When your potential customers have a question, they often turn to the internet to find the answer. Wouldn’t it be great if the blog post, video, podcast or e-book they found was created by your professional services firm? If they liked it, they just might follow your firm on social media and read your content regularly. When they eventually need an accountant, realtor, lawyer, business consultant or financial planner, they’d be likely to contact your firm because they already have a relationship with you through the information you’ve provided, which is called content marketing.
What is a content marketing strategy?
Having the right types of content addressing the right topics in the right location to help build a relationship with people likely to hire your firm doesn’t happen by accident. You need to develop a content strategy, which is a roadmap that includes who you’re writing for, what topics to cover, where to publish and how to promote. The content plan also helps ensure that your potential customers searching online will find your content through search engine optimization (SEO). This means that your content displays when potential customers enter a word or phrase, known as keywords, into the search engine.
Content marketing strategy plans typically include:
- Content marketing goal – specific and measurable goal that includes your target audience and business outcome
- Content audit – list of your current content to help identify content gaps
- Competitive analysis – detailed review of your primary competitors’ content to identify unmet needs and opportunities
- Channel plan – description of each channel, such as a blog, that includes the purpose, structure, access point and specific audience
- SEO strategy – specific keywords that your brand’s potential customers often search for that you should target with your content
- Social media strategy – detailed information about which channels you’ll use and how you’ll use each to connect with potential customers
What can a content marketing strategy do for my business?
New client development. One of the biggest challenges for professional services firms is finding new clients. While word-of-mouth recommendations are often the cornerstone, firms need other marketing strategies as well. Traditional advertising is expensive and often limited in its reach in today’s world. Instead, professional services firms are increasingly turning to content marketing strategy as a long-term foundation for both helping new customers find their firm and increasing relationships with existing customers.
Consistent messaging. Once your content is curated for both your audience and the brand message of your firm, you have the right story to tell in every place you communicate and by every member of your firm. Because you own the content, you can also easily repurpose it, such as turning a sales presentation into a blog post or turning a white paper into multiple blog posts.
How do I create a content marketing strategy?
Know your audience. Creating a content marketing strategy that helps you find new customers starts with understanding what types of clients you want to attract and what their challenges are. For example, an accounting firm might be looking to increase the number of their small business clients. They may then decide to start a blog specifically for small businesses and increase the number of articles they post on social media that relate to small businesses.
Create a calendar. After thinking about recent conversations with clients, the accounting firm realizes they have answered many questions lately about home office space deductions with the increase in remote work. When creating the editorial calendar for the blog, the accounting firm decides to devote one post a month for the next six months to deductions related to working from home. They also do keyword research to find what terms people are searching for on this topic and use these keywords to drive their content.
Update and evolve. Before going further into the process, the accounting firm begins creating a formal content marketing plan with their marketing department and has all partners sign off on the plan. Once they launch the new blog, they regularly use the metrics and goals defined in the plan to make decisions and guide the process. Because content marketing strategy is continually evolving, as both the needs of the customers and the business goals change, it’s important for professional services firms to continually update the plan and evolve the strategy.
Moving forward with a content marketing strategy
Content marketing strategy requires a long-term approach, and it often takes months or years to fully see the results. Done well, it’s a smart, business-savvy way to use the digital world to connect to new audiences, new employees, new investors, new strategic partners. Content will move your business forward—and having a plan is key.