I don’t blame prospective clients for asking (and we’re asked often), “How can writing blog posts turn into website visitors into leads and new customers?” It really is the Big Question they need to understand before making a commitment to inbound (or content) marketing.I could give you the complex answer (ask me some time, I love when people ask), but today I’m going to provide the simplest, most direct answer.
How Does Writing a Blog Post Turn Website Visitors into Leads?
Let’s look a typical scenario that we see time and time again. We’ll call our fictitious company Need More Leads (NML). They have written a number of blog posts over the past year and while most don’t get too much attention (maybe 30 to 50 visits a month), one or two of the posts have started to receive links from other websites, are showing up in the top 2 or 3 organic search results for relevant keywords, and are starting to be shared by strangers (not just the staff and the boss’ Mom) through social media.
One or two of these blog posts are getting 1,500 visits per month (more than some of NML’s website pages), even though they were written 6 months ago, and each is getting anywhere from 10 to 30 clicks on the call-to-action (CTA) in the blog post. That click takes the visitor to a landing page with a relevant offer (exclusive content in exchange for contact information). Those landing page visits are generating 2 to 3 leads, respectively, when the visitor completes the form to get the content.
So Need More Leads is generating 2 to 3 leads per month from a blog post that they wrote 6 months ago. What happens when NML continues to write blog posts and optimizes them as recommended below? They start to generate a steady stream of leads from these blogs—and each time they create a new offer or have another blog post that finds success, they see more leads coming in.
You know the 80/20 Rule. It applies here, too (it applies almost everywhere!). Expect 80% (or more) of your leads to come from 20% (or fewer) of your blog posts, just as NML has experienced. I can’t guarantee you that one or two of your first 10 blog articles are going to hit paydirt. You may need to write 50 or more before you see some of them regularly cranking out leads. There are a lot of technical reasons why this is true (it’s not just your writing!), so I always urge clients to keep the faith and continue posting. I’ve never seen it fail over the long term.
But your writing is a factor, so stay with me as we review the...
5 Things Every Good Blog Post Needs to Generate Leads
1. Written for Your Target Persona(s)
In order to generate leads utilizing content or inbound marketing, you have to know first who you are writing for, who you’re trying to attract to your website. If you have no destination, any road will get you there, right? If you have no target, you will have few visitors and no leads. So do some research about your target audience and learn about what they are looking for online and how you can solve their challenges. Write about and create offers related to those things that they are searching for and asking about online.
2. Sound Keyword Strategy
The best content in the world won’t help anyone (not your target, not your company) if it can’t be found. Online searchers search using certain words and phrases they think will get them the content they want; those words and phrases are called keywords. Do everything that you can to get your posts found and properly indexed by Google by utilizing a sound keyword strategy of inserting those specific and relevant words and phrases in your blog content. But don’t go overboard and try to game the system by writing jargon-filled posts. Write for humans and not computers and you should do well.
3. Good Call to Action
At the conclusion of every blog post there needs to be a call to action or something that the reader is asked to do to further their knowledge or to learn more about the topic being discussed in the blog post. This is where a number of inbound marketing programs fail.. they simply forget to or do a poor job of inserting a call to action and moving someone from being a blog reader to a lead.
4. Relevant Premium Content or Offer
It’s a best practice to include a link to an offer or landing page that can provide the visitor with some additional, related content to download. This additional content is exclusive, kept behind a wall and made available only to those who request it. It’s more than another blog post; this is premium content that is richer, lengthier, more useful. Having multiple pieces of premium content makes it easier to ensure that what you offer with each blog post is relevant to the subject of that post; relevance is key to clicks, downloads, and lead generation.
5. Promotion, Promotion, Promotion
If keywords are your strategy for being found and read, then promotion is your tactics. Strategy without tactics is the slow road to success; strategy plus tactics makes it happen for you dramatically faster and sooner. You must promote. Even the most established blogs spend a fair amount of time promoting their blogs via social media and acquiring new subscribers to their blog. So proudly publishing your latest blog post is just the first step in the process. Allocate plenty of time and attention to propagating every post.
And now you know how blog posts become leads! Share this simple answer with your friends and colleagues. You’ll be helping them learn and you’ll be helping us, well, now that you’ve read this article, I don’t have to explain how you’ll be helping us!
If you're interested in more ways your blog can generate leads, download a sample chapter of LeadG2: Getting Prospects to Raise Their Hands, by Matt Sunshine.