Gini Dietrich

Six Steps to Creating Content that Generate Leads

By: Gini Dietrich | June 26, 2012 | 
66

There is an interesting statistic that shows how effective content is in generating leads for companies vs. those who don’t use content at all.

The stat, from a study conducted by HubSpot and MarketingProfs, shows consumer businesses gain 88 percent more leads and B2B organizations gain 67 percent more leads.

It stands to reason then, the more content you create, the more leads you generate.

The study confirms this.

If you create new content just once a week, your leads will increase by 77 percent.

Not too shabby, considering all you know about fresh content and search engine optimization!

But it’s not as easy as saying you’re going to create new content every week. It takes a lot of time, a lot of determination, and some know-how about SEO, community building, and writing shareable pieces.

How Do I Find the Time?

How much time do you spend now making cold calls, going to networking events, and attending conferences?

How many new customers do you typically get from each of those activities?

How many customers come from word-of-mouth?

Would it be easier for you to take the time you spend making cold calls and going to networking events to create new content?

That’s all it is…a reorganization of your time, but to something that works more effectively (and doesn’t take as much time) than the traditional methods.

Where Do I Start?

Blogging is, hands down, the most effective way to generate leads. But it’s also the most time intensive.

Instead, I’d like you to think about using webinars to build awareness, create thought leadership, and generate leads.

Blogging can come later; when you’re comfortable creating content and can commit to doing it more than once a week.

Following is the process I recommend you use:

  1. Determine your webinar topic and invite an influencer in your industry to present on your behalf. Radian6 does a nice job with this with monthly webinars. They invite a newly published author to present information found in their book and they offer the webinars for free. It gets them new content once a month, the free price tag brings in several hundred attendees, and those people become leads for their social media monitoring software.
  2. If you have budget to create a postcard, do so and mail it to your list of customers, prospects, friends, and family. Do this three weeks before your webinar.
  3. Write a new release about your webinar and post it on Pitch Engine or one of the other free distribution services. Do this two weeks before your webinar.
  4. Two weeks before your webinar, send an email to your contacts (or newsletter distribution list) inviting them to attend. While some of these people will already be customers, some will be people you haven’t talked to in a while or prospects who lost touch with you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a while. This will serve as a way to get back in touch.
  5. Two days before your webinar, send another email to your contacts. But this time, remove the people who have already registered or who have opted out of your mailing.
  6. A couple of hours before your webinar, send one last email to your contacts, reminding them of the webinar. You’ll be surprised at how many people register the day before, and the day of, your webinar. Those last two emails will be your most effective.

The people who register for your online event now become warm leads for your organization. You want to be careful not to sell during the webinar, but to provide valuable information they can take back to their desks and implement immediately.

Remember how I said at the beginning you should be creating one new piece of content a week and then I only walked you through a monthly webinar? Well, all the content you’re creating around the webinar – the news release, the postcard, the emails – all count, if they also have a home on your website.

So get to it! Start generating some new leads!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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66 Comments on "Six Steps to Creating Content that Generate Leads"

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Shelley Pringle
3 years 11 months ago
Hey Gini, great info (as usual!). I’ve been thinking of holding a webinar but worry that no one will show up. I know the webinar lives on my site for people to access after the actual date, but the thought of no one coming to my party still concerns me. For now I’m stepping up my blog schedule and waiting until I have more subscribers until I take the webinar plunge. I don’t know if that’s the right strategy or not and would love to hear your thoughts. Also, for those who use HubSpot I just found out their webinar… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @Shelley Pringle I think it depends on your list, outside of your blog subscribers. Do you have prospects on there, who you either haven’t  connected with or have lost touch with? This is a great way to stay top-of-mind while providing them some really great value.
 
Also, a little known secret. The only person who knows how many people are in attendance is you. So I recommend you do them, even if no one shows up, to gain the practice and get them on your site to download. 

Shelley Pringle
3 years 11 months ago

 @ginidietrich I really like that last point! I am definitely going to move ‘webinar’ up on my To Do list.

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @Shelley Pringle I’m revising our inbound marketing program right now and one of the things I’m making visible are our webinars. People can sign up to receive notice of them, which does a few things: It builds our database, it gives them an easy way to see how we work, and it creates a reason for us to have them every month. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

@JefferyBialek Morning!

