10 Content Marketing Strategies for Professional Services Firms
Content is king. There's no way around it. The sooner businesses accept this and adjust to it, the more successful they will be.
Professional services firms, whether they specialize in accounting, law, or medicine, are beginning to feel the pain of competition. Due to the rise of the internet, consumers no longer have to visit brick and mortar locations to consult with a doctor, architect or consultant. Everything can be done online.
This means no firm has control over a geographic location or a particular demographic.
But the truly tricky aspect of this change in consumerism is while customers now have more service providers to choose from, their priorities are not tied to the experience or education of the professional or even the price. Consumers want to feel valued.
If a firm wants to grow their profits and customer base, they must provide an unparalleled experience and provide value in everything they do — this is where content marketing comes in.
10 Content Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Professional Services Firm
1. Share Information From Others
Content marketing can be a time-intensive and money-intensive investment. But it doesn't have to be.
In every field there are already thought leaders that gather and publish excellent information. And they're not necessarily your competition.
There are government organizations, non-governmental charities, research centers, educational institutions and others that concentrate heavily on research and providing otherwise useful information. You can and should share these data, facts, papers and articles on your various platforms.
To effectively find the best information, identify the best sources. You can quickly do this on Twitter or Google. You'll find industry publications, government websites, industry search engines, and highly educated bloggers.
When you find something your customers or potential customers might find interesting, put it in your newsletter, post it on your social media, and publish it to your website.
Be sure to credit these organizations, and try to join in on the discussion around them.
2. Consider Creating and Publishing a Recurring Podcast
Radio may be falling out of fashion, but something has cropped up to take its place: Podcasts. These audio shows focus on everything from entertainment to business, and there is space for multiple shows in every industry.
One architecture firm has already started taking advantage of this medium. Their show is called The Architecture Happy Hour. On it, they discuss topics like planning projects, preparing for natural disasters and identifying the right architect.
It's simple information that any architect would be able to provide, but consumers who are building or remodeling a home or office find it invaluable.
This type of podcast can be translated to work in just about any industry.
3. Use Social Media To Its Full Potential
LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, SnapChat, the list goes on an on. Social media platforms are integrated into just about every consumer's life. It's their chosen way of communication with their family, friends, coworkers, and now their brands.
Because of this, if your business is not on social media, or if you're not actively using it, you're missing out — a lot.
LinkedIn is the obvious choice for businesses, as it is seen as the most professional social network. However, Facebook is likely even more valuable for the purposes of content marketing. Not only does Facebook drive more traffic to websites than any other social network, but it also is now more effective than Google at helping individuals discover content.
The key to success with social media isn't in the amount of content posted, it is the quality and the consistency of the posts.
Videos and pictures drive the most interaction. If they're funny, thought-provoking, or provide quality information, you'll see results.
4. Blog And Vlog
Blogging and vlogging are great tools to guide people to your website. When a potential customer searches for something you have a high-quality post about, you have a much better chance of showing up toward the top of results — this is especially true when they’re searching for long-tail keywords.
For a vlog you can really make these segments about anything that interests you or that you are currently working on — although it’s more valuable to make them about topics that interest your potential audience. Think book reviews, FAQs, checklists, interviews with experts, fact sheets, and industry guides.
Consider the questions your customers are asking, and develop great content as a means to provide answers to those questions
5. Do Research or Develop a Study
This is likely the most challenging content to produce. Reliable research isn't something a business can create overnight. It takes months, if you're working at a fast pace, and years, if it's a more longitudinal study.
But the amount of traffic it will drive to your website is incomparable. You essentially have the opportunity to create news, if your findings are significant.
Quality research on topics that matter will separate you from the competition and make you a thought leader in your industry.
6. Partner with Other Businesses
You have a customer base and so do other businesses. What if you could leverage those other organizations' consumers? They could find out about your services and your customers could find out about other services that might be of value to them.
You shouldn't partner with a direct competitor. That would be silly and it would be difficult to find one that would be willing — although there are instances where it could be mutually beneficial (i.e. teaming up with a competitor for charity).
Instead, partner with a company that provides a service or product that might pair well with yours.
If you're an architecture firm, partner with an interior designer. If you're an accountant, partner with a bank. If you're a doctor, partner with a physical therapy provider.
Develop joint content, engage with them on social media, promote each other to your own audiences and recognize each other as thought leaders in your own rights.
7. Offer Helpful Software
Customers want value. They want value even before they make any purchase. If one business does not provide it, they'll find another that will.
One of the best ways for professional service firms to achieve this is through developing software, like apps or computer programs, that help consumers — software is content too.
It should in some way tie to your business services. If you have an accounting firm, you could provide a tool that helps consumers quickly find potential tax deductions. If you are a private medical practice, you could offer a tool that gives extra tips for getting over illnesses faster.
8. Offer Live Events in the Form of a Webinar
Online marketing helps you reach a wider audience. A webinar allows you to get in front of people from all over the country and present yourself as a thought leader without leaving the comfort of your office.
Hosting and promoting a live online seminar or webinar is a great way to draw people in and generate new leads. Leads are able to put a face to the name and hear you speak about your industry. It humanizes your company and offers a personal touch.
Even after the live event, you can continue to reap the benefits of your efforts by repurposing the content — you can record the and post it to your platforms at a later date, write recap blog posts about it, or offer decks and takeaways from the webinar for download.
9. Create Valuable Long-Form Content
When people have a question about an industry, they turn to Google. They know the search engine will help them find the answer they are looking for.
You should be that answer. Your content should not only promote your service, but provide value and be a helpful solution for searchers.
Accounting firms can create templates that help individuals make an investment proposal. Consulting firms can develop e-books that discuss the latest findings in their industry.
Make sure you gain something out of publishing these items by requiring downloaders to exchange their email for your solution — this is the beginning of an automated drip campaign.
10. Implement A Question And Answer Section
For any professional services firm there are likely a list of questions clients regularly ask during their first meeting with you. You know what they are and you know the answers.
Why keep this information secret? These clients will come to you for your services either way. If you are upfront and provide all of the information they are curious about beforehand, they'll only appreciate it.
Keep in mind a question and answer page on your site is another way to drive Google traffic directly to you by offering content for great long-tail keywords.