As content marketing becomes an increasingly influential part of the customer experience, businesses are beginning to take a closer look at how they can leverage its appeal to increase sales leads and convert them to customers.

According to marketing experts at Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads. Follow these best practices to help guide you through the creation of a dynamic, customer-centric content marketing program.

Always Ask, “Is This Useful?”

From how-tos and quick tips to trend reports and actionable data, successful pieces of content, no matter how different, have one characteristic in common: usefulness. Your readers should be able to respond to your content in a way that enriches their work, home, or personal lives.

The area in which your content will benefit the reader should speak to the topics that make your business a thought leader in your specific industry. For example, if you create and support project management software, you can write about ways to work more efficiently, innovative approaches to team-building, creative ways to find freelancers, and other subjects that would attract the attention of a project manager.

Offer Tips That are Actually Attainable

Your demographic should always be your guide when crafting recommendations that serve as the cornerstone of your content. If you don’t know the answer to these questions and simply work from your perspective, you run the risk of readers missing your message altogether.

  • Who’s reading your content? (Age, sex/gender, occupation)
  • What do they care about? (Goals, hobbies, interests)
  • What can they afford? (Money, time)

Even well-funded content programs can get it wrong. Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog Goop has been snubbed time and time again because of ridiculous recommendations like “a surprisingly affordable yacht rental” that her middle-class millennial reader base could never come close to attaining. So be mindful not to “Goop” your readers, because once you let them know you don’t have their best interests in mind, they’ll bail for good.

an illustrator putting content marketing tips into action
Remember That It’s Not a Commercial

While the ultimate goal of your content marketing program is to generate sales leads, you’ll be much more successful in filling the top of your sales funnel by pulling back on direct promotions and starting with compelling content related to the products or services you provide. Sales content should come after your first impression and connect to the first piece content that piqued the reader’s interest.

Make It Easy for Readers to Find Your Content

There are multiple ways to ensure that the content you’re investing time and resources in creating gets the attention it deserves.

  • Hone in on SEO keywords relevant to your business and demographic
  • Spotlight new featured content on your website’s homepage
  • Deliver fresh content right to your customer and prospect’s email boxes
  • Create PPC and Facebook ads that promote content marketing pieces
  • Integrate your content with your social media strategy
  • Turn your email newsletter into a monthly content roundup
Create an Experience by Following Up

Don’t abandon your readers, nurture them. Their willingness to download your content, visit your blog, and read your emails indicates that, with the right follow-up in place, they can turn from content consumers into customers.

You can create an engaging follow-up experience through an email drip campaign that includes:

  • Related content that can generate repeat website visits and downloads
  • Benefit-led promotional emails that connect your product to content tips
  • Educational webinars and product demos that relate to goals in content

Your sales team should also reach out to your readers personally. If your content guide download required a phone number, give the downloader a call and ask them about why they downloaded the content, if they found it useful, and how your business can help them achieve their goals.

a woman reading an email from a content marketing drip campaign

Stay Consistent with Content Delivery

Oftentimes, staying consistent is just a matter of starting small. You know the amount of time and resources you have to dedicate to your content marketing program, so plan appropriately.

If you have a lean team with just one writer and designer who service all areas of your business communications, publishing a daily blog post is probably not feasible. Begin with a single weekly blog post or whitepaper and test ways to promote it. As your leads begin to trickle in, consider hiring freelancers or additional full-time resources to help grow your content marketing program.

Become a Fan of Awesome Content Programs

Study up on businesses who are winning at the content game. Take note of what they’re doing right by answering the following questions:

  • What types of titles do they use to lure readers?
  • What content formats do they offer?
  • How do they use design to stand out in a crowded market?
  • How do they promote their content pieces?

In addition to seeing successful content programs in action, you can gain content best practices by subscribing to blogs authored by experts who make it their job to monitor trends and developments in content marketing.

Listen to Your Content Marketing Engagement Data

Your customers tell you what types of content they care about without saying a word. Their preferences live in the data you collect: downloads, blog post clicks, social post clicks, email opens, and email clicks. If you’re not keeping tabs on these content marketing metrics, you’re missing out on a valuable aspect of creating and maintaining your program: every engagement gives you insight into the goals and aspirations of your target customers.

a content marketing manager analyzing performance data
Boost Readership with Appealing Rewards

Getting your content marketing program off the ground takes time, but to maintain momentum you can supercharge its growth in spurts by incentivizing readers to subscribe to your blog. Consider promoting a monthly raffle for blog subscribers or content downloaders and reward one or more lucky winners with a gift card they’re sure to love.

Giftogram offers digital gift cards that empower your customers to cash in at hundreds of popular retailers. Best of all, you can customize the cards with your logo so they won’t forget that your business appreciates their interest. Enhance your content marketing journey with awesome rewards. Design your Giftogram cards today.