It’s no secret that content marketing – becoming your own media channel – can be just fantastic for a broad range of different types of businesses.
But one type of business that I really think it works for is professional services firms and advice based businesses.
Now, you could be a very big company, or a fast growing enterprise, or you could be a one person show, and you are the brand, the personal brand and the business, and everything is wrapped up in your brand and your reputation.
It doesn’t matter, because content can work across all of those different sizes.
There’s a number of reasons why I think professional services firms will benefit more so from content than a lot of other different types of businesses.
Number one is they all look the same in so many instances. I don’t care which sector you play in or what professional services you provide, when you look at it, there are so many of the firms in your sector probably look the same and say the same things.
A lot of it is, “Aren’t we great? Look at us. Aren’t we fantastic? We are great. We employ fantastic people. We’re leaders in our field.” Really? Who told you that? “We’ve got all of these awards. We’re thought leaders.” Really? Interesting.
When everyone is saying that, then everyone is probably not telling the truth, because we just don’t believe it. We don’t care. We’re not interested.
You’ve got to show us, not tell us.
We’re not interested if you just keep beating us over the head, aren’t we great? Aren’t we fantastic? We’ve won these awards. We’ve got fantastic people. We don’t care, all right? So, show, not tell.
Now, this is again where the great opportunity is for professional services businesses.
Number one is visibility.
It’s information overloaded out there. It’s noisy. It’s an always-on, digital-first world, and people are blocking out the noise, so you need to … you can’t just bombard people with ‘how great we are’-type messages. You have to put content that’s of value, that’s actually going to stand out and pique people’s attention.
That’s the thing. We have to earn people’s attention. Having these respectful reminders out in the marketplace over a period of time through the content that you create helps build that awareness, just that, there they are, popping up again. Little bombs of value being dropped out. Awareness and visibility in the marketplace, number one.
Number two is credibility.
What you’re selling is invisible, that’s your people’s thinking, your thoughts, your ideas, your knowledge, your experience, the lessons you’ve learned from a broad range of working on clients for 20 years. That’s what people are buying, but they don’t know that.
You’ve got to demonstrate your credibility that you know what you’re talking about, that you have the expertise, that you have the chops, that you are the one. People will self-select based on a lot of the content that they see you producing. If you’re not producing content, that might wipe you out of the equation if you’ve been referred onto them.
That brings us to another point, content is great for validation.
Say people have heard about you through word of mouth or recommendation or referral from a friend or a colleague and then they go and check you out. Will they be validated in their own mind that you know what you’re talking about, that you are the firm for them?
Conversely, if they check you out and they see a lot of content that you’ve been putting out and they just don’t agree with your philosophy and the way you go about things, that’s fantastic too because you probably won’t make a great client and services firm, relationship might not work as well there.
Sometimes filtering people out as well as validating in their mind so you’re the right firm for them can be very powerful. Content can do just that.
You’re building credibility. You’re answering people’s questions. You’re being generous with your knowledge, your ideas, your insights, your perspectives.
You’re giving people a reason to come and check you out, to follow you over the journey. You’re building this connection with people over time. It’s either they’re building connection with clients over time, prospective clients, influencers, not everyone will become a client remember, but they might become an influencer and they still like what you do through the content that you create and they have the ability to influence other people.
All of these reasons ramped up is what makes the invisibility of a professional services firm to become visible and have personality and that we get to, as the saying goes, know, like, and trust.
Content, producing content for that reason can be exceptionally powerful.