Marketing & Growth

What Kind of Content Gets the Best Leads

By Rieva Lesonsky

You might be wondering why you even need to create content for your business. After all you have a company to run—and you’re not in the news business. Well, according to a recent survey from the CMO Council and the NetLine Corporation B2B buyers are looking for content from vendors that meet these three specific objectives

  1. To learn about new market developments and industry best practices (62 percent)
  2. To discover new solutions addressing specific processes or functional needs (60 percent)
  3. To address a project or program being undertaken by the company (52 percent)

But reaching them with this information is the key. Where should you spend your marketing budget and what opportunities will work for your business? Are customers looking for the information in blogs on your website or would they rather be able to read an eGuide? Could they possibly be looking on social media? What avenue should you concentrate your efforts to accumulate the most leads?

According to the same survey, 68 percent of senior B2B buyers say their content journey starts on search engines and portals, while 40 percent go directly to a vendor website to access content. So how strong is your website’s SEO? Do you rank high enough to catch a new customer’s attention or does your SEO need some careful analysis and a makeover?

Once you get eyes on your website, then what? Although the marketers surveyed in the CMO study revealed product brochures were the most common type of content they created, when asked which types of content produce great leads, whitepapers come out on top, followed by videos, analyst reports, and webcasts. What’s the common denominator? Content with thought leadership (i.e. industry surveys, analyst reviews, expert-originated content with supporting facts and research) and not straight sales information is what brings in the most leads.

Once the information is created, marketers rarely venture beyond their own channels for distribution instead of looking for syndication or third-party channels—where the real opportunities lie. Try offering your content to other websites your customers frequent to raise awareness of your company and your expertise. Look for blog sites and networking groups needing content for their sites.

Besides distribution, B2B marketers name two top challenges for gaining quality leads:

  1. Lack of content tailored to target audiences (48 percent)
  2. Budget limitations (48 percent)

As far as budgets go, the most effective B2B marketers earmark 42 percent of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing, according to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America. The average for all B2B marketers is 28 percent.

Tailoring content to target audiences should be a snap, if you don’t try to make the content broad and vague. Try breaking up content into a series or smaller guides with more specific topics and statistics. Marketeer calls this “microcontent” and describes it as any kind of bite-sized visual content that can be shared on your proprietary channels such as social accounts, blogs or newsletters. The purpose of microcontent is to attract and engage your specific target audiences with a consistent series of engaging, mini-content hits. Marketeer suggests developing content by persona and creating content to hit the following characteristics. Ask yourself:

  • What does success look like to this audience?
  • What are their pain points that need solving?
  • What motivates them?

If you can create several personas you want to target, lead-generating content will practically write itself.

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