Whether you’re offering services to consumers or businesses, part of your marketing efforts should include content (inbound), not just sales (outbound). Content marketing includes articles, white papers, e-books, or even webinars that engage your audience on a higher level.
Content marketing done properly can boost communication with your prospects and contacts. Whether your firm is small or large, local or national, having an effective content marketing strategy in place will help you expand your reach and grow. Consider the following main points when developing your own strategy:
Focus on topics your current and potential clients care about
The first thing that may come to mind is the unique service you offer. Take a step back and clearly identify a set of needs or problems that your service fills or solves. Design your content around those needs. Marketing content can be both informative and service agnostic, but can help your potential clients relate the importance of these topics to your offerings. Approach the subject from many angles and from the perspective of the potential client.
Make sure you understand your audience
Who are your potential clients? What challenges and issues are they going through that you may be able to address for them, above and beyond your service? Design your content to engage them on a thought leadership level. Make sure that everyone who comes across your content will most likely take away something useful.
Map your content to the right buying stages
Regardless of the nature of your service offering, there is a sales cycle, or time it takes from inception as a lead to the actual engagement as a client. Some cycles are long (i.e. 12 months or more) and some as short as a few minutes. It’s important to be able to identify the buying stages a typical consumer or business will go through when considering your services.
Different pieces of content will inevitably fit better at different buying stages
People who have been considering a firm for some time and are looking at competitors will typically be placed in the “research” stage. Content specific to this stage might include a comparison guide or information useful for distinguishing your offering from competitors. Identify other stages such as awareness and procurement, and create related content.
Identify your broadcast channels
Come up with a game plan for getting your content into the right hands. Will you engage people in a paid or organic capacity through social media? Will you place your articles on a blog and optimize for search engines? Is email marketing a good way to deliver your content? Will you be advertising on the local newspaper or nationally on sites like CNN? Once you’ve identified the topics of your content and set about to produce it, you’ll need to spend some time figuring out the best way to reach your target audience.
Define your metrics
Identify what you want from your content and how you will track those goals. Perhaps your white paper is geared towards encouraging people to interact with sales (yes, law firms are hiring sales teams and training lawyers to sell) or sign up for an online demonstration. Maybe that e-book you’ve sent out is tailor-made for getting people to contact your firm for a consultation. In the end, you’ll need to make sure that you’re tracking not just interest or clicks, but throughput, or the number of people taking the desired actions after viewing your content.
There are many elements to consider when it comes to creating a winning game plan for content marketing. Different firms will produce different styles and versions of similar content. To get started, you need to first take inventory of who you are trying to reach, then build out a game plan and schedule for producing and distributing your content.
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