We recently talked about “inbound journalism,” a term coined by marketing firm Austin Lawrence Group, and how to incorporate it into your toolbox. The main objective of inbound journalism is lead generation. It generates leads by giving customers what they want—not what you want.

To generate quality leads with inbound journalism, you can’t just throw up a random Top 10 list and expect results. Your content must connect with your readers and fit your overall marketing strategy.

Here are a few pointers to create inbound journalism that finds the facts and the “truth about the facts1,” as well as builds trust in your brand.

  1.  Align with your company strategy.

As mentioned, keep your marketing strategy in mind. Do you want to build brand awareness? Consider a series of features that profile your people or your clients. Do you want to establish your CEO as a thought leader? Consider a series of blogs where he can express his point of view. To help establish your company as a trusted expert, show your audience that you know they’ve done their research, but you also want to provide two little-known tips to help them maximize spend.

  1. Write to your target audience and write it well.

Write to your buyer personas. If you don’t have an in-house writer with top-notch feature-writing skills, hire a professional content marketing writer.

  1. Keep it engaging.

Your content should inform and connect with your audience. Give your customers an opportunity to comment. Ask questions in your blog. Share liberally on social media and invite comments, shares, and retweets. Respond authentically to all comments. (No canned responses!)
Keep the tone of your articles and blogs conversational while still adhering to your company’s voice. For example, silly jokes may not fit a medical device company’s blog, but they may work great for a brew pub.

  1. Keep it honest.

Follow the ethics of journalism. Tell the truth at all times. Don’t write that your company is the Number One producer of The Widget without a source to back up that claim. If you quote from another article or website, attribute the quote. Write accurate, engaging articles, not sensational, baseless articles.

  1. Outsource.

Seek out well-known bloggers or industry leaders with vast social media presences to contribute a guest blog or article. They will share the article on their site, with their contacts, which will get your content in front of a wider audience. Also consider publishing content on LinkedIn, Forbes, and industry trade magazines to tap into their vast audiences of business folks.

As Ann Handley of MarketingProfs wrote, “good content is not storytelling. It’s telling your story well.” (Note our attributed source!) Go out there and tell your story, share your opinions, do it well, and start tracking those quality leads.

1. “What is Journalism?” American Press Institute.