How I Generated 200 extra free leads a month with Content Marketing

Friday 24 April 2017 14.15

The Story

During my time at Australia’s biggest crowdfunding platform,, I was exposed to new and innovative marketing concept on an almost daily basis. I was in the perfect position to watch and learn from the community. I could see what people were doing to garner support for their crowdfunding campaign, and also see the analytics behind it. This position was integral to the role. I served as a 2 way street for information. I would learn from the campaigners in our community, then simply reiterate that same information back to other campaigners. I’d watch with a careful eye, then when something sparked my interest i’d reach out to a campaign and learn as much as I could.

One morning during my morning ritual coffee I was scrolling the trending campaigns. I noticed a campaign i’d only approved to go live the afternoon before. It was already successful. They’d exceeded their $10k target in less than 12 hours.. So I had to pick up the phone and learn more from these guys.

This is when I first met Dan. At the time of writing this blog post, Dan is the marketing manager for Black Hops. Black Hops is a craft brewery based out of the Gold Coast, Australia After a short email exchange and a phone conversation I learned about how Dan leveraged Content Marketing to gain crazy support for his campaign. Then I learned about the free online courses that Dan put together himself - he was probably the most knowledgable content marketer in Australia at the time. So I went ahead and learnt all I could from Dan and his online courses called Content Machine.

This lead me to create a new resource that generated 200 free leads per month. Even as you read this, it’s ticking away generating business. It was a game changing realisation.

As mentioned above, I was a 2 way information street. I would learn and re-iterate that new knowledge to the community of crowdfunding campaigners. So far i’d collate everything I learned and email it to campaigners as a PDF. We called this PDF “The Crowdfunding Handbook”. It’s purpose was to give crowdfunders everything they needed to be successful. It had tips and advice for every aspect of every stage of campaigning. There was one problem though. It was a PDF.

Although PDFs can be crawled by Google, it still prefers indexing websites.

Below are the steps I took to generate loads of free leads for Step by step I’ll walk you through how I converted our crappy PDF to a keyword rich resource centre. I designed it to be easy to stumble across, while also generating loads of value and in turn good-will. The perfect beginning to a good customer journey. Not only could we find and bring value to more people, we also were empowered to use a whole bunch of data and re-marketing tools that we couldn’t in the PDF.

Define the key milestones

The first step was to brainstorm and empathise with campaigners. If you’re familiar with design thinking this is a great time to do an empathy map. What I did was try to break the entire process of running a crowdfunding campaign into small chunks. Each chunk would represent how a user is feeling, and what their needs are. So I broke the process into the following steps;

  1. I’m excited about my idea - what is crowdfunding?
  2. I’m curious about crowdfunding - is crowdfunding the right fundraising method?
  3. I’m excited to run a crowdfunding campaign - how do I make a compelling campaign?
  4. I’m worried I won’t reach my target - how do I garner support for my campaign?
  5. I’m excited to launch my campaign - How do I get my campaign off to a good start?
  6. I’m thrilled at the support - how do I benefit most from the early rush?
  7. I’m sad I may not reach my target - how do I maintain traction?
  8. I’m nervous i’ll just miss out - how do I benefit most from the final rush?
  9. I’m tired from campaigning - how do I ensure a smooth post-campaign wrap up?

Now I created a spreadsheet with a new tab for each one of these stages, which would in-turn become its a webpage.. The goal being to create a single page, that answers a single question perfectly. Doing this well will convert traffic like crazy. So the following steps should be repeated for each stage / tab above.

Keyword Analysis

The next stage is to populate the ‘competition’ column of your spreadsheet. This is mostly qualitative, and this is going to take a bit of intuition and thought.

I opened an incognito browser window (just in case) then set google to the location of target audience. Next I searched the terms from the highlighted ones above, one by one. Checking for a few things;

  • Keyword Presence; Are the keywords found in the URL of the site? What about the title of the search? and description? Are they exactly matching?
  • Do the websites listed fill the intentions of the search?
  • Are the websites well know? Are they reputable? Do they have a lot of traffic and/or backlinks? (use Alexa to find traffic counts).

