Let’s talk about demand generation. Generating demand for products/services has always been an important part of marketing and sales. But the actual process of demand generation has changed significantly over the years. It is no longer dependent on one-way communication with the audience. The digital boom has made it possible to engage the audience in conversations, through various content marketing channels. The key is to know the right way to leverage content marketing to fuel demand generation. And this is exactly what we’re here to help you with. But before we get to the content marketing strategies, we’ll be covering the basics, starting with – what is content marketing.
Content Marketing Funnel: Explained
How to leverage content marketing to fuel demand generation?
- Engage the right audience with value-rich blogs
- Turn your research into infographics
- Leverage social media for demand generation
- Use lead magnets to generate demand
- Host more webinars
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a powerful strategy used by businesses to attract and retain customers by providing engaging, relevant, and valuable content that meets the interests and needs of their target audience. It is simply the process of making content work for your brand in a targeted and cohesive manner. Consider content marketing as an informational and emotional bridge between your brand and the consumer. It is usually a combination of curated, created, and syndicated content. This content could be anything, from blog posts, videos, photos, infographics, and more. The type of content you’d be creating would be dependent on what you’re selling. The purpose of this exercise is to educate the audience and build a positive perception of your brand in the eyes of the audience, which can help you get more leads and business.
According to a CMI (Content Marketing Institute) report, almost 70% of B2C marketers and 73% of B2B marketers are leveraging content marketing.
So, it’s clear that this is not just a marketing trend. If you want to see your business grow and succeed in the current market scenario, you need to invest in content marketing in some way or form. And don’t be fooled into thinking that having an online presence would be enough. To be found by your audience, you have to be relevant and engaging. And most important of all, you have to provide value to your audience.
As Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute puts it –
“Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one.”
TL;DR Here’s a video summarizing the article.
Why is content marketing important?
Content marketing can be beneficial for your brand or business for a number of reasons –
- Helps in educating your prospects and leads about your offerings (product/service).
- Allows you to demonstrate how your product/service solves a customer pain point or issue.
- Useful in building a relationship with your audience and customers, which fosters loyalty.
- Enjoy greater conversions through content marketing campaigns.
- Helps in building a community around your brand.
In summation, content marketing is important for attracting and engaging your target audience, building trust and credibility, generating leads, and increasing brand awareness. Unlike other forms of digital marketing (like paid campaigns and PR), it continues to drive brand awareness and traffic for your business for years to come. The return on investment (ROI) with content marketing is phenomenal.
But remember, you can’t publish a thin piece of content and call it content marketing. Publishing content just for the sake of it will not get you very far. For content marketing to actually show you the results, you have to pay close attention to your content creation process and come up with quality content. You need to purposefully tailor content according to the interest and needs of the audience. It’s also important to make sure that your product/service is included in a way that is more natural for the readers. How can you do that? By building a narrative around your product/service through product-led content marketing. Read our ClickUp content marketing case study and Marketo content marketing case study to see how leading brands have used this content marketing strategy to achieve growth.
Content Marketing Funnel: Explained
A content marketing funnel is a model that explains how businesses can use content to attract prospective customers at different stages of the buying journey. It can be incredibly useful for marketers looking to learn which type of content to focus on when building content marketing campaigns. Referring to this makes it easier to create a targeted content marketing campaign that’s more effective.
A content marketing funnel consists of the following three stages –
1. Discovery Stage
The first stage of the content marketing funnel is dedicated to prospects who are still looking for solutions to their problems and pain points. In the TOFU (top of the funnel) stage, the prospects are looking for content that is able to address their needs, problems, and pain points, providing possible solutions in the process.
The best type of content for the Discovery stage is one that helps in educating your prospects –
- Blog posts: Blog posts are excellent for educating your prospective consumers about your products and services, while also delivering real value to them in the form of actionable solutions.
- Email: Email content can be quite effective in keeping your prospects and customers engaged with your brand. But if you want to see results with this type of content, it is important to make it more educational and succinct, rather than salesy.
