30 second summary:

  • Most content marketers focus on blog posting and guest posting to improve SEO rankings. This approach overlooks the value of insightful content as a sales resource, especially for B2B companies.
  • What type of content is best for prospecting? Examples of content and an overview of creating your contact list.
  • An overview of two campaigns in which blog content was used to generate leads for an SEO agency. The overview contains email templates and campaign results.
  • How to review and optimize your content marketing campaigns to generate more leads for your company.

Significant business resources are invested in creating content that will never be worked with, guest posting that will never be read, and sharing content that will never be seen. It’s a reality that most of us ignore because we’re fixated on inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is effective, but not without its problems:

  1. Most of the visitors engaged in your content will never return. There is general agreement that anywhere in the region, anywhere from 2% to 6% of first-time visitors return to a website.
  2. You have little control over who visits you, and most of the visitors don’t match your customer personality profile (you will do very well if you convert even 0.3% of website visitors to customers).
  3. There are only so many spaces on Google’s homepage. In all fairness, most of us will struggle and fail to achieve our goal desired SERP ranking.

Outbound marketing bypasses two of these three problems.

When you compile a list of companies that fit your target audience and then send emails to the relevant people in that company, you gain some degree of control over who is consuming your content. Where you sit in the search rankings does not affect the outcome of your campaign.

While most sales teams use outbound marketing, few companies coordinate their content marketing efforts with outbound sales initiatives.

I believe this is an oversight. I’ve gained several new clients for my agency over the past three months by coordinating my sales and content marketing efforts.

This guide will share an approach that I believe can help all businesses, but especially small and medium-sized businesses in the B2B space, attract new customers. It’s a strategy that relies on creating a small amount of really great content and then actively promoting that content to the right people. Let’s dive in.

1. Take into account your client’s goals

Ideally, your outbound marketing strategy should fit your long-term content marketing goals exactly. For me, an optimal content campaign that is sales-focused should look something like this.

At the beginning of the campaign, you need to identify relevant keywords that you want to target.

The Keywords you choose should match the weaknesses of your ideal customer and the solution you are offering through either your product or service. In my company, for example, we help companies in the SaaS niche to secure guest posts on relevant websites. I decided that the first outreach campaign would be based on my guest posting guide.

You can see how the topic matches the solution.

If you want to run an outreach campaign that uses content from your website, you need to use informative content that offers value. After all, the article is the first impression you make on a potential customer who interacts with your business.

You can create multiple pieces of content around your product or service offering. However, I recommend starting with a cornerstone content.

2. Create a customer contact list

There’s a good chance you already have a strategy for promoting new content in place. This often involves creating a list of websites that are linked to competing content. You will then find the author’s contact details and send them a message asking for a link.

A sales outreach campaign based on content is just as easy. However, the goal and target audience are different.

I assume you have one Customer personality. They know what type of company will buy your product or service. You need to make a list of suitable companies. Using resources like Google My Business, Inc 5,000 and other company summaries, you can quickly create a list of suitable companies to contact.

Once you have your shortlist made, you need to find the details of the person who will be responsible for making buying decisions in each business. For an SEO agency, this person typically has a job title such as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

I generally use a combination of LinkedIn and an email finder to get their contact information. Hunter and Here is Norbert Both offer 50 free searches, which is enough for an initial campaign.

Pull all the information you have gathered into a google sheet.

3. Run your outreach campaign

There are numerous types of sales outreach campaigns that can include blog content. For example, I collected the details of everyone who left a comment on the Backlinko blog. I removed people and companies who didn’t fit my client personality and emailed them all.

Below is a screenshot of the email template I used along with one of the replies.

Content - Take advantage of it via email contact - Example 1

You can see that this is a poor sell. The only reference to the service I offer is my email signature pointing to a sales page. The primary resource in the email was this blog post.

I wanted to start a conversation with potential customers without generating an immediate sale.

This particular outreach campaign sent out to around 200 people generated two leads. I was also asked to appear on a podcast and given some guest post opportunities.

You can be more direct. Here is an example from another campaign.

Content - Take advantage of it via email contact

We used sumo’s credibility for this sales campaign. The company has more brand awareness than Launch Space, a website few people would recognize.

The primary resource for the sumo sales campaign was This post. The guest post meets the criteria of a cornerstone of the content. It’s actionable, insightful, and relevant to the needs of potential customers.

You may have noticed that I adjusted my email signature for the campaign. We generated two leads from our first 100 emails.

4. Review the results

If this is your first campaign, I recommend sending out contact emails to 100-200 companies. Send your emails and check the results a week or two later.

The first campaign we ran had a 1% conversion rate. I sent 100 emails and got a customer.

The math was easy.

I didn’t use any marketing tools for the campaign. You can also start in the same way.

In order to improve the results of a marketing campaign, you need to track relevant metrics. There are many inexpensive email tracking tools out there that provide insights such as email opening, link clicks, and other statistics.

Good email tracking tools can break your copy down. You can also see when people open your email and who opened your message multiple times but didn’t reply. You can use this data to improve your campaign results by, for example, scheduling your emails for the optimal time or day of the week, or deciding who to send multiple emails to.

Wrap up

In this guide, I explained how you can include blog posts and guest posts in your cold outreach function to generate leads for your business. It’s a strategy I’ve been using to keep winning new customers, which in turn has helped me grow my business.

If you’re a B2B company selling a product or service at a high profit margin, outbound marketing usually gives you a positive return on investment (ROI). It makes sense to use blog content as a sales resource, especially if you expect the content to ultimately generate leads through inbound marketing. Most companies don’t. I hope this article has encouraged you to try.

Nico Prins is an online marketer and the founder of Start Space. He helps companies develop their digital marketing strategies. He has worked with all Fortune 500 companies and startups to help them develop content marketing strategies that align with their business goals. Follow him on Twitter @nhdprins.