One of your most important goals as a marketer is to grow your business. How you go about that can vary. You might work with company leaders on a thought leadership strategy, or maybe you're laser-focused on marketing specific products, or your marketing team might be responsible for a variety of different communications initiatives.

These efforts all contribute to growth in their own ways, but no marketing plan is complete without a strong lead generation strategy. After all, growth is going to be impossible to sustain if you aren't able to consistently reach new audiences and attract new customers.

Lead generation is no walk in the park, though. More than 60 percent of marketers worldwide say that generating traffic and leads is their largest marketing challenge, according to HubSpot's annual "State of Inbound" report. Now, it may not be your biggest challenge right at this moment, but I'd bet good money you wouldn't be upset if your team generated more leads.

So let's dive into a few ways that marketers can use content to make lead generation less challenging. From reaching new audiences to generating consistent site traffic and converting visitors into leads, these steps can help you reach your team's ultimate goal of lead generation:

1. Know your audience and its struggles.

Here's a little Marketing 101 for you: No matter what product or service your company offers, your marketing is your chance to present yourself as a solution to a particular problem. If you're hoping to capture more leads, you have to figure out what problems people in your audience are struggling with and how you can help them solve those problems.

Listen to them when they tell you their needs. Pay attention to social conversations, reviews, and comments on content. Find out what your audience is searching for online and what kinds of searches lead them to you. And when you talk with new clients, ask them why they sought you out. Pay attention to these answers, especially if a customer has switched to your product from a competitor's.

If you can understand the problems the members of your target audience are facing, you can be a better resource for them. If customers know you can help them solve their problem before they've even spoken to you, they'll be much more inclined to become a lead (and they'll be better qualified leads, too).

2. Create the right content assets.

Once you've found the problem you're best suited to help your audience members solve, it's time to show them you have the expertise and ability to do that. You can accomplish this through a variety of content types. Position yourself as a resource in posts on your company blog, in articles in outside publications your audience reads, and in downloadable resources on your site.

Each of these assets plays an important role, and they amplify each other when they all work together. If you can align all these content formats and get them working in tandem, you can use them to guide well-qualified leads right to your door.

Creating all this content takes time, and managing it can be time-consuming, too. If you find yourself drowning in a demanding content strategy, don't hesitate to look into helpful free marketing tools that can make your life easier. And speaking of tools that make things easier ...

3. Don't forget your tools.

There are a few other areas where technology will be helpful in lead generation. Two of the biggest? Marketing automation and your customer relationship management system. The right automation tool is going to make it much simpler to scale your efforts because it can automate certain tasks, like some email campaigns, social media, and some of your website actions. It doesn't generate leads for you, obviously, but it can help your team do that more efficiently.

Your work doesn't really stop once a lead is generated, though. That's where the right CRM comes into play. These relationship management tools are key for continuing to hit the trust touchpoints that are essential for turning the leads you generated into customers.

If you want to get the most out of your CRM, make sure both you and your sales teams have access to it. This helps in aligning your teams and also allows your marketing team to see more details of those conversations that bring us back to the first point: understanding your audience.

Lead generation is one of the toughest, most consistent challenges marketers face. Pretty much nothing that's so central to your business is going to be a breeze. At least the right strategy fueled by the right content can make it a little easier.