Content marketing can be incredibly powerful for driving leads for your business.
If you know how to do it right.
I have been helping brands, businesses, and even individuals create content to drive leads, sales, partnership opportunities, and revenue for years. And without question, I can tell you the thing that drives the most results is one thing and one thing only: you have to have a Hook Point.
So, what is a Hook Point?
A Hook Point is the “thing” that makes your target customer or user stop scrolling, say to themselves, “Huh, this is interesting,” and then give you their attention. This could be a jaw-dropping statistic (like the fact that there are now more than 3.96 billion content creators on the planet), a random but memorable factoid, a sudden turn of events, or a pain point you are about to reveal to the audience how to solve. Whatever your “thing” is, it has to be compelling enough to reach through the screen, grab someone’s attention, and then more importantly, engage them for a certain period of time.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know what their Hook Point is.
They spend months putting together an entire content marketing strategy without first confirming and validating whether their initial idea (the thing that’s going to dictate the success of the whole rest of the campaign) is compelling enough.
And this results in a lot of wasted time, energy, and money for the business.
So, how do you use content marketing to drive leads (and ultimately revenue) for your business?
Use this 4-step process:
1. Create a Hook Point that answers your target audience’s questions.
No Hook Point, no campaign.
Every audience member needs a reason to click. They need something telling them, “Hey you—this right here was made for you, and if you’ll continue to give it your attention, here’s what you can expect to walk away with in return.”
See, this is what so many companies and brands misunderstand about content marketing. Readers don’t like feeling sold to. What readers want is to learn something new, or interesting, or memorable. They want to trade their attention for something in exchange. Simply asking them to read your sales pitch isn’t going to be enough.
Instead, you want to start with the question your target audience is asking themselves. Then, create your Hook Point around that question. For example, if your target audience is asking, “How do I install a roof on my house?” wouldn’t it be smart for your Hook Point to be something like, “Did you know the average person spends $1,000 on roof installations—but if they did this 1 thing instead, you could install a roof for less than a cup of coffee?”
Whether or not you need a new roof, you can see how even you (a curious reader) would be sitting there wondering, “Wow, that’s random. But I’d love to know how to get a new roof for less than a cup of coffee. That sounds fascinating.”
2. Test and validate your Hook Point.
Once you’ve come up with a Hook Point, it’s time to start testing.
Now, I’ve been creating Hook Points for brands and companies for a long time, so intuitively I understand what’s going to work and what’s not. But even still, sometimes your first idea doesn’t hit the way you think it will. Which is why it’s always worthwhile to come up with a Hook Point and then create some content around it ASAP.
You want to learn and get feedback from audiences about whether or not it’s working.
For example, before investing tons of time into long-form content for your business, why not start with short-form? This way, you can validate each idea out in the market and see whether it’s grabbing people’s attention. Then, when a piece of content hits, you have data telling you where your time, energy, and resources are better spent. You can take that mini Hook Point and expand it into a longer-form piece, or create more short-form content with that same direction to further test what other relevant Hook Points might work with your audience.
The point is: test, test, test.
3. When you find a Hook Point that’s working, pour gasoline on it.
This is what all the most successful brands and businesses in the world do.
They start small. They create tons of different content. They gather data. They learn.
And then once they see a pattern, they go all-in. They have proven which idea is grabbing people’s attention, which means now they understand what’s worth investing in.
This is the big secret to effective content marketing. It’s really not about churning out blog posts or building a big fancy site and hiring an SEO firm. It’s about figuring out which ideas, which Hook Points, are best at engaging your audience—and then continuing to build out content that continues to answer those types of questions. Going back to our roof example: if you learn that what your target audience really wants is content educating them on how to build their own roofs at home, now you know which direction to explore (and you can imagine a bunch of the other Hook Points you could create as well):
- “Check out these 7 amazing roof designs people made themselves, all for less than $20.”
- “Do you live in an area that rains a lot? Then you have to check out this rain-defensive roof design.”
- “Most companies will charge you $100 per hour to clean your gutters. Here’s how to do it for free in less than 10 minutes (without getting your hands dirty.”
You can see how each of these different Hook Points is engaging your target audience, but speaking to different wants, needs, questions, and desires.
Then, by looking at the data, you will learn over time which one of those wants, needs, questions, or desires is what people are engaging with the most.
And that’s where your energy is best spent.