Content Marketing for Business Consultants: When Your Content Is Your Product
If you’re a business consultant of any kind, you know the key to successful marketing is to create a strong brand proposition and stand out from the crowded consultancy market. You aren’t selling a product, and you aren’t just selling a service — you’re selling your knowledge, your experience, and your competencies. That’s a lot to ask a traditional advertisement to communicate. In these digital days, traditional marketing just isn’t enough.
Potential clients need to see that you understand their business challenges, address their concerns, and have the solutions they need. You’ve got to show empathy and understanding of their situations, while demonstrating expertise in your field. To do that, you need content marketing.
Identify your target
The first step in any marketing plan, including content marketing, is to define your target audience so that you can tailor your message or pitch accordingly. A simple but effective way to start this process is ask yourself a few questions to build up a picture of your ideal client:
- What sort of business are they in?
- What are the challenges that businesses in that field are facing?
- Are you targeting the business owners alone or department heads?
- Are you looking to serve small businesses or bigger organizations?
- Where does your service fit in their process, and how does it help them achieve their targets?
Once you have an idea of who your target audience is, it’s time to figure out what content types and platforms are best suited to reaching them. There are quite a few content types to consider when developing your content marketing strategy, but the most effective for business consultants are blog posts, bylined articles, white papers and e-books, along with social media.
Get a boost with blog posts
Sometimes called the hardest working format in the content marketing toolbox, blog posts are usually 400 to 650 words and provide a quick hit of valuable, useful information on a topic that resonates with your audience. They are easy for readers to scan and understand, a breeze to share with others, and informative enough to keep them coming back for more. Blog posts are also a valuable asset in your SEO toolbox. Search engines give ranking boosts to sites that have an ongoing supply for well-written content. So your blog posts are not only beneficial to your prospective clients, but they also help you increase your online visibility, too.
Make your mark with bylined articles
If blogs are about being informative, bylined articles are about educating the audience about an issue. They have the power to establish your company as a thought leader in your field. Usually written by an executive or another key employee, bylined articles are longer and a bit more formal than blog posts, typically running between 800 and 2,000 words. They are published in trade publications and industry blogs. Instead of promoting your services directly, the article speaks to issues of immediate concern to businesses in the field in a way that is both interesting and enlightening. Readers interested in the content can click through to learn more about the author, which raises interest in your company by association.
Go deeper with white papers and e-books
Sometimes a topic really needs space to be covered thoroughly and accurately. That is where the longest of our formats, white papers and e-books, come into their own. These long-form pieces provide comprehensive, in-depth coverage on industry topics of interest to your prospective clients. Unlike blog posts and bylined articles, they provide an immediate payoff. Customers are generally quite happy to provide their contact information in exchange for a free download, because they hope that it contains the answers their looking for. They get valuable information, and you get a hot lead.
Remember to do your research to show that you’re in touch with your field. You wouldn’t want to link to a competitor, but it can be a good idea to cite news stories about your industry or specific clients. In your white paper or e-book, you can also offer well-written case studies that highlight a few success stories from your clients. This is a wonderful way to demonstrate your expertise and deepen your existing and future client relationships. In fact, it’s a win-win: Through their success stories, your featured clients get attention for their businesses, too.
Develop a social strategy
Social media moves fast, with people and brands constantly connecting with each other — getting, giving and sharing information. How do you stand out with all that happening at once? By sharing compelling and consistent content crafted specifically for your audience.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms invite audience interaction, build relationships, and deepen customer trust. Social media offers great reach for very little outlay. People retweet, “like,” and interact with your content, growing the audience for each piece exponentially with each click. When marketing your content on social media, it’s important to use the platform to start a conversation, instead of a one-way monologue. Ask readers to comment on the content, and share it with their followers. You can also use social media updates to cross promote new e-books you are offering or announce the latest blog posts on your site.
Not sure where to start with your unique content strategy? We get it. Content strategy is a vital part of any business today, and it takes some time and thought to craft yours. There is a method to the madness. We at Prose specialize in helping you create a road map to successful content strategy. If you want a trusted partner in building yours, sign up for free, no-obligation access to our platform today. We’d love to see what you have in mind.