Most marketing managers aren’t worried about content, they’re worried about driving leads. The more web savvy you get, the more you start asking questions like, “where do my leads enter my site,” and, “how do I create interest in my brand that drives potential customers to my website?” You might know these as preferred landing pages and “high quality links,” for lack of a better expression.
And the answer to those two questions relies on excellent content marketing. But I bet someone beat me to sharing this gem with you; it was probably an older gentleman at a conference or an overly caffeinated intern who had just read it and passed it on. I get that the lustre fades when a thousand people have already called blog posts “King,” with nothing to back them up but a whole industry that seems to really like top ten posts, kittens and infographics.
So let’s get to how content marketing makes you money.
What’s the Structure of a Content Marketing Strategy?
Let’s pretend we’re a large corporation with one major service; a fitness centre, for example. But we’re behind the times and have about 90% of our budget in offline marketing and AdWords spend, with the 10% in online maintaining an unwieldy web platform with the marketing manager fighting for scraps of budget just to feed the hamsters powering the servers.
The goal is to drive subscriptions. To do that, we need to have more interested people seeing our sales material. Any strategy that’s going to bring me away from my hamster-powered server strategy had better line both of these goals up, and keep going in an upwards trend for the foreseeable future.
So what do we do? How can content marketing help us?
- Our home page isn’t good enough; to show up in search results for highly targeted, high traffic keywords we need to build a web page that only targets one major keyword.
- Web pages are the equivalent of building stores in back alleys; no one knows about them. Yet. We could go out and individually talk to thousands of people, or we could use content to work with people who already have large followings.
- We need to reach out to our new friends and see if we can’t get some of our content on their sites, and link back to our preferred landing pages.
How Does Content Marketing Help Drive Leads on my Site?
We could get into keyword research, but in this case we don’t really need to. We know what we’re going to find; one primary keyword that people type in to get what they’re after for in the fitness niche. Let’s pretend that that’s “fitness centre.”
We can build out a thousand keyword plan with, “How to Lose Weight at the Gym,” and other fun content pieces, but that doesn’t genuinely serve a business need right now on our completely blank website. Thousands of blog posts don’t help drive leads.
Instead, we’re going to build a piece of content for every location we serve, so, “Toronto Fitness Centre,” for example, that gives addresses to all of our locations in Toronto, some information about our programs and a very visible opportunity to convert. We design this as a landing page with a call to action central to the page and 700+ words of content.
We call this a Preferred Landing Page. If you need more ideas for types of preferred landing pages that work for your business, check out this presentation:
This is Powered by Search’s Preferred Landing Page for Toronto PPC Services.
Use Content to Build Relationships with Influencers in Adjacent Markets
Where I grew up, bartenders at clubs got their shifts by getting the most people to show up and drink. The owners valued that far more than the ability to flip bottles and come up with new concoctions. You see, the bartender didn’t have time to go and make five hundred best friends. Instead, they traded money and a position of authority to five people who each had a hundred friends.
The bartender’s super power was being able to bring a hundred people with them to concerts, bars, charity events, really whatever they wanted to do. Now I have a name for them: influencers.
We need to work with influencers to get our little back-alley preferred landing pages out of the gloom. Specifically, we need to work with influencers in adjacent markets.
An adjacent market is one which shares your customers but does not compete directly with your business.
The fitness industry doesn’t really compete with weight loss programs or clinics, but our markets overlap. They’re a great set of influencers to work with.
Content is a simple way to trade value and build long-term marketing relationships with these organizations.
For example, we could put together an informational article on, say, “The Ten Most Dangerous Ways to Lose Weight.” We know we’re going to include a link to one of our relevant preferred landing pages and we know we’re going to incorporate influencers into our article.
So what we do is build a list of the top influencers in the adjacent market and invite them to write us an answer to the question, “What’s the most dangerous way you’ve heard of losing weight?”
Once the post goes live, we have ten influencers involved in the article and we ask each one to share it, link to it, push it out on their next email blast, basically however they can help. In return they’ve got ten other people doing the exact same thing and giving their brand some exposure.
And we’ve got a highly successful piece of content, great links, and most importantly influential friends with whom we can work with later.
Here’s how we did this with Must Have SEO Tools.
How Do I Create Interest in my Brand to Drive Targeted Leads?
If you were wondering why we need friends, it’s because they bring joy and happiness into our lives. But also links, traffic and dollars. The premise of the arrangement is that we do the same if not more for them in return.
So now we’re going to push our relationship a bit further; let’s do some content marketing on their site. This is a matter of reaching out, asking how Trixie and the kids are and whether or not they’d like us to get them some traffic to their blog; we want to write an article on their site and promote it with our email list and social media. In my experience, “yes” is not an uncommon answer!
We can use the same type of content we did last time, or we can offer them our expertise in fitness since, in our example, we’re working with a weight loss company.
I’d love to be able to offer a full round-up of example content types you can use for this, but for now I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader! I’ve discovered that you can do pretty much whatever you want, however; I’ve used Poetry a couple of times to great effect, lots of fun and a solid bump in traffic and leads.
How do you sustain this? Just keep on going through these three steps. With relationships, however, don’t back off once you’ve got a link. Links are not so valuable now as to decide that that’s all you were in it for. And next year? They’ll be even less valuable. I’ve had clients go from working together on content, to sharing lunch and a round of golf, to running six figure joint promotions together to excellent success.
Have any questions? I’d love to chat about them in the comments below.
Need some help implementing a great content marketing strategy? Get in touch.