo)
- 10 Laptops With The Best Battery Life (PCWorld)
As a consumer, those articles perfectly match your needs. You’ll probably visit them and read through them. If LAPTOP Magazine, Gizmodo, and PCWorld do a good job, you’ll be inclined to trust them.
That’s exactly how inbound marketing works. The content you create brings people to your website or motivates them to call you. You don’t have to spin your wheels to convince them that they need your products or services. They’ve already raised their hands and identified themselves as such by finding your content and visiting your site.
5 Content Types To Focus On For Lead Generation
It’s important to realize that certain types of content are better suited to support an inbound marketing campaign than others. Here are the ones you should focus on:
#1 – Blog posts
Your business should have a blog that is regularly updated with posts that complement your core message. A blog is an ideal platform for helping existing customers, attracting new customers, and instilling trust. Blogs that stay current and gain readers are likely to attract links and social shares. The result is higher placement on Google for the topics you’re writing about.
Guest blogging should also be a part of your inbound marketing strategy. It puts you in front of audiences you might not otherwise have access to and can bring you and your product/service new customers you would have otherwise missed.
#2 – Newsletters
Publishing a newsletter helps you to attract targeted leads and build relationships. Once people have opted into your list, you can regularly send them useful information related to your niche. Over time, assuming you produce top-notch material, they’ll begin to feel connected to you. They’ll trust you. And when they need your products and services, they’ll buy from you. The key is providing valuable, actionable information that is not overly sales focused.
#3 – Social Media
It’s no secret that the social media can be a highly-effective marketing platform. But it’s not enough to just have accounts at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You need to create useful content on a regular basis. Then, you need to let people know about it by updating your social media profiles. Use social media to amplify the content you’re publishing on your website. But don’t just push your content, we recommend an 80/20 rule with social media posts. Be sure you’re also sharing other industry news, stats, etc. in addition to yours!
#4 – Videos
Google owns YouTube, so there’s no mystery why the search engine ranks YouTube videos highly. Google knows that millions of people love to watch videos. That’s why so many searches on Google return YouTube listings.
Take advantage by creating short videos related to your niche. The more videos you create, the greater the likelihood that people will find them. At the end of each video, tell people to visit your blog and sign up for your newsletter. And of course share your videos on social media too. Many platforms reward native video — so upload the original file rather than sharing the YouTube link if you can!
#5 – Resource Centers
This one is actually an amalgamation of several content types. A resource center is a page on your website filled with links to other content you’ve created. It should link to your best material.
You’ll want to direct visitors to popular blog posts, informative articles, and compelling case studies you’ve written. You should link to white papers, special reports, ebooks, and tutorials you’ve created. If you sent something out to your newsletter subscribers and it generated a lot of responses, post it somewhere on your site and link to it from your resource center.
Think of your resource center as a one-stop shop for prospects interested in your area of expertise. It’s a fantastic tool for building trust and encouraging readers to contact you.
Create Content That Attracts Your Target Audience
The point of inbound marketing is to appeal to those who already want or need what you offer. That’s where creating quality content can set you apart from your competitors. The key is to focus your limited time on the content types that are likely to deliver the biggest impact.
Start with the five types listed above. They might be all you need to create a continuous stream of prospective customers!