If you’ve paid attention to marketing trends over the last five years, you couldn’t have missed this one: content marketing has been hailed as the tactic you have to use to attract new clients and demonstrate value to your current ones.
According to Demand Metric, a marketing advisory firm, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing tactics and generates about three times as many leads. That is a strong argument to invest some time and effort into a good content marketing strategy.
With that said, the popularity of this strategy has produced a flood of content, some of it so poorly constructed it that it presents a dilemma for many advisors: even when they are producing content about topics they consider themselves to be an expert about, it can be difficult to stand out among all the content noise.
The answers to this problem sound a lot like the pillars of every marketing strategy: planning, consistency and a call to action. But, there’s one more essential ingredient: relevance. That means developing a deep understanding of your audience and the issues they are seeking information about. That knowledge will help you put together content that matters. This strategy can move you away from generic marketing pieces to more personalized information like case studies about the successes of your clients that have the potential to produce a noticeable increase in engagement with your audience.
What follows are five steps to making the best use of your content as a key marketing strategy for your practice.
- Identify the pain points your audience is struggling with: What questions are clients asking that you can answer? What topics can you bring a new viewpoint or fresh perspective to? Google search can prove to be very helpful research tool to find out what questions your target audience is asking in your practice area, and, importantly, how they are asking them.
- Consistent cadence: One quality piece that delivers truly valuable insights once a month is better than a new fluff piece produced every day. The age-old problem is finding time to write them. You have to be realistic about who is available to do them and how much time is available to spend on it. Will you be the sole author? Will you have to hire a freelance writer during your busy times? No matter how you do it, you have to be consistent with your content.
- Creating a content calendar: Once you have committed to your cadence, plan out your content at least a quarter at a time. Balance the mix of types of content by subject and by customer journey. Capitalize on seasonal aspects – everyone knows there are certain times of year when specific advice is more useful – but, remember, those topics tend to be crowded with content that can make it hard to stand out. It’s more important to develop a strong, credible voice than to add to the noise.
- Outcome/Call to Action: A compelling piece of content should provoke a response from the audience and you need to take advantage of it by asking for an outcome from them. Whatever that is – scheduling an appointment for a planning session, an invitation to a seminar or a referral – you should not miss the opportunity to ask for action.
- Activation: To complete the strategy, you need two things: a central place where all your content resides that you link back to from all your channels, and a regularly cultivated list of contacts you want to get your message in front of. For compliance reasons, a website blog is the best central place for your content that you can link back to from social media and emails. There are many ways to automate the process of posting and reaching out to that growing list of contacts. If you use WordPress or another online blogging tool, you can make your blog subscribable with automatic notifications going out to anyone who signs up for it.
If you follow these five steps, you can cut through the clutter to stand out among the noise of all the other content marketing your competitors are generating.