In our previous blog post, we talked about 7 cost-effective marketing tactics for IT Consulting and Professional Services companies. In this post, we will delve deeper into the first tactic - Content Marketing. Content Marketing has become a crucial aspect of digital marketing for businesses of all sizes, including IT Consulting and Professional Services companies. It has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to reach and engage with potential customers, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach their target audience. In this blog, we will explore how IT Consulting and Professional Services companies can leverage content marketing to achieve their marketing goals.
One of the most prominent thought leaders in the field of content marketing is Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Pulizzi emphasizes the importance of creating a content marketing strategy that is focused on the customer and their needs, rather than the company and its products. This means creating content that is not just about your services, but also educational and thought-provoking.
Another thought leader in this space, John Humphrey, who was co-founder of Pariveda Solutions, Inc (a 700+ employee IT consultancy in Dallas), talks about content being even more critical today than ever before. A quote from John's post here:
"Your company has smart people! Guess what, so do your competitors. Your company has differentiated offerings! Guess what, so do your competitors. Your culture is different! Guess what, so is your competiton’s.
How do you cut through the noise?
- You write content that is authentic and engaging. "
For IT consulting and professional services companies, content marketing can be used to demonstrate their expertise, establish their brand as a thought leader in the industry, and educate their target audience about the challenges they face and how they can be solved. This can include blog posts, white papers, e-books, webinars, and other forms of content that provide value to the audience and position the company as a trusted advisor.
We want to share today some of the example content pieces that we developed at our last startup which developed significant success and in fact altered the path of our growth.
Example #1: Filling Your Own Need
When Flux7 was in its early days back in 2015, the team noticed a gap in the market for information on comparing Hadoop distributions. As big data strategy leaders and technical influencers were constantly searching for this information, we saw an opportunity to create a white paper on the topic to fill this gap.
To develop the content, we hired a graduate student as an intern to conduct an in-depth study and create a feature matrix. The final copy was edited by the Flux7 team to ensure its accuracy and relevance.
The white paper was then distributed through our blog and posted on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and HackerNews. The post was thoroughly optimized for SEO, and the white paper became the number one link for comparisons of Hadoop distributions on the search engine.
To collect leads, the feature matrix required users to either provide their email addresses or contact us directly. The effort paid off, as the white paper produced a few leads, including one of the biggest in Flux7's history at that time – a Fortune 100 company.
Example #2: Thought Leadership For An Emerging Technology
In 2014, at Flux7, we identified a growing trend in the use of Docker and sought to establish ourselves as thought leaders in the space. Recognizing the increasing popularity of the technology, we decided to write a series of tutorials and benchmarks on the topic. These tutorials were developed based on the interesting problems the team had solved for our customers, showcasing our expertise and thought leadership in the field. The tutorials were then distributed through our blog and also on YouTube in the form of videos.
While the main goal of the Docker benchmarking series was not to generate leads, it still had a significant impact on our business. The content helped establish Flux7 as a thought leader in the industry, leading to multiple partnership and acquisition offers from other companies. Additionally, the tutorials caught the attention of a Fortune 100 insurance company, who reached out to Flux7 after following their blog and tutorials for some time.
The success of the Docker benchmarking series also secured speaking slots for the team at multiple conferences, which further helped to solidify our thought leadership in the industry and led to even more content being developed, such as a video from Python Texas that received 80,000 views on YouTube.
Example #3: Answering a frequently asked question
When it comes to scaling DevOps in large organizations, the Enterprise DevOps Framework white paper by Flux7 provided a much-needed solution. Our team identified the need for a framework to help organizations overcome the challenges of scaling DevOps when they saw customers struggling with the same questions. To address this, we took our experience and expertise and developed a framework that would help bridge the gap.
The target audience for the white paper was technical leaders at larger companies where IT/Dev teams had 100+ members and scaling was a challenge. The content was developed by taking our learnings from real-world scenarios and putting them into a structured framework.
The white paper was distributed through our website and proactively shared with journalists at CRN and similar organizations like TechTarget. We also presented it to analysts like Gartner and Forrester. A summary of the white paper was available for free, but to access the full paper, users were required to type in their email address.
The results of the Enterprise DevOps Framework white paper were impressive. The blogs written about it were viewed several times, and we also collected over 100 email addresses from those who downloaded the full paper. However, the biggest benefit was seen in the middle of the funnel, where we used the framework as a clear differentiator. This led to two deals that produced over $4mm in revenue combined, solidifying Flux7's position as a thought leader in the DevOps space.
In conclusion, content marketing is a cost-effective and efficient way for IT consulting and professional services companies to reach and engage with their target audience. By creating valuable and relevant content, companies can establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry and generate leads that drive profitable customer action. Check out our next post for hwo to build your content strategy.