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10 Ways to Turn Your Blog into a Lead-Generating Machine

September 8, 2011

As the owner of an advertising agency I meet with business owners on a daily basis who are looking to grow their online presence organically (unpaid). Every business owner wants to be more visible and “findable” via Google, Yahoo, etc. One of the ways I tell entrepreneurs to increase their visibility in the digital world is by blogging. I usually share some tips that I’ve found to be successful for my clients and for my business. I stumbled across a great article on today that gives a prescription for 10 steps to successfully turn your blog into a lead-generation machine. So I thought I’d summarize them for you. If you have suggestions to add I’d love to hear from you! We can always use creative ways to help our businesses grow and become more successful, right?!

1. Make your blog an extension of your main website. “A visitor’s first experience with your company might be through a blog page. He or she might never land on your main site’s homepage, so link your blog visually (mirroring the navigation and design of your main site) as well as technically. Maintain the blog as a subdomain of your main domain (something like versus putting it on a separate domain entirely. Blogging on the same domain that hosts your company site ensures that all inbound links to blog pages also juice up the search mojo of your main site.”

2. Solve or share, don’t “sell”. We’ve all read company blogs that sound more like a regurgitated press release than an engaging conversation. Blogs are meant to share ideas, wisdom and to spark a dialogue with potential customers and existing clients. They aren’t a platform for you to shout marketing-speak at readers.

“How can you determine what to write about? Use inquires or “Frequently Asked Questions” as fuel for blog posts. Ask your frontline folks: What problems do our customers ask about? What advice do they need? What problems do our products or services solve? Also, check your search logs: See what keywords people use when they land on your site to get a sense of what problems they have and what words they use to describe them.”

3. Show up. Blogging is as much about content as it is about consistency. If you only update your blog once every 2 months you’ll lose people’s interests. You want to make sure you provide current, relevant info for your followers. I’ve been guilty of not making my blog a priority the past couple weeks. With fall upon us my clients have been in the process of budgeting for 2012 so I’ve been knee-deep in work which has sidetracked me from taking the time to update my blog on a regular basis. This article suggests hiring a staff writer or a freelancer to help you maintain fresh content when you’re too busy to update your blog on your own. I think that is a fantastic suggestion! In the past I’ve had my interns help me with blog ideas. I’ve also made myself an editorial calendar to help me stay on track.

4. Avoid War and Peace posts. “The best blog posts are punchy and concise, focusing on a single idea. Think short paragraphs or bullet points. And don’t bury the important information. Open with a declarative sentence that sets up the key idea. Framing blog posts this way not only respects your reader’s busy schedule, but also helps address the anxiety a lot of us feel about writing. A blog post can also be a graphic, image, video or even an embedded PowerPoint presentation.”

5. Pen a killer headline. Every time you post a new blog entry you are creating a new “page” on your site. Every new page is an opportunity for search engines to pick up your content which may in turn usher potential customers your way. Your blog post title becomes your web page title, so titles matter! “An intriguing headline, or title, is also critical to attracting actual humans to read your post. The title of an article is not merely a promise to the reader (an idea of what’s in store), it’s also the pitchman for the entire post: It entices people to either click or … not.”

6. Link to other resources. Use every blog post as an opportunity to build internal links within your site. If you reference an idea that you’ve blogged about in the past make sure to insert a link to the past entry. Use keywords and phrases in your blog posts that you believe potential customers may be searching online. Don’t insert random jargon that sounds awkward…but do be mindful of the terms you use when you’re typing your posts.

7. Embed companion calls to action. “In addition to linking within the post itself, remember the real estate around the post. There are a few areas prime for calls to action on any blog page, including the “leaderboard” spot at the top of your blog, the sidebar on either side of the post and the often-ignored space immediately following a blog post.

The first two spots are great for banners or buttons. But the space under the post is key: Assuming readers get through the entire post, they should always be given an opportunity to learn more with either a companion offer or related piece of content. (Hint: This is also a good place from which to link to landing pages that require e-mail registration.)”

8. Offer subscription services. Make it easy for readers to continue following your blog by making an RSS feed visible and easy to subscribe to. An RSS feed will update followers every time you update your blog, which is a great tool to help you stay top of mind.

9. Trick out with social bling. “The more traffic you attract, the more opportunities you’ll have for generating leads. So be sure to outfit your blog with social-sharing icons, particularly the big three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Doing so subtly encourages your visitors to share your content and allows you to reach your network’s network, which is a key attribute of social media. Of course, this assumes that you are actively participating in social media, i.e., engaging in conversation, and not just broadcasting headlines.”

10. Remember one final thing. A blog is fundamentally an opportunity to connect with potential and exisiting customers. Use every avenue you have available to you to promote your blog. Share a link in your email blasts, talk it up in your marketing materials and when chatting with clients. A blog isn’t magic, you have to actively manage conversations and infuse enthusiastic insights pertinent to your industry.


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