Lee Odden

6 Simple Considerations For Boosting the Marketing Performance of Content

Content Marketing AccountabilityWhile I’ve been in New York this week for the B2B Content2Conversion conference, I’ve been reflecting on some of the most common issues I see with companies trying to leverage content for increasing leads and sales.

Many companies new to content marketing miss important steps and without checklists or processes, content marketing contribution to leads and sales can be unimpressive.

Of course, not all content needs to “sell” in terms of inquiries or transactions, but for content designed with lead generation in mind, there should be some accountability or you won’t have anything to count.

While deciding the creative on your next infographic, the viral hook of your next video or which awesome thought leaders will be in your next ebook, step back for a second and consider these basic and often overlooked considerations for aligning content with marketing objectives.

1. What’s the primary brand objective for this content? How will successful discovery and consumption of this information move the reader along in the sales funnel?

2. Who is the audience? What problem does this content help them solve? How does this content help them break free of the status quo?

3. What will be used as the hero? How will readers seem themselves in the content and how will it empathize with their situation and goals?

4. What is the unique selling proposition in the content? What’s different or more valuable than others? How is that story being told?

5. What’s the primary offer?  Secondary offer? What other actions are available to support all interest levels?

6. After the reader takes action (share, subscribe, register, download, inquiry), what happens next? How will you nurture communications for the reader to become a buyer, a customer and a referral to others?

Many companies getting into the content marketing game do not have the presence of mind to focus on producing content that aligns with the buyer journey. The experience of creating content is so new, the focus is often on quantity, vs. meaningful information that contributes to moving prospects along the sales cycle.

This is why you often hear things like, “We started blogging, creating videos and white papers, but we’re not getting any leads.”

Content Marketing means creating content and media around a certain topic for a particular audience that will inspire action. What many companies are doing is simply creating “more” content and calling it content marketing. That’s where the disconnect lies.

Are there other fundamental questions about content marketing planning that should be included in this list? How are you solving the disconnect between content quantity and content accountability?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar MirandaM_EComm says

    This is great advice, Lee. It’s important to consciously remind ourselves to consider each of these aspects while planning content. It really does help you create more purposeful and effective content.

  2. Thanks a lot for this advice, I found it very helpful and I’m sure this will help tons of others! Thanks again

  3. Good information, but these aren’t “Steps” as your title suggests. A step would start with an action verb 😉

  4. Great list. One thing I add is the format you might use it across different platforms. Eg. One piece might need a video, slide deck and media release. But that’s in the implementation phase. Nice to remind people to take a step back and reflect on the core message.

  5. These along with “what stage of the buying funnel does this piece address” serve as a great template or list of steps as “copy editor Bryce” points out…

  6. Avatar Hemanth Malli says

    Thanks a lot for the helpful piece of information sharing with us. It a very good advice for all !! Surely going to apply these points.

  7. Avatar Russell O'Sullivan says

    Short and to the point Lee… nice advice amongst the current “sea” of content marketing … ahem, content out there! Thanks

  8. At least you’re hanging out with companies that are pursuing the content marketing game, Lee. 😉 I’ve over here trying to educate small/mid-sized business owners on the importance of content marketing and how it plays such a huge role in their digital marketing efforts.

    You make six points here – points that may seem like a “duh” to a lot of content marketers. Thing is, I would bet a lot of people in the space frequently pass up some or most of these points. Number 6 is of particular interest to me because there’s often no “next steps” established when a company produces a content piece.

    Like I said earlier, companies who are actively pursuing the production of high-quality, authoritative content are the ones who need to be following step #6 the most. Are you nurturing the leads you acquire from the piece? Are you capturing their data? Are you sending them things that will score them higher as prospects? If not, you need to step back and think about lead nurturing too!

    • Thanks for the comment Zach. I’m actually with you on the idea that MOST companies do not consider these 6 things. I know they don’t. Even many content marketers don’t. Great advice on nurturing – a step even I need to take more to heart 🙂

  9. Avatar David Barry says

    Hi Lee,
    Great points and I really enjoyed your presentation at B2B Content Conversion. I agree with Zach that many small/mid size businesses are struggling with how to engage with content marketing. This came out in the roundtables we had during lunch on day 2 of the conference — a number of small companies trying to get their arms around this, and concerned about the amount of content they need to generate and keeping up with all the changing trends and social media platforms.

    And then there is the issue of marketing automation.Here’s my question: if you are a small company just getting going with content marketing and you are learning your sales funnel and the needs/desires of your buyers and you don’t want to invest yet in marketing automation, what other options are there to generate leads and track their behavior through the funnel.

    Does anyone have experience with this? Or suggestions?