Do you know why I started blogging back in 2006? It was to generate leads for my consulting company. And boy, did it work well.
It worked so well that for every three blog posts I wrote, I generated one new customer that paid $5,000 a month for one year. In essence, I was generating $20,000 for every blog post I wrote.
You’re probably wondering how I did this, right? Back in 2006, I wasn’t a great blogger; I didn’t have much of a personal brand; and very few people read my blog. Yet, I was able to generate leads from my blog.
Download this cheat sheet to learn how to write blog posts that generate leads.
Here’s the strategy I used. Trust me, it will work for you too:
How-to articles and list posts don’t convert
When I first started blogging, I used to write articles similar to this one on Quick Sprout. The only difference was the posts weren’t as in-depth or useful.
These types of posts generate social shares and traffic, but they won’t get you many leads. For example, last month 17 people, who found me through Quick Sprout, emailed me, asking for consulting help. Only one of those leads was a qualified lead, meaning that the lead had enough resources for me to consider taking that person on as a client.
That may seem pretty good to you, but considering I have well over 500,000 visitors a month, it’s not that impressive.
This just shows that writing informational blog posts that contain tips and tricks won’t generate many leads for you.
By no means am I saying that you shouldn’t write informational posts. They will help increase your overall traffic, help brand you as an authority, and create goodwill within your industry.
In addition to writing informational posts, however, you need to write blog posts that also generate leads. When I say write blog posts that generate leads, I mean write a blog post that generates only one lead.
Quality is better than quantity
With lead generation, most blogs go for quantity. You shouldn’t do that as quantity is overrated. Just ask yourself this:
Would you rather have a hundred junk leads that you have to sift through or one super-qualified lead that is ready to buy?
You would go for the qualified lead, right?
So, how do you generate that one qualified lead? You write target blog posts. It’s kind of like what I used to do on my first blog, Pronet Advertising, which now redirects to Search Engine Journal (I got lazy back in the day and stopped blogging, so I gave Search Engine Journal the site for free years ago).
One of the blog posts I wrote was on Like.com. It was in 2006, before Google acquired it.
The formatting of the post is off, but if you read it, you’ll get what I was trying to do. I titled it “Like.com’s Untapped Search Potential” so that the founder of the company would be enticed to read it. In this post, I discussed potential improvements the company could make to the site to grow its traffic.
And hey, who doesn’t want more traffic?
These days I would do a much better job writing the post as I know a lot more about marketing. But I would still tear down a website and list everything the team is doing wrong as well as include screenshots.
The purpose of the post isn’t to pick on the website but to make it educational so that when people read it, they can learn from it and avoid making those mistakes with their websites.
As long as your post is detailed, you’ll get traction. For every three such posts you write, you should generate at least one customer. The customer, of course, would be the company you had written about.
I remember when I wrote that post on Like.com, the founder called me within a few hours and offered a contracting job for a year. Considering that they raised $47 million, it’s not hard to generate a few hundred grand from a blog post like that.
If you want a better version of this strategy, you can check out what someone did to one of my companies, KISSmetrics. This 9,000-word document outlines the errors in our marketing strategy.
I don’t recommend getting into this much detail as you are bound to make assumptions about the business you are auditing. If your assumptions are off, you will decrease the chance of getting the job. But you should be able to create a solid blog post about a company within 2,000 words, which is short enough to get the attention of the executives.
Here’s what you should cover within the post:
- Review the current strategy the company employs.
- Outline what they are doing wrong and how they can fix it.
- Prioritize the feedback based on what will have the biggest impact and is the easiest to fix.
- Use data to back up your claims. If you don’t have data, use examples of other sites within the same industry that are doing it right.
In addition to that, make sure you stay positive and try not to be very opinionated. Executives prefer facts and data rather than opinions.
Don’t forget to promote
Now that you know how to write a blog post that generates leads, it’s time for you to promote it. Why? Just because you write about a company doesn’t guarantee that its people will see it.
What you’ll want to do is tweet it out and include the company’s Twitter handle within the tweet. If you can get a few friends to tweet it out as well, it won’t hurt.
In addition to tweeting it out, make sure you also share it on all other social profiles you have. After you do that, email the founders and executives of the company you blogged about, and share the link with them.
Here’s an example of an email I would send, based on the post I did on Like.com:
Subject: [insert his/her first name], you should read this: Like.com’s Untapped Search Potential
Hey [insert his/her first name],
Just wanted to let you know that I love what you guys are doing at Like.com. I love your company so much that I’ve broken down how you can improve it and grow your traffic here. [insert link to your post]
I hope this helps you grow Like.com and make it even more successful.
If you have any questions, need help, or even want to work together, let me know.
By using Yesware, you’ll be able to see if they opened the email. If they haven’t after a few days, you can email them again with a different subject line.
Be careful whom you pick on
What you’ll find with this strategy is that you won’t need much traffic to generate leads. As long as you craft and promote a great blog post that tears apart a business, you can generate one customer for every three of such posts. That’s at least what I was able to produce.
But if you pick the wrong type of company to blog about, you’ll find that people won’t be responsive, or they’ll be angry. The wrong types of companies tend to be larger businesses.
If you focus on writing about the Yahoos and Apples of the world, which I tried as well, you won’t generate any leads. Why? Because large companies move slowly, and they have too many layers to go through.
Most startups, on the other hand, love criticism and move really fast. The small size of startups will allow you to target an individual or two within the company. Focus on blogging on startups that have raised between $10 million and $30 million. Those blog posts will bring you customers.
A good way to find companies to pick on that meet these criteria is to go through Crunchbase and choose companies that have been recently funded (which they showcase on their homepage).
These companies are cash rich, so they shouldn’t have a budget issue. Plus, they need to grow fast as their new investors are expecting that.
This lead generation strategy may not work for your industry, but it works extremely well for agencies and consulting shops. It works so well that if you start implementing it today, you could be generating at least $10,000 in monthly income within three months.
So, what are you waiting for? Give it a whirl! I promise you’ll generate leads.
If you are unable to, leave a comment linking to your post, or shoot me an email, and I’ll give you feedback.
What do you think about this strategy?