How to Write Blog Posts That Generate Leads

leads

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.

Thanks,

Neil

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).

crunchbase

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.

Conclusion

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?

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Comments

  1. Great post once again Neil! I own and operate a blog writing and management service and often times I have to remind my clients that creating great content is only half the battle.

    Great content without promotion is like creating a beautiful painting and locking it in the basement where nobody can see it.

    • Sarah, I like that analogy. Great points!

    • I agree Sarah. So many blog posts, that provide truly actionable advice, end up lost in cyberspace because of lack of promotion. Neil is right, yours is a perfect analogy.

    • Gaining one customer, for every 3 blog posts written, is fantastic.

      Very useful list of what should be covered in a post aiming at
      lead generation.
      Thanks Neil.

  2. Nikhil Waghdhare :

    Hey Neil,

    In my experience, a post with a great research converts better. Whether it is a how to post or list post. When the blog posts consist what users want, then they follow you for more.

  3. Hello Neil,

    Love this latest post and get the gist of writing data-backed analysis posting of relevant targets.

    I’m a public speaking coach and an idea I’m toying is either blog postings or video reviews of corporate leaders speaking and presenting.

    In the same token, I can (without much difficult) generate either a full-blown blog post or video (not that experienced with that yet) of a speaker and breaking down what works, what doesn’t, what can be improved and throwing in relevant data and references.

    How well do you think that will work? Medium-wise, will a blog post or video work better? Also, I do agree I’ve to be very mindful as my focus will get very personal so while you’re working on a company level strategy, I’m effectively scrutinizing a person and rendering him “naked and vulnerable” and that can be a very dangerous path to tread.

    Any advice you can share?

    Regards,
    Benjamin

    • Benjamin, I think you should just produce content that is very actionable. See what your visitors are interested in and expand upon that.
      You can even provide some freebies so that people will feel more inclined to sign up for your newsletters and become paying customers. It’s all about trust and engagement 🙂

  4. Quality over quantity every time, *sigh* and that seems to apply to so much in life! Like every aspect of life really!! Quality leads are the best.

  5. Hi , i have to say that the point you raised in the article about quality over quantity is very true.
    Anyone new to blog posting should always look to post good quality articles rather than long boring miss informed articles.

    Great post Neil 🙂

  6. Hey Neil

    That’s a great article. I want to know more about how the the long posts can increase traffic? What element should we include into it so that it ranks good.

    Another question is how can we write long posts if we are writing to the point.

    Please help.

    • Rajiv, if you are providing actionable data and making the posts very in-depth you’ll have no problem making them longer. Essentially you want to engage the user 🙂

  7. Hi Dave – and great question! Could you not produce case studies of your clients? Sort in the same vein as what Neil described, but if you get your current client’s permission and adhere to strict security guidelines, then you should be able to produce case studies showcasing where your client was prior to implementing your product, and where they are now post implementation.

    thoughts on that?

  8. I know I haven’t commented before Neil, but this is a great post – really useful. Thanks.

  9. Ok now. I’m a bit confused now.
    The article is more than excellent. Now my confusion is what topic should I pick up. For a newbie suppose I pick some CPL offer. Will this be helpful in generating those leads.

    Regards

  10. Ryan Mendenhall :

    Awesome post, as usual, Niel. And I’m going to do this! Tell me though, this sounds like a rockin’ strategy for companies. I double audience and sales for authors, coaches, speakers & bloggers in the health, wellness, personal growth industry. CruchBase is slick for companies, but what say ye on doing something similar for my audience? How would one go about determining the financial resources of a general business owner (writer/speaker/coach)?

    • Ryan, great questions. I typically go in and figure out what user personas and buyers are the right fit for your company. In regards to financial resources you just have to play it by ear and ask them how much revenue they are generating. That is the biggest indicator of financial resources. Are they profitable or not?

      • Ryan Mendenhall :

        Great point about the revenue. I actually ask that in our application process, I highly doubt any of these guys will have a free floating $10-$30 mm, but perhaps there’s a profit threshold at which our costs won’t phase them.

        Thanks for your thoughts. Greatly appreciated! Never cease to help me expand my mind! I’m going use this strategy to write a post about Daniel Amen and some other well known authors (who definitely have the money) that I’d like to help with their digital strategy. I’ll keep ya posted!

