Why content marketing leads are not what you think they are

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Ask anyone about one of the most important digital marketing tools out there and you are bound to get “content marketing” as the reply sooner or later. Of course, this is quite the no-brainer indeed. Pretty much anyone and everyone used it in some form or the other.

According to various studies out there, content marketing not only accounts for 28% of most B2B Marketing budgets, but a staggering 94% of businesses tend to use it as a valuable strategy. On the whole, let’s take a look at some of the factors that help in crafting a successful content marketing strategy:

Out of the 5 points, the 2nd one being “The generation of leads” is one of the most important. After all, better leads will inevitably lead to better traffic and sales to boot. Well, sometimes it really isn’t as simple and straightforward as all that.

Content Marketing: The disconnect between intent and result

One thing needs to be kept in mind – Just because everyone is employing the strategy of content marketing doesn’t automatically mean that they’re succeeding at it. Sure, it’s extremely popular and common, but that alone doesn’t entail that it will work out well eventually. This is a common misconception a lot of people tend to have. As far as figures are concerned, a meager 9% of businessmen consider the strategy of content marketing as effective as it can be.

In that regard, the writing is clearly on the wall – the process of content marketing is not even remotely working as well as it should be, considering the sheer number of marketers and businesses that employ the strategy on the whole. Why is that so? A myriad of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that the leads a company tends to generate don’t necessarily work out the way the company intended them to.

Content marketing is really not meant to get a lot of ROI in the way most people expect. This is simply because the process of lead generation is broken, or rather poorly understood.

How leads can be misleading

What is a lead really? Anyone or any customer that engages themselves with the particular aspect that you as a marketer use to generate a lead, like say a PDF or an article of yours that has grabbed the attention of a customer. Or even a catchy ebook for instance. Basically, someone who has the potential to become more meaningful to your service/product at hand. Of course, the emphasis is on “has the potential”. He/she hasn’t become fully invested in your service just as yet.

Now here’s the catch most of us fail to realize – just because someone seems to have taken a liking to that particular article or PDF of yours doesn’t in any way imply that they are either going to buy your product or be invested in your services for good.

When one talks about a ‘lead’, that lead may/may not be in the process of becoming more meaningful to your service. The assumption most people make is that the lead is invested from the get-go, which in a lot of cases couldn’t be further from the truth. Where exactly they are in the process of decision-making and what are their intentions is the key to understanding the true nature of content marketing leads.

For all you know, they may very well be downloading your PDF or ebook simply for reasons mainly to do with research rather than actively wanting to purchase your product. This tends to happen more often than most people would care to admit. Hence the fact that they simply downloaded your PDF doesn’t necessarily make them a lead.

The content itself

Also most importantly, if your content doesn’t offer any solutions to the problems your customers face with regard to your service/product, it is of little to no use. That is the key right there – solving the problems of your target market.

For that to happen, creating the right kind of content is equally imperative if one is to generate leads on a wide basis. Without that, how do you expect customers to hold any kind of faith and trust in you? And to make things worse – without relevant and solution-based content, you’ll be at the bottom of the totem pole as far as search engine rankings are concerned. That is a hard fact.

The main fact of the matter is that content at hand has to be interesting as well as having a call to action, not to mention basic readability. Well, the last point is pretty much a given in any case. A lack of any of the 3 aforementioned factors is some of the main reasons why a lot of content falls flat. Surely the 83% of marketers that employ the strategy of content marketing for the sole purpose of generating leads are aware of this. In this regard, a well written and concise blog is your answer.

The importance of subscription

When one focuses on building subscribers and following them up with certain offers such as ebooks, event invitations and other such similar offers, the probability of those subscribers converting into leads becomes ten times higher.

After all, a subscription is like a teaser, a prelude if you will, to the actual thing (i.e your product or service at hand). That way, you automatically pique the curiosity of the customers who have already shown a mild interest towards your brand leading them to the final step towards becoming a lead.


It would be extremely valuable for most marketers out there to note that in all probability, their expectations are simply sky-high regarding various facets of content marketing with most of them expecting an overnight success with their marketing strategy. Also placing too much faith on the gathering of leads is another aspect. This is undoubtedly the main reason why the marketing strategy of most services and companies out there end up being a flop.

There is no doubt that one needs to take carefully calculated and gradual steps as that is how a sound and successful strategy is built with a lot of trial and error along the way as well. After all, nothing miraculous happens overnight in any case. Make no mistake – looking at the bigger picture with regard to a successful content marketing strategy, success is as gradual as it gets. One certainly needs to take a carefully planned out long-term approach towards the potential success behind leads

Clearly patience is the key as well. Nowhere else is this more apparent than the fact that in most cases, consumers tend to go through a good 3-4 pieces of content before even thinking about getting on more intimate terms with a salesperson. Now that’s truly something to think about. In any case, we’re talking about a couple of months at the very least, if not a year. Ultimately the conversion of content into proper sales opportunities does take that long. 

In that case, categorizing your leads with reference to where your customers are on their journey towards investing themselves in your product will be a step in the right direction as that will give you a better overall picture of the current scenario as well as a more focused idea on where to go next.

Ultimately brands and businesses need to take into account the power of brand perceptions and how they can be changed for the better. That is the key. This is exactly where fresher and more interesting content comes into play. Since this is more short-term than the generation of leads, one will be able to gauge its probable success rate much more easily. And with a plethora of fresh ideas along with newer technology to boot, who knows what possibilities lie ahead?


Image by StartupStockPhotos

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About the Author

Vaibhav Kakkar
Vaibhav Kakkar is Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at RankWatch and NotifyFox, Software Solutions that help digital marketers perform better. Apart from helping businesses succeed online and writing about Internet Marketing, he spends time digging deep into the beautiful world of search engine algorithms. You can connect with him on LinkedIn: Vaibhav Kakkar
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Aniket Jaiswal
7 years ago

great article

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