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So, you’re creating great content for your prospects and clients, now it’s time to use that content to generate leads. Your blog is rockin’! You might even be producing e-books, ideabooks, guides and more. There are several ways you can effectively leverage that content to drive more site visitors, capture contact information for those prospects, entice visitors to share your content with their networks and, ultimately, convert them into clients. Remember: It’s important to track your leads closely to see what content (as well as other lead generation efforts) are producing the most qualified leads. Use our lead tracking worksheet to be sure you’re capturing the right data.

gated content e-book

A great example of a high-quality piece of content.

Marketing Content Value

First things first. Let talk a bit about the value of content. Blog posts are highly engaging and informative content — as they should be. However, this is content we consider “free.” Anyone can visit your blog and read all the inspirational and educational wisdom you’ve shared and continue to share. However, some content is considered more valuable. Read: worthy of the prospect giving you contact information in order to get your content. This is what we call “gated” content.

This high-value content can be e-books that might be a fresh compilation of blog posts on a similar topic. Or possibly a guidebook that walks a prospect through all of the decisions that go into a kitchen remodel. Maybe you want to offer prospects a guide to different design styles to help them narrow their focus as they consider an upcoming project in relation to their home’s style. You want this content to be fairly evergreen and not “trendy” content that will be obsolete in a month (more on this later). These are sought-after and valuable pieces of content that you should not just give away for free.

Creating a Content Landing Page

OK. Now that we know what we’re working with … how do we make the most of it? First, make sure the content is spectacular. Consider hiring a copy editor to polish your prose and a graphic designer to ensure the content looks amazing and is consistent with your brand.

Now you’re ready to put it on your site and share it with the world. You don’t want to just upload it to any old web page. You need to create a dedicated landing page where your site visitor will go to get access to one particular piece of content. It’s important that the page is constructed with the sole purpose of getting that prospect to fill out the form so you capture their contact information and can market to them directly.

The anatomy of a good landing page is different than that of a regular web page. Typically, when you create a new page, it has the normal header and footer information as all other pages. It includes site navigation and possibly an e-news sign-up in the footer or contact information. A landing page should not include any of this information that might distract the prospect or allow them to easily navigate away from your offer. If you’re not sure how to do this yourself, your web developer can create a landing page template for you.

gated content landing page

This landing page includes enticing, descriptive copy, an image of the content and a form to capture contact information. Removing the navigation on the left side could make it even more effective.

 

Crafting a Page Title and Meta Description

Next up is the page header or title. Just like any other page, this is what will show up in bright blue in search results. The page title needs to clearly state what you are offering an entice your prospects to click the link. It should be short and include important keywords. For instance:

Free Ebook: Kitchen Design Tips for Results You’ll Love
Download Now: Eliminate Kitchen Clutter in 10 Easy Steps
Free Guide: Design Your Own Master Bath Retreat

You get the idea. Keywords + enticing offer = downloads.

Next, you need to be sure your meta description is equally as enticing. You only have about 160 characters to tell people about the exciting content they are about to receive. Use them wisely. If the page title and meta description are not enticing, they will keep searching. The meta description should include keywords your prospects will be searching when they are looking for just this type of helpful content.

gated content meta description

The blue text is your page title, and the green text is the meta description. Google automatically bolds the words in your description that match the search terms your prospect typed into the search bar.

Create Enticing Landing Page Text

What copy needs to go on the page? Again, you need compelling text that explains the benefits of the content and why they should give you their contact information in exchange for the download. Bullet points are a great way to list the benefits in an easy-to-read manner. You don’t need a lot of text on the page, but it needs to do some heavy lifting. You are trying to get the visitor’s email address, after all, which is valuable.

Once you’ve crafted your enticing page copy that outlines the benefits of your content, you must have a form for the prospect to fill out which will give them access to the download. When considering the information you’d like to get from the prospect — name, email address, phone number, etc. — you need to consider the value of the content they will receive as well and where in the buying cycle the prospect will be to want that type of content. People who are farther down the funnel are looking for higher-value content. This is a great way to begin to prioritize your leads, by the way.

Capture The Lead Info!

For every piece of gated content, you must get an email address. You might also want to capture a first name as the minimum contact information. However, if you’re content is higher up on the value scale, you might ask for first name, last name, email and a brief description of the project they are considering. Of course, you can decide which fields are mandatory and offer the opportunity for them to share additional information if they are so inclined. When you start asking for email addresses online, you may need to create a privacy policy to reassure your prospects that you will never sell their information, etc. It can be as simple as adding a line of text that simply says, “We value your privacy and would never sell your information,” or something similar. It’s just important to let them know you respect their privacy.

Finally, the last piece of the form is the call-to-action button. Make it big. Make it bold. Keep the language simple: Download Now, Get Your Guide, Start Designing.

Once your prospect fills out the form, they should be directed to a page where they can download the document. You might choose to send the document via email to ensure you received a good email address in exchange for the content. However, if the person isn’t willing to give a real email address, they probably aren’t serious about your services anyway.

Be sure to include your social sharing buttons here and ask the prospect directly to share the content. You want prospects to be able to share your content with their circles creating greater reach for you. Use the social channels that work best for your business — where you find your best prospects. Also, add another bold CTA button here. Catch them while they are already engaged. Ask them to like your Facebook page. If you have other relevant gated content, direct them to the landing page for that content. The sky is the limit with a thoughtful content marketing plan.

Don’t stop there. Be sure to follow up with your prospect via email (or phone if you get that information) right away. They gave you their contact information for a reason — use it. All prospects seeking information have a problem they are trying to solve. Help them, and help them quickly, and you can convert them to a client. However, if they don’t bite right away, don’t just abandon them. This is the perfect time to begin an automated marketing campaign. To learn more about automated marketing, read this blog post.

Promote Your Content

Whew! That was a lot. But we’re not done yet. You don’t want to stop putting your page up and hoping people stumble on it in searches. You need to actively promote this great content on your social channels. Be sure your posts include enticing text and a beautiful image (often of the cover of the e-book). Consider paid advertising for your content on your most important social channels. And encourage sharing.

As mentioned earlier, you want this content to be evergreen so you can use it for lead capture for quite a while to come. That being said, styles do change, so be sure to revisit your content and give it a refresh when needed. Even if the content is still timely, you might consider changing the cover or image used in promoting the document to catch a new viewer’s eye. Be sure to monitor closely the results you are receiving from your content such as downloads and conversions.

If you feel the content is out-of-date, has served its purpose or is not performing well, retire it and launch something new. Your benefit from gated content grows with the more content you offer on a variety of topics. So, keep up the good work, and you’ll reap the benefits.

Need help creating and maintaining your content marketing strategy? We can help. Fill out the form below, and we will contact you right away.

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