Using content marketing to generate leads: 5 easy tips

Woman browsing on her phone.

You’ve likely been told that effective content marketing is essential to building your online presence. That’s genuinely helpful advice—until you consider many people don’t know what content marketing is, or how you define “effective” content.

The good news is that if you’ve ever looked up a recipe, followed a social media account, or watched a how-to video on getting toothpaste out of your hair (don’t ask), then you’ve interacted with successful content. All you need now is the right know-how to start creating lead-winning content for your own business.

What makes content “king?”

If you’re new to the marketing game, you might wonder why content is “king” over, say, advertising. After all, catchy jingles and memorable commercials have worked for businesses for years, right?

Well, yes. But when it comes to attracting online leads, there’s one very important distinction to keep in mind:

Ads find people. People find content.

Content marketing vs. advertising

What’s the difference between a piece of “content” and an ad, anyway? While there’s overlap in terms of their physical characteristics (i.e., both use words and/or images), there’s an important distinction in how they’re used and distributed. Ads are paid media—you have to give someone money to place an ad somewhere, such as on a billboard or at the top of a search engine results page. Content marketing is an organic strategy, meaning it shows up in unpaid media channels such as blogs and search engine results beneath the ads.

People are constantly on the hunt for answers. They watch videos on sink repair; they read blogs filled with legal advice; they download ebooks about lead generation.

Content marketing has the power to help your business connect with prospects at little to no cost.

But content marketing isn’t just a more cost-effective way to attract and engage with more leads. It’s also your key to building better connections with them. That’s because your content is wholly, completely, 100% yours to own.

Your website and social channels are springboards for unique insights, one-of-a-kind stories, and helpful tips—all of which serve to educate and empower your audience. Your business has valuable knowledge and sharing it with the people you serve is one of the best ways to generate relational currency while guiding the conversation around your business.

How to create high-converting content

1. Be bold.

Too many businesses phone things in by following templates and formulas that make their lives easier—but do little to keep their audience’s attention.

"52% of people think that most content is overly commercial, and 48% feel that it’s too long, boring, and basic."

Your customers or clients appreciate when you invest time and effort into your work. Content is no different. You can bet that when you take risks and put your heart into everything you publish, your audience will take notice.

2. Make it accessible.

Authenticity is in short supply across most online channels. Instead of using stock imagery that people will scroll past, add in a human element by including photos of your team or projects you’ve been working on.

3. Find your niche.

Play around with different formats and platforms to figure out what’s working (and what’s not.) Once you’ve identified the areas where your content shines, it won’t be too long before people see you as the go-to resource to whatever it is that your business specializes in.

4. Inspire action.

Instead of churning out massive amounts of low-quality content, take your time to provide your audience with interesting and actionable information that leaves a strong impression. Remember, the goal should always be for people to bookmark (or ideally, share) your content!

5. Be aware of your limits.

There is no reason why you must publish a new blog post three times a week or have a new social media post go live every single day. Excellent content takes time to craft, so make sure you’re setting aside enough time to prioritize quality over quantity.

Knowing what effective content marketing looks like is half the battle. Actually, it’s probably a bit more. I’d say 3/4 at least—but then again, I’m a content marketer.

And that’s an important point—for as powerful as content marketing can be, keep in mind that it’s just one lead generation strategy among many. Let’s look at some more, so you can determine what works best for your specific industry and how to execute your lead generation goals successfully.

 This article is a sample of Ruby’s guide, the lead generation playbook. For more tips on digital marketing—including social media, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, and more—be sure to check out the full guide.