In today’s episode, co-host Kyler Canastra chats with content marketer, Josh Saxon, about how businesses can use content marketing strategies to generate more leads.

Josh started his career as a newspaper journalist before getting into marketing, where he worked in a few different content marketing, social media and SEO roles. Just before the pandemic, Josh went out on his own, under the brand name Relate Content Marketing, to help companies build and implement strong content marketing strategies. 

During their conversation, Josh shares lead generation tips for content marketers, including when to use paid vs. organic content, different types of lead magnets and the importance of tracking your content. 

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

How can content marketing be used to generate more leads?

The best way to use content marketing to generate more leads is to show your audience how they can benefit from your product or service. Instead of talking about your features, you want to drill down into your customers’ pain points and how they make decisions. 

You also want to look into your customer buyer’s journey. Paid ads are often used to capture leads already towards the end of the journey by competing with keywords with a heavy buyer’s intent. But if you want to catch them a bit earlier in their research phase, that’s where content marketing comes into play.

A popular and effective form of content marketing in the earlier stages of a buyer’s journey is “how to” content.

As Josh says, this type of content is used to build trust with your audience and establish your brand as an authority and expert. It helps to push your customers along their buying journey and keep your brand top of mind.

“Your audience wants to find a brand they can trust and who they feel are hearing their needs. Brands need to position themselves in a way that shows that they care, and that’s where the power of language and content marketing comes in.” – Kyler Canastra

Organic vs. paid ad strategy: What’s more effective?

It depends. However, a huge factor is your industry.

“Content marketing definitely lends itself to some industries better than others. Some services are much harder to create content for. For example, a plumber. Customers are unlikely to be interested in reading extensive content about plumbing. They just want to find a plumber to sort out their issue.” – Josh Saxon

When content marketing doesn’t fit with the industry, paid ads generally work better. Josh also suggests investing in local SEO for location-based brands like plumbing companies.

Josh compares organic SEO to index fund investing, while paid ads are more like picking stocks. Organic SEO is all about the long game—as long as you’re consistent with it, you’re going to see results. Paid ads, meanwhile, are a bit more risky and require a lot of trial and error. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can potentially cost you a lot of money with poor results. 

“To get good at Google ads, you need the data, and to get the data, you need to spend some money. So for clients with very low budgets, paid ads might not be something they’ll look at. It’s also not ideal for companies that want to get results after just one month. It takes time to refine a paid ads strategy, which costs money.” – Josh Saxon.

Ultimately, if you have the resources, time and budget to do both, do both as they support each other. For example, you can find out what keywords work for your brand pretty quickly with paid ads, which you can also use in your organic SEO strategy.

How can you track the effectiveness of your content marketing?

“Track your Google ads leads. You want to collect as much information about your users and clients as possible. Try to find out exactly what keywords are getting conversions so that you can have a better understanding of where you should be spending your budget.” – Josh Saxon

Organic content marketing is trickier to track than paid ads, but it’s still important to monitor. You can start by looking into your Facebook Insights to see what content gets the most comments and shares, which is the most indicative of what people are engaging with.

Josh also recommends combining Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google Analytics tells you what content is getting the most traffic, but it doesn’t show the full picture. To understand how and why it’s getting that traffic, you need to overlay it with Google Search Console. This shows you the terms people are searching for that lead them to each page—and they might not always be what you want them to be.

“Google Analytics might tell you that you’ve got a fantastic post getting a lot of traffic. But if the search terms aren’t relevant to your company, you want to get rid of that traffic as it’s not doing you any good. Google Analytics alone won’t get you there. Connecting it with Google Search Console will give you a better idea of who the people are that are coming onto these posts.” – Josh Saxon

You can also do AB testing to test different types of ads. Facebook Ads are good for this as they’re cheaper than Google Ads. They allow you to compare which ads get the highest conversion rates to inform your strategy.

What are the most common types of lead magnets?

Ebooks, whitepapers and case studies are all great examples of lead magnets. But they form different parts of the customer journey.

Ebooks are the most common and are a great way to give your audience insightful information with a strong call to action to get them to get in touch about your products or services. White papers are also effective in B2B marketing, when your potential clients are already heavily invested in what you do. Both are used primarily for generating interest.

Meanwhile, case studies are used more in the conversion part of your customer journey. 

“Case studies can really help with conversions if written well and placed in the right area of your website. Focus your case studies on highlighting how you’ve transformed the lives or businesses of your customers to allow your audience to see how they would feel if they worked with your business.” – Josh Saxon

Josh’s main tip when using lead magnets is to focus on offering as much value as possible:

“You want around a 90/10 split in terms of how much value you’re giving vs. how much you’re trying to sell your services.” 

If you’re asking your audience for their email address in return for content, it really needs to be worth their while.

At VeraContent, we offer a few free resources you can use as inspiration. Check them out!

Where should brands start when looking to generate more leads?

Josh suggests always starting with creating a buyer persona so you know exactly who you’re creating content for. Ideally, you want to have in-depth interviews with your existing and potential customers to find out what makes them tick.

“Take the time to interview as many people as possible to find out what your audience wants in terms of content. During those interviews, you really need to pull things apart and look deep into every aspect to better understand your audience—as sometimes they don’t even know why they chose your brand.”

Once you’ve done the interviews, create a document highlighting the ideal person you’re talking to, including things like their problems, what their day generally looks like and what type of content and messaging they respond to.

You can check out Kyler’s speaker profile if you’d like to have him speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

For more lead generation tips in content marketing, check out:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.