Content Marketing

5 Tips to Improve Your Professional Service Firm's Content Marketing Strategy [2024]

01.04.2024 9 Minutes

Building an effective content marketing strategy for your professional services firm means understanding the types of content your audience is looking for and identifying the channels where users are most likely to engage.

Professional service firms often market to very specific and unique audiences who face complex problems, ranging from the legal and financial challenges of a business merger to the intricacies of the A/E/C world and how we construct the different elements of our built environment.

Because these firms sell intangibles — expected outcomes and expertise — instead of products, it’s necessary to approach content marketing from a different perspective than more tangible verticals.

For this reason, professional services marketers may struggle to find the content marketing strategy that works best for their particular firm.

In this article, we’ll explore five key tips for improving your business’s content strategy and how you can make the most of the institutional knowledge available at your firm.

Review your content formats and delivery methods

All content marketing assets exist at the intersection of different publication formats and distribution channels.

For example, you could create a detailed whitepaper for one of your business units (a publication format) and then distribute it on your website and across various email lists and social media channels (distribution channels).

Similarly, you could view your website as the primary distribution channel for all your content, meaning you should publish everything to that channel first and then disseminate it across other platforms with links back to your blog or resource center.

Some common content types you should consider when planning out your content strategy may include:

  • Blog Posts and Articles
  • Emails and Newsletters
  • Social Media Posts
  • Podcasts
  • Video Content (Short-Form, Long-Form, etc.)
  • eBooks and Lead Magnets
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • Resources (Calculators, Quizzes, etc.)

Similarly, there are several common channels to keep in mind as you’re looking at the different locations where you can post your newly created content:

  • Your Firm’s Website (Blog, Case Studies Page, Resources Page)
  • Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram)
  • Video Hosting Websites (YouTube, Vimeo)
  • Email Lists (Newsletters, Personalized Emails, Podcast Mailing Lists)
  • PPC Providers (LinkedIn Display/Document Ads, Google Search/Display Ads)
  • Guest Posts or Guest Appearances (Industry Publications, Reputable Podcasts, Conference Presentations)

As you build your content marketing strategy, you should carefully review the pros and cons of each content format and distribution method to determine which combinations would be the most appropriate for your target audience.

For example, if you are a financial services provider targeting high-net-worth individuals, think about the types of content they are likely to engage with and the best possible places for you to put that content in front of them. In this situation, you may find that your target audience responds negatively to social media posts and ads but responds favorably to ebooks and case studies published on your website or guest appearances on podcasts or other informational sources they already trust.

Be clear on your goals

Content marketing is about providing value to your audience through the publication of helpful content. However, it’s important to remember that the goal of being helpful should not eclipse your broader institutional goal of meeting key business metrics.

In practice, content marketing should serve both sides of the coin, helping users find the information they need while simultaneously keeping your business’s pipeline full and healthy.

For this reason, it’s always wise to clearly define the purpose of any and all content marketing assets before their creation to ensure they’re the right fit for your business’s particular goals.

The best place to start is by creating a clear business case for your content marketing efforts.

What business goals are you trying to achieve? What resources do you need to invest in your strategy to achieve those goals? What’s the likelihood that your strategy will result in a positive return on your investment (whether in direct sales or in long-term brand recognition and retention numbers)?

As one example of how this may play out:

Imagine that you work at an environmental design firm and you want to create some assets for your sales team to use when engaging with key stakeholders on potential projects. After running the numbers, you find that a 2% bump in the close rate on new business would result in an estimated $500,000 increase in your business’s sales each year. Once you review the different options with your team, you ultimately land on creating both a whitepaper and a series of detailed case studies to further establish your credibility and subject matter expertise.

In this example, the purpose of the content isn’t to attract new leads but to directly engage with prospects who are already in your sales funnel.

By investing the time and resources needed to create these assets now, you can further streamline your sales process and improve your close rate on new business. This means that the campaign’s success will depend on (1) the return on your investment as measured by comparing time and resources used against the future bump in sales, and (2) the change in your business’s ability to convert leads into projects.

There should be a clear purpose for the asset as established through a defined business case (whether that’s awareness, sales, or another goal), a set procedure for ensuring the asset is completed on time and on-budget, and established standards for tracking the performance of the asset as a means of determining the effectiveness of the content’s format and distribution channels in the future.

