5 Effective Content Marketing Tips for ConsultantsJan 14, 2018
Content marketing is not some marketing fad.
It’s simply the smartest way of finding and connecting with your ideal client, establishing your credibility, increasing your number of discovery meetings and close rates as well as giving you the platform to increasing your fees.
Content marketing is essential for consultants because we are in the knowledge business. We don't sell a tangible product or service. Our value add contribution lies in our heads and hearts and content is the best way to manifest this expertise in a way that connects with our future strategic partners.
If you're not implementing a content marketing strategy, you are leaving money (and credibility) on the table.
If content doesn't come easily to you or you're not sure how to get started, let me give you a few pointers.
First, be clear on who your ideal client is and what is their pain points. It all starts here. If you are unsure who you want to serve, your marketing messages and your content will be hit or miss.
You want to become intimate with their demographics (e.g., company size, type, industry, title, gender, age) and their psychographics (e.g., what is their greatest needs, what keeps them up at night, their aspirations, hopes and dreams, etc.)
Second, create content that your ideal client will find highly valuable.
Pay attention to the top questions you get asked all the time and write content with what your ideal client is naturally curious about. Notice what your ideal clients have tried and hasn't worked and give them an alternative.
Become a detective and discover:
- The language your ideal client is using to describe their challenges...in their words not yours.
- Their wants...and needs. They may be more aware of what they want but underneath they have a deeper need.
- Their feelings about their situation - what do they feel now and what do they want to feel.
You can uncover this information informally or you can do interviews or a survey with those who represent your ideal client.
Third, make your content easy to digest and implement.
Of all of my articles and videos, the ones that consistently perform the best are the ones when I offer lists (7 Steps to...) or how to guidance (How to...)
Busy people skim more than read and bullets and lists help them quickly grasp what you are saying and try out some of your ideas. If they experience a quick win, they'll want some more.
Fourth, manifest your content in a variety of formats.
People have different learning styles...and search engine preferences. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google so videos can play a key role in attracting your future clients.
Fifth, tier your content in such a way that creates action.
it's one thing to have a repository of intellectual property (IP). It's a whole different ball gall when you up your IP to foster a deepening relationship with your future client. Therefore, you need to set up your content in what I am calling your "Consultant Content Marketing Funnel."
This funnel includes:
- Free Resources: These are items to give prospects a taste of who you are and what you have to offer. You may already have some of these on your website. These types of resources include articles, blog posts and podcasts.
- Opt-In Resources: Your opt-in resources are the higher-value items that you provide prospects in exchange for their name and email address, giving you a chance to pursue the relationship more actively. Your newsletter might be used as opt-in. You might also use items like cheat sheets, assessments or swipe files.
- Purchase: Your items for purchase are lower-price offerings, in comparison to a full-on consulting engagement. These could be booklets, eBooks, print books, a teleconference series, a webinar series, etc. Depending on how you create your funnel, you could include low-cost training events in this category.
- Engage: These are the how you leverage that content as a part of your full on-consulting services, your core products and services. These could include a mentoring program, coaching engagement, training program development, assessment project, consulting assignment. This section of your funnel is the finish line: it's where you want your prospects to ultimately end up.
Make sure all of the part of your funnel align with one another—and reinforce your brand. You'll also want to ensure that you demonstrate your expertise and competence at each stage, building your credibility. It’s important to offer real value in each piece, even in your free or low-cost offerings. This will both whet your prospect's appetite for more AND demonstrate that you deliver on your promises.
And don’t forget, at each stage, make sure to provide actionable next steps. These "calls to action" should give prospects very specific direction on how to take the next step with you. For example, in your newsletter, offer your readers a way to get in touch with you to learn more or to engage your services on a specific topic. Your final "call to action" at the end of the Engage phase is either more work with you or a referral to someone else.
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