Every business, brand, or cause is interested in generating more leads. Whether it's building a donor list, attracting new leads from a targeted audience, moving people through a buying cycle, or increasing the service level of existing clients, organizations are only interested in content marketing (or any content marketing for that matter) if it ...

  • Finds new prospects.

  • Increases the number of qualified leads.

  • And helps close more deals.

The good news is that if you approach content marketing in a systematic way you will have the ability to tie a direct connection from the content marketing strategies you implement to one or more of the three things listed above.

(Note: This doesn't happen by accident, though.)

Here's how you do it:

  • Start with a plan. You have to understand who is going to what, when, and how. Starting something before understanding the cost of time, energy, and money is foolish and a poor business decision.

  • Build a digital home base. Create a place online where people can come to you. Inbound marketing means that clients find you. But that only happens when you've done the hard work that you committed to in the content marketing plan from Day One.

  • Foster permission-based conversations. Companies, brands, causes, and organizations build trust through personality. People don't want to connect with a faceless brand but another human being. Trust is grounded in relationships. This is not the time for an exercise in personification. Be human, and you will stand out. Give people the option to listen or ignore. They already have this choice, so recognize it and respect it.

  • Provide helpful information that empowers others. You must do the homework you need to do to ensure you are seeing life through the eyes of your prospects. You must ask the same questions they are asking. Then, you take that intelligence and create helpful resources in a variety of different formats that empower the prospect in ways they didn't expect. Give them more than they first thought you would, and they'll keep coming back.

  • Do it consistently...without immediately "going in for the kill." It's not enough to follow through on the process once or twice. You have to have a sustainable system in place otherwise you'll end up just another marketing department scattered among the carnage of those who tried and died in the process. This is where the difference makers outpace the rest of their peers. It's less about brilliance and creativity and more about consistency.

The reason why content marketing often gets overlooked is that it is comprehensive and requires a long-term commitment to realize the full potential of your market engagement.

In its full expression, it is an integrated, multi-dimensional marketing strategy that requires a high-level of intelligence, testing, and refined calls to action that ultimately move people toward measurable responses. It must become your core strategy, or it will eventually go on the shelf with so many other promising efforts while you continue to invest in traditional, interruption marketing and wonder why your pipeline continues to suffer.

What steps are you taking to create compelling content as a path to generating more leads?

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