Understanding Content: Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation – Nick Rojas

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Cover image for  article: Understanding Content: Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation – Nick Rojas

Nick Rojas is a Los Angeles-based business consultant and writer.

Though content marketing is now an accepted and widely adopted form of marketing, there continue to be a lot of nuances that people don’t seem to understand. One of these tricky nuances is the distinction between lead generation and demand generation. How are these things similar? How are they different? If you want to be successful in content marketing, appreciating the differences between them is key.

Different types of content work better for different types of content marketing. A blog post can be a good device for either lead generation or demand generation, but which one depends on how (and why) you write it. Understanding and appreciating these differences is integral to having a successful content marketing campaign.

Lead generation: More widely understood than demand generation, lead generation is the process of collecting contact information from an audience whether in person or via email, website or phone. The goal here is to create a catalogue of interested parties that a sales manager or team can reach out to at a later point and initiate the sales funnel.

Demand generation: More like traditional marketing, demand generation is the process of disseminating information about your products and services by providing relevant, informative and interesting content about them. The goal is to get people interested and prime them to become leads. Unlike lead generation, demand generation is a one way process and does not require the audience to provide information.

Demand generation is used to shape perception of your brand or product, while lead generation is a way of collecting potential customers. One content marketing plan simply can’t cover both of these disparate techniques. Whenever you create a piece of content, it should be with the goal of serving one of these two strategies, not both. Each piece of content must be crafted accordingly.

Lead generating content is usually long-form articles, e-books, press releases and webinars. It employs landing pages to collect information about customers, often promising the content after registration or information collection. The king of Internet lead generation is the newsletter signup form: people sign up for free content and in the process give you crucial contact information you can use at a later date.

Demand generating content, on the other hand, is much more readily accessible, as it doesn’t require the audience to provide information in exchange. It’s viral and meant to be shared as much as possible. For this reason, tweets, infographics (free tools like image resizers can make creating infographics much easier), videos and other small form content pieces are the most common and effective forms of demand generating content.

In a nutshell, lead generation is about getting contact information of potential customers so that you can connect with them later on, while demand generation is about increasing the population of potential customers by exposing them to persuasive advertising. Demand generation works hand in hand with lead generation by increasing the number of potential customers. After it has worked its magic, you can use your lead generating content to weed out the lower-quality leads and make sure you connect with the people most likely to convert.

Making sure that there is a distinction between lead and demand generation in your content marketing helps you make sure your marketing is directed where it will be most effective, increasing both the amount and the quality of the leads you collect.

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

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