- Tutorial Videos: According to a Wyzowl report, people are watching over 19 hours of video content every week. Why? Because it is the easiest and quickest way for most people to digest information. And besides, some people are visual learners and prefer to go with videos rather than written text. So, video content provides you an opportunity to connect with prospects who might’ve skipped reading your blog.
2. Consideration Stage
The content at this stage is aimed at helping prospective customers choose which solution would be best for addressing their particular requirements. In the Consideration stage, the customers are more aware of what could help them address their issues. But they want to learn more about these solutions so that they can ultimately choose one that works best for them.
The best type of content for the Consideration stage is one that compares the possible solutions –
- Listicles and guides: Listicles are quite popular with readers as they provide the prospects with a range of solutions, along with the features, pros, cons, pricing, etc. With listicles, you have to be careful about how to place your product/service in the list, and show how your offering is better than the other. Guides are also excellent for educating the prospects further on a topic, and showing exactly why they should choose your product/service.
- Webinars: Webinars are excellent for drawing in more prospects and boosting brand awareness. After hosting a webinar, you can always record the event and upload them on your YouTube channel and website.
3. Purchase Stage
At this stage of the content marketing funnel, your prospects are ready to decide which solution they want to go with. The content for the Purchase stage should explain what the customer is set to gain from choosing your particular product/service.
Here is a look at the different types of content that can help your prospects in making a final choice –
- Case Study: These are possibly the most powerful piece of content you can publish on your website. They explain how other clients have achieved great results with the help of your product, which shows the prospects how they can be helped by your product too. A well-written case study can be just the thing that convinces a prospect to make the purchase.
- Product Demo Videos: Product demo videos are a powerful tool for content marketing because they can help potential customers better understand the benefits and features of a product, and ultimately, make a purchase decision. They can explain how users can get the most out of your product.
- Product reviews: Product reviews are essentially evaluations of a product. They can be in written or video form and are usually created by customers or industry experts. Product reviews can help potential customers make an informed decision, by explaining the benefits and drawbacks of a product/service.
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is content marketing, let’s take a look at the concept of demand generation.
What is demand generation?
Demand generation, or demand gen, is the latest buzzword dominating the digital marketing scene. It is concerned with creating interest and awareness in a product/service with the aim of driving sales. Businesses use it as a foolproof approach for attracting and engaging prospects and securing new leads in the process. If you can master the art of demand generation through various content marketing and sales strategies, you’ll be able to enjoy a predictable pipeline and create new growth opportunities for your business.
Many people tend to use demand generation and lead generation interchangeably. Although these two are closely related, they are not the same. The focus of demand-generation activities is on generating buzz and recognition, while lead-generation activities focus on creating more conversions from engaged audiences. So, the success of your lead generation depends a lot on your demand generation efforts.
How to leverage content marketing to fuel demand generation?
To fuel demand generation, you need to employ a combination of strategic content marketing and SEO tactics. Here are some ways you can do that –
1. Engage the right audience with value-rich blogs
Blogging is a crucial content marketing strategy for 92% of marketers. (Oberlo)
Blogging has emerged as one of the most popular and effective content marketing tools for businesses looking to grow their online visibility and attract qualified traffic. But the blogs that win at content marketing are those that are able to provide valuable content to readers. Here are some tips to build a value-rich blog –
a. Audience and keyword research
Before you start building your blog, you need to know your target audience and determine what type of blog content will resonate best with them. To develop a better understanding of your target audience’s demographics, behavior, and interests, you can conduct surveys or even use a tool like Google Analytics. With the insights gained from audience research, you can then create your audience persona that will guide your blog writing strategy.
While doing your audience research, you might have already found some keywords and phrases used extensively by your target audience. To refine your keyword research further, you can use a tool like Google Keyword Planner. The keyword ideas gained in this exercise can help you determine your blog topics.
b. Understand audience search intent
Whenever a user searches for any content on the web, they usually come with a specific goal or search intent in mind. To develop value-rich blogs, you need to understand this search intent, and then make sure that your content is well-optimized for it. Visualize your keywords and content formats on the basis of search intent. This will ensure that each blog post you share will be valuable to your audience.
c. Build a content plan
With the audience, topic, and preliminary keyword research done, you can now create a comprehensive content plan that will guide your content marketing efforts. An editorial content calendar like Narrato’s can be an excellent tool for organizing your entire content plan for a week, month, or even a quarter.
d. Build cornerstone content
Once you have your content plan in place, it’s time to create content. And not just any content. The goal here is to build cornerstone content – the foundational content that will help create brand awareness and build traffic. Good cornerstone content should possess the following qualities –
- Comprehensive: It should be well-researched and well-written, answering the most pressing concerns of your target audience.
