The Lead Cookie Content Playbook: Creating a viral lead magnet

2083 email signups.
That is how many people have opted in for my Lead Cookie lead magnets in the past 18 months. 
That is 100% organic without any advertising spend at all.

28.32% of revenue. 
That is how much of our overall revenue has come from Content Marketing at Lead Cookie. 

Despite the fact that we are an outbound marketing company, a large portion of our revenue has come from content marketing. 

And even the outbound marketing we do is still supported by our content which builds trust and authority with potential leads. 

In this article, I am going to share how we built a lead magnet that went viral and generated such a large portion fo our revenue.

The #1 principle to creating viral cornerstone content

For anyone who doesn't know, a lead magnet is basically a free giveaway that you put on your website to get someone to opt-in to your email list so you can re-market to them over time. 

Well many people screw up this whole lead magnet thing... 

In fact, just a couple of days ago a friend sent me his lead magnet and asked for my feedback.

He ran a marketing agency, and so his lead magnet covered this holistic viewpoint of how to build a marketing campaign from zero to execution. It was super high level, and covered so many different things. Each topic had about one page dedicated to it. 

While the lead magnet looked good, and having it is better than nothing, here is what I told him...

So I am in your world and I’ve seen a ton of marketing eBooks. This is good, and it’s worth putting out there. Don’t scrap it but I would challenge you that a high level eBook like this isn’t really going to help a lot of people.

This will demonstrate expertise to some prospects, but ultimately not many prospects will actually be able to do shit with something like this. It’s just too high level and big picture.

If you want to create a lead magnet that actually gets attention. Then you need to go deep. You need to teach something in so much granularity that it becomes the #1 resource on the internet for whatever it is you are teaching.

I shared this with him not from a place of theory, but because I have done it myself.

If you have not seen this already, take a look at my blog on A How to Guide to Linkedin Lead Generation. This is my "cornerstone content" and the lead magnet which hooks everyone in to what I have to offer at Lead Cookie.

I am going to dive into what has made this work and convert so well in a bit, but for now I want to share one simple principle.

If you want your lead magnet or cornerstone content to go viral, then you must make it the #1 resource on the internet for whatever the topic is.

That article I just shared on Linkedin Lead Generation arguably the best piece of content on the internet about this topic. 

It is extremely detailed, extremely long, and goes deep into giving away 100% of what you need to build a Linkedin Campaign. 

I held nothing back when I created this article and I aimed to make this the best possible resource on the internet for this niche topic. 

Contrast that with your average lead magnet. 

It's general.
It holds back information. 
And you could probably find hundreds of other blog posts are articles on the exact same topic.

It's not #1, and therefore it gets little attention and adds little value.

The results of creating the #1 resource on a topic as your cornerstone content 

There are days I have woken up to 20+ new inquiries on my website.
These are not just email opt-ins, but actual inquiries for our service. 

Apparently, someone posted our lead magnet in some Facebook Group or Reddit thread... 

And as a result we get a huge influx of leads. 

Without even putting any effort into it, the content started getting shared all around the internet. 
That is the power of putting out incredibly high value content without even gating it behind an email opt-in. 

And it has continued to do generate these kind of results for over a year now. 

Also, as a result of all of these viral links and attention, the article has also sat near the top of Google for several Linkedin related keywords as well. 

This leads to more traffic, more opt-ins, and ultimately more customers. 

Cornerstone Content vs Lead Magnet

Throughout this article I have referred to this as both "Cornerstone Content" and a "Lead Magnet". Let me take a second to explain the difference and share how I used both... 

Cornerstone Content 

This is your top content. This is an article or resource that you put out on the internet that is NOT behind an email wall. It is out there, it is free and someone can read it and become enticed with your offer WITHOUT giving you their email address. 

A How to Guide to Linkedin Lead Generation is a blog post that teaches everything right there on the blog post. Someone can read that and gain MASSIVE value without ever giving me their email address.

If you look at the article though, you will notice there is a "Content Upgrade" on the post. Someone can get all of the nitty gritty details BUT if they want the actual scripts we use, then they have to provide their email address.

This concept of a "Content Upgrade" is an incredibly simple and powerful tactic that is worth implementing on your cornerstone content as it will significantly increase your conversion.

Lead Magnet 

Now on the flip side of this, you will also see the EXACT same content in an eBook form at The eBook lives on the site in two ways.

First, it will show up as a pop up based on exit intent or duration on the website. This captures someone before they leave the site and gets them into our funnel and indoctrinated with our message.

Second, look at our contact form. Right above the contact form you will see the following text.

"Fill out the application below or send us an email at 

Or download our free How to Guide for Linkedin Lead Generation"

That second line converts INSANELY high. In fact we had almost 600 opt-ins from that in the first few months before we ever even started the pop-up on our website. 

The concept here is simple. 

Give someone a lower touch way to engage you if they are not ready to submit an inquiry for your service.

Someone may read through the entire web page, and then be almost ready to inquire, but not quite.

Instead of leaving, we offer our free eBook which captures their attention and indoctrinates them with our message. 


So as you see, we have built the content in both a Lead Magnet and Cornerstone Content form. Both will capture different people who come through different channels and indoctrinate them with our message.

Our cornerstone content indoctrinates someone to buy 

I would estimate that at least 60%+ of the sales calls I have reference that they have read the How to Guide to Linkedin Lead Generation blog post or eBook.

The common story I hear over and over again is.

That guide was amazing. I read through it, started trying it on my own and realized how much time it would take and so I am reaching out to you.

Or they may say.

Your guide was great but I figure if I am going to do this, I want an expert and someone who can write the scripts and really make sure we nail this. So instead of trying to figure this all out myself I just want to bring in the experts to make it happen.

I hear these kind of stories over and over again.

And here is the thing, even if a lead doesn't come through the content, it still supports the close.

For example, we do a lot of outbound marketing for our service. Cold email and Linkedin outreach.

I have gotten on the phone with people who researched us before the call, found the lead magnet, and then were impressed with what we had put together.

As a result, they were warmed up and closed on the first call! 

So the inbound content is still supporting our outbound campaigns.

Your guide to creating a viral lead magnet

  1. Before you write a single word, ask yourself "Is this going to be the #1 resource on the internet for the topic I am covering?"

    • If you can't make the #1 resource on the internet for this topic, then you need to niche down, or consider changing the focus of your lead magnet.

  2. Teach it all. Hold nothing back.

    • Give away 100% of your secrets. I've had people share comments on my articles that say "I can't believe you aren't charging for this kind of information." That is the mindset you want to take when creating content. 

    • Teach it all, and then let people come hire you for the implementation.

  3. Create it as a free piece of content with a "Content Upgrade".

    • This will increase the ease for someone to share it. No one likes to link to a landing page that requires an email opt-in. But people love linking to a blog post.

  4. Create it. Then promote it.

    • Link to it from other blog posts or podcasts

    • Link to it from guest blog posts

    • Mention it whenever you appear on webinars or podcasts

    • Drive traffic to it whenever and however you can

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