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If you have spent time looking into how to find more clients online, you’ll have come across the term “content marketing”.
Here’s a definition of “content marketing” from Content Marketing Institute:
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is marketing where you create helpful material for your prospects. This material helps your prospects get to know you, trust you, and like you.
Running a podcast is a form of content marketing. Posting videos to YouTube is a form of content marketing. Publishing articles through your website is a form of content marketing.
There are many different ways to approach content marketing. Depending on which industry you’re in, content marketing can take many different forms.
As a consultant, you’re wondering: how do I create content that will generate more leads for my business?
Anyone can publish a blog post or two. But consistently posting quality content on a weekly basis isn’t easy. But it’s a certain way to get more clients – B2B companies that use their blog get 67% more leads.
An empty blog is a warning sign for potential clients. If someone finds out about you via referral, they are going to check your website. If they check out your blog and you have one post from 2014, they’re going to be wondering if you’re really the expert you or your contacts claim you are.
An effective content marketing strategy will help you build trust and demonstrate your expertise, both of which are crucial for any consulting looking to fill his sales pipeline.
This article will teach you how to come up with infinite article for your consulting website. I use this exact framework myself, and I have dozens of ideas stored in my blog editorial calendar.
57% of businesses have gotten customers through their blog using effective content marketing. It’s one of the most powerful marketing techniques you can use.
Hinge Research’s 2017 study listed blogging as one of the top 10 most impactful marketing techniques for consultants.
As a consultant or consulting firm, you are hired based on your credibility, your expertise, and your ability to build trust. Publishing quality articles that educate your prospects is the best type of marketing strategy there is.
Remember: “content” is the fancy way of saying “share what you know.” That’s all it is.
If you can share what you know in a way that helps your prospects, you can create an effective content marketing strategy for your consulting website.
Content Marketing for Consultants – “Sticky” Content Ideas
Tap Into Your Email List
At the end of the emails you send to your list, ask them what they are struggling with.
Many email lists blast promotional content over and over. This is a shame, as your email list allows you to open up discussions with your entire list at scale.
If a subscriber on your list has a challenge, chances are many others on your list are struggling with it as well. It’s possible that prospects that haven’t heard about you yet have the same challenge.
This is the perfect type of content — content that potential clients are asking you to create. There is no better way to demonstrate your expertise than creating content that addresses real problems that your prospects are struggling with right now.
You’ll make a fan for life if you write a unique article to answer a potential lead’s question. They will feel as though you dedicated it to them, even though many of your potential clients are looking for the same answers.
Talk To Past Clients
Talking to your past clients is a great way to come up with ideas for content.
The best consultants keep on top of their relationships with their past clients. Strong relationships are where you continually provide value. To provide value, you need to ask where you can provide value.
Ask your past client what keeps them up at night. Since they’re your clients, they will be happy to tell you what’s on their mind. They will be much more comfortable telling you what they are struggling with.
“If you could have me write a 1500 word article on one particular problem or issue you’re struggling with in your business, what would that be?”
You’ll come up with a goldmine of ideas for your next couple of articles.
If your past clients are struggling with certain problems, your potential clients are too.
Quora is a social network based on questions and answers. It has tens of thousands of topics, each one with millions of questions and answers. You can find questions and answers on any topic.
I asked Steve Shu, a consultant, and frequent Quora user, how he uses the platform:
“1) It’s something I can do in small “bites”, e.g., right now I’m hailing an Uber to a business meeting
2) Writing helps me clarify my thinking and to some extent relieve stress
3) Writing sometimes yields new ideas that can leverage into other things (e.g., book ideas, services ideas).”
Quora is a great resource for finding out what people want to learn. Look up a topic that relates to your particular industry, and see what people are asking.
Many of these questions are best answered on Quora. Writing on Quora can be a great way to hone your writing skills and build credibility.
Some questions require an in-depth answer. You can answer these on your website in the form of a blog post. Stick the question in your blog editorial calendar and answer it as one of your articles.
When you’re done, share the link to your blog post to that particular Quora question. The followers and viewers of the question will be impressed you took the time write such a detailed answer. You’ll also generate website traffic from your answer, especially if it’s upvoted to the top.
Whether you use Quora to answer questions or not, you’ll find many article ideas from browsing the network. If you’re starting a consulting business with no experience, Quora is a great place to start establishing your expertise.
Read and Review Books and Articles
Reading and reviewing books and articles has given me more than enough ideas for my content.
I created my blog post on developing relationships at scale from looking over my notes on Alan Weiss’ Million Dollar Consulting.
He wrote a section of the book called “10 Ways to Develop Breakthrough Relationships”. I figured, why not add “…at Scale” to the end of that, and turn it into an article for my website?
Connecting two ideas and coming up with something original is deep work. It will expand your expertise and will strike readers as original and unique.
Go through some of your old notes or highlights of books you’ve read. Are there any ideas you could expand on, or create something entirely new?
Referencing books that you’ve read is also a great form of social proof — especially if potential clients have read them as well.
