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Gini Dietrich

Six Steps to Creating Content that Generate Leads

By: Gini Dietrich | June 26, 2012 | 
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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.

64 comments
John_Murphy
John_Murphy

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.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

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.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich @spinsucks Pete the Tapeworm generates leads too.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

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.

 

 

 

penneyfox
penneyfox

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 participated in the online course? Just curious to see everyone's thoughts on this ....

NancyD68
NancyD68

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?

TheJackB
TheJackB

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.

Latest blog post: Let The Wild Rumpus Begin

John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald

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

bdorman264
bdorman264

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 will be because of me. Sheesh, I'm kind of busy right now being popular; I don't know if I will be able to fit this in.

 

Plus, I don't want to miss any networking events. I'm the working homeless and you know me and free food and drink. Throw some people into the mix and I'm 'all in.' 

 

Thanks for sharing, all kidding aside it is very sage advice indeed. 

 

 

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald

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. : )

LornePike
LornePike

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 300 small business that are either just starting out in social media or exploring ways to build on what they've been doing. They face a huge challenge of limited in-house resources and capabilities. The steps you outline in the article are great, Gini. However, many smaller companies — particularly the millions of one- or two-person at-home businesses that are out there — would find that list absolutely daunting.

 

I've become more attuned to the frustrations that many of these business feel when they read our "just do this" posts. They sit there and think, "What's wrong with us? Why can't we find time to do this?" As simple as the steps sound to us, they require a minimum of a couple of days' work, and some decent media relations or communications skills.

 

I used to do some woodworking years ago, and would eagerly look through the latest magazines — remember those? — in the bookstore — remember those? — in our neighborhood. The thing that was often most helpful to me was the little indicator beside each project that would tell me roughly how many hours it would take, and the skill level required. Such an indicator on more of our "Six steps" blog posts might prove very helpful to readers, and to us as content creators as well.

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

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 lists. You struck a chord with me on this post that may lead to making music down the road. 

 

Thanks,

Anneliz

MichaelBowers
MichaelBowers

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.

KenMueller
KenMueller

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.

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

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 app is now free for professional and enterprise customers.

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