JefferyBialek
JefferyBialek
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich Good morning!

KenMueller
3 years 11 months ago

Preaching to the choir here, so all I can say is “Amen!”. People want the easy way out. The moment you start talking about creating content…their eyes glaze over. But it really can be manageable if you think it through carefully and have a plan.

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @KenMueller And you don’t have to do it all at once. Start small and add as you go.

KenMueller
3 years 11 months ago

 @ginidietrich When I talk about blogging, clients often look at me and say “But you blog every day. I can’t do that!”. I would never expect any of my clients to do that, at least not right away. I do it because it’s part of who I am and my strategy. If I can get them started at once a week, and get them to be consistent, I know they’ll see that it doesn’t have to be laborious. 

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @KenMueller I would never recommend a client start out every day either. It’s just not sustainable. 

MichaelBowers
MichaelBowers
3 years 11 months ago

Great post! What I like about this for businesses is that the activities are much more like a traditional sales strategy. It should be easier to get buy in from higher levels in the organization because it is a familiar process. Plus it would be easier to come up with ROI as you will be able to see the leads and see the results from those leads.

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @MichaelBowers Great point about it being similar to a traditional sales strategy. The only issue we’ve had with stuff like this is generating leads the sales team doesn’t follow up with. That drives me batty.

annelizhannan
3 years 11 months ago
While I can’t speak as a blogger, I can tell you that as a potential business consumer, the content generation for webinars works for me.  I attend 6-10 webinars monthly from those companies or agencies that publicize their webinars via email or direct mail. It also leads me to their web sites, blogs and other platforms where I bookmark, become a loyal fan and a potential customer. HubSpot works this is process in spades with the caveat of ‘free’ webinars and e-books.    It might not close the sale today but believe me I am watching, taking notes and making… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @annelizhannan Hubspot is a great example of a company that does it really well. They’re also very good at following up with you in a meaningful, not creepy, way. 

jasonkonopinski
3 years 11 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @annelizhannan Argyle Social does it really well, too.
 
From a content perspective, I don’t think Hubspot is doing themselves any favors with their overall quality. It’s become little more than a content farm, IMO, which is unfortunate because their SAAS is decent. 

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @jasonkonopinski  @annelizhannan I’m working on something that I think I like (a lot) better than Hubspot. More to come later.

annelizhannan
3 years 11 months ago

 @ginidietrich You tease 😉 @jasonkonopinski Thanks, I need to take a hard look at Argyle but I have always heard good reports. Oh, my to do list, what to do, what to do first!

LornePike
3 years 11 months ago
While not wanting to be too picky, I do want to point out an important distinction in the findings quoted at the beginning of this post. Creating new content just once a week may indeed increase ONLINE leads by 77%, but small businesses will almost certainly not have 77% more customers phoning or dropping in to learn more, just because they blog once a week.I have met several who have indeed generated content several times, but feel they did not see one new customer or lead from their efforts.   Over the past few months, I’ve made presentations to about… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago
 @LornePike I’m not sure I agree, Lorne. I run a small business. Doing these six steps around a webinar is much more manageable than writing a blog post every day or creating white papers or doing email marketing. It’ll take a couple of hours to get things set up, but then it begins to work on its own. Most of it can be automated so it doesn’t take time away from the small business owner running his or her business.    To answer your “how much time” question, I’d venture to say 10 hours to get everything set up and then… Read more »
LornePike
3 years 11 months ago
 @ginidietrich You do run a small business, Gini, but let’s also remember it’s a communications business. You have absolutely exceptional communication skills, and enough personality to be featured as a role model in top books on influence.   And yes, many of the people reading Spin Sucks are also exceptionally skilled. But I’ve been surprised by how many of the businesses I’ve met lately — lots of them quite successful in their local markets — who are simply overwhelmed at what seems like basic social marketing advice to the rest of us.   It’s been causing me to read social… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago
 @LornePike I’m going to say something and I mean it with love: It drives me crazy when people say I’m good at this because I have a communications business. We didn’t start out being really good at this stuff. In fact, when Lisa and I started doing webinars, they were a disaster. But we knew, once we got them right, they were going to work. It’s all about prioritizing. Where do small businesses spend their time prospecting for new business now? Yellow pages ads? Networking meetings? Chamber events? Cold calls? What if they replaced one hour a week of their more… Read more »
LornePike
3 years 11 months ago
 @ginidietrich I’m trying to walk the fine line between seeing both sides and being completely wishy-washy. I share that frustration, Gini, of people who blithely say, “Yeah, but you’re good at it” as they shrug off suggestions that they should try something new in social media.   Reading back over my earlier comments, I realize I got off track a bit. My primary concern was with the statement, “If you create new content just once a week, your leads will increase by 77 percent.” Industry-wide, and for organizations already drawing leads from their Internet presence, it may indeed be true.… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @LornePike Yeah, I’m not sure how the research was quantified. Personally, I know our leads have increased significantly…and we don’t sell anything online. It helps us qualify leads and it significantly dropped my “pick your brain” meetings that never created a business opportunity. I should do a percentage, based on our experience, and see if it’s the same.
 
