In our previous blog post we talked about how Technology Consulting and Professional Services companies can leverage content marketing to generate leads and reach their marketing goals. By creating high-quality content, you can attract and engage your target audience, build trust and credibility, and ultimately convert them into paying customers. In this post we will walk you through a step by step process to kickstart your content strategy to help you align your effort with your desired outcomes.
Step 1: Identify your target audience: Before you start creating content, you need to have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what their needs, pain points, and interests are. But as an IT services company it goes deeper than that. For closing each deal you will have to win over multiple stakeholders. So you will have to cater your content strategy to the multiple audiences you have to win. Each of them will have different goals. E.g., A decision maker may be more interested in understanding what business value to expect from the investment, while an individual contributor may want help in solving their technical problem.
Step 2: Make your content valuable to your audience: Now that you know who your audience is and what problems they are facing you can create content tailored to them. Building on the examples from the decision maker. They may want to see more analyst content mapping your work to strategic business goals, ROI, high level understanding of value delivered to customers. While the individual contributor may be more interested in seeing technical depth. Architecture diagrams, example solution complete with algorithms and code, solutions to specific technical problems that are very commonly occurring and painful to solve. Choose relevant topics for your different personas and generate content accordingly.
Step 3: Choose the right channels: For your content to have any value it must reach its target audience. You need to leverage the channels your target audience uses. Some of the channels you need to be thinking about are your website, blog, email, social media, partner blogs and website, events, analysts, press releases, newspapers. It takes time to develop the various channels. Be focused on the channels most effective for your target audience and make sure you own the relationship where possible like getting them to follow you on LinkedIn.
Step 4: Create a variety of content formats: To keep your audience engaged, you should create a variety of content formats, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, white papers, and more. This will help you reach different types of learners and keep your content fresh and interesting.
Step 5: Use case studies and testimonials: The hardest part of selling services is trying to prove your competence. While the final proof will be after the customer signs the next best thing you can do is provide useful case studies and testimonials to demonstrate your expertise and the value you have delivered to your customers. These real-life examples can help build trust and credibility with your target audience. In addition, in the present world where AI is creating a lot of content that is high level but lacking substance real-world examples stand out and make your content a lot more concrete.
Step 6: Include a call to action to advance their journey: The content you are creating is not just about education. Rather it is with the goal of helping your customers further along in their customer journey to signing up as a paying customer. For this you need to be sure there is a call to action (CTA) in all content that you create. Your CTA should be specific and relevant to the content, encouraging your target audience to take the next step towards becoming a paying client. The simplest call to action is contact us. But usually this isn't very effective because it requires more commitment than they are ready to give you. Examples of other CTAs are follow/subscribe to blog or social media, provide email for exclusive content, comment on a post with your opinion increasing its reach, use an automated tool to test your competence on the topic of discussion.
Step 7: Measure your results: Finally, it's crucial to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. Use tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, or Moz to track your website traffic, conversions, engagement, and other metrics. Analyze the data, identify what works and what doesn't, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
To dive deeper with a practical example, Vixul is essentially a services company. So we have been listening to our customers over the first year of Vixul and understanding what their pain points are. If you look through our content you'll notice a change in the tone as we move towards more specific topics rather than our initial philosophical articles. Initially our focus was on operationalizing the organization as it transforms from a founder driven to a scalable organization. This includes creating processes, better planning, financial governance, building a leadership team, collecting the right data. However, we're recognizing they all have one burning hair problem: making sure they can get the leads required to meet their growth targets. With that in mind we have decided to spend a lot more time directly addressing the concerns our customers have on lead generation. We are also spending more time educating our customers on how positioning, governance, and planning are the foundations on which you can build a great sales engine.
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