The Only Content Marketing Advice Professional Services Firms Need To Know

by Debra Andrews | September 25, 2014

Do not read another blog this year on content marketing.  This post has everything you need to know. Now, please don’t jump to the wrong conclusion – I’m not a know-it-all or think I’m big stuff.  In fact, the knowledge I’m about to share isn’t even mine.  I attended INBOUND, HubSpot’s annual conference, and took really good notes, a skill that I mastered in college. So, go ahead and bookmark and favorite this page right now as you are about to hear exactly what you need to do to succeed at content marketing from some of the nation’s top thought leaders.

Move From Information to Insight Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing, LinkedIn 

Too much digital content states the obvious.  You can type in a Google keyword search and see post after post saying almost the exact same thing.  The authors of this homogenized content either don’t have unique insight or, quite frankly, they’re lazy.  In professional services, insight, or thought leadership, is what distinguishes one provider from another.  According to Ann Handley, “Words tell customers who we are and are our currency – don’t squander them!”  She shared that content needs to be “ridiculously useful.” Bottom line – if you don’t put the time into making your content relevant and chocked full of utility, then stop typing.  You may actually hurt your personal brand and definitely won’t see a return on your time.

As professional services providers, you have that great insight.  You are face-to-face with clients, helping to solve their problems and seize opportunities.  “Tell their stories well.  Focus on empathy and experiences,” Handley shared.  Marcus Sheridan, otherwise know as the “The Sales Lion,” echoed (well, he actually roared) Handley’s advice.  He challenged the audience to not use terms like content marketing and blogging and replace them with:

  • Problem solving
  • Sharing
  • Teaching
  • Educating
  • Communicating

As a professional service provider, aren’t you in the business of problem solving?  To the extent you’re able to tell powerful stories about client challenges and offer helpful tips, your content will shine above the rest. SEO guru, Rand Fishkin, emphasized that you should not hit publish unless your content is superior enough to be amplified (shared widely).

Repurpose Content Like Leftover Turkey Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing, LinkedIn

This is clever advice from Jason Miller. Think about how many post Thanksgiving meals one turkey provides!  Approach content marketing in a similar manner by having a “big rock” item each quarter.  This is like the breast of the turkey.  White papers, resource kits and guides would certainly fit into this category. Then, use your leftovers wisely through creating e-books, podcasts, blogs, infographics or webinars.  Marketers should repurpose big pieces of content at least four different ways.

According to HubSpot Co-Founder, Dharmesh Shah, one of most important roles of the modern day marketer is to create leverage with content.  A unique, relevant and innovative piece of content is like an asset.  There is an upfront investment of time, and yes, it’s non-billable, but the return on well-done content assets should be huge. Evergreen, digital content works for its creator days, weeks and even years after it is produced and uploaded.  This has partially transformed the marketing role from an expense line on the income statement to one of the most important people at any growth-minded firm.  With this in mind, Shah believes that marketers salaries will double over the next five years.  YES!!!!

Stop Making Excuses and Do it!  Debbie Andrews, Professional Content Nag, Marketri

Inbound strategist and author, David Meerman Scott, validated what I, as a professional services marketing consultant, have known for quite a while.  Fear prevents professionals from embarking on the content marketing journey.  You just need to take the first step knowing that writing doesn’t come naturally to many professionals. Think about it this way, hard work and practice made you a great lawyer, accountant, engineer or architect.  It will have the same impact on your ability to create content.  It absolutely can be a learned skill.  According to Handley, “Writing is a habit, not an art.”

I wish everyone, even non-marketers, had the opportunity to go to INBOUND.  The vast learning was transformative.  I realize that a post recapping some of highlights doesn’t have nearly the same impact.  But, at a minimum, I hope you’ve found it ridiculously useful.

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