If your blog is supposed to generate leads—if that’s one of the most important goals you’ve set for your content marketing effort—then be certain to understand that premium content is what links your regular content to your lead-generating activities.
Without premium content, you won’t know who most of your site visitors are; if you don’t know who they are, they’re not leads at all, and you won’t be able to nurture them or help them move from mere leads to real prospects.
The Role of Premium Content
The reason premium content plays this key role—indeed, what makes the content premium—is that the blog reader must identify him/herself (by name and email address) as the “price” to receive this special, more valuable content. While ordinary blog content is usually just a brief article, perhaps illustrated with photos, premium content consists of more ambitious publications, including:
Understanding the pivotal role played by premium content has helped our clients realize that premium content is not like the cherry atop the dollop of whipped cream on your sundae. It’s not an occasional “extra” you provide. It’s really your core content; as such, it should sit at the very center of your content strategy.
Given what premium content is and its role in your lead-gen process, you should maximize each piece of premium content you publish by creating a marketing campaign to promote and distribute it as broadly as possible. Your ordinary blog articles now become essential foot-soldiers in those campaigns. That’s content strategy, so if you’ve locked on to how this works, give me a big fist pump and a loud Yes! — or if you’re at the library, a virtual yes will do.
Now let’s be sure your premium content is fabulous. During our inbound marketing planning day with new clients, we include numerous brainstorming sessions and some content mapping exercises designed to produce superior premium content ideas. We ask questions like these:
What products or services do we ultimately want to draw attention to?
Which search-query terms would someone use to find these specific products or services?
What type of content would be so useful that someone would gladly provide their name and email address in exchange for it?
What topics or titles would be of interest to our target persona?
As with any other idea-generating process, you’ll make better choices (create better premium content) if you come up with a long list of possibilities and narrow it down to the best ones. Then consider, for each idea you think you want to move forward with, what form it should take (white paper? infographic? video? eBook?).
You may even want to use the various type of premium content as a way to spice up your brainstorming—for example, if that premium download were to be some sort of special online calculator, what is it that you would people calculate?
Premium Content Example
Company: XYZ Radio
Goal: to have 20 Sales-Qualified Leads within three months
Target Persona: Business owners and ad agencies with marketing budgets of $30k or more
Premium Content: An eBook called “The Official Guide to Retargeting”
Blog posts you’ll publish to support that premium content:
3 Things You Never Knew About Retargeting
Retargeting, It’s Not As Complicated as It Seems
3 Step Guide to Starting a Retargeting Program
How Retargeting Works
Each of these blog articles will be repurposed of content you created for the eBook. And, of course, each of these posts will offer the reader the opportunity to download the eBook. Be certain your campaign plans also include aggressive use of appropriate social media channels.
These premium content campaigns will typically have two phases, a launch phase, and a maintenance phase. Go as big as you can in the launch phase, giving your new premium content the benefit of a concentrated, intense effort. The maintenance phase should go forever, or at least as long as the premium content is relevant and timely. Having many pieces of premium content that are active, and campaigns underway for all of them, will also give you an endless source of ideas for useful future blog articles, right?
So now that you have a better understanding of how to create a target persona and what type of information should come out of a content strategy session, you should be on your way to inbound marketing success.
If only it were that easy…. now that you have created content targeting the correct persona, you need to figure out how to reach them utilizing social media, link building, guest blogging, and so forth. And that’s the next step in companies' journey just starting out with inbound… getting found.
*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated from its original publishing date.