Villing & Company

The spring of our content: A compelling tool for professional services marketing

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Content marketing can be a powerful tool for a wide variety of industries but it is probably most effective for professional services organizations. The reason should be as simple as it is obvious. Professional services providers are typically not selling products so much as their expertise. The more that expertise can take the form of thought leadership, the greater the opportunities for marketing success.

Chances are you’ve heard of content marketing, but it may be useful to share this basic definition:

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of insights and information through communications vehicles such as videos, blogs, and social media posts in ways that do not explicitly promote a brand but are intended to create interest in its products or services.

Why you may not want to engage in content marketing

Now this definition may elicit several reactions from professional services providers like you.  One, you believe you are very good at what you do and the people who know you already recognize you have a great reputation.  Two, it may be your view that if potential clients are serious about wanting the best service provider, they will find you.  And three, blogging, using social media or producing a video takes time.  You believe your time is best spent serving the needs of your clients.

There is an element of truth in each of these reactions, but it is an inherently passive approach to marketing, one that relies on others to do the work.  Smart professional services marketers understand that reputations are only as compelling as they are known. Proactivity is essential for optimizing success.

Why you should

The benefits of an effective content marketing program are substantial. For starters, the content you share clearly demonstrates your knowledge, experience and skills – what we call thought leadership. The specific information and insights you are offering may be precisely what a prospective client is looking for, or it may be just the stimulus to start a conversation about other needs and opportunities.

Using blogs and white papers as an example, when you put this information on your firm’s website, it can be leveraged in multiple ways.  This content can be pushed out to a broader audience through social media.  Sometimes it can be the basis for public relations outreach initiatives.  And all of this cross purposing can lead to greater search engine results.

Remember, too, that your target audience is not limited to prospective clients directly.  In virtually every field there are influencers or referral sources.  When you demonstrate to these influencers that your organization has a high level of expertise, they are much more likely to take note and refer you to their own followers.

Billable hours won’t be diminished. They will increase.

The most common resistance we have seen to developing an aggressive content marketing program comes in the form of time considerations.  It is a legitimate concern.  Maximizing one’s billable hours is always the Holy Grail.  However, increasing revenue through more clients and/or more business from current clients will inevitably lead to additional billable hours across the organizational spectrum.

Marketing should never be viewed as an expense. It is an investment. And sometimes the investment is not measured in dollars but in time. With a strategically-focused content marketing program, the return on your investment can be substantial.

Filed Under: marketing, branding

Villing & Company

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