content marketing and lead gen

We’ve long preached the gospel of engaging content as an effective lead generation tool—and it seems B2B marketers agree! A study from Holger Shulze shows that B2B marketers not only use content as a lead generation toolthey prioritize lead gen as one of their top content marketing goals.

According to Holger’s 2012 data, a growing number of B2B marketers use content marketing for brand-based goals like lead generation, thought leadership and brand awareness.

b2b content marketing goals

And as you can see from the chart, more B2B marketers are focused on lead generation as compared to 2011—and we’d expect the numbers to rise again in 2013.

Take a look at results from a study by BtoB Magazine that echo Holger’s findings. Lead generation is at the top of content marketing objectives (by a fairly significant margin), followed by goals like brand awareness, thought leadership and sales.

content marketing objectives

Of course, the key to effective lead generation is a strategic, thoughtful content marketing strategy that’s focused on creating engaging, compelling content. Simply publishing a sporadic blog post isn’t going to cut it. Instead, it’s important to view your content as an extension of your sales and marketing efforts—after all, that’s exactly what it is. Business development. That’s sales, that’s marketing and, most importantly, that’s the path to leads and revenue. And you do that by focusing on your customers. You write content that helps them. You understand their pain points and you write about them. You understand how you can help solve their problems, and you write about those solutions.

Another critical tip? Don’t keep your content solely focused on you. That’s one of the biggest mistakes we see when brands go down the content marketing path—and a dose of why you’re so great on a regular basis is guaranteed to get a reaction from your customers and prospects. They’ll tune you out faster than a teenage kid tunes out a parent.

Instead, offer a mix of company-specific and industry information. By defining yourself as a go-to resource in your industry, you’ll help build your brand awareness. And the wider your digital reach, the more prospective customers you can target—and that’s an effective way to boost your bottom line.

B2B marketers, I’d love for you to weigh in. Is lead gen at the top of your content marketing goal list? And if not, do you expect that to change in the coming months?

Image: Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc