How Professional Services Firms Can Excel at Content Marketing without Jeopardizing Billable Time
Have you seen the popular news clip that has spawned a media and meme sensation? It’s referred to as “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” and while the meme itself may be pretty silly, I often feel that “marketing… ain’t nobody got time for that!” is what our professional services clients think when I ask them to add content marketing to their already busy schedules in which billable client work is the first priority. They seem to think I am as crazy as these memes are.
I can’t say I blame professional services firms for ruling out content marketing because it “takes too long.” I too understand the demands of today’s fast-paced professional world. There are clients to serve, employees to manage, goals to reach, and endless deadlines to be met (shout out to the accountants). Would you think I am even crazier if I told you that you can easily weave content marketing into your day without jeopardizing your valuable billable time? Well, believe it! With the following time-saving strategies, you can accomplish one more thing: growing your business by generating leads online with content marketing!
- Divide and conquer. We always recommend that professional services firms start with a plan when it comes to blogging. Oftentimes, that means creating an editorial calendar with all your blog topics listed out for the month or quarter, along with posting date and who is responsible for writing the post. Before creating this, make sure you know who will participate in blogging – the more people the better! This way the blogging effort (and time) can be divided up so that it is not a burden on just a few people. The great thing about blogging is that all levels of staff can participate – from CEO to entry level coordinator. Be sure to also poll the group to get topic ideas! That way one person isn’t stuck coming up with all the blog ideas for the quarter.
- Round it up. One of our favorite ways to create a quick, yet valuable blog post is to create a “round up” post that features links to some of our other favorite content on the web. Consider doing a weekly round up blog post in which you compile your favorite blog posts or articles from that week. Be sure to provide a mini description of why your readers will like each post or what they will learn from it. Also, don’t forget to link to the original blog post and give credit to your fellow bloggers! The great thing about a round up post is that it can take as little as 30 minutes, since it requires very little writing on your part. Our friends at Blogging Wizard have great examples of this blog post style.
- Get in touch with your inner journalist. Interviews are a great way to gather interesting content for your blog and website without having to invest a lot of your own precious time. Do you have a strategic advisor, vendor, or respected industry colleague that your clients/prospects would love to hear from? Don’t be shy! Reach out to them to see if they will participate in a brief interview with you. The possibilities are endless – you can do an interview by Skype or document it on your smartphone with Socialcam. Then, you’ve got a video that can be embedded into a blog post, posted on your website homepage, and added to YouTube. Or you can simply go old school and share the interview transcription in a blog post. That’s a lot of content for a very minimal time investment!
- Write what you know. I’ve found that sometime professional services bloggers can feel lost, thinking they need to be cutting edge, provocative, or need to write about the latest industry trend. While I certainly encourage these approaches when you have the time, they can be more time consuming than is needed. If you’re strapped for time and need to write a blog post, always come back to what you know. What is your expertise? What questions do your clients ask you time and time again? What is a common problem your clients all deal with? Chances are, you deal with these issues day to day and the answers are already in your head! It should be quick and easy to put them down on paper, and you’ll be providing valuable information to your blog readers.
I hope these strategies will help you see that content marketing (and blogging in particular) do not have to be a burden! By dividing up responsibilities, repurposing content and using smart, but quick strategies for creating content – you can provide value to your clients and prospects without quitting your day job. What are your time-saving content marketing strategies?