Time can be a blog’s best friend when it comes to gaining leads, but there are a few things you can do to accelerate lead-generation efforts.
Patience is a virtue, but it’s a particularly difficult one to mind when you’re trying to get your business off the ground.
Whether you are just starting out, are trying to turn things around, or are just looking to inject a little energy into things after some slow growth, your company has probably made an investment in your marketing efforts. Now comes the tough part, if you’re on the marketing team: The bosses are going to want to see results in the form of leads and sales.
Fair enough. Blogging is one of the best ways to boost your lead-generation efforts. The trouble is, however, that is normally takes some for those benefits to come to fruition.
I’m not going to say it’s a marathon…
But blogging is certainly not a sprint. Your posts need time to start drawing traffic — and then, from traffic comes leads. So the transitive property tells us that lead generation takes time. Here’s why.
As with many things, blog posts become more credible with age. That is to say, search engines value things that older content has had more time to accumulate, like social shares and referrals from other web pages. The more relevant a blog post proves itself to be to readers over time, the higher it will rank in search engine results.
On the other hand, new blogs without much content don’t have much to tell search engines. Search engines don’t trust them yet — and search engines’ algorithms are designed to avoid leading searchers down a stray path. So posts from new or young blogs are less likely to appear within the first page(s) of search results, which is key to sourcing organic traffic.
So what’s a marketer who is charged with generating leads to do?
Set realistic expectations
Be realistic about how quickly your blog will start generating leads when you first set your content strategy. Consider things like the length of your sales cycle. You can’t expect a reader to hasten down the sales funnel any faster than a normal prospect. And remember that the reader probably won’t catch your post on the first day it’s published. (More on that later.) So, if your sales cycle is 90 days, you might see a lead 90 days after you start publishing. But, in reality, it will probably take a little longer.
Instead of relying entirely on leads to define success, you should spend the first months focusing on the metrics that are precursors to lead generation. Increased web traffic and greater social reach and engagement, for example, are solid proof that the needle is moving in the early days of a new content marketing program. Set goals for these metrics, and communicate with leadership that they are all indicators that your content strategy is working, and that leads should follow in time.
But how can I get my blog to generate leads faster?
If you want to accelerate lead generation, it’s going to take a greater investment. But if you’re willing to commit more time and resources to speed things along, here are two things you can do.
1. Publish more frequently.
Search engines value posting frequency because it shows that your blog is a consistent source of content. The question is, how much can your organization publish without experiencing a decline in quality and relevancy? Those are other factors influencing search engine rankings, not to mention readership, leads, and conversions.
But “more frequently” doesn’t have to mean going from 0 to 60. Even publishing once more per week can make a dramatic impact. This story, for example, shows how publishing one more post per week helped a client’s web traffic increase by 23%, sales leads double, and a prospect convert to a customer — and that was just in just one month.
A HubSpot study showed a tipping point around 400 total blog posts — blogs with 401+ total posts generated twice as much traffic as those that had published 301-400 posts. And more specifically, B2B companies with 401+ total blog posts generated nearly 3X as many leads as those with 0-200 posts. The faster you can reach that 400 mark, the quicker your results.
2. Don’t neglect your old content
It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of your web traffic (aka potential leads) will first encounter your older content. Looking at Fronetics’ most-viewed posts last month, for example, 80% were published at least six months prior. In fact, 50% were more than a year old.
What does that mean? For one, you should keep tending to your already published content, particularly those posts that prove to be a consistent source of traffic. Update information; add links to new related posts or other relevant resources; and seek opportunities to insert or update calls-to-action to current offers and campaigns. Making sure those older, consistently popular posts continue to serve and engage your readers will increase your chances of conversion.
Secondly, it’s crucial that you look beyond how the posts you published recently performed. Something that doesn’t get a lot of views in the first week may be a huge traffic source and lead converter in a little time. Many content management systems, like HubSpot, can generate attribution reports, which tell you which web pages users most often visit before converting to a lead. Compare these pages with your high-traffic pages that don’t make the list to see how you can create more opportunities for lead conversion on the pages earning the most traffic.
Most importantly, if you invest the time and resources to run a blog, you owe it to yourself to see it through to success. Just because you don’t generate hundreds of leads in the first few months doesn’t mean you won’t eventually. It’s just going to take some time.
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