Start With Headlines
If you’re ever stuck with your content, start with the headline.
Type in some questions that you think your prospects might search on Google. Scroll to the bottom, and look at the “related keywords” section.
You’ll find a list of keywords you can use as your own blog titles. This list contains keywords people are already searching for. If you create an outstanding piece of content centering on that keyword, it will pay off massively. Ranking at the top for a popular keyword in your niche will send you lots of quality traffic.
You can always rely on copywriting masterminds to come up with great headlines. Jay Abraham’s list of the 100 best headlines ever written is the perfect place to start.
Take the headlines in this list, and use them as inspiration for one of your own articles.
These headlines work. They will catch potential client’s attention. It’s up to you take that headline and create an original and high-quality article out of it.
Do Online Research
Doing research online will help you come up with ideas for your content marketing.
What are your competitors writing about? What are you reading online that’s interesting?
Use a tool like Evernote, Google Docs, or Excel to park interesting headlines you’ve come across online. Or, you can use a social bookmarking tool like Feedly. This allows you to add the blogs you follow so that you can keep up on what people in your industry are writing about.
Periodically review your list. From looking at what others are writing about, you will come up with ideas for your own articles.
Look for ways to one-up your competitors on similar topics. Right a longer article, with more data, more stories, and more examples. Create an “evergreen” piece of content that becomes the go-to guide on that particular topic.
Don’t be afraid to write on the same topic as others. And don’t be afraid to merge two completely separate ideas into one. As long as each piece of content you write solves some sort of problem for potential clients, you’re content will be effective at generating leads.
Content Marketing for Consultants – Do’s And Dont’s
DO: Follow an editorial calendar.
Your content marketing won’t succeed if you don’t stick to a schedule. I recommend posting a 1000-1500 word article to your website every week, or a 3000-4000 word article every two weeks.
Sticking to a consistent schedule shows your audience, your potential clients, and your current clients that you’re the real deal. Not only that, but search engines reward websites that frequently publish quality content.
Here’s an example of my editorial calendar:
You can make it using a simple excel spreadsheet. It will help you organize your content, park your headlines, and keep you accountable.
DO: Write your own content.
While it’s a valid strategy for other types of businesses to outsource their content marketing, I don’t think it’s a good idea for consultants.
There are far too many benefits to writing your own content to ignore that apply specifically to consultants.
Writing consistently, frequently, and publically forces you to clarify your thinking. Since you’re writing about topics and problems that you solve, explaining your thought process on your website forces you to do the “deep work”.
If potential clients come to your website to learn from you, then make sure you’re content is written by you. They are hiring you for your expertise, and your content demonstrates your expertise. If you outsource your content to a content marketer, not only do they lack your expertise, but it’s a slight on potential clients who want to work with you.
DO: Repurpose your content.
It’s not easy to continue coming up with ideas for articles – so don’t be afraid to repurpose your content.
Take an old article and expand on it to make it relevant for the current year. Bring a new twist to one of your most popular articles. Write an article on how you applied a strategy you’ve written about, and how it helped one of your clients. Take a look through your previous articles and ask, “what other form could this take?”
Repetition is the father of learning. It’s also one of the greatest forms of persuasion. Your old content can be some of the best sources of inspiration for new articles.
DON’T: Publish and wait. You need to promote.
Publishing your content is only the first step. You must do something to promote it.
Depending on your team and your resources, this can be as simple as sharing it through social media and your email list. Or, it can mean hiring a marketing team to get the word out.
You must get comfortable promoting your content. This is especially important when you start. In a few years of consistent publishing, you may not have to promote at all. But at the start, it’s essential that you get the word out to build some traction.
Promoting your content is just as important as writing it.
DON’T: Only write for your own website. Collobarate instead.
Don’t just blog on your own website. Connect with other business owners who write on similar topics, and pitch them a guest post.
Here’s a list of websites and blogs that readily accept guest posts (look for the “Business” list).
Businesses are under constant pressure to produce quality content. If you can reach out to a business and offer to write an article for their website that would provide value to their audience, many will welcome your post.
Guest posting is a great way to bring more traffic to your own website. It gives you more social proof, more links for higher rankings, and expands your network.
Try to post 1/4th, 1/6th, or 1/8th of your articles on other websites. Each of these should include links back to your website. At the bottom, include a little bit about yourself, so readers can go to your website to find out more.
If you’re keen on using content to gain more clients, read my blog post on blogging for consultants for more background.
Create an editorial calendar for your blog posts. Start small. Aim for one 1000 word post for your first month.
As you get more comfortable writing, aim for one 1000 word post every three weeks. Then one every two weeks. Then one every week.
Consistently publishing [content_upgrade id=1262]unique, problem-solving content[/content_upgrade] will bring you more traffic. Writing this often will also help you develop an iron-clad, unshakeable confidence in your expertise. It’s much harder to question your expertise when you have 50k-200k words on your website.
Once you’ve written a post or two, feel free to share it in the comments below!