But to your point about putting in lots more work before yielding the results the stats promise – I agree. It’s taken us nearly four years to get to this point. Most companies won’t have the time/patience/budget to invest four years.

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 11 months ago

 @LornePike makes a good point. I work for a national architecture firm whose venture into social media has been sporadic. A lot of brilliant minds here with a communications team bar none but they have a hard time understanding the value because of the comittment (time) it takes to make it happen.
 
I know it’s not the same but the ideas should be scalable. Maybe I need to get Gini to come and speak to the firm as a whole.

LornePike
3 years 11 months ago

 @rdopping Thanks Ralph. I help businesses get started in social media, so I don’t mean in any way to downplay its potential.
 
I just believe we have some responsibility to give substance to the expectations of the owners who read such stats. Otherwise, we’ll soon see yet another company jumping from one social media initiative to another — and yet another young professional feeling like a failure — as they wonder why their fledgling social media efforts did not generate the dramatic results promised in so many blog posts.

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald
3 years 11 months ago

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I absolutely know the power of Inbound Marketing but this will be very helpful for me to get others to recognize the power. You would think that me increasing our leads 3-fold should have done it. : )

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @jennimacdonald I thought you were on vacation?!?

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald
3 years 11 months ago

 @ginidietrich Tonight! Boyz II Men tomorrow : )

bdorman264
3 years 11 months ago
Whoa, that sounds way too organized and effective. Why would we want to do something so obvious? This is insurance, it’s supposed to appear complicated and hard.    We have partnered w/ a CPA firm and set up b’fast meetings around captive insurance programs and tax advantages by going green w/ your fleet. We had an ‘ok’ response and actually picked up some business; however, I can see where this approach might make it more ‘doable’ on many levels.    Of course, it would obviously require some work and I’m guessing if it’s going to happen at our place, it… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @bdorman264 Wait. When did you go from being invisible to being popular?

bdorman264
3 years 11 months ago

 @ginidietrich In my own mind………where the party is going on……:)

fitzternet
3 years 11 months ago

Right on. I’m a webinar novice though. What software do you use? Have you tried Google Hangouts for this?

Lisa Gerber
3 years 11 months ago

 @fitzternet We use GoToMeeting which has it’s pros and cons. (and is $99/month, but we also use it for client calls and meetings). You could use Google Hangouts but there is a limit to attendees. I want to say nine. and there is less control over the attendees. I’d say it’s good for informal discussions, but not a full-blown webinar. 

Shonali
3 years 11 months ago

 @Lisa Gerber I think Slideshare introduced an option not too long ago, but I forget what it’s called… 

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @Lisa Gerber  @fitzternet Or video Skype works well, too. 

fitzternet
3 years 11 months ago

 @Lisa Gerber Ah… ok… But I guess you could embed your Hangout on your G+ page (or website?) and have an unlimited number of attendees who could watch but not ask questions. Unless it was via an embedded chat tool. I’m probably overthinking this, but I’m a webinar novice and I always like to save $99/month!

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @fitzternet  @Lisa Gerber You can even embed to YouTube (which I know you love). It’s pretty easy to do!

TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

You can never have enough qualified leads but let’s not forget that what happens afterwards is significant too.
 
Doesn’t matter whether they are good or bad if you can’t close them.

