Generating leads is an important component of any business that wants to increase sales and organic customers. In particular, blog posts are an excellent lead generation method and have a track record to prove it. In fact, one study found that blogs generate 67% more leads than websites without a blog, 434% more indexed pages, and 97% more indexed links. All of this contributes to better rankings on search engine results pages.
Blogs should be optimized for lead generation if the site owner is interested in gaining leads. Optimizing a blog requires looking at content in several different ways: on the level of the whole blog, clusters of blog pages, and individual blogs.
Here are some significant ways you can optimize your blog for lead generation.
Address the Full Marketing Funnel
First and foremost, you need to address the full marketing funnel. This means having content that handles all stages of the funnel to draw individuals from top to bottom. To do so, you need to understand the differences between funnel stages.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Content for this stage is focused on bringing awareness to the problems your product/service solves for the industry's customers. Your content in this stage is informed and knowledgeable — not 'salesy.' It's also more general and less targeted than the middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel content.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
MOFU moves away from introducing your brand to consumers and focuses on the ones who already know you. In this case, they are considering their options. Think of the middle of the funnel as the glue between attracting customers and finalizing sales. You'll want to produce content that continues to engage, educate, and entertain your consumers, so they continue to consider your brand's solution.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Now you want to address customers who are ready to make their purchasing decision. Your audience is narrowed down to your target audience that just needs a little nudge to take action. This can come in the form of content that helps them make an informed decision confidently, meaning you backed your executions with data and positioned your brand as the superior product over the competition.
Gain Topical Authority
Instead of writing about dozens of different topics, focus on a few topics and write in-depth and with expertise about them. This is important for SEO purposes since search engines now refer to content with established authority in a single subject over giving most of your focus to keywords. Think of it this way — consumers will be more interested in what you can do for them specifically, over what you can do for everyone.
As revealed in research by Backlinko, 'topically relevant' content "significantly outperforms content that doesn't cover the topic in-depth."
Use Pillar Pages and Clusters
Instead of writing all long-form or all short-form blogs, divide them up between comprehensive "pillar pages" and "cluster content," supporting those pillar pages through internal links. This will help you establish authority in a single topic appropriate for your target audience.
When forming your ideas, think of a relevant topic to your consumers that they often research for answers. You can start by checking out what problems your competition is addressing, consumer questions, and more. Just make sure the topic is general enough to create multiple content pieces but not so broad that it can't all be addressed in your pillar pages.
HubSpot provides a great example to help get you started:
"'Social media' [is] too broad of a topic, but 'Instagram captions' would [be] too narrow. [However,] 'Instagram marketing' is broad enough that we're able to link many more blog posts that dive into Instagram in greater detail, but still specific enough that we could write a comprehensive pillar page about it.
Offer Gated Content
Another way to generate leads is to offer content that can only be accessed by giving information such as an e-mail address and other personal information. This is a great way to get more insight into your consumers.
It is imperative to note that gated content should relate to the blog it is offered beside, or it may be viewed negatively and disregarded. In contrast, gated content alongside similarly helpful content will encourage action and pique more interest.
Always Include a CTA
It's proven and simple — all blogs should have a call to action (CTA). Your CTA can be to contact the company, download gated material, share on social media, or read a different blog on the same site. Whatever you choose, just make sure to include it to elicit a response or action.
Even though DSIM reports studies that found a personalized CTA can convert 42% more visitors into leads, studies also show that 70% of small businesses lack a call to action on their sites. You won't want to make the same mistake and miss out.
Follow Search Engine Optimization Best Practices
It is also important that you follow SEO best practices when optimizing your blog for lead generation. Know that SEO-focused blogs should answer the "user intent" behind the keyword while also keeping in mind keyword placements.
Some best practices to be familiar with:
- Putting your keyword in the title, URL, subheader, and several times within the body of the text.
- AVOID keyword stuffing, though.
- Meta description and title tags should be captivating and pull in the searcher.
- Images should be high-quality and in the right format (page speed is a ranking factor!)
- Make use of internal linking and credible external linking.
Go Beyond SEO
Not all blogs need to be optimized for a search engine. In fact, it can be more helpful to also put a focus on other aspects that provide meaning to your customers as well. Remember, your content should appeal to BOTH your customer and search engines.
You can go beyond SEO and include:
- Editorial or thought leadership pieces — gives your brand more authority.
- Optimize blogs for social sharing by emphasizing emotions — elicits more likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc.
- Storytelling — sharing stories of your “why” and “how” to show your audience your process and company culture.
The Benefits of Optimizing a Blog for Lead Generation
The positive consequences of optimizing a blog for lead generation can be seen in several ways. Most significantly, it brings more awareness to your brand, increases sales, converts visitors into customers, and is much cheaper than other advertising forms. Not to mention it benefits businesses and consumers alike — bringing the company more attention while solving buyer problems and answering relevant questions.