Using Content to Create Clients

Using Content to Create Clients

Using Content to Create Clients

By John Jantsch

content to create customers

If you’re like me, you’ve been talking about the need for content for years now. Today, content is really air for your business. It powers just about every channel.

While the need for this is extremely important, it can also be stressful for people, especially small business owners who already have a lot on their plates. Because of this, you must avoid creating content for content’s sake, and create it with focus and intent to avoid spinning your wheels.

Build a lead generation content platform

When you begin producing content, you must have the mentality that you’re creating it to generate leads. I use a very systematic approach to not only produce the best content but to proactively bring in prospects.

This system is a funnel approach. You’re first using the content to create awareness, and then you use it to build trust and drive people to the point where they want to have a conversation with you or buy your services.

What content is

While it’s obvious in some cases, a lot of people still think of content as just being blog posts or ebooks, and while those certainly are content, there is so much more than that as well, including:

  • Testimonials and reviews
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Basically anything with the written word

Content today must educate people. It must be in a form that informs people when they’re ready to buy and must be in a format that helps them convert.

With so many options, it’s helpful to simplify it and break it down so that you can save your most precious resource: time.

Want to know the good news? You don’t need as much content as you think. This is often music to a small business owner’s ears, as finding time to prioritize content creation is often one of their biggest challenges. If you only have time to put towards a smaller amount of content, that’s fine, but make it high quality and put it to good use.

Create a content plan

To create this content, I highly recommend creating a content plan, and in it:

  • Create six useful content ideas for your ideal client
  • Develop a content upgrade for each piece of content (like a checklist or video series)
  • Promote each piece of content through advertising and social media

Getting started with keyword research

To kick off the content plan, it is imperative that you do keyword research first. This will help you identify the content you should be producing.

So, how do you come up with the six useful content ideas? I recommend starting with a list. I build my list of ideas by:


Before you resort to other methods of research, I’d recommend simply starting with brainstorming and moving forward with your ideas to drive the rest of your research. You should have a deep understanding of your ideal client. The more you know who they are, the easier your research will be.

Visiting online forums that are relevant to your ideal client

Visiting the forums where your ideal client may hang out is a great way to help you discover their intent. Simply type in “‘Keyword’ + forum” and the results to dive into will appear (see below).

search engine results pages

Use the Google Keyword Planner

You must have a Google AdWords account to use the Google Keyword Planner, but you don’t have to be running any AdWords campaigns to use the tool, it’s just part of the toolset.

If you’re using this tool, and you type in a term, it will give you ad group ideas based off that term, essentially letting you know the terms that people search for online, which can help inform you of the topics you should be writing about. The suggested bid can also be used as a data point to let you know how desired and searched a certain term is. It can be a great conversion indicator.

Look at the related search terms at the bottom of search engines results pages

When you type in a term into the search box, scroll to the bottom of the search engine results page and you’ll find other searches related to the term you typed in. This can be another great way to expand your list of keywords and search terms.

related search terms


When it comes to keyword research, there really isn’t an exact science to it. These are simply the tools I use and recommend, but if you have other methods that seem to be working well for you, I say go for it.

Develop a theme list

From the core keywords that you find, create a month-to-month list that has one theme each month that you’re going to write about. For example, since I’m a marketing consultant, my list may look like this:

  • January: Referral marketing
  • February: Coaching and consulting
  • March: Sales and lead conversion
  • April: Online integration
  • May: Writing
  • June: Strategic partners
  • July: Customer experience
  • August: Content marketing
  • September: High tech, high touch
  • October: Growth strategies
  • November: Analytics and conversion
  • December: Personal growth

Once I have my themes in place, I use a tool called BuzzSumo that allows me to search a theme and see popular posts and the number of times they’ve been shared that are related to that topic. You can start to find actual phrases or topics of posts that you may want to write about and even make better. You can take these topics and think of ways to expand them.

Creating a content upgrade

Once you have your topics and begin writing and publishing your blog posts, marry the posts with a related content upgrade. A content upgrade is something of value that you create and publish on the blog through a CTA that people are already interested in (since they’re already reading a post on a similar topic). The way they can access the content upgrade is by providing their email and any other necessary information. They’ll get the content and you’ll get their email address to use in lead nurturing efforts. It’s a win-win.

The idea of opting in isn’t new, but the bar has been raised. It’s gotten harder to capture leads because, quite frankly, they’re over saturated. Because of this, you must be creative, useful, and unique with your content upgrades (don’t just go with a generic ebook, it’s been done). Additionally, make it as easy as possible for them to convert. It will make them more likely to do so.

As mentioned, once you gather their email addresses, create an email nurture series that you can send them that includes further education and eventually a free consultation or evaluation. You’re not selling them anything, you’re just getting them to make more commitments.

To implement this effectively, we use a tool called Thrive Leads for the forms and email capture, and Active Campaign for sending the actual email series. Through this tool, we can even flag a person who engages with our emailed content and then personally follow-up with them. In fact, we highly recommend reaching out to folks who opt in. This allows you to have a personal conversation with them and move away from the auto-responder series.

Promoting the content

Your content upgrade will really work if you promote it. You must get eyes on it.

For many businesses right now, Facebook advertising is one of the best ways to marry an audience with the content. Because you put it in front of them, you start a high-level relationship for very little money. Additionally, you can target significantly on Facebook. You have the ability to only show your ads to your ideal client.

Simply create an ad account for your Facebook page, post your blog post on your Facebook page, and then boost the post to an audience you want to show it to. This will turn your newsfeed post into an ad to whoever has been defined in your audience.

Once you get that audience engaged, put together a follow-up plan. Mine essentially looks like this:

  • Create the mentioned email series
  • Create trial calls to action
  • Reach out to respondents for appointments
  • Set consulting appointment

There you have it! That’s my go-to plan for using content to generate clients. How do you approach content for your lead generation efforts? What have you found most helpful?

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Advertising.

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