Publish or Perish – The New Business Reality
Continual content creation has become a necessity for any professional firm wanting great results from its marketing and business development efforts today. Valuable content (in the form of useful blog articles, educational guides, tips, e-books and videos) is exactly the type of information that will get more clients to know, like, trust and remember you when the time comes to buy.
We’re talking content marketing here, as regular readers to the Rattleback blog will know, but understanding the way this approach works is only half the battle. It’s the implementation of the plan that will scupper or secure your success.
The Headache of Continual Content Creation
One of the biggest challenges for those who want to make content marketing work for their business is drawing great content out of their team. As Jason Mlicki states on this blog, less than 10% of firms are doing an effective job of producing a consistent flow of high-value, educational content to market their firms. We back this statistic from what we see in our work here in the UK.
Continual content creation is a growing headache for principals and marketing directors in professional firms around the world. Getting consultants to provide the regular blog articles and other content you need can be like herding cats. You can’t do it without them – it’s their expert knowledge that becomes valuable content – but they are busy enough doing their day jobs and often reluctant. How do you encourage them to get involved?
5 Ways to Get the Whole Team Contributing
To help you motivate your experts to contribute regular content, here are a few different approaches we’ve witnessed in professional firms. We hope these generate some ideas for your business.
1. Inspire Them
Demonstrate the power of blogging. Set the scene for your team so they understand the new marketing reality and are excited to get involved. Share stories of businesses doing this well and getting results from their content (our Valuable Content Award winners’ stories are a good starting point).
2. Make it Personal
Inspire them to produce their own content because of the benefits it will bring them personally – more good leads (less time wasters), more referrals, more PR and speaker opportunities, deepened expertise, more trusted and better client relationships.
3. Organize Them
Don’t just share the vision. Share the challenge – spread it around the team. Pull a content plan together, write a publication schedule and get it out there. An achievable content calendar gives people plenty of time to prepare, and cuts out lots of excuses. If everyone knows well in advance that they need to produce one article a month, they can all plan for it.
4. Force Them
How far are firms willing to go? No blog, no bonus? I haven’t heard of any firm that has taken this step yet, but valuable content is becoming such a marketing priority there is talk of a big stick approach. Alan Vitberg talks about this in this thought-provoking article, Should Your Firm’s Reluctant Rainmakers Be Required to Do Content Marketing? A poignant excerpt is below:
I want to pitch an idea for your consideration: install a content marketing program where your firm’s reluctant rainmakers and rising superstars are required as part of their partner or employment agreement to produce content for marketing.
Instead of using their business development time for sales and marketing activities that aren’t in their comfort zone, they would use their subject matter expertise to create content that will attract the prospects who need your firm’s services.
Sounds kind of like academia where in order to get tenure, you’re expected to publish, right? You bet it is … but then again, it’s just an idea.
5. Support Them
Your experts are busy doing what they do best – advising clients – so make it as easy for them as possible to honor this new commitment. Give them all the help they need. Hire a writer to help them turn their ideas into content, or outsource this role to a freelancer or agency. Provide training to give them the new skills they need to produce great content.
Hold monthly blog brainstorms and blog surgeries where your team can share ideas and help each other. Make talk about blogging and content part of the day-to-day life and culture of your organization and it’s far more likely to take root and flourish.
Continually producing valuable content is a tough challenge. In reality, success will come from embedding a variety of approaches. So how will your firm feed the content generation monster?
About The Author
Sonja Jefferson, Managing Director of Valuable Content, is a writer, consultant and thought leader in the art of high quality content generation for sales results. You can find more information on these and other effective content generation approaches in Valuable Content’s free e-book on the subject: Feeding the Content Creation Monster