Diversify your content offering

Data from Semrush on the effectiveness of different content formats based on 1,700+ survey responses. The graph shows the percentage of the respondents who noted a content format as being successful in 2023.

The era of blogs dominating most firm’s content marketing efforts is over. Due to the rise of AI and the increasingly competitive nature of ranking in search engines, it’s no longer enough just to throw together 1,000 words of content and call it a day. You have to do more.

Instead, professional service firms should take strides to diversify their content offering into other content formats such as video, detailed case studies, podcasts, webinars and digital events, and more.

In our increasingly digital world, there are more touchpoints than ever where a potential customer can come across your brand and engage with your content. Restricting yourself to only targeting customers through blog posts that appear in organic search only limits the potential of your content and hinders your brand’s reach.

With more than 40% of Americans listening to at least one podcast per month and 10-20% of webinar participants converting to qualified leads, on average, it’s plain to see why many marketers are adding these more value-based marketing channels to their marketing mix, as a more diversified approach has increasingly helped marketers attract and engage individuals at all stages of the buying journey.

As the organic search market centered on blog posts becomes increasingly flooded with AI-generated content and diluted by an increasingly large number of low-quality articles, it will become more important than ever to both leverage alternative awareness campaigns and to capitalize on bottom-of-the-funnel strategies to convert leads into paying customers.

By diversifying our content offerings, we can better capture high-value leads in the funnel and more readily convert them into new business when compared to content marketing strategies that focus on written, article-centric content alone.

Create once, then amplify on strategically chosen channels

One of the more popular content marketing strategies is “create once, publish everywhere (COPE).”

As noted by the Content Marketing Institute, COPE “represents a highly sustainable technique of building strong, foundational assets that can be expressed in different forms and easily adapted for use on multiple channels.”

While this strategy is often interpreted literally (with marketers publishing a blog post to their website and then promoting it across every marketing channel), its true purpose is to minimize the effort it takes to publish engaging content across your firm’s strategic channels.

For example, if you have a unique and engaging story you want to tell about how you helped a client solve a challenging problem, you might choose to write up a case study and post it on your website.

Or, alternatively, you could implement COPE by writing a blog post in addition to interviewing the client and creating a video about their journey, slicing sections of that interview up into shorts you can post to Instagram or other social media channels, sharing the story of their success in a syndicated fashion in industry publications and other sources, etc.

This approach allows you to streamline your content creation process by reshaping a powerful concept across multiple channels in formats that are custom-tailored to engage and resonate with that platform’s unique audience base. It also enables you to maximize the ideation, research, and information-collecting process by allowing you to repurpose the work across multiple projects.

Measure the impact of your content marketing efforts

Effective content marketing strategies should be clearly measurable through set metrics and defined key performance indicators (KPIs) that are tied to your firm’s goals.

Tracking and analyzing the data regularly allows you to assess the effectiveness of your strategies over time and identify any areas that need improvement.

Your website analytics provide important insights into which types of content resonate with your audience, as seen in metrics like overall traffic, bounce rates, time on page, and conversation rates.

Another important metric to track is engagement through email marketing campaigns and social media platforms.

These metrics can include email bounces, open rates, likes, shares, comments, and followers, among others. By measuring engagement among your following, you can determine which owned channels are most effective for your brand and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Finally, it is important to measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts as a whole. This includes calculating the cost of creating and promoting content against the revenue generated from that content to determine which types are most profitable.

Overall, by setting metrics and KPIs, tracking data, and measuring ROI, you can effectively measure the impact of your content marketing efforts and ensure that you are achieving your business goals while also providing value to your customers.

Take steps to review your content marketing strategy

Content marketing strategies are only effective when they are carefully planned and thoughtfully executed in a way that supports your business’s broader goals.

By creating content that is relevant and helpful, you can leave a stronger and more lasting impression of your brand across your target audiences, leading to more business, better retention rates, and happier customers.

For this reason, you should always take the time to ensure your strategic content marketing plan is in line with both the wants of your users and the needs of your business.

In doing so, you can ensure the long-term relevancy of your brand, connect more deeply with customers, and drive stronger organic results over the long term.

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