So you are ready to jump on the content marketing bandwagon. Smart move. Content marketing is a perfect fit for professional services.
As a matter of fact it is also a popular move. A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute shows that 94% of professional services firms are using some form of content marketing. Ponder that for a moment.
With this level of activity there is bound to be some confusion about how to do B2B content marketing the right way. And that is exactly what is happening. Some folks are making content marketing mistakes and are probably not even be aware of it. Don’t be that person.
Let’s step back for a moment and consider some of the most common B2B content marketing blunders.
1. The Right Content in the Wrong Place.
So you have developed a really useful piece of content, and now you want to share it. What do you do? Avoid the temptation to share it indiscriminately with everyone you know and in every group you belong to. A piece of content that may be very relevant and useful to one audience may feel like spam to another. Sharing the wrong content can actually hurt your credibility. If you are not certain, don’t share. If you do not receive positive feedback from your audience, you may have missed the mark.
2. Too Much Detail.
Business executives are busy people. They are looking for content that simplifies and explains complicated, esoteric topics. They want to understand what they need to know. Content marketing is not the place to cram in every detail. Your potential clients will not be impressed. They are looking for a professional who can simplify the complex, not one that further complicates what is already confusing. Lawyers, CPAs and IT Consultants are frequent offenders here.
3. Superficial Blather
I vividly remember the reaction of one professional services CEO when we suggested that content marketing would be a natural fit with his firm’s objectives. It bordered on revulsion as he spat out the word “Never”! When we calmed him down we learned the reason behind his reaction. To him content marketing was synonymous with superficial. The light content he was envisioning added no value and was not something he wanted his firm to be associated with. Unfortunately it is true. There are many firms pumping out fluff. In trying to avoid too much detail don’t go to the other extreme.
4. Focus on the Right Problem
This one is subtle but dangerous. It is hard to put yourself in the client’s shoes. It's very easy to focus on an issue from your own point of view and offer advice that would make your life easier. For instance, let’s say you offer financial management services and many of your clients keep poor records. It would be very easy to fall into a pattern of lecturing clients on the importance of good record keeping. The client, however, may be more interested in learning about a ways to avoid keeping so many detailed records. Same problem, very different perspectives.
5. No Self-Serving
The final, and perhaps most widespread, problem in B2B content marketing is creating self-serving content. It is tempting to write content that promotes your firm and its services — all of which may well be true. But don’t confuse marketing copy with content marketing. They are not the same thing. Content marketing is about sharing your valuable expertise and insight. Marketing copy is about telling the story of your firm. Don’t mix them up or you will destroy the very trust you are trying to create.
Avoid these five B2B content marketing blunders and you will be on your way to cracking the content marketing code.