  11. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for writing this informative article about how to write blog posts that generate leads.

    As you just pointed out, One big lead with good budget is better than one hundred leads.

    The article is self explanatory and went straight to the point. I will use this in the future.

    Regards,
    Oloyede Jamiu

  12. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for great post.Quick Sprout always one of my fav blog that I followed.

    In the beginning of this post, your mentioned bout out of 17 leads, only one lead qualified to be your client. My question, what are the criteria that make the lead became your client? Can you explain bit. Thanks

    Regards
    Indera

    • Indera, glad you liked the post. I typically see if I can help someone out. I don’t ever taken on a project I can’t provide tangible results for 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply. Any suggestion for a newbie like me to start own blog similar niche as you. Of course I don’t want to be your close competitor. Lol! I have the passion but haven’t the technical skill for doing article writting/backlinking/ research for topics. Do you recommend to fully outsource? if do.. who you would suggest I get intouch with. 🙂

        Regards
        Indera

  13. Hey Neil,

    This post knocked it out of the park! You even through in the CrunchBase tip… Great stuff. Thanks again.

    Brian

  14. Hi Guys,

    Do you think that this strategy could be used for an ecommerce company? We just started a blog on my company’s website and I’m wondering if this strategy could be tweeked/changed for B2C.

  15. Great post Neil. In my industry, I’ve found that just an honest and comprehensible review of the company that I’m an affiliate of, or simply showing prospective new customers how I use their platform has given me great quality leads.

  16. Whenever I go through your blog posts , I realize the importance of planning. Success doesn’t come overnight. You need to make really smart efforts to be the next Neil Patel.
    thank you for being an inspiration for so many people like me and this post is certainly going to put us on the right track. 🙂

  17. Neil,

    Writing a blogpost targeted at the one client looks like a great trick!

    By the way, when developing software this approach may also work very well. The only thing is to make sure it is the right client.

  18. Hey Neil,
    I say this from the depths of my heart, you are an awesome man.
    Great post.

  19. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for this great post. I’ve learned a lot.
    Just a question. Do you think that your strategy works for an educational blog?
    Best,
    Santiago

  20. Great strategy Neil. Thank you for sharing. I’ve only once blogged about a company and the marketing changes they should make, but never received a response from them. They may have been too big. I’m guessing Angelslist would be a great place to find start ups as well?

  21. Neil,
    That was truly one of the best posts you have ever written (at least as it relates to me)! You are right, how-to’s and lists don’t convert leads, they just drive traffic and maybe links. I like your approach to blogging about specific companies you’d like to work with and letting them know after you have done so.
    I recently took a similar approach but in a slightly different manner. Instead of writing a blog post, I created a detailed letter outlining much of the same things you mentioned above. I highlighted keyword opportunities, tried to translate it into dollars, and provided insight as to what I thought the company should be doing in terms of SEO.
    Then, I bought some really nice printer paper, matching envelopes, and a gold foil to seal it and mailed it off. I literally just did this the other day so I can’t say if it worked yet! However, I’ll take your lead and post the doc on my blog and see if I can gain some traction that way too.
    I figure if we (SEOs) are doing all of these proposals anyway for potential clients we might as well do them for companies that have capital and that we want to work with! You da man, thanks!

    Daniel

  22. Hmm.. so in a way, it’s write actual Case Studies instead of List Posts/How To’s. Is it because both Lists and How To’s are more for DIY mindset people and only a smaller part of audience of them are actually willing to pay for DFY service?

    • Adrijus, that is definitely another way of looking at it. Essentially you want your content to be more actionable. Case studies often do the trick because they break everything down step by step.

      • Interesting paradox? On one hand, Actionable content great, but is it more for DIY mindset people? Those who want to hire out, will not do anything themselves anyway so actionable is not really that important as much as proving that you know your stuff?

  23. That Neil, is an excellent idea!!

    Will be doing this!

    Out of interest have you split tested, putting this comment box at the start of comments vs the end? What was your outcome?

    I hypothesize putting at the end generates less comments but a higher sign up to your squeeze pages.