- Easily scannable: There should be sufficient use of headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
- Search engine optimized: The primary keyword should feature in the title, meta description, first paragraph, image alt text, and headings/subheadings of the content. There should be a good sprinkling of secondary keywords throughout the content, without keyword stuffing.
- Authoritative: The content should be written by an expert who has in-depth knowledge of the topic. It should be well-researched and backed up by credible sources. It should contain practical advice and tips on a topic.
- It should contain visual elements (high-quality images/videos).
Narrato is an all-in-one AI content workspace that can make the whole content writing process a lot easier for you. It comes with some great tools, like –
- Powerful content editor with grammar and readability assistant, plagiarism checker
- SEO content brief generator: This tool helps you optimize your blog for SEO. When you enter your primary keyword into the tool, it generates a comprehensive SEO brief, complete with a list of secondary keywords, references, questions to include, target word count, and more. It also comes with an SEO score and a keyword count tracker.
- AI Writer: Narrato’s AI writing tool can make an excellent assistant for the blog writing process. It is especially useful when you find yourself dealing with a creative block. The AI blog writer can be used to generate blog post intro/conclusion, content outline, SEO meta description, and more. It also comes with a sentence expander, content improver, and a ‘Write for me’ option.
Besides these tools, Narrato also provides content writing services through its Content Writing Marketplace. With thousands of quality-vetted freelance writers, quick turnaround time, and a managed service option, the Narrato Marketplace can be an excellent option if you’re looking to outsource your blog content creation efforts.
2. Turn your research into infographics
Infographics can be excellent for capturing the audience’s attention and generating interest for your brand. Since they are visually engaging, they can help simplify complex information for your readers. And the great thing is that you can share them through various content marketing channels, like social media, emails, landing pages, and even blog posts.
If you’re looking to leverage infographics for demand gen, here are a few tips –
a. Maintain consistency in your design
Infographics need to be easy to read, so it is important to use a simple and consistent layout and design throughout. Make sure that you don’t change the typography and color palette. Focus on creating a cohesive look and feel.
b. Keep the language simple
Since the purpose of infographics is to simplify complex information, using simple and concise language is very important. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of data points you add, as a crowded infographic can overwhelm the reader.
c. Add engaging visual elements
You can add a variety of visual elements to your infographics, from charts and graphs to icons and images. Choose relevant and engaging visual elements that can help communicate the information in an interesting way. But make sure they are easy to understand.
d. Optimize the infographic for sharing
To make your infographic shareable, ensure that you’re using a high-resolution image format. It’s also a good idea to create different versions of the infographic file to allow sharing on different platforms. And lastly, don’t forget to include the social sharing buttons.
There are some great tools, like Canva and Visme, that make it easier to create infographics. Here is an example of an infographic we created using Canva. It summarizes the main points of this blog post – What Is ChatGPT? Everything You Need to Know About It.
3. Leverage social media for demand generation
To generate demand in the competitive environment of today, businesses have to first establish brand authority. And social media can help with that. What sets social media apart from other demand-generating content channels is that it gives users a chance to voice their opinion. This means that you can hold discussions with your audience, which in turn boosts your posts organically, allowing you to reach out to a wider audience.
