Quality content has solidified itself as a key ingredient in today’s marketing mix. In fact, marketers rank developing and refining their content strategy as their top priority of any content initiative.
An effective content strategy will help your brand to establish trust, drive users to convert, and deliver valuable information to the right users at the right time.
However, content marketing in the consulting industry has its challenges. Before being able to generate leads, consulting firms must gain the trust of a prospect. In order to build this trust, your content must tap into the needs of your audience and demonstrate your firm’s expertise. Once your audience grows accustomed to the valuable content you share, they will start to engage with your brand and lean on your consulting expertise.
To tap into these opportunities, apply the following best practices to your consulting firm’s content strategy.
Setting It Up
Cater to Personas
The content you produce won’t matter if it doesn’t strike a chord with your target audience. Therefore, craft content that caters to your unique set of current and prospective clients and their needs. Categorize your audience into personas and build a template to cover every persona type and their common behaviors. For instance, you can group your personas based on their daily routines or the pain points they have when looking for a consulting service. By focusing on your personas throughout your content strategy, your content will mirror the needs of your ideal leads.
Once you have defined personas, you can structure your content around your client journey. Start this process by creating a journey map, which visually represents the path an individual takes toward conversion – from stranger to client. Once this process is mapped out, you can start to generate content for each journey stage. For instance, during the awareness stage, the client is usually doing research to better understand or define their problem. By providing content such as blog posts, articles and educational videos, you’ll cater to their needs during that stage.
Use Third-Party Research
Thorough research will enable you to decode your audiences’ pressing concerns that are leading them to seek out consulting. It can also determine valuable insights, including traffic sources, common search terms, and a competitive analysis. Your firm can utilize discussion groups, social media, and Google Analytics to dive into this data. By gaining this insight, you can use historical data to guide your future content strategy.
You can also use LinkedIn to mine information for your content initiatives. LinkedIn groups are a goldmine for identifying content gaps in your industry, as well as trending topics. By joining groups that are highly relevant to your industry, you will be able to generate topical ideas, understand industry trends, and put your brand at the forefront of prospects’ minds (and feeds). The information found in your third-party research can work to guide the content you produce, ultimately optimizing your content strategy.
Kicking It Off
Build an Editorial Calendar
Once your strategy is set up for success, you can kick off the initial phases of content deployment. Start by building a detailed editorial calendar that categorizes the content you plan to write, defines the channels you will use to distribute, and sets a timeline in place for each piece. This calendar will ensure that your content is consistent with your brand, unique to your firm’s offerings, and taps into the right sources that your firm has access to. By scheduling your content in advance, your firm will be ready to create and distribute the most valuable content for your readers.
Blog posts are quintessential to an effective content strategy. In fact, blogging is the most routinely used content marketing tactic compared to any other tool. Blogging gives consultants a platform where they can communicate their knowledge, expertise and authority in the space. With a structured blog in place, your firm will be able to showcase thought leadership and build credibility in a competitive landscape.
Create gated content to continue to boost engagement with current and prospective clients. This longer-form content provides rich, substantive information that works to educate rather than sell. For instance, a white paper such as, “6 Ways to Strategically Increase Revenue for a New Product,” will attract prospects by offering content that highlights your firm as an educational source, keeps your readers informed, and shows your brand as an asset to their consulting needs.
65% of people are visual learners. Cater to this learning style and drive messages home by designing an infographic that illustrates and outlines your content. It’s a valuable method to catch the eye of potential clients, as well as increase the chances of your content being prioritized in newsfeed algorithms. It also offers your team an opportunity to repurpose popular content. You can recycle blog content by using snippets of content to the tellthe story, and correlating graphics to showthe story. By showing rather than just telling, your readers will be able to easily digest content and have an interactive experience while learning.
Content marketing allows your firm to develop and distribute content to attract, acquire, and engage your target audience.
In order to set your content strategy up for success, be sure to use personas, buyers’ journeys and third-party research to guide your efforts. Once you have a clear understanding of your audience and the content they crave, you can start producing high level content that generates business. Use an editorial calendar, blogs, gated content, and infographics to dive into topics that relate to your target audience and solve their consulting needs.
By driving your audience to relevant and valuable content, you will gain the trust of leads and form meaningful relationships that achieve positive business results.
What tools have you been using to build a strong content strategy? Let us know on LinkedIn!