  24. hey Neil, I really liked your strategy and believe me I was watching movie but I thought why not read his post first because I got your email of newly published blog post so I had bookmarked it since evening and now after reading I am thinking what I can do with your explained strategy of writing a blog post.
    I am sure I will come up with some plan in this week and will be working on lead generation. Thanks a lot man. It was super dooper post. 🙂

  25. Wow Neil! So simple, yet such a great idea. Definitely going to try this as part of our inbound marketing strategy. Thanks.

  26. Neil excellent post as always man.

    What happens if you are targeting a non start up industry like industrial manufacturing. Or an industry doing 1 million a year with 4-9 employees and no strong web presence?

    Would they take kindly to being critiqued publicly?

    • Eugene, That’s a good point! When it comes to industries like that it’s a tough balancing act to maintain brain integrity. I would be very meticulous when analyzing your calls to action and copy.

  27. I run a business that helps Western companies get their products into China.

    I just can’t see how this blog post applies to businesses like mine. What could I write equivalent to this?

  28. Sudarto Samsurip :

    I am very happy reading your posts about getting leads.
    Writing is not only valuable information, but should be able to move others to act as we expect. It requires a strategy as you have described in subtitle quality more than quantity.

    I often forget this when writing articles. In fact, this is the heart of the article that could encourage others to do what we want to.

    Of course, promoting the article is also very important. It also requires great attention.

    I myself still need a great ability for this. Your writing is very helpful for me and other readers. I still want to learn more from you.

  29. Smart stuff Neil.

    Ditto on what Sarah said. I offer freelance writing and blog consulting services and feel promotion or outreach is a huge part of the lead generating game. I’d even say that if your content is OK but network huge, because you worked to connect with leaders, you’ll generate leads and business through your blog.

    I was featured on over 30 blogs in the past 12 weeks. These features increase my readership, eBook sales and client base because the more you reach out to folks the more easily you gain credibility, and of course, with trust, comes business.

    Patiently make friends in high places while creating posts that solve the problems of your ideal customer.

    This 1-2 punch works so darn well on the lead generating front.

    I’d also say that promoting others, to help them generate leads, helps you generate leads. Karma, the golden rule, or whatever you call it, the strategy works so darn well.

    Thanks Neil.

    Tweeting soon.

    Ryan

  30. I think it’s right that we should have to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. I am doing blogging for my company website but I didn’t get results in terms of leads, so I will definitely try your tips. Thanks!

  31. Neil Im the new babies in blogging and want to learn more about the SEO in details , can you guide me from where i need to start first . i will also try to implement all the thing that u mention in this post

  32. Awesome lead generation idea, Neil! Very creative!

  33. Neil, your post are always super smart and useful but this post is simply amazing. Thank you for sharing this strategy.

    I am Email Marketing expert, I have years of experience in this field but I became a freelance consultant just few months ago.

    I am currently preparing my professional blog. I will try to implement your suggested strategy. I will make posts with audits to newsletters I receive from internet companies and share the posts with them.

    I think your strategy could work in my area of expertise.

    Thanks again!

  34. This is such a great post I ever go through. But wanna raise a question to Neil that if quality post retain concise words then can it be indexed on search engine?

  35. Hi Neil

    I find this idea fascinating but worry that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. We provide welding overlays to mining companies in Australia and all are large companies. Maybe we need to try this on the OEMs of the equipment parts.

    It is very tough in the resources sector with lead times very long and competition tough. How would yoy suggest we find the right target for such a blog?

    I have written a grand total of 3 blogs and agree information wirhout a call to action will never lead to new business.

    Lived this post and will be checking out your other work!

    Thanks Regan

    • Regan, have you done any surveying. I think a good first step would be to figure out who your buyer personas are. You can also do some research into your industry to see what types of content resonate best with people in your niche.

  36. Science Blogger :

    Nice post,thanks for sharing information.

  37. Hey Neil,
    I always love to read your blogs because you always give me new ideas, & tips in SEO. As well, your blog topic is differ from others. Most of the time, I have found quality in your posts. I think your blog example is the good example of a good content marketing.

  38. I’m a fine artist. I’m wondering if/how this concept could be adapted or modified to a blog post about art – especially one that showcases one of my new creations.

