When making a plan, the hoped-for outcome is a good start.
In content marketing, blogging and such like, this outcome often dares not speak its name... it is the secret desire to be a star!
My name in lights! Finally, they'll see my brilliance! The cheers, backslaps... I'm a Thought Leader!
But actually there are two separate, and valuable content strategies for the experts in Professional Services.
Firstly, to use content to enhance their position as, the Trusted Advisor to their clients and prospects. Second, to become a 'Thought Leader' in their field.
The Trusted Advisor strategy is focused around creating highly focused content for your existing, and potential clients. It is focused around the individual and small team and is very much practitioner-led.
The Trusted Advisor program is about making money. It is about giving a channel for your experts to demonstrate expertise and solidify their positioning with their present and potential clients. Consequently, the content tends to be highly-focused and highly relevant to a small audience.
This strategy has many things going for it:
- It is familiar - it is basically a business-as-usual approach updated for the online world.
- It is cheap to do both in time and in marketing assistance (given an easy content creation and sharing process)
- It is a highly efficient way to increase revenue.
Thought Leadership, by contrast, is 'a job'. It is a major undertaking and more of a marketing & brand exercise for the company and the person themselves. It is a combination of 'Hero' conference presentations, articles in the press and a constant flow of focused 'hub' content to back that up.
The simple fact is that only a small number of people are suited to this thought-leader role - and indeed there is only space for a reasonable number of such people in each area of a business. It is also more expensive as there is usually marketing support to enable it.
The content created by this group tends to be broader in topic and more widely read, more populist - the net is cast wider - to get the individual and the firm better known in the industry.
When rolling out a content strategy for Professional Services, it is worth knowing who falls into which camp. But also to remember that a limited 'thought leadership' programme, whilst fun for the chosen few, severely limits the reach of your content efforts, and its capacity to get real Return on Investment.