What is Content Marketing?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Many professional services firms have adopted the importance of staying ahead of the game with their marketing plans, content marketing is the latest must-have strategy thanks greatly to the emphasis Google have put on high quality digital content for ranking purposes.

Focusing on ranking isn't the only reason to have a content marketing strategy however, having a regular flow of high quality content allows you to build your brand and generate good quality leads. Whilst many firms understand how important this is, what they do struggle with is how to create a content marketing strategy.

  • What do you write about?
  • What topics will resonate with your clients?
  • How technical do you get?
  • Should you share tips to show expertise or do you want to keep your knowledge close to your chest?
This blog should help you start to answer these questions and formulate your content marketing plan.

Audience
Think of your audience, don't write for you, or your colleagues, write for your audience. If you're a law firm writing a piece about the latest legislation then write at a level your clients will understand, don't overcomplicate the piece with abbreviations and acronyms which solicitors won't understand.

Alternatively, you may have multiple audiences in different industries, in which case you will want to write different content streams aimed specifically at the different audiences. This is where the correct use of categories on blogs comes in really useful.

Empathise
Research and find out what issues are affecting your audience and discuss those issues, these may well be different to the issues affecting you and your business. Remember though, that if you are creating content which resonates with your audience then they will keep coming back to you for more, and will remember you when they are looking for the service you provide.

Buying Process
Look at the full buying process, and the issues your clients will be coming across throughout the process, most content created by professional services firms concentrates on the point at which people have decided to buy, but what if you were the one firm who decided to help them along the road? How much do you think you would stand out?

Vary Content Depth
Provide content at varying levels of detail to ensure that your readers can get involved at their own level of interest and knowledge. Provide blogs or newsletters at a basic level; whitepapers or e-guides at a more intermediate level; and seminars or workshops for those who want an in-depth understanding of the topic. This way you are offering your audience a full understanding of topics and the opportunity to meet and get to know you.

Be Relevant
Always make sure your content is relevant to the services you provide, you may have a topic you really want to cover, but it has absolutely no relevancy to the services you provide, in which case, there is no benefit to you writing about it. Remember you are always selling your services, the content you write is demonstrating your knowledge at the services you offer, it is your way of saying, "this is what we do, this is why we are good at it, this is why you should use us".

Don't Promote
Despite what I have said above, don't directly promote your services, your content should be saying these things subconsciously. You don't want to be writing a piece of content which does nothing but all the way through talk about how you can do do this and you can do that. This is naturally implied in the fact you are writing about it and there is nothing which turns people away faster than selling when they are expecting genuine information.

Share Tips
Some people hate what I'm about to say but sharing tips is a great way to share that you have knowledge and expertise. It also implies you have lots more to give. You aren't giving away your secret key to competitors because the truth is people within industries know these secrets already, you're proving to clients and potential clients that you are the right choice and why.

In addition to these tips, look at content you have offline and see if you can re-purpose it for online use, have you got presentations, seminar notes, fliers, newsletters which could be fit for re-use online in some way? In the same nature, what have you done online which could be re-purposed for offline use? Have you had massive success with a particular blog? Could you turn that into a seminar or workshop?

There are lots of way to create, manage and use your content, enjoy engaging with your audience and finding new clients with your content marketing strategy.