How to pick the perfect lead magnet topic
Oftentimes, we see people just jump to creating a lead magnet that is about everything under the sun, throwing it all in a 50-page PDF, and calling it a day. That won’t bring you much of a conversion rate, so we want to help you avoid that mistake and help you come up with an idea that will produce great, meaningful results.
We’ve identified a four-step process that can help you come up with the perfect idea to create the perfect lead magnet. It works in nearly every situation.
Step #1: Create the List
The first thing you need to do is create a place to store your ideas. Most of the ideas you come up with immediately aren’t going to be that great, it’s just the hard truth. Instead, what you need to focus on is creating a system to track and evaluate the ideas you do come up with. This is typically a spreadsheet with a column for the idea, the amount of work it would take, and whether or not you can get it out the door by yourself or with the team you have.
Step #2: Look to Your Content Calendar
Now you need to start writing ideas down on your list. The best place to look is your existing content calendar, where you’ve been keeping track of upcoming blog posts and the previous posts you’ve already published. Regardless of how you organize your list, you should see a few patterns. These are the themes you typically cover and which are proven to be relevant to your readership. A great way to create your first lead magnet is to take one of these themes, turn it into a headline, and then make that the lead magnet. Take every one of these and put them in your list.
Step #3: Explore Your Analytics
Of course, you’re going to have competing ideas for what your lead magnet should be. This is where the magic happens: picking the right one. The best way to narrow down your list to one or two contenders is to look at the analytics for past blog posts. Look for the blog posts that match up to the theme you want to write about and measure a few things: the bounce rate, the time on page, and the rate of first-time-to-repeat visitors.
Ideally, what you want are blog posts that have a low bounce rate (meaning they were so intrigued by the topic that they went elsewhere on your site to read more), a high time on page (meaning they actually read the post), and a high rate of repeat visitors (since these are the ones that are likely to download a lead magnet). Once you’ve identified the theme that is stronger on those measures, you have a lead magnet worth testing.
Step #4: Create a Content Upgrade Test
You may think that having the idea is all you need before you start writing, but we’re big believers in the idea that you should test a topic before putting all of your resources and attention into making it. That may sound complicated, but it’s really pretty easy. What you’ll want to do, if you don’t already have the material written, is to create a smaller content upgrade with the same title as your proposed lead magnet, but with a much narrower focus on what it covers. This will allow you to see if people are interested in clicking on the headline, downloading the resource, and reading it — without going to the trouble of creating it. This way, you’ll have proof that your idea is worth investing in, cutting the risk of wasted time.
How to Make Sure It’s Unique
Even if your idea for a lead magnet is amazing you should still be careful about jumping in and creating it without due diligence. One major mistake you want to avoid is creating a lead magnet that someone else has already created.
To do this, you should go to the sites of your competitors and look to see what they’ve written about that’s similar. This isn’t just looking for lead magnets, but also checking to see if the material you’re covering overlaps too closely with the blog posts they’ve published in the past. If it does, it’s worth taking a minute to adjust your lead magnet outline to make sure it’s differentiated enough to grab someone’s interest.
Once you do this, you need to really bring your expertise to bear. No one wants to read about building a consulting business if you are just saying the same things everyone else is saying. They want to read anecdotes, see case studies, and really come away with the impression that you have some unique knowledge that they can only find in your lead magnet.
After this expertise is written down you’ll want to create a great design. We’re going to get into this more in an upcoming email, but you should know that this doesn’t need to be the hardest part of creating a lead magnet. Yes, your design needs to stand out, which can be intimidating for people without a design background. But, there are tools (like Beacon) that are able to take your raw writing and seamlessly add in a stunning design.
After going through the process of coming up with the right idea and making sure it’s unique, you’ll be ready to start creating your lead magnet.