I want to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 6 years working in the area of content marketing and lead generation.  I’ve learned what I know through nothing other than the school of hard knocks.  Lot’s of money, even more time, and even more sweat have been invested into the efforts of trying to figure out what works – what actually generates leads and conversions on the web – when it comes to content.  The thing is, the saying that content is king is just as true today as it was nearly 15 years ago when Google guys were at Stanford figuring out their algorithm that would ultimately become what we know today as Google.

So if content is king, then search must be the kingdom.  And this means, when it comes to reaching new customers, new prospects, new contacts, and new connections, then search engine exposure through the use of content is the obvious choice.  It only makes sense right?  If search engines such as Google are the most obvious way to reach new leads and make new connections, then it goes without saying that content is the medium for making those connections.

Content allows you to simply “show up” to the party and connect with the same people the big boys are connecting with.  It really doesn’t matter what your biggest competitor is doing, or how much they are spending on traditional advertising.  If you produce unique, valuable content that actually provides value to the reader, and if your content is built around the theme and topic of your business model, then I venture to say that sooner or later your business will be at the top of the market, and everyone will be looking up at you wondering how you got there.  It’s all about the content.

The Golden Path To Content Marketing & Lead Generation

Like I said, over the past 6 years I’ve developed a theory on content marketing and search optimization that has been tested over and over again, and each time proves to be successful.  The theory, or I should say strategy, is really quite simple, but requires consistent execution.

Here’s the three keys to the Golden Path to Content Marketing & Lead Generation

1.  A Title That Hooks The Reader

2.  Content That Keeps Readers Engaged

3.  A Call To Action At the End

And that’s it folks.  It’s as easy as that.  But you’d be surprised how rare it is indeed to see content marketing follow this path.  In fact, most content that businesses use these days don’t even have a hook in the title that attracts readers.  Folks, if your title does attract the reader, then nothing else will… trust me.

So let’s go through these three parts to the Golden Path to Content Marketing & Lead Generation.  This strategy can be used by any business, of any size – local, national, global – and of any market.  It can be used by service oriented businesses as well as products.  There is literally no limit to what this strategy can produce.  Best of all, any business can implement this right now.

1)  A Title That Hooks The Reader

The most powerful piece to any article, especially when it comes to the internet, is the title.  The title is what get you to buy up the latest National Enquirer or read the latest blog post on the celebrity gossip site.  The title is what initially attracted your interest in the first place to even click the link and visit the website, blog, or article.  Titles are what gets people throughout the world to spend billions of dollars a year on magazines.

Bottom line – the title matters.

The title is #1 in the Golden Path to Content Marketing & Lead Generation because all web traffic originates at the title of the article – it is, literally, the beginning of the path that a new visitor will take on your site.  Regardless of whether that readers stays, converts, or simply leaves your site, it all started with the title.

So what exactly is a title that hooks the reader?  Here’s some examples:

Non hook title:  Tourists Love To Visit The Golden Gate Bridge

Hook title:  Top 10 Features Tourists Love About The Golden Gate Bridge

Do you see the difference?  Which one (be honest) would you be more inclined to click and visit.

Posts that start with “Top 10 Features” or “Top 3 Strategies”, etc… are typically going to get more click thrus than articles that are sort of “run of the mill” type titles.

The other tried and true title is the list title.  If you can generate a list of “whatever” and use round numbers such as 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, etc… and then through in the “+” sign (for example, 20+ Ways…) then you are almost guaranteed traffic, page views, and conversions.

2)  Content That Keeps Readers Engaged

This is the easy part for you, the business owner who’s wanting to use content marketing to drive traffic and exposure to your business.  The last thing in the world you want to do is bore your readers.  A bored reader is a reader that is guaranteed to NOT convert in any way, shape, or form.

The best content is the kind that uses bullet points, sub headings and paragraphs – basically breaking up the content of your article to help readers skim through the content.  After all, most readers (web traffic in general) are skimmers, not “word by word” readers.

This all works in your favor though, because as you’ll see in the step 3, the ultimate goal is to generate a conversion.  Basically, you want to get your reader who came to your site initially because of your title, and then skimmed through the article of your post, to now take some sort of action at the end of your article… and we’ll call it a conversion.

3)  A Call To Action At The End

Now comes the moment of truth.  The point in time where your reader got hooked by reading your headline, skimmed through your article to see what you’re talking about, and how now come to the end of your article where this are decisions to be made.

Granted, these decisions will be made by your readers in a flash of a second, but decisions nonetheless.  When your reader hits the end of your article, most of the time (based on average users on the web) they are looking for a way to get out of the article.

And why is that something that happens most of the time?

Because, quite frankly, most writers don’t give their readers anything to do at the end of their articles.  I’ve learned, mostly through the optimization of Adsense, that the very end of any article is (most of the time) the most valuable place to present an ad.

But in cases where you are business who’s trying to generate new leads and new contacts, the end of the article is your best friend.  It’s a place where you can put things like an email subscribe form, a “Like” button to your Facebook fan page, Twitter profile, of your RSS feed.  But if you are looking to generate conversions off the content you are working hard to write, then you better put something down there at the end of your article.

Because if you don’t put anything at the end of your article, your reader isn’t going to have to make a choice and the natural (instinctive) thing to do will be to simply leave your site.

Now wouldn’t that be a shame?