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If you’re going to the trouble of creating content, you want to make sure that your time and effort pays off, and you generate lots of leads. Here's how!

If you’re going to the trouble of creating content, you want to make sure that your time, effort and investment pay off and you generate lots of leads.

To generate leads with content marketing, you need to find a way to capture the details of potential clients before they click off your page. Lead generation is all about getting people to your website and then making those visits count – either through direct conversions or lead capturing like email opt-ins. 

Here are 6 simple steps to generate leads with content marketing.

      1. Know your audience
      2. Do keyword research
      3. Choose your content
      4. Create lead magnets
      5. Optimize your landing pages

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The Complete Content Marketing Guide: Organic Growth Toolkit download

1. Know your audience

Like any marketing activity, the first step to generating leads with content marketing is to get to know your audience inside and out. You can do this in a range of different ways – and if you have the time it’s really worth doing all of them!

Here are some ways to define your target audience:

  • Conduct a survey
  • Interview customers
  • Research your competitor’s audience
  • Use analytics tools (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights)

If you haven’t already got a customer avatar, now is the time to create one. Having a single ideal customer in mind can help you refine your content marketing and make sure you’re targeting the right people.

Download the free Audience Research Workbook to get started:

Audience Research Workbook

2. Do keyword research

Once you have a solid idea of your audience, you can find the cornerstones of your content marketing strategy through keyword research. Keyword research is the best method to find out what your audience wants to learn more about.

With keyword research, you can discover:

  1. Questions your audience are asking
  2. The topics your audience cares about
  3. Commercial keywords they’re searching for

Keyword research is essential to make sure that any content you produce is relevant to your audience. There is no point in creating a whole library of interesting content if no one is searching for it. 

Keyword research takes your content from passion project to potential lead magnet.

Commercial keywords are especially key for generating more leads with your content marketing. These keywords are used by people who are ready to buy something. They’re doing a search to find something specific – if you play your cards right, it could be your product!

Here are some examples of commercial keywords to watch out for:

  • Get [product/service]
  • Where to buy [product/service]
  • Best [product/service]
  • Award-winning [product/service]
  • Online [product/service] store

If you want to generate more leads with your content marketing, it’s important to conduct thorough keyword research as one of the first steps. Use Google Ads Keywords Planner to get started. 

3. Choose your content

If you’re using content marketing to generate leads, it’s important to choose your content carefully. There’s a whole host of content options out there but to get the best results, you need to refer back to your target audience. 

Your content is what will draw visitors to your site – it is used to drive traffic and increase your chances of generating new leads. Find out what content your target audience most wants to see.

Here are some examples of different content types:

Blog posts

A staple in the content marketer’s arsenal, blog posts are ideal for informing your audience about the topics they care about. 

Whether you’re creating Listicles, reviews, case studies, or more, blog posts are endlessly customizable. If you don’t have a huge budget for content marketing, blog posts are also a great option as unlike video and podcasts they don’t require specialist equipment.

Good for: 
  • Converting traffic into leads
  • Boosting SEO
  • Link building
Not good for:
  • Sharing
  • Topics that need good visuals
  • Capturing attention immediately


Related: AI for Blogging: Best Tools and Strategies To Use

Video content

If you’re looking to create content that’s easy to share and engaging, video content is a good way to go. Video is now the most commonly used form of content marketing, recently overtaking blogs posts and infographics. It is especially popular among Millennials and Gen Z audiences.

Good for: 
  • Visually interesting topics
  • Tutorials and how-tos
  • Social sharing
Not good for:
  • Long, information-heavy topics
  • Older demographics
  • Tight budgets

Social media content

Social media is ideal for engaging with your audience in a direct and informal way. With the right social media content, you can expand your audience while also driving more traffic to your website. Sharing is central to social media so use this to your advantage and grow your audience.

Good for: 
  • Reaching larger, global audiences
  • Building connections
  • Increasing brand awareness
Not good for:
  • Standing out from other brands
  • Retaining your audience long-term
  • Using time efficiently


Social media marketing guide


Designed to be easy-to-read and eye-catching, infographics are a content marketer’s friend. When it comes to creating content that’s highly shareable, you can’t get much better than an infographic. Just make sure that it’s visually interesting and in keeping with your brand identity.

Good for: 
  • Sharing
  • Increasing traffic
  • Brand awareness
Not good for:
  • Time and budget constraints
  • Complex topics
  • Boosting your SEO


An emerging content category that’s really gaining momentum is podcasting. Podcasts are ideal for giving your brand a more personal face and establishing your authority in your chosen niche. You can also have fun by recruiting guest hosts and hosting Q&As to increase the scope of your podcast content.

Good for: 
  • Engaging an audience that’s on-the-go
  • Giving your brand a human face
  • Younger demographics
Not good for:
  • Flexibility
  • Interactivity
  • Efficiency


The types of content that will be right for you and your brand will depend enormously on your niche, target audience, and your product or service. 

If you are a florist and have created a series of courses on flower arranging for weddings, a podcast is not going to be the best use of your time. Instead, you might consider doing a combination of video content and supporting blog posts to show off your expertise in your niche.

The core message here: choose the content that fits your product and your audience.

Podcast Interview Tracking Download

4. Create lead magnets

Now here’s the secret to generating leads: you need to add lead magnets to your content strategy. 

Lead magnets – also known as gated content or gated assets – are high-quality resources that you offer to your audience in exchange for their information, usually an email address.

Lead magnets require an email address in order to be opened or downloaded so they’re a great way to capture details on visitors to your site. This is a huge advantage for marketers because it offers a channel for contacting potential customers in the future.

Here are some examples of good lead magnets:

Most people have now wised up to the idea that it’s not a good plan to give out their email addresses all over the place. Nowadays, you have to offer site visitors something in return.

