Content RulesEveryone’s talking about content these days and like it not you’ve got to get in the publishing game. (Content Rules – great book on the subject just out.)

Of course this doesn’t mean get the game just to play. The idea behind all of this content creation you’re being asked to do is to use it to build your business in the long term – to get more leads and sales.

The following systematic approach to content creation will help guide you in the most effective use of your limited time on the way to creating a momentum building content lead generation system.

Content Creation Strategy

Like all good systems and processes, your content lead system must start with strategy. With that in mind there are three very important concepts to consider

  • The total body of work – think big picture when you think content. Pretend (or for real) that you are outlining a book about your entire subject of expertise. Now, as you think about content work through the outline and remember that are creating a body of work that may take months and years to finish.
  • Purpose and repurpose – As you create content always think about the purpose you have in mind – drive traffic, get links, draw reaction – and the repurpose opportunities – blend several posts into an article, use it as seminar, create an ebook from a category of blog posts.
  • Medium diverse – One great way to get more bang for your buck is to republish your content in various forms. Record and archive seminars, transcribe audio and video and offer multiple forms of the same content.

Tools – Moleskine notebooks to capture ideas, Dragon Dictation or Casting Words to transcribe audio and video to text, Audio and Video capture tools such as iPhone or Flip Camera

Content Inspiration

Even with a big picture body of work approach you can get blocked when it comes to creating fresh and frequent content. It’s a good idea to have ready made sources of inspiration to turn to and help keep you up to speed on all the real time happenings in your world.

  • Questions – make a note of all the questions that prospects and customers ask and get in the habit of posting answers to these inquiries.
  • Delicious – use bookmarking tool like delicious so you can mark things you’ve found for later reading and so you can see what other people are bookmarking for categories you need to keep up on.
  • Google Reader – Subscribe to and browse 50 or so related blogs – you can do this on your phone while you stand in line at the coffee shop.
  • Alltop – Convenient way to see lots of blog posts sorted by countless topics
  • StumbleUpon – Unique way to find of the beaten path stuff about topics you choose
  • Google Keywords – Sometimes you just need to write about what people are searching for and using a keyword tools helps you know the best way to say it.
  • SmartBriefs – Daily digests of some of the best of the web on a variety of topics.

Content Automation

Few people are still as geeky about RSS as me anymore, but I still love what you can do with it. (Back archives and tutorials on RSS use)

My favorite use is to create content automatically or on the fly by installing a bit of RSS magic. Using this approach you can create fresh content for your own site or even custom filtered feeds just for your best customers.

Here’s a quick tip: Bookmark mentions of your company in delicious using company name tag, grab the RSS feed from the tag on delicious and take it Feedburner and use the Buzz Boost feature to create HTML code to publish this info to your “In the news page.” The page updates automatically every time you bookmark an news mention.

Tools: Google News, Feedburner, Delicious, Yahoo Pipes

Advertising Content

If you want your advertising to be more effective and your content to generate leads don’t sell your stuff, advertise your content.

Use your Facebook and other PPC advertising to point to your valuable free ebook or upcoming online seminar and past seminar archive. Turn your advertising into a trust building platform rather than an expensive turnoff.

On Demand Content

One of the most dramatic advances in the communication of sales messages has come in the form of presentation platforms.

With today’s low cost and easy to use video tools you can create full featured, highly engaging sales presentations and host them online to effectively generate and nurture leads night and day.

Using a tool like SlideRocket allows you to also easily embed forms in your interactive presentations and receive alerts when people view the show and complete the form.

Content Partnerships

And now for the big payoff for all your content creation.

Once you create a blog, ebook, white paper, podcast, videocast, online and offline educational seminar you can take these proven and practiced bits of content and start offering them to your strategic partners.

Let them cobrand your ebook and offer it to their clients. Invite them write guest blog content and interview them for your podcast. Offer to provide your awesome seminar free of charge to their customers.

While content creation may seem like a lot of work, using even a fraction of the ideas contained here you can make the ROI of content creation crush just about any other form of lead generation today.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Great ideas and best practices, John! My lead generation system looks like this;

    – Blog posts targeted to my audience’s needs, wants, or desires
    – Call to action for my services at the end of every post.
    You can use either the Add Post Footer plugin for WordPress [] or the FT Signature Mgr plugin []

    Both allows you to use html to add special sections below your content, perfect for ads! Or you can use them to embed a newsletter sign-up form which [as you know] is one of your best lead generation tools.
    – Then my Sales page [I’m in the middle of revamping it with “buy now” buttons instead of links, videos, testimonies, and more!]

    Great post, John, thanks!

    • Thanks Rod – I’ve also seen people add special content for RSS subscribers only too

  • Glad to see someone else highlight the value of StumbleUpon, Reader, Delicious and other sources as a way to generate content. We were just discussing that with our interns yesterday (

    Only one we saw left out was Digg. Any reason in particular?

    • Don’t know why but I’ve always look at Digg as more of a traffic play than a content inspiration play, but that’s just my own bias.

  • Tim

    Excellent article! Content that’s relevant is probably the single greatest investment a company can make in their future.


    • Tim I think the word investment is one that ought to be used more often – sometimes we think in terms of payback instead of compound interest when it comes to things like content creation

  • Great post John. Thanks for reminding me about how much time I can save and leverage I can gain by repurposing content.

    • It’s kind of my secret weapon – when I get asked to do a webinar on a subject you can bet there will be a series of blog posts – in fact this post is the subject of a presentation next week – shh! don’t tell anyone.

  • I certainly agree that content is king online. I wish I knew about this and how search engines work 10 years ago, because I would’ve been in a more fortunate position in today’s life. But hey, we all live and learn, right? Content is king, and thou shalt keep thy content fresh and relevant, for good and natural SEO! lol

  • Hi John,
    I added a free tool to my blog today that that would have otherwise languished unused on my PC having been used at a workshop that I used last week – thanks once more for your inspirational blogs.

  • Thank you for the tips. I couldn’t understand everything, I just started working on a blog, and I think I will have to study a lot to succeed!