    I’ll have to ponder on that for a bit…

  39. Tasia Gonsalves-Barriero :

    Hi Neil,

    I’d read this post when it first came out and decided to give it a try. Here is the link: http://www.tgbcopywriting.com/how-jiff-can-increase-traffic-and-see-improved-results/

    I posted on my blog because it was quite long (topped over 4000+ words). It has garnered me some traction and follows by a few influencers online. I’ll be thinking of a strategy to engage them.

    The second lead gen article I’ll guest post early next week.

    I appreciate the offer of feedback and am taking full advantage. So in advance: thank you.

  40. Your blog topic is differ from others. Most of the time, I have found quality and effective skills in your posts. I think your blog example is the good example of a good content marketing.

  41. Arti Khandelwal :

    Hi Neil,

    I am agreed that quality matters a lot and not quantity. We need to target more audience because we can’t convert every one. It is better to have more targeted audience. But the mind set is that we have to write blog as much as we can.

    Thanks
    Arti Khandelwal
    http://www.leadmaster.in

  42. Neil, i can stress enough the importance of the quality content, as i’m part of an SEO Agency in Kent and it is a little bit hard to convince clients that it is more important to have quality content, than just publishing 2 posts a week, especially when some type of “Guru” has said that.

    I will be sending this to my clients and followers, to show the real importance of quality content.

    Thanks,
    Genci,
    http://www.seovisible.co.uk

  43. These guys have made a huge impact for me, I’m first on every lead. Www.Zuumlead.com

  44. I work in SEO and it’s funny, well not really, it’s frustrating, trying to convince a client that 150 words of generic content just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Quality content isn’t all that is necessary but without it as a foundation how can you possibly expect to to have a successful marketing campaign.

    Thanks for the info as always Neil!

    • Nick, it can definitely be tough at times. You really have to find a unique proposition to get sustained traffic — the challenge is daunting but well worth it.

  45. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for sharing the insights, not only is it precise but also very inspirational.

    Been motivated, I did write a blog post http://www.technowand.com.au/blog/national-zoo-and-aquarium-canberra providing good content and insights. As I have been reading your blogs, I did not stop there but distributed the content on Facebook, LinkedIN, Quora and still hunting around for other places to post the link.

    Instead of reading about things and thinking of doing it next week, I finally put my head down and got it done. The sense of achievement is also worth it.

    Good going Neil.

    • Hey thanks Rahul, I appreciate you doing that.Good for you on just taking action, that means you’re going toward the right direction.

  46. Anoop chawla :

    Hi Neil,

    I am a webdesigner and an online marketer, I am trying to get coaches as clients.
    Like I want to do their websites and help them market their services.

    Do you think writing an educational critique for a coach’s website, pointing out what his current website is doing wrong and how he can improve it, will work here?

    • I use to do that a lot with companies, not sure how it work on a coach. Maybe putting together a quick report can evoke them for a skype call

  47. It’s just an awesome read, Neil. Since I’m on my way to create a blog, it gives me a complete idea of blogging.

    Thankyou

  48. Thanks for all the great training Neal as always. We love what you do and we love lead gen!

  49. Does this qualify for affiliate marketing too?

  50. Hi Neil
    I don’t even know what is Lead in blogging 🙁 I am not as genius as you.
    Can you tell me?

  51. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your great post. It is really specific in terms of what to actually do in blogging to get a qualified lead.

    I have been blogging a few months but have been focusing on listicled and informative style posts. I blog about digital marketing, travel and lifestyle. I know that this probably widens my scope too much in terms of audiencr. I’m just wondering what specific things I could do to get leads. I’m not selling anything per she but want to build my personal online brand and ultimately get found in search engines. I’m a recent grad of digital marketing trying to get my name out there.

    What sort of lead magnet or CTA could I use? I’m a little unsure.

    • The key is to get to know your audience and be very specific to that audience in your content. Then it’s packaging your content to help them.

  52. Stine Skalleberg :

    Thanks alot for helpful tips 🙂 I am blogging as a student, related to digital marketing and I am going to do what you say. Here is my blog, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take a look. http://www.stineskalleberg.no

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