To entice your audience, you need to make sure that your lead magnets are bold, engaging, visually interesting, and informative.

Your lead magnets should also act as accompaniments to your content. Ideally, you want to create a unique lead magnet for every piece of content on your site.

💡 Create and publish a lead magnet funnel in minutes with Thinkific Funnels
Leveraging our AI powered funnel, build and publish a landing page to offer a free digital download to your prospects in return for their email addresses.

Related: 6 Step Lead Magnet Funnel To Capture & Convert Prospects

5. Optimize your landing pages

Time and again, websites and entrepreneurs miss out on generating and converting leads because of their landing pages.

No matter how much traffic you drive to your site, if your landing pages are not optimized to convert then your lead generation is always going to fall below what you hope for.

Your lead magnet landing pages should be uncluttered and free from distractions. Everything on your landing page – from the content to the design – should be driving viewers towards giving you their email addresses.

10 landing page must-haves

Here are 10 elements of a high converting landing page to generate more leads and boost your conversion rate:

  1. Enticing headline
  2. Strong opening
  3. Engaging copy
  4. Scannable format
  5. Testimonials
  6. CTA button
  7. Relevant images
  8. Social share buttons
  9. Extra fast loading time
  10. Mobile-friendly format

The best landing pages are easy to navigate, accessible, and quick to read.

The majority of visitors will not have the patience to read dense blocks of text on the virtues of your product or service. Instead, you need to make it easy for them to make the decision by including clear copy, good visuals, and plenty of social proof.

Related: 3 Ways To Create A Lead Magnet That Actually Converts

6. Promote your content

As well as optimizing your content, lead magnets, and landing pages, it’s essential that you put some promo work in! Promoting your content is the only way to drive more traffic to your site, especially if you’re still working on your SEO. 

If you don’t promote your content, you’re wasting your time creating it. 

To promote your content, use whichever channels you use to communicate with your audience. The channels where you have the most engagement are the ones where you’re most likely to find leads.

Let’s take a look at the main strategies to promote your content.

Social media

Don’t get too carried away with creating a wild and wacky social media strategy to catch the eye of your audience. While doing something original can be effective, the best strategy is to stick with your brand themes and promote your quality content on your social media channels.

Here are 4 tips for promoting your content on social media:

Test different posts

When you’re writing content for social media, it’s a good idea to test out different headlines and post formats to see which ones are most popular. 

Every social media platform has different types of content that tend to perform better. Facebook users prefer more context in posts while Twitter users prefer strong visual and straightforward, jargon-free captions.

Play around with different headlines and post formats to see which ones get the best response from your audience. The trick here is to find what works and then replicate it for promoting future content.

Choose relevant hashtags

If you’re using social media to promote your content and generate more leads, hashtags can help you expand your reach. This is especially important for Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Look for relevant hashtags that your audience is searching for and try adding them to your post. Just make sure that you do a search for that hashtag first to check that it links to the kind of content that you think it does.

Tag sources 

If you’ve used any sources in your content – be it experts, influencers, organizations, or scientific papers – track them down on social media and tag them in your content promotion posts.

This increases the chance that those accounts will engage with your content and you might be able to tap into their audience too. This is especially effective on LinkedIn where any engagement a user does is seen by everyone in their network. Utilize this feature to promote your content to a wider audience.

Engage with your audience

At the heart of any successful social media strategy is audience engagement. It’s essential to spend time interacting with your audience if you want them to pay attention to your content. 

Don’t underestimate the power that replying to comments, liking posts, and sharing posts in your stories can do to give your social media a boost. It’s not enough to just tell people to go and watch your video or read your blog post – you need to show them that you care about them first.

Guest blogging

Guest blogging can also be a really worthwhile way to promote your content and generate more leads. Not only does it help to get your name out there and increase your brand awareness, but you can also use it to drive traffic to your site.

Social media marketing guide

Here are 3 ways to capitalize on guest blogs to generate more leads:

Add a link to your landing page

When you’re writing a guest blog for another site, ask if it’s ok for you to add a link in your blog post or your author bio. If you have the opportunity to add a link, don’t just send people to your homepage. Instead, promise viewers a lead magnet and direct them to your landing page. That way, every person you get to click through to your site has a much higher chance of converting.

Look for other guest opportunities

As well as guest blogging, guest vlogging, and podcast appearances can also be really valuable for generating more leads. Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. There are lots of other channels that are likely to have an overlap with your target audience.

Wherever you’re promoting your content, don’t forget to tell viewers and listeners about your top lead magnet and how they can access it.

Play the game

Every content creator is looking for more ways to drive traffic to their site – and you can take advantage of this. A great way to get other content creators sharing your stuff and backlinking to your site is to do the same for them.

Consider creating a blog post where you highlight the work of other content creators in your niche – like bloggers or course creators – and make sure you share the post with them.

Bonus step: Email

As you’re probably already working on building your email list, why not use it to promote your content? Email marketing is a brilliant way to drive more traffic to your site.

Utilize your lead magnets to encourage people on your email list to access other resources they’re interested in. With the right lead magnets, you can also motivate your existing email list to share your content with others. 

Here are some great ways to make your emails more shareable:

  • Add an email list sign-up link
  • Include social sharing buttons
  • Embed tweets for easy social sharing
  • Remind them in your copy to forward the email
  • Offer incentives for getting new subscribers

If you make it easy for people to forward emails to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, you can quickly rack up new leads.

Get ready to generate leads

The steps to generating more leads from your content are simple. These six tricks will help you get your content marketing up to scratch and generate the returns you’re looking for. If in doubt, remember to focus on your target audience and their specific needs. 

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The Complete Content Marketing Guide: Organic Growth Toolkit download

This guide was originally published in November 2021, and was updated in September 2023 to be even more useful.