When writing content such as white papers, articles, and blog posts, professional services firms can sometimes get stuck on the same “inside baseball” industry topics – often running the risk of alienating audiences not familiar with those topics. In these cases, it can be useful to take a step back and think about what is happening outside the industry bubble, both in your clients’ lives and beyond.
Lead the conversation
What are the major pain points for your clients and prospects? Can you create content to answer their questions and educate them on the issues they face? By writing content aimed to answer these questions, you can not only vary your b2b marketing strategy but also attract more search traffic from Google – and more eyes to your website.
As you begin to increase your site’s search traffic, you have a platform to talk about topics that impact everyone, building your credibility and relevance. You don’t want to discuss current events or trending topics arbitrarily, simply to be seen talking about a popular topic. But by the same token, you shouldn’t hesitate to lead the conversation when your expertise can contribute something of value.
Let’s consider the global conversation around the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Currently, this is a major topic in the AEC industry and across the world. You might ask, “What the heck does Ebola have to do with the AEC industry?” Well, hospital architects, construction firms, and designers all contribute to emergency department designs – including aspects of design intended to contain infectious diseases.
As Ebola patients first arrived in the United States, healthcare consulting and design firm FreemanWhite published several informative posts on different blogs in the industry, including the Centers for Disease Control blog. They were able to provide their knowledge of emergency department design to a wide audience, and were even interviewed on TV local stations about the topic. FreemanWhite discussed how some aging facilities don’t have emergency rooms that are designed to meet current minimum code requirements, as well as how to create a functional isolation room.
Keep your eyes open and leave wiggle room
Not every topic of national attention will have the same urgency and gravity as an Ebola outbreak. It’s often useful to take a lighter approach, finding novel ways to apply your area of expertise to trends and other timely topics.
A marketing firm, for example, might discuss Miley Cyrus’ content marketing strategy. The key is to keep your eyes open, staying up-to-date on conversations not only within your industry, but also outside – topics that are tangential but interesting and relevant to your audience.
The other important thing to remember is to give yourself some flexibility. When you create your b2b marketing strategy and content calendar for your firm, you should follow them both closely. But it’s also prudent to leave wiggle room for unexpected topical blog posts. If you simply follow the plan without looking for new opportunities, you aren’t thinking about outside of the box.
New springboards for topical posts emerge all the time – whether they are appropriate material for your firm and your industry is for you to decipher. Miley Cyrus has taught us a great lesson on her type of “content strategy,” but she’s probably not going to make a very relevant topic for, say, AEC firms.
Unless, maybe, your firm has a specialty in wrecking balls.
If you can make the connection for your firm and your industry, go ahead and prove me wrong. (And send me a link!)
For more information on using content marketing to connect with your target audience, check out our free Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services.