Marketers are feeling more pressure to generate leads, making it a top priority for  execs, and content campaigns can help.

Content marketing is maturing, and companies rely less on ‘vanity metrics’ like search traffic and keyword rankings to evaluate their campaigns. According to the 2014 State of Inbound Marketing report from Hubspot, lead generation is the top priority for marketing practitioners and leaders as they look for better ways to measure ROI.

Lead generation is an important metric for all organic search marketing campaigns.

It offers hard evidence that strategies are resonating with the right audience and inspiring readers to not only consume web content, but also take some sort of action. Depending on the business and its goals, that might come in the form of a purchase, a demo request or a resource download.

Check out this video for other metrics that look good, but may not be as beneficial to your bottom line.

If lead gen is an important metric that content campaigns are being held to, marketers must bake that goal into their strategies. There are some formats and tactics that can significantly improve their chances of hitting numbers and reaching their goals:

  • Downloadable documents, like eBooks and white papers

Written assets that are rich in research, proprietary data or brand insights can be formatted and put behind a download wall. This requires visitors to provide their contact information before they can access the content and captures fresh lead data.

  • Visual content like videos, infographics and call to action buttons

Web users love visual content. Look at BuzzFeed’s success publishing lists overflowing with gifs and pictures, or consider YouTube’s recent usurpation of the ‘biggest social network’ title. Create original visuals that will catch users’ eyes and keep them clicking – especially on your custom call to action buttons that push visitors toward conversion-oriented pages.

  • Strong website infrastructure and design

It’s hard to generate web leads if visitors don’t see clearly see the cues telling them what to do next. Strong web design and user experience makes it easy for a visitor to navigate the site, understand its purpose and complete a task that counts as a conversion. Quality landing pages are also elemental to success because these are the destinations you’ll be directing traffic to when generating leads. (Here’s an example of how revamped landing pages drive more traffic AND conversions.)

Website traffic will always be an important KPI, but as more marketers align themselves with sales teams, they’ll be looking toward bottom-funnel metrics to demonstrate their impact. To achieve lead generation goals, marketers must be creating content that directly maps to these aims and implementing campaigns that support them.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.