How to generate leads through strategic content marketing

Lead generation is the holy grail of the business world. We all want it, but it’s dang hard to get if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to grow your business but your prospects are dwindling, you’re not alone. Almost 70% of businesses struggle with lead generation, with attracting quality leads voted the top content marketing challenge for businesses in Semrush’s State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report.

But it can be done, as you can see in any of the exceptional content marketing examples we’ve pulled together here..

Research shows that successful businesses know how to generate leads through content marketing. And we’re talking qualified leads.

What exactly is a qualified lead?

A qualified lead is a lead that’s generated from within your ideal audience.

“They have a problem of some kind, and the solution to the problem is exactly what you do. They’re already looking for someone or something that can help them and so when you come into their world, they’re more ready to engage,” says Sarah Spence, Founder and Strategic Director of Content Copywriting.

Because a qualified lead is already interested in finding a solution to a problem you can solve for them, they’re more likely to turn into a client or customer than someone outside of your target audience.

Get to know your audience really well

If you want to generate qualified leads, you need to know who your ideal audience is.

“Understanding your ideal audience goes way beyond knowing their demographics — where they live, how many children they have, their education level and so on,” says Sarah. “You need to really get into their mindset and put yourself in their shoes.

“You do this by conducting deep audience research so you can map who they are, as well as what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling and where they spend their time.”

Knowing your ideal audience on a deeper level will enable you to publish content that answers their questions in the places they will see it. And you’ll be doing it better than your competitors.

How to reach your audience — and convert them

Now that you know your audience to a T, it’s time to create a content marketing strategy that caters to their needs.

In your strategy, you’ll need to determine:

  • the heart of their problems
  • how they’re looking for a resolution
  • how you’ll provide a solution.

Here’s where keyword research and search engine optimisation (SEO) come in.

How is your audience using Google to answer a question? Find out what keywords they’re using and whether they’re specifically looking for something local, for example.

“Then you can build articles or website pages that directly answer those exact questions using keyword phrasing,” says Sarah. “That should help you move up the Google ranks and position your content as number one.”

This is how content marketing helps with SEO on your website.

Where else do they spend time?

Ranking high in search results is not the only piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Where does your audience go if they have a problem? Do they contact a friend on Facebook, or browse YouTube? Are they scrolling through LinkedIn while waiting for their coffee?

Knowing the best places to publish and share your content will help you gain qualified leads.

“And remember, if someone is searching for an answer to their problem on Google, they’re probably still thinking about it when they’re scrolling Instagram,” says Sarah.

So, what’s next?

Your execution plan needs structure if you want to see meaningful results. This is where a Pillar and Cluster Content Model or Waterfall Content Strategy can work wonders. 

What’s the Pillar and Cluster Content Model?

Clue: You’re reading an article that’s part of one right now.

The Pillar and Cluster Content Model is a content marketing strategy that we use here at Content Copywriting to generate leads for our clients. .

It provides a way to organise your site content into topic clusters that:

  • help people find the information they’re looking for easily
  • use internal linking to help your content rank better on Google.

First you create a pillar article that provides a comprehensive overview of a key topic (say, a service you provide). Then you’ll write a group of cluster articles where you investigate specific aspects of that topic. The pillar article links to each of the cluster articles, and each of the cluster articles link back to the pillar, and to each other. 

“The cluster articles focus on longer-tail, lower-volume keyword phrases that have less competition in the search results,” says Sarah. “So they are more likely to climb the ranks faster than the pillar article, which generally focuses on a shorter-tail, high-volume keyword phrase that has more competition.

“But because of the internal linking, the success of the smaller articles pulls the pillar article up through the ranks as well.”

All in all, this content model has been proven as an effective strategy for increasing positions in the search engine results pages which equals more traffic. The important part here is ensuring the keyword phrases you’re focusing the content on are relevant to, and searched by, your ideal audience. That’s where the magic happens when it comes to generating leads through content marketing. 

What’s a Waterfall Content Strategy?

According to LookBookHQ, almost 60% of marketers repurpose content up to five times.


Often your content may be sitting on the second or third page of Google, but most people won’t go past the first. Or you create a great blog but then struggle to get wider audiences to read it. 

A Waterfall Content Strategy allows you to generate significant volumes of content for all of your channels. Building on the Pillar and Cluster Strategy, it’s a way to make your content efforts work harder for your brand. 

“Write your blog post,” Sarah says, “and then, at the same time, create the graphics, the video and the e-newsletter – whatever assets you need to amplify the content across multiple channels. So even if your audience doesn’t find your content through Google, they’ll see it on Instagram, for example.”

It’s this strategic repurposing of content at the point of content production that underpins a Waterfall Content Strategy.

“From just one interview, you can create over 50 content amplification opportunities,” says Sarah.

The Waterfall Content Strategy approach saves you time, helps boost your positions in Google and gets your content out in front of your ideal audience across all your other channels. And, when the content is as good as we create, you can bet those leads start coming in thick and fast then too. No wonder this strategy is making a splash at Content Copywriting.

But does content marketing actually work?

Now that we’ve explored the Pillar and Cluster Content Model and Waterfall Content Strategy approaches, you may be wondering whether these content strategies, or content marketing strategies, are something you should be adopting. And, the answer is yes! You can read more here about how content marketers who use a documented content marketing strategy report higher levels of success than those who don’t.

What sets content marketing strategies, like these approaches, apart from other lead-generation strategies is that you’re giving your audience something valuable rather than asking for them to do something. These strategies outperform traditional marketing because they not only attract your ideal audience, they also build trust, which has been proven to lead to conversions.

And anyway, we know content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional methods. Need we say more?

5 top tips for ranking first in Google search

If your goal is to gain a competitive online advantage, here are some tried-and-true strategies for getting your business on top of the Google search results.

Step 1: Identify which keyword phrase you want to rank for

When putting together your content marketing strategy, determine which keyword phrase (or phrases) you want to rank for. These should be the phrases you know your ideal audience (where all those qualified leads are hiding) are searching for, and have a decent search volume behind them. 

Step 2: Check your website’s technical health

A healthy website is crucial for achieving conversions and increasing your organic search ranking. In a nutshell, you’ll need to regularly:

  • check for updates
  • assess your security
  • make backups
  • test site speed
  • publish new SEO content
  • fix broken links. 

Step 3: Strengthen your domain authority

Domain authority is an SEO metric that indicates the popularity of your website and impacts its chances of ranking competitively in Google. One of the best ways to surpass your competitors’ domain authority is through link building.

Step 4: Create content that is engaging and well-structured

Your content should be loved by Google but written for humans first. Make sure it engages your target audience immediately, uses SEO techniques and follows a logical structure.

Step 5: Engage an expert team

If you’re not sure how to climb the Google ranks, seek the help of a content marketing team that knows their stuff. You’ll be in good company: almost 90% of highly effective organisations have someone in charge of their content strategy.

We’ll get you the leads you need

A content marketing strategy that deeply defines your ideal audience and uses SEO techniques will help your business achieve sustainable long-term growth.

For more tips on taking your content marketing from crude to cracking, browse the Content Copywriting blog.

If you’re looking for a top-notch content marketing team who’ll help your business thrive, Content Copywriting is here to help.

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