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SEO and blog content: where do they fit in a demand gen strategy?

SEO and blog content will NEVER go out of style.

Because as long as they’re done right, they’ll do wonders for your demand gen efforts. 

This was one of the key topics of conversation in our recent episode of Demandism Live.

In this article, you’ll find insights from our CMO Alice de Courcy and our Global Head of Demand Gen Liam Bartholomew.

You’ll soon understand how and why SEO and blog content can give your demand gen plan a boost 🚀

Keep scrolling or use the menu on the left-hand side to uncover the secrets!


Does SEO have a purpose in the demand gen era? 

Demand generation and SEO go well together.

Why? 

Because the more optimised your website, the more visibility your brand will get. And the more it’ll appear in your audience’s Google search. 

Alice used 2 buckets to illustrate this 👇

Bucket 1 - Capture demand, 1% of total market:

This helps to create demand for people who are in-market at any one time. 

Bucket 2 - Create demand, 99% of total market:

This helps to create awareness. 

Alice said:

“When you really take the time to invest in resources for SEO, you’ll soon see a higher return on your pages.” 

So, it’s clear why you should use SEO in demand gen. But how should you actually go about it? 

Keep reading to find out…

How to use SEO in your demand gen strategy 

Alice started off by stressing the following: 

“When you’re first getting your demand gen engine up and running, you want to invest overly in the 1% first. Because that’s what will keep you afloat while you work on building out the SEO approach for the 99%.”

And what specific tactics might you want to use? 

Let’s take a dive into 2 recommendations that have proven successful:

Use your paid search terms 

It’s likely you’ll have some paid sales terms that have performed really well. 

And there’s no rule saying that they only have to be for paid purposes. There’s HUGE potential for these terms to be the special SEO sauce you need in your demand gen plan. 

Alice said:

“It works in the same way as you’d approach optimising paid Google Ads. Focus on the high intent search terms, and understand which ones convert at the highest rate. And then use that as the basis of your SEO approach.” 

So remember: paid and SEO are the yin and yang for demand gen magic ☯

Use competitors to your advantage 

Yes - your competitors can be your friends! 

And when approached in the right way, competitor pages are great for SEO. 

Here’s what Alice suggested, based off her experience:

“A good competitor page will have a 3-way comparison with your largest competitors.”

She added:

“Ride off the back of better-known brands to pick up traffic. But do this in a different or niche way. Don’t write robotically or for Google. Be completely honest and transparent about how you compare to your competitors.”

The key takeaway? 

SEO is not all science. Don’t lose sight of the importance of the human element in demand gen. 

And before you ask - this strategy works. Want to see the living proof? Check out this result that Alice shared:

“We actually get up to 20 direct demo requests a month from these pages. And once you start scaling your SEO efforts, there’s a lot of compound impact there.” 

 

Why is blog content important for demand gen? 

Now that we’ve covered the importance of SEO, let’s move onto blogs. 

Blogs are great because they act as an educational resource for your audience. People can read them and return to them again and again, discovering insights, tactics and trends. 

Alice said:

“Blog content is valuable because it’s searchable. We can’t tell people what to consume and when. People want to consume stuff at their own time and pace - and this is a core learning of demand gen in general.” 

She added:

“It’s a foundational part of the broader content strategy and media engine you’re building. And that’s IF it’s done right.”

So, naturally, you’ll want to know…

How to use blog content in your demand gen strategy 

Don’t overthink or over-plan your blog content 

In B2B marketing, there’s a strong tendency to over-plan everything. 

But the truth is, sometimes certain aspects can’t be planned weeks or months in advance. 

And blog content is one of these things - this is certainly the key learning Alice and the demand gen team have taken away:

“We’ve definitely been on a journey with this. To start with, we’d decide and commit on titles, share on LinkedIn and then forget about it. That was the only marketing KPI we really cared about.” 

As you can expect, this approach doesn’t work long-term. 

Liam explains why: 

“From my experience, the demand gen and content teams work together really well. Because we can talk about topics together that we think would be cool to explore. That’s really important compared to a stereotypical 6-month rigid content plan. And it means you end up writing about content that people are interested in right there and then, in the moment.” 

So, what changes need to be made?

Here are a couple of changes that’ve worked for Alice and her team:

  • No months of forward planning. 
  • Employ content writers who act like journalists, consulting thought leaders/subject matter experts.

And yes - these changes mean your approach will be slightly more detailed. But, as Alice has said:

“While it takes a lot more effort to do it this way, you’ll soon see the payoff. And what I mean by this is the difference in traffic, time on page, and unique page views.” 

Alice recommends to let go of the pressure of constantly producing blog content:

“Focus on producing 1 top quality blog a month to start with. That’s a much better KPI than aiming for 4 a month that aren’t going to give you the results you want. These blogs will end up going to the blog graveyard essentially.” 

Think about how blog content is going to be distributed 

Whatever you do, don’t just drop a link on LinkedIn and do nothing else with it.

For Alice, that’s not leading with value - and it’s not a good use of wonderful blog content that your writing team has worked hard on. 

“Blogs should form a key part of the media engine. They should have actionable takeaways and video snippets in it.”

Alice also said that blog content can help demand gen teams create some real distribution magic. For example:

“We create value-led carousels based on key points in our blogs. We share the carousels on LinkedIn; the purpose of this is so our audience can consume our content, in-feed and in-moment.” 

Remember: if you just drop a link, chances are people will scroll straight past it. Focus on giving your audience value, whatever platform they’re on.

Watch the webinar 

Play the full episode to get more actionable demand gen advice.

You’ll see the Cognism team cover lots of other topics, such as using email nurtures for demand gen.

Press ▶️  to start watching.

 

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