- Rato Communications Team
5 Steps to Start An Inbound Content Marketing Program For Lead-Generation
Updated: Apr 21
High-quality content has been used by marketers to effectively generate leads and increase sales since the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1446. This invention changed the face of how businesses increased their reach and built their brands.
In recent times, the internet and the advent of social media have revolutionized marketing and led to the creation of a phenomenon called - ‘inbound content marketing’. This is the structured and planned approach to generating content and experiences that your buyers need and want in their buying journey.
91% of B2B marketers employ content as a marketing tool. According to a report by HubSpot, 82% of marketers actively invest in inbound content marketing. Hence, it becomes imperative to pause and figure out what it can do for you and your business.
Inbound content marketing is much more than generously sprinkling your website with keywords and consistently posting on your social media handles. It has the potential to not just give information about your products and services but engage your audience throughout their buying journey.
Here are 5 steps to start an inbound content marketing program to generate leads.
Step 1: Start with a strategy and create a plan for your content marketing.
A content marketing strategy is a documented plan of action that aims to create and distribute engaging content to either educate, inform or entertain your audiences. It is the blueprint of how, who, what, and why you will be creating content.
Research shows that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and creates three times more leads.
Taking the time and effort to document a robust content strategy will help you organize the timelines and build a structured approach to your efforts. It helps you not only track daily, weekly and monthly tasks, but also helps tweak and make adjustments if needed.
Free Template: Download our free template to help you note down your business and marketing objectives.
Step 2: Get to know your audience.
Before you start to create the content, you need to know who you are creating it for. Knowing your audience is as or more important than the content.
We have further explained this in our earlier blog on creating impactful content. Building a clear overview of their challenges and aspirations can make a difference in the way your business engages them online.
A clear understanding of the people you want to engage with your content will help determine the tone, language, and mood of the content you will create. Here are some questions to ask about the audience:
What are my customers looking for?
What are their pain points and challenges?
Why are the currently available solutions not working for them?
What more do they want?
What interests do they have? What do they read/watch?
Where do they get their information from?
What do they value?
Conduct interviews with existing customers if you can. This will help build a more realistic approach to your inbound content marketing approach.
There are multiple templates available online to help create a buyer persona. Here is our version.
Step 3: Pick an appropriate content type and channel.
The most effective inbound content marketing strategy helps decide the right kind of content type and distribution channel. This is usually based on your audience's personas, after determining their preferred platforms and modes of seeking information. Great content not only generates traffic but also helps what your audience finds useful and adds value to their life.
When you combine the understanding of your audience’s needs with their buying journey, it helps create a holistic picture that makes the selection of a content type and channel that much more easier and helpful.
Step 4: Spend time on SEO and keyword research.
Keywords are like navigation beacons that help your content reach the right audience.
Great content is useless unless it is found. SEO helps get it to the right people as they are looking for it. A whopping 90.63% of web pages do not get any organic traffic. Of course, there could be many reasons for it. But keywords are a great way to ensure your content gets seen.
Use free keyword search tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Keyword Tool.io that are simple enough even for beginners to use.
Once you have a list, create content themes and topics that are relevant and can incorporate them into your content.
Step 5: Create awesome content on your web pages.
Currently, there are approximately 1.14 billion websites available on the internet. An average person spends roughly seven hours a day online, consuming content. To be able to differentiate yourself from the clutter and hold attention needs a certain amount of best practices and uniqueness that helps keep your reader engaged.
There are several free resources available to help you build a page that holds the attention of your audience. The best advice we would give you is to ‘Keep it Simple!’. Yes, as cliched that may sound, it is best to follow simple design principles and layout guidelines as a best practice. Too much clutter or flashing on the page (ala websites of the early days of the internet) DON’t work anymore.
Here is some advice from Hubspot that we think will help explain some best practices on usability.
To help convert leads, having a clear CTA is essential. Users need to be told what to do after they read all that wonderful content you have just shared.
Great content doesn’t always guarantee leads. However, when you reach your audience at a time and place when they need you, it helps build and nurture long-term relationships.
A structured approach to inbound content marketing helps align specific short and long-term goals you may have for your business.
Need help creating a content strategy? Get in touch with us for a free consultation.