Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a way to attract more clients that you actually enjoy working with?
Clients that end up spending more, staying longer, and referring more often.
Those are the promises of content marketing. But, unfortunately, many consultants end up wasting time on activities that yield little results. Why is that?
Oftentimes, it’s due to the lack of a cohesive content marketing strategy that actually drives new clients.
Whether you’re in marketing consulting or any other consulting business, moving from just creating content to creating content with purpose begins with laying out a clear plan for what you’re going to do and how those actions will serve your business goals.
If you’re just getting started with content marketing, or you’re not really satisfied with the results you’ve been getting, let’s see if we can gain some clarity and get you moving in a good direction.
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So, what is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Essentially, that means you’re consistently creating and sharing content, relevant to your consulting services, that captures the attention of potential clients so that they get to know, like, and trust you enough to eventually do business with you.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a plan you put in place to consistently use content in various forms to attract those potential clients while influencing their behavior over time.
Why do consultants need a content marketing strategy?
Consider this: content fuels the internet. Content is what people search for, consume, and share. And it’s going to be at the heart of all your online marketing efforts. You’ll use content on your website, in your email marketing, social media, and webinars.
Beyond your online channels, you’ll also want to think about the content you’ll use for speaking engagements and even meetings to win new business.
Yes, a content marketing strategy can, and should, win you new business.
When you have content available that answers the burning questions of the people you’re trying to reach, you increase the chances of a potential client finding your content, sharing your content (exposing you to a wider audience), and ultimately taking the next steps with you directly. When you create content that shows them how you can guide them in their current challenges you’re ultimately making it easier for potential clients to find you and choose you.
Think about it like this: after consuming your content, a potential client is more primed to do business with you. Why? Simply because you’ve given them the opportunity to get to know, like, and trust before they contact you directly. And when they do contact you, they’ve already bought into your thinking and likely just need to know how to take the next steps rather than needing to be brought up to speed on the value you bring to the table.
And there’s an added bonus.
The act of creating your content forces you to hone your pitch. So when you are in discussions with potential clients, you’ll be even more convincing in your grasp of the material. It also shows you know your stuff when you can send more information on a particular topic that may come up in discussion.
Here’s something else to consider about your content marketing strategy…
The ongoing creation of content should be thought of as an investment. As you add to your library of content, your authority gets stronger and stronger, both in the real world and online, as search engines, like Google, start to recognize you as an expert source on a particular topic.
Creating content over time allows you to market yourself by tapping into one of the most important aspects of marketing — consistency. When you’re always there, providing insight and advice, you’ll be top of mind when someone needs your services. You’ll also be the first consultant someone refers to if someone they know asks for a recommendation.
By now, you may be seeing a content marketing strategy as a worthwhile investment. So how do you get started? Let’s take a look.
How do you write a content marketing strategy?
Getting started with a content marketing strategy is more straightforward than you might think.
Step 1: Define your goals
What are you trying to accomplish for your consulting business? At a high level, you’re trying to attract an audience of potential clients and influence their behavior over time. Don’t stop there. Get specific.
For our purposes, let’s assume your goals are to establish yourself or your business as a thought leader in your industry and generate more qualified leads for your business.
Obviously, you’ll want to track the number of quality leads your content generates. Additionally, you’ll also want to keep an eye on things like traffic to the content on your website, shares, comments, links back to your site, and inquiries for speaking engagements or expert interviews. These items allow you to gauge how you’re doing in the thought leader or industry expert category.
The next step is crucial in identifying those assets that’ll have the most significant impact on your content marketing strategy.
Step 2: Identify your audience
For your content marketing strategy to produce the best results, you’ll need to choose a well-defined audience that you’re looking to attract. You may have more than one audience. Each one should be treated differently based on their unique needs.
Many people are cloudy on who it is that they’re going after with their content marketing strategy. Don’t fall into this trap. When you’re unclear about your audience, you end up creating general content. General content gets you only so far, as it just adds to the noise vying for people’s limited attention.