Best case scenario is;

  • There’s not many sites with the exact keywords.
  • The sites aren’t providing content relevant to the intentions of those terms.
  • The sites that rank are small and don’t receive much traffic.

Most of the time you won’t find terms that suit all these cases, but 2 out of 3 is pretty good! Now based off these results I populated the “competition” column. I used low, medium and high. It’s up to you how you grade these, but try to make objective decisions to ensure a robust ranking system.

Now all the data was in my spreadsheet , which made it easier to define which keywords to target, and in turn populate the “target” column. The goal was to weigh up search volume vs competition. Going for high volume keywords with high competition might not be the best strategy. This process can be almost counter-intuitive. Maybe going for a low volume and low competition keyword will get more valuable traffic. Best case scenario, is keywords are low in competition, and high in search volume. Sometimes I use a matrix to help me decide, here’s an example;

What I learned from this process

First of all, after this analysis I decided to make the parent folder path of the entire resource centre This way every page ranks well for the very broad and high volume query “crowdfunding tips”. The other thing is that may learn that there’s not a need for your content, or that you’re looking at it in the wrong way. This is invaluable information. Often I’ve intended to make a page with content, and after analysis decided to split the content across two pages, planning keywords for both.

In this case, I learned there was huge demand for example and sample campaigns. Both in terms of layouts, and in terms of success stories.

The second thing I found was the demand for advice on making a pitch video for a campaign.

These two topics I would have covered far too briefly if I never did this analysis. So with this information I created extra pages in the resource centre which covered these exact topics.

Keyword Planning

Now it’s time to decide on keyword placement within for each page. The analysis above helped me decide which search terms to focus on. The idea is that I can incorporate these focus search terms into my pages in a very user friendly way that’s as close to the original term as possible, but still easily readable for people.

In each tab I would fill in the following, which with my graphic you can learn how it correlates to a google search.

When It comes to filling in the title and description tags there’s a bit to consider. Given the terms show up on google searches for people to read you can’t just write these with bots in mind. You want to use emotive language that people connect with. You’ll be competing not only for real estate in google, but you’ll be competing on a purely text based level. So the copy needs to read well and excite people. It’s a balance you’ll need to find, trying to include the keywords as close as possible in the same order they’re seen in the search. Don’t stress too much if the order of the words changes.

Ideally your title will be below a certain pixel width. If your title is too long Google will truncate it. So to separate the content use “&” instead of “and”, also use the narrow divider “|” to break the title into sections. Also use a Title tag tool, Moz has a great one. It’s not a bad idea to use a headline analyser tool either. I like the one over at CoSchedule

For the description try to implement simple and good copywriting. Keep it to a length of 50–160 characters according to Moz.

The End Result

By the time I was finished, I had a full keyword strategy to guide the content I was creating.

Consider The Page You're creating

Don’t forget that the page itself needs to make sense for a user who clicked directly through from Google without seeing any other prior pages. So don’t start halfway through a topic, treat each page like it’s The first a user sees.

Don’t forget you also need to link internally to these pages, and even define them in your sitemap.xml. If google never finds the pages then they can never index them..

Continuous Improvement

Website are never finished, you constantly collect data, constantly run test and constantly make improvements. This is true for basically every aspect of a website. It’s wise to implement Google Search Console on your site, audit any new pages with Lighthouse and also use 3rd party tools like SEM Rush.

Another way to assess how well you defined the intentions behind keywords is to measure the organic Google traffic you acquired. Keeping a close eye on the average time per page and bounce rates. If people leave quickly then you’ve not matched the intention to the content you’ve created properly. So experiment with shifting your keywords or page content.

Here’s the results of my page, 6 months after I launched the resource centre. Ticking away, generating leads and building audiences with our Facebook pixel that we could re-market to later on.

If you’re actually running a campaign check out a guest blog post I did over on one of Dan’s most successful blogs, WP Curve, I outlines a whole bunch of tips with real life examples you can follow.