Content marketing is a powerful tool and one that more and more firms are relying on to effectively communicate their work and differentiators. As it grows in popularity, we hear the same concern from a growing number of clients: How do we figure out what to say? Deciding on content to address is a crucial matter, but it’s a much less challenging task cthan you may suspect. Remember that your expertise represents worlds of knowledge that others find mystifying.
New or changed legislation and its effects is always a ripe area for content. Sharing tips and success strategies is another approach that readers always appreciate. You can even address the opinions shared in another article, giving attribution and adding your own take while supporting or disagreeing with the author’s conclusions.
Most people are familiar with these methods, but one of the richest areas for discovering new content often comes as a surprise. Did you know that your clients are giving you valuable suggestions all the time? It’s true, and if you pay attention to what they’re offering you’ll never run short of content strategies.
You’re the expert, but your clients’ words have a unique power of their own. Create brief case studies that detail the challenges your clients were facing that caused them to seek your help and the steps you took to deliver relief. For each one, ask your client to say a few words about the problem and the experience of working with you to resolve it. Including the client’s words in the case study helps readers relate the situation you describe to their own and visualize how they could benefit in similar ways. Case studies work particularly well to show what you do in concrete terms. Another major plus: it’s far more effective to let your clients sing your praises than to do so yourself.
Frequent stumbling blocks
You most likely see patterns with your clients. As the laws and business climate change, many of those you serve will be facing similar challenges. Before and after they’re dealing with the fallout, you can create articles that discuss what’s new and share strategies to avoid or mitigate potential problems. Don’t worry that you may be offering for free what you’d like clients to pay for. These articles are unlikely to contain the level of detail and individualized advice that would inspire readers to tackle the issue on their own. They’re more likely to introduce the idea, show that you know how to handle it and encourage those who need your services to come to you when they decide to seek professional help.
Sometimes even the most knowledgeable professionals run into a real conundrum. Think back to the clients with problems that took extra creativity, research and effort to resolve. What was your approach? How did you break it down into manageable steps and get at an effective solution? What was the eventual outcome? These difficult moments, though not particularly enjoyable at the time, make wonderful subjects for blog posts that demonstrate your diligence and resourcefulness, as well as your commitment to delivering positive results for your clients. Readers also appreciate seeing your human side and knowing that even the experts struggle with these difficult issues at times.
Questions and answers
Answering the questions your clients bring to you day after day is one of the very best ways to create valuable content. If your clients have these questions, many others probably do too. You can keep a list of common questions and brief answers (in text or video form) that you share on your website as a resource. Your firm benefits from the added traffic and the correct perception that it’s the firm to turn to for answers. And when it’s time to write a blog post, you can select a particularly timely or popular question from the list and address it more expansively to share with a wide audience. If it weren’t an issue that many people were concerned about, you wouldn’t be hearing it from your clients so often!
Content marketing offers professionals an unprecedented array of options for demonstrating their thought leadership. Using your clients’ questions, challenges and experiences to inspire the content you share is not only effective, it’s a great way to ensure that your contributions are valued and meaningful. Whether you’re writing blog posts, creating videos or making another form of content, your clients are already pointing you in the right direction. Just listen to what they’re saying and you’ll never run out of ideas for your content marketing.
About the Author:
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is president of bbr marketing, a firm that provides marketing strategy, implementation and outsourced services to professional services firms across North America. You can learn more by visiting www.bbrmarketing.com.