When you’re clear on the audience, you can be more specific with your content because you’ll know your audience like no one else. You’ll have intimate knowledge of their struggles and how you can best help them become more successful with not only your content but also your services.
Why knowing your audience is so important
Let’s think through a silly yet straightforward scenario to see how the content you create can be vastly different based on whom you’re trying to attract.
Imagine that your task was to explain quantum physics to the following people:
- A physicist
- Your best friend
- A twelve-year-old
I’m sure you can already see how your tact would vary given the audiences above. The audience dictates the approach you take and the information you provide.
If you understand the audience like no one else, your content better resonates with them and gets the attention it deserves. You must make a choice about who your audience is, and keep them in mind as you create content for them.
Step 3: Find your topics
Now that you know your content marketing goals and the audience you’re trying to reach, you’ll need to figure out the topics you’ll need to address with your content.
Above all else, it’s best to invite participation from the people you’re trying to reach. Beyond your local community, identify online groups where these people are active so you can hear from them firsthand. The conversations you’ll have with these people serve as great starting points for the content you’ll want to create.
Of course, you’ll also be able to draw on your experience working with your existing clients.
Are there questions you regularly get from your current or potential clients? Create content to address those questions.
Step 4: Create consistently
Since content marketing focuses on influencing behavior over time, consistency plays an essential role in your success. And so it’s worthwhile to mention consistency again. Think about your regular relationships. It’s those people you’re in regular contact with that occupy the most space in your brain. The same thing happens in content marketing.
Keep in mind that Google and other search engines also love fresh content. When you create and publish high-quality content on a consistent basis, it signals to the search engines that your site may deserve a higher ranking in the search results.
Consistency doesn’t mean you need to publish content every day. It’s likely you have other responsibilities to your business. At the very least, consider creating one piece of high-quality content per week.
Step 5: Promote your content
What good is your high-quality piece of content if no one knows about it? You need to get the word out.
Here are just a few ideas:
Promote with email
Promote the content to an email list you’ve built. Whether it’s in a newsletter or a regular email that supports your latest blog posts, email marketing drives traffic to your content. Use it. For the best results, make sure you always build your email list organically by allowing people to opt in.
Promote on social
Share on your social channels, with a focus on the channel you use most frequently.
Reach out externally
If you’ve done your job correctly, the content you create is a valuable tool for your audience. Reach out to the people you’ve built professional relationships with, as they may have people in their audiences that would benefit from the content you’ve created.
Do all of these things need to be included in a content marketing strategy?
Many times, people get by with doing just a few of the things listed above. However, their intent isn’t as focused and can lead to a mentality of quantity over quality.
The more closely you follow these steps, the more powerful your content marketing strategy becomes. That’s how you take your content and business to the next level.
Why a content marketing strategy makes it easier for potential clients to choose you as their consultant
It’s simple really. Let’s say you’re looking at the websites of potential consultants. If all things were equal and you were to choose between two options, where would you gravitate?
Option one: Offers the services you’re looking for, but little information beyond that.
Option two: Offers the services you’re looking for, plus a site rich with helpful content that demonstrates expertise, a point of view, and a chance to get to know the consultant or agency before you even connect with them.
Of course, most people would gravitate toward option two.
Add a content marketing strategy to your approach!
Your content can attract more clients that you actually enjoy working with because as potential clients consume your content, they’re actually pre-qualifying themselves before they reach out to you. These clients end up spending more, staying longer, and referring more often.
Here’s how you can get started with your content marketing strategy.
Make a list of questions you commonly get from potential clients. Start creating content by answering those questions in whatever way you feel most comfortable. If you like to write, write. If you’re more comfortable speaking into the camera, make some videos. Maybe you’re more comfortable talking, so start a podcast. Whatever format you choose, you can then repurpose your content into other formats, or hire someone to do that work for you.
The idea is to just start putting things out there that focus on providing real guidance to your potential clients. Remember, all good things come from focusing on the people you’re trying to reach and helping them become more successful.