It turns out blogging continues to be the true blue way to get qualified leads. Sure, social media marketing and entertaining vlog posts are powerful tools for engagement. But, the blog may be your best bet for generating worthwhile leads.
A recent Search Engine Journal survey asked over 230 digital marketers – the SEO specialists, content marketing gurus, and marketing managers who are out there on the front lines, handcrafting digital content to impact a brand’s bottom line – what they believe is their most effective type of content for attracting qualified leads. 41 percent cited blog posts to be the best content for lead generation.
Interestingly, another text-based content type came in second. The pen is still mightier than the camera it seems. Video, which is the direction where many marketing teams are heading, especially with big-budget brands, was only voted as effective by 12 percent of the survey’s respondents.
What makes this insight all the more useful for marketers is that it directly speaks to the distinction of lead generation vs. getting leads that are actually likely to convert. This highlights one of the major dilemmas with not clearly understanding the story your marketing metrics are telling you. If you are getting more leads, but not seeing a jump in revenue, the problem may be you are not attracting the right leads.
Could your solution to this problematic nuance lie in improving your blog? Build a better blog. Bring in better leads. Makes sense.
Honing in on Marketing Qualified Leads
Step one to blogging for qualified leads is to take a strategic look at what one looks like and then determine what will lure them in. This means going in and ensuring your buyer personas are well-developed and accurate. Remember, you are focusing on creating the ultimate MQL buyer persona. Taking surveys of website visitors and analyzing website traffic demographic data may not give you a clear enough picture of who you are crafting content for.
To really flesh out the warm leads, talk to the individuals who are already buying – your best customers or regular clients. You’ll get so much more insight when you combine your customer feedback surveys and A/B testing with interviews with your buyers.
Creating an Online Home for Your MQLs
Next, you want to craft your blog content, paying attention to everything from the website colors to the tone of voice in your copy, to make your qualified leads feel like they’ve found exactly what they’re looking for when they read your blog. The warmer and more at-home they feel, the more likely you’ve got a high-quality lead on your hands, signing up for your newsletters, downloading your content, or checking out your social media profiles.
Create your blog for your ideal buyer, not just the general target market persona. It is only when people feel your content is speaking directly to them that you are likely to get a response.
Take a look at the blog for Mountain Rose Herbs, a bulk supplier of natural herbs, oils, and DIY herbalist supplies. The company blog posts are down-to-earth, personal, helpful, and inspiring for those who enjoy making their own herbal teas and healing and personal care products. This is a great example of success in blogging for qualified leads – it speaks to DIY home herbalists – their best buyers – rather than merely tea lovers or natural health enthusiasts.
The blog doesn’t include basic material which their overall market would enjoy, but rather the in-depth, value-driven material that can really serve as something of value to their ideal buyers. On the other hand, taking a broad, overly general approach to your blog’s audience may turn off the very people who could be your most loyal customers.
American Express Open Forum is another leader in strategic blogging. Written for small business owners and entrepreneurs, it has built up a community-feel, combining helpful advice and information for business owners, as well as personal stories, creating a sense of, ‘they did it, this is how, so can I’. What aspiring business owner wouldn’t click on those trustworthy blue AMEX call-to-action buttons with this type of atmosphere? This tone and content style, not to mention the actual content, speaks directly to their best customers.
Don’t Forget Those Blogging Fundamentals
So you know who you are writing for and have determined the style, tone, and content that will specifically compel and motivate your ideal buyers, warming up the perfect blog readers and generating leads that are worth your nurturing time and effort. But what about actually writing great blog content?
Time for a blogging skills refresher:
- Before you even begin a post, do the value test. How is this useful to my readers? Sure, any old how-to article or educational piece is valuable. But what you are looking for is something deeper. You want to it to provide enough insight that your readers walk away learning something they didn’t already know. Each blog must make their lives better.
- Spend three years on the headline and another six months on your opening. No, but seriously, it is the hook that will keep them reading the next thousand words. Make sure you get right to the point but also hint at all the amazing things they’ll learn about if they just keep going. Blogging expert and entrepreneur Michael Pollock suggests a few useful techniques to keep people reading, such as asking a multiple choice question or debunking conventional wisdom at the start.
- Color your content with visual aids. Images, graphs, quotes, and infographics help to break up content and make your blog more dynamic. Use subheaders, bullet points and plenty of refreshing white space to make reading your blog a smoother experience.
- Do your research. No matter how interesting your writing is, you want your business’s blog to have credibility. Statistics, relevant industry data, and expert quotes can all serve to give the point you are trying to get across more authority.
Taking Blogs Seriously
A business’s blog is a powerful tool for getting the right sort of brand attention, building a loyal following, warming leads, and improving your customer retention. Just ask any digital marketer worth his or her salt. When you put your heart into your blog, it’s going to pay you back in kind.