Here are some tips for leveraging social media for demand generation
a. Understand your target audience
Understanding your target audience makes it easier to create social media content that resonates with them. Find out who are your ideal customers. Which social media platforms are they most active on? What kind of content engages them?
b. Humanize your brand
If you want your audience to have a deeper connection with your brand, you have to look for ways to humanize your brand. How can you do that? Well, one way is to tell stories through your social media content. You can rope in a team member for the purpose. This will not only lend a face to the brand, but prospects would be able to relate more with an individual. You can also share relatable content like memes to engage your audience. Here is an example of relatable meme content created by Narrato.
c. Leverage long-lasting social media content
Ephemeral, clickbait-y content like stories might be effective in piquing your audience’s interest, but only for a short while. So, it is not the most useful type of social media content to generate demand. This is why many brands are moving towards long-lasting social media content, like that found on LinkedIn. In fact, a HubSpot report has found that almost 44% of marketers are planning to create more of this long-lasting, permanent content for social media. If you want to make the most of this trend, you can try creating inspirational, long-form posts to post on LinkedIn. You can also repurpose some of your well-performing blog posts for the purpose.
4. Use lead magnets to generate demand
You might already be creating lead magnets, like white papers, guides, ebooks, presentations, templates, and toolkits as part of your content marketing strategy. But did you know that these can be excellent tools for demand generation? Lead magnets are great for building a relationship with prospective customers and they also lend credibility to your brand. The key is to create them using SEO best practices so that they can reach a wider audience.
Since most lead magnets are in PDF format, if you want Google to crawl, index, and rank these pages, you have to employ some unique SEO strategies. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you with those.
a. Create a landing page that inspires confidence in the visitor
To create a good landing page for your lead magnets, make sure that the headline of the landing page is relevant to both the reader and the contents of the lead magnet. As for the main content, it has to be engaging, scannable and keyword-optimized. It’s also a good idea to include an image of the first page of the ebook or white paper.
b. Choose a keyword-optimized file name for the lead magnet
Don’t forget to include the main keywords in the lead magnet file name. Here are a few other pointers regarding the file name –
- Use lowercase, and keep the file name under 60 characters
- Try to match the PDF title to the URL
- Avoid words like the, but, of and hashes.
- Use hyphens and underscores to separate words
c. Don’t forget internal linking
It’s good practice to include links to other content on your website, allowing visitors to easily navigate to relevant pages for additional information. This is also a great way to give prospects a chance to interact with your brand.
d. Break content into headings and subheadings
Whitepapers and ebooks often contain a lot of information. Breaking it down into headings (H1) and subheadings (H2 and H3) will make it more scannable for both the search engines and the readers.
e. Optimize your lead magnet for speed
Since page speed is an important Google ranking factor, make sure that your lead magnet is optimized. You can do this by –
- Using basic fonts like Courier, Helvetica, and Times
- Compressing image file sizes
- Enabling ‘Fast Web View’
5. Host more webinars
Webinars can effective tools for demand generation. As a middle-of-the-funnel content marketing tactic, webinars help in educating the audience about the problems your business solves. They also give you a chance to interact with your prospects one-on-one. As your audience becomes more familiar and comfortable with your business, they’re more likely to transition from passive visitors to customers.
Not sure how to host your first webinar? Here are few tips that you might find useful –
a. Planning is everything
Get your whole team together to brainstorm on the webinar topic, schedule, promotion plan, etc. Ensure that everyone is clear about their role and responsibility for the webinar. It’s also a good idea to create a checklist of things to ensure that your preparation for the webinar stays on track.
b. Ensure consistency with promotional content
When deciding on a promotion strategy, make sure that it is relevant to your target audience. It should also be compelling enough to stop them to take action. And most important of all, ensure consistency with your promotional content, whether it’s on your website, ads, email content, or anywhere else. This way, the audience would be able to make a connection between the promotions on different channels.
c. Offer valuable content
When prospects tune in for the webinar, you have to make sure that the content you’re providing is actually valuable for them. Instead of focusing on pitching your product/service, try to take this opportunity to show how you can solve their pain points and problems.
Content marketing can be a powerful tool to drive demand generation for your business, and the various content marketing strategies given in this article will hopefully give you some idea about how to get started. The key is to create high-quality content that is valuable and relevant to your target audience. Whether you’re creating blog posts, infographics, social media posts, or other types of content, it’s important to keep the requirement and needs of your target audience in mind. So, start creating great content today and see the impact it can have on your demand-generation efforts.