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @TheJackB I guess I thought that went without saying. 🙂

NancyD68
3 years 11 months ago

I have a very different challenge on my hands with trying to write copy for a home improvement site. I have been toying with the idea of a weekly blog post about how to paint your house…etc. I am thinking about doing a Q and A style blog for that. What do you guys think?

hackmanj
3 years 11 months ago

 @NancyD68 I love the idea personally. I think Q&A is a great format. You can also do how-to on things that are timely and seasonal for example. Curious what others think about this also. 🙂

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @NancyD68 I like that idea a lot. There is a ton you can write (or video) for home improvement that will really help people. Start by asking what current customers need to know. Then grow from there.

TheRealH0ward
TheRealH0ward
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich ayyyy wuddup !! do u mind downloadin my mixtape 😀
http://t.co/d8oz6nM9 RT

penneyfox
3 years 11 months ago
Great stuff – as always – and even the comment discussion is helpful. I’m curious about your thoughts on this question – we’re working on a 12-week online course (its one where people can start at any time they sign up) to start building a community.   We’re working on our strategy right now and trying to figure out how to tie-in the webinars. Should we set up the content of the webinar as like the 13th week/content we didn’t cover? OR should we take one or more of the week’s content and create a webinar series for those who’ve… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @penneyfox I might do both…I’d need to know more, but I think it’d be cool to see one week as a webinar and also doing a 13th week.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
3 years 11 months ago

JUST did a pitch on this very thing today. Our focus was on using content to get in front of the customer’s objections throughout the sales funnel. Even referenced that same HubSpot study! The big questions centered around “finding the time to do all this extra work.” I am going to send them this post.
 
 
 

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @rustyspeidel And make sure they read the debate between @LornePike and me. I think it’s important to see all sides.

TheJackB
TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich @spinsucks Pete the Tapeworm generates leads too.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

@TheJackB I’m mad at @petethetapeworm. He’s SUPER ornery right now.

TheJackB
TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich @petethetapeworm Is it because he is hungry or in need of a bike ride?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

@TheJackB He’s been riding every day. I can’t keep up with the calories burned and he’s mad at me. @petethetapeworm

TheJackB
TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich @petethetapeworm Well I have learned that women have a way of making men crazy… 😉
All that riding sounds like a good thing.

TheJackB
TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich @petethetapeworm Better to be grumpy because of calories burned than calories earned. 😉
That’s why I have an appt. at the gym

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

@TheJackB I can motivate you to get to the gym! I’m having a super good riding season. Best ever.

TheJackB
TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich That’s awesome. I don’t have trouble getting to the gym. My diet sucks. This is me when hungry http://t.co/Ume4ClXB

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

@TheJackB Ha!!

TheJackB
TheJackB
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich Betcha didn’t know I could run like that. 😉

PeteTheTapeWorm
PeteTheTapeWorm
3 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich your date is hungry.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

@PeteTheTapeWorm you just ate!

HowieSPM
3 years 11 months ago

I get emails on webinars and white papers all the time. As you well know from stuff I have shared people need to make sure what they present isn’t hokey, full of horse hockey, sensationalized, and if you are pitching why someone should choose you…make sure you have supporting facts.
 
I say this because the fastest way to lose a lead is to present shoddy stuff.

kennedypittman
kennedypittman
3 years 11 months ago

 @HowieSPM Preach it howie!

John_Murphy
3 years 11 months ago

Gini, found this really interesting. My question would be what size of a list would you need before contemplating a webinar?
By the way, I found the discussions on this post really interesting, so thanks to all for the valuable info.

ginidietrich
3 years 11 months ago

 @John_Murphy You know, we started with nothing. Just a few tweets and a blog post. That was nearly three years ago. We’ve been building since then. So it’s less about having lots of people at your first few and more about creating content you can send out, after it’s finished.

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[…] Gini Dietrich shares “Six Steps to Creating Content that Generate Leads” at SpinSucks. […]

GranerCreative
GranerCreative
3 years 11 months ago

RT @ginidietrich: Six Steps to Creating Content that Generate Leads http://t.co/gZLF80Z5 via @spinsucks #content #leadgeneration

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[…] about the participants. This will provide you with ready-to-use leads. You can also check this article to know how webinars can help you in generating […]

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