If your company has a blog, you likely understand the value that blogging can offer in terms of increasing your authority as a thought leader in your industry, gaining SEO ranking and providing a reason for your target buyers to engage and re-engage with you. Blogging can and should also be a strong contributor to lead generation. Here are 3 simple steps to optimize your company blog for lead generation.
Write blogs with a keyword strategy.
One common mistake companies often make in blogs is failing to define and execute a keyword strategy. Don't assume that organically writing content that is relevant to your target buyer is enough to win you the best possible ranking by search engines like Google. Google's algorithms have very specific rules that they look for to determine if your blog shows up in search results and in what position.
Blogging with lead generation in mind means you don't just want anyone to read your blog, you want the right person to read it. Keyword strategies help connect your ideal target with your blog.
Here are some quick steps to help you create a keyword strategy:
- Make a long list of the keywords and keyword phrases you want to be found for. Make sure you include short and long tail keyword phrases. You may find it difficult to rank for the term "CRM software", but easier to rank for "CRM software for small B2B companies."
- Use an SEO evaluation tool such as Moz or HubSpot (we use HubSpot at our agency) to see the search volume, your current ranking, and the difficulty for ranking on those keywords. Tip: some great low hanging fruit to start with are keywords where you are ranking on pages 2-5 and have a low to moderate difficulty. Even keyword phrases with a low search volume can yield positive results if they attract your ideal buyer.
- Create a list of the top 10-20 keywords and keyword phrases you want to target in your upcoming blogs.
- Focus on one - and only one - keyword or keyword phrase per blog. In this blog, I'm targeting the keyword phrase "optimize company blog for lead generation." Make sure you have this keyword phrase in the title of your blog, in your title tag, in the meta description, and that it's used a few times throughout the blog in a natural way. Don't keyword stuff - Google is smart enough to recognize this and penalizes this behavior.
3 to 1 Rule - Spend at least 3 x as much time promoting your blog as you do writing it.
Now that you've written a great blog that targets a specific keyword phrase, you're ready to use it to begin generating leads for your company. If it took you one hour to write the blog, spend at least 3 hours promoting the blog. Publishing it to your website is only the first and most basic way to promote the blog. Be more aggressive in sharing your blog through various channels to drive blog traffic. Here are some ways to do that:
- Create a well designed email with a teaser amount of information about the blog and a clear and visible button to click to read the full blog. Send this to your contact list or blog subscribers. (A bonus tip for lead generation using blogging is to have call to action and a form to subscribe to your blog.)
- Share your blog on your social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all great platforms for blog sharing. Be sure that the image you use and the supporting text are native to each platform so that your blog naturally fits into the culture of the social channel.
- Feature popular blogs in your company e-newsletters.
- Capatilize on internal linking opportunites by linking from one blog to another. This is a way to promote past blogs that are relevant to newer ones and to also encourage readers to view more of your content.
- Reach out to influencers and other bloggers in your industry and ask them to share your blog. Narrowing these requests to your blogs that have the best performance will be an incentive for these people to want to share them.
Include a lead generation magnet - or a call to action - in every blog.
The above two steps will help attract your ideal buyers to your blog. When they arrive on your site, you want to capture their contact information so you turn that anonymous reader into a lead in your marketing database. Then you can continue to engage with them and nurture them into a hot sales ready lead.
To optimize your company blog for lead generation, every post should include a nice visual call to action that works as a lead generation magnet. These offers give your reader a path forward for engaging with you. Offer your reader a relevant piece of content or an incentive for them to tell you who they are. Some of the best content offers are things like:
- How to Guides
- Free offer - such as a product demo or a free consultation or assessment
If you use a content Marketing Automation system like HubSpot, you can easily monitor the conversion rate of each call to action to see which ones work better than others AND you can personalize your content offers based on who is visiting your site and what offers they have seen or claimed in the past.
Below is an example of the Call To Action that I'm using for lead generation on this blog post. It's titled The Ultimate Guide To Lead Generation. It offers great value in exchange for some basic contact information. My reader is happy to have a high quality piece of content that helps them do their job better and I am happy to have a lead who I can now engage with to build a relationship.