By Kristopher Jones
Content marketing is so ingrained in every marketer’s digital marketing strategy that not leveraging content to scale your business can result in a massive competitive disadvantage. We’ve recently discovered the bountiful harvest of inbound leads that content marketing generates; nearly three times more leads than traditional outbound advertising at 62 percent less cost. As your business scales, your content marketing strategy should scale too.
I personally created a centralized content marketing team at my business to handle content across every operation, such as link building, internal blog posts, and client content requests. I hired full-time specialists and freelance writers to create editorial content and a systemized process to meet all content needs.
Once you’ve created the content calendar, fulfilled your monthly blog post quota, and attracted the attention of some influencers in your industry, where do you go from there? Here are five strategies to leverage content to scale your business and increase your inbound leads.
Go for Links
Content marketing still remains a lengthy process to acquire exposure and establish an audience. To speed this process up and gather more organic traffic for your site, conduct a link-building campaign. Leverage your relationships in your industry to submit guest posts with backlinks to your most important website sources. This will increase the amount of relevant traffic your web pages acquire and send positive signals to Google to rank your web pages higher as a result.
High-quality content will naturally attract links, but this requires possessing an established audience and achieving a high keyword search engine results page (SERP), which you need backlinks for. In the end, acquiring backlinks from authoritative and relevant domains will increase your organic rank driving more organic traffic and inbound leads to your website.
One of the best ways to acquire these links is to send your content to other publications in your industry. By including a link back to yourself or utilizing the byline to link back to your website, you can gain a valuable link and increase exposure.
Establish Thought Leadership
I’ve been published on numerous top publications and industry blogs. I’ve written a best-selling book on search engine optimization, which has established my authority and thought leadership in my industry. Content marketing remains the ultimate means to build your brand into that of a thought leader.
If you're producing high-quality content, begin sending some pieces to top publications in your vertical with your brand leader’s name attached to it. Create a persona in your industry that the customer base can look to for information and opinions. Don't forget to place a link in each guest post (the byline is great for this) to drive visitors to your website and lead them through your sales funnel with more great content.
Create Outreach Campaigns
Once you’ve established your brand as a thought leader or proven its credibility, conduct an aggressive outreach campaign to industry influencers. Email influencers with your best content to be shared and sponsor them if it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
Use your thought leadership to promote your business at industry conferences through keynote speeches, business stands, and networking. Research the events in your industry, both big and small, and reach out to see if you can be part of them. If you still have growing to do, that's fine. You can often buy a ticket to attend and meet other people in your industry. Continue to learn and meet new people and you will gain the knowledge and connections that can push your business to the next level. Soon enough, these events will be contacting you to be involved.
Essentially, the more visibility your content gets from influencers, the more it will be naturally shared without an outreach campaign. This, in turn, drives inbound leads circling through your funnel and positions your brand as an industry influencer.
Foster a Community
Content marketing is a potent demand generator. Most experts agree that content marketing’s intent is not to sell products, but to build awareness around them through a pull campaign. As you build awareness among your intended audience through your content, begin conducting contests, giveaways, and interactive campaigns that encourage user-generated content and affiliate sharing.
Fostering a community helps build your customer retention base and allows you to build content around brand-building. Brand storytelling and behind-the-scenes information will help solidify your retained customers as brand loyalists and maybe even advocates.
Leverage Your Platform to Sell Products/Services
Finally, use your online community and content marketing channels to build awareness around your products. Transform your most loyal fans into brand ambassadors and invite them for usability and beta tests for new products. They will naturally market these products over their own social channels.
Content marketing can be used for a variety of promotional campaigns at the fraction of the cost of a push campaign. Businesses can use their native blog or online forums for information on product unveils and access to exclusive content. This will encourage people to naturally gravitate toward these platforms.
Be sure to utilize behavioral data and search analytics to discover which channels your customers engage with the most, as well as their psychographics and habits. Consider conducting a multi-channel marketing campaign to market content and increase your brand’s exposure. Use email marketing to send exclusive sneak peeks and monthly e-newsletters to customers who have previously interacted with your brand for retention.
Follow these tips in succession or separately. SEO and digital marketing are the gifts that keep on giving, and the more exposure you gather from backlinks and content marketing, the greater organic rank your website will achieve. This translates to greater exposure as a result of your content showing up high for a relevant search query.
Kristopher B. Jones is the founder and former President and CEO of Pepperjam (sold to eBay), managing partner of KBJ Capital (13 companies), and the founder and CEO of LSEO.com and APPEK Mobile Apps.