Blogging is a highly effective marketing vehicle. According to NewsCred, each month 329 million people read blogs. Smart companies are capitalizing on the opportunity. NewsCred highlights that companies with an active blog report 97% more leads than those without one. Furthermore, the report Content Marketing ROI by Kapost claims that, per dollar, content marketing produces 3X more leads than traditional marketing.
Clearly, blogging is something that can help your company. To generate actual leads from your blog, though, you need to know the techniques that work. To that end, you can find nine specific ways you can leverage your blog to maximize lead generation listed below:
1. Craft Compelling Blog Headlines
According to Copyblogger, only 20% of blog visitors click through the headlines to read the actual posts. If 80% of the visitors to your blog are not clicking through on your blog headlines, this is obviously a lost lead-generation opportunity for your company.
To correct this and drive more click-throughs, take the time to craft highly compelling post headlines. Try brainstorming at least 25 different variations (a formula that has worked like crazy for Upworthy, which now has more than 21.5 million monthly unique visitors!) before you settle on what you feel is the best headline. You can even test different headlines using software such as KingSumo, which analyzes the performance of each headline variant and then displays the best performing headline over time.
2. Write About the Challenges Facing Your Clients
One of the best ways to generate leads through your blog is to write specifically about the very things that keep your prospective clients up at night. What are their most frustrating challenges? What advice can you provide them to help them overcome their problems? How can you help them and provide them with as much value as possible?
3. Include a Lead Capture Mechanism
It’s surprising how many companies take the time to create a blog but then forget to include a lead capture mechanism. If you are investing the time in a blog, the incorporation of a lead capture mechanism, such as a newsletter subscription registration box, is very low-hanging fruit. People who are interested enough in signing up for more of your content have already self-identified themselves as an appropriate target audience for your company, and so it behooves you to make it easy for them to consume your content and increase their touchpoints with your brand.
4. Multiply Your Lead Capture Mechanisms
You do not need to stop with just a single lead capture mechanism on your page. The more ways you offer your readers to engage with you, the more likely they are to sign up or to contact you. For example, beyond a newsletter subscription option as mentioned above, you can offer an ebook download, have a button in the sidebar asking if the reader has a question, include a “Hello Bar” at the top of the page, add a postscript call-to-action, embed a quiz such as through Qzzr, or add a call out in contextually relevant spots in your posts for the reader to request additional details on the topic you’re writing about (in which case you’d want to have a PDF ready to email to them or otherwise make available for download).
5. Integrate Social Media
Add social media sharing chicklets to your blog posts to make it easy for your readers to share your posts with their own networks. This is helpful to you in that once your social media chicklets have been integrated into your blog templates, you get the benefit of the increased online reach without any incremental work. If your readers are sharing your content with their own friends, co-workers and associates, you increase the likelihood of getting your brand in front of new, prospective clients.
6. Mix It Up
If you tend to write in the same text-based style from post to post, try mixing it up. This could take the form of an infographic, video, survey, etc. For example, for one of our clients we introduced a survey in their blog and then created a special report and SlideShare from the survey results. This helped the firm ultimately gain media exposure including multiple TV appearances. On top of this, the SlideShare was viewed more than 13,000 times. So remember to get creative and mix it up for greater audience engagement.
7. Take Advantage of Newsjacking
Newsjacking is the writing of blog posts based on topics in the news. When something hits the news, there is often a spike in search engine traffic related to the topic. This is an opportunity for your company to immediately publish a post with your own vantage point or unique perspective, enabling you to capture some of the increased interest from the search engines. The key here is to make sure that the topics are those that your target audience would be highly interested in.
8. Interview Experts & Influencers
A more advanced technique for increasing leads is to interview experts and influencers in relevant industries. The benefit to you is that these individuals will promote the interview to their own networks, which can be sizable when dealing with market leaders and book authors, helping you to not only increase the awareness of your company, but also benefit from the implied endorsement of these influential individuals.
9. Build a Team
Another way to drive more leads by collaborating with others is to build a team of industry experts and influencers and have them author posts in your blog on a regular basis. This not only helps you to generate more content for your blog, but it also means that you’ll expand your reach when these authors are promoting their posts to their networks, similarly to the interviewing technique listed above. If you have others contributing posts, just be sure to establish a content calendar to ensure that each person is covering different topics and that all posts are going to be of value to your target audience.