Content marketing is clearly the hottest trend in professional services marketing. And with good reason.
By combining the best of thought leadership with the power of online marketing and social media, it is ideally suited to building your brand and generating inbound leads. Content marketing is well matched with the professional services, where the “product” is expertise.
When you create valuable content, you help potential clients to get a feel for who you are and how you approach business problems. You attract clients who play to your strengths. If you hate selling, content marketing is for you.
Content marketing can be hard to understand at first. How does SEO relate to social media? Why do I need a blog? What should I write about? For many firms, developing a successful program can be a challenge.
Into this perfect storm of confusion and opportunity comes a new book, Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Business Success, by our brainy British friends Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton. They have a UK-based firm aptly named Valuable Content where they help folks master the art and science of — you guessed it — valuable content marketing. Don’t you just love it when it all comes together?
I've known Sonja and Sharon for some time, so my expectations for the book were high. And they did not disappoint. Valuable Content Marketing is a very readable, practical and downright useful introduction to a sometimes confusing marketing strategy. Now that’s valuable!
While the book is not written exclusively for professional services, most readers will have no difficulty applying it to their situation. Many of their sources and examples are from the world of professional services.
The book spells out the why, what and how of using valuable content to grow your business. It’s perfect if you’re trying to wrap your head around making a content marketing approach work in your firm.
I’d like to share my favorite part of the book. It’s in Chapter 3, where they lay out the following “seven guiding principles for your content”:
- Put your customers first
- Help, don’t sell
- Give your knowledge away, for free
- Think niche
- Tell a good story
- Commit to quality
- Write from the heart
The book then goes on to explain each in detail.
Now, I love this section because it captures so succinctly what makes content marketing work. Valuable content is not just warmed over marketing copy. It’s not self-serving or hard selling. Instead, it revolves around producing something that is of genuine value to your target audience. I know this from my own experience, as well as from our own research on professional services firms. Valuable content marketing works.
Buy the book. Read it. Keep it away from your competitors.