Blog Content Marketing and Lead Generation
If there is one piece of advice to Ag business owners on how to generate high-quality leads, it would be to embrace the practice of blog content marketing. When businesses get serious about marketing and advertising, the go-to medium tends to be pay-per-click advertising platforms like Google Ads and social media platforms like Facebook. These platforms, in many cases, are what seem the most accessible and immediate in terms of creating results. Especially to newcomers.
Yet, even in the hands of a skilled professional, pay-per-click advertising can be expensive, and conversions tend toward the lower end. In the hands of a novice, pay-per-click efforts can become an exercise in frustration. So, what makes blog content marketing so effective as opposed to strategies such as pay-per-click advertising? Three things:
- Consumer behavior
- Search engines
- Organic traffic
When people take to a search engine, they are looking for answers to their questions. Or, more specifically, they are performing research to make smarter buying decisions. For example, 87% of buyers begin their product research online with a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Search engines want to give people what they are looking for. So, content that best matches keywords and search phrases achieves higher rankings in SERPs (search engine results pages). This is known as SEO or search engine optimization. The more visible you are in the top 10 search results for any given keyword, the more traffic you will potentially drive to your site.
Creating Your Own Content
Why does this matter? Because you can discover the exact keywords and phrases people are searching for, then create content that matches and includes those phrases resulting in higher SERP rankings. Higher rankings will drive traffic to your site and, if you’re generating compelling calls to action, make a qualified lead pool that you will convert at a higher rate. Content creation in the form of blog articles is one of the most successful ways to generate a steady stream of qualified leads as part of your overall inbound marketing strategy.
It’s a great way to:
- Share content
- Create brand awareness
- Establish your brand’s thought leadership and authority
- Teach potential customers about your products and services
Generating your own content calendar and creating a blog may seem daunting. Still, the effort is worthwhile when you consider the potential payoffs in lead engagement, organic traffic, and possible conversions. HubSpot surveyed consumers to discover whether people had ever made a purchase based on a company’s blog content. Of the 300 interviewed, over 56% claimed they had made a purchase based on the content of a blog.
Blog content can also include other digital strategies, like video marketing and podcasting, which can significantly enhance your existing blog articles and positively impact your SEO scores and overall ranking. Including video on blogs and landing pages can increase conversion by as much as 86% because video can communicate ideas quickly in a way that can’t be accomplished by written text alone.
Brands that engage in blog content marketing:
- Generate up to 55% more organic traffic
- Enjoy 1300% higher Returns on Investment than brands that don’t blog
- Attract 67% higher leads
Blogs allow readers to engage with the subject matter at a deeper level, helping them become more familiar with your brand. It also creates the perfect conversion environment because you can link to landing pages with special offers, bonuses, and deals while the reader is already deeply engaged with your material.
Building Trust Through Editorial Content
It can take 8-10 points of contact with a brand before a potential customer feels comfortable enough to commit to a purchase or contract. The beauty of email marketing and blogs is that they help create those touchpoints while educating and informing the reader. It has been proven repeatedly that people respond to what looks like traditional editorial content, such as magazine and newspaper articles. This is part of what makes blogging such an effective tool for earning trust.
Think of blogs as a form of “advertising in disguise.” The reader is learning while you are earning their trust and respect. You are selling the customer by solving pain points, demonstrating your product’s or service’s benefits and features, and establishing trust. If your message resonates with the reader, they will be more likely to convert.
Top 5 Best Practices for Ag Business Blogging
There are no strict rules around blogging, but here are some top best practices.
Use Eye-Catching Images: We are visual creatures, and we make decisions visually first, so use high-quality, unique images to attract readers to your content. Pictures also help tell the story, so don’t skimp on the visual aspect of your blogs. Break up large blocks of text with compelling images to move the readers along the page.
Organize Your Content: You want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to engage with your content. Be sure to make your blog titles and categories easy to understand. Utilize a blog card layout so readers can perform a quick scan when selecting content. A typical card layout includes an image, the blog title, author, date, category, share links, and a brief meta description, followed by a READ MORE button. Every blog should have a featured article, a supporting card layout beneath search tool so users can look for specific topics.
Use Short, Clear Headings, and Subheadings: Every 300 words or so, be sure to break up long chunks of text with H2’s to allow the reader to skim and understand the topic each section contains. Also, use font styles that are easy to read, large enough, and make the text appear clean and well-organized.
Employ an Internal and External Linking Strategy: One of the best ways to foster engagement and boost your SEO score is with an internal linking strategy. Link key phrases in your text to pertinent blog articles, landing pages, service pages, and special offers on your website. Also, include links to supporting articles from external sources. Be sure to mark these in your CMS to “Open in a New Page” so you aren’t taking readers away from your site altogether.
Create Compelling Calls to Action (CTAs): While you have a willing, captive audience, be sure to “ask for the sale.” This is easy to do by placing calls to action within the body of your article in several key places—top, middle, and bottom of the page.
Your blog is essential to your inbound marketing and content marketing strategy. Don’t miss out on all the benefits that generating original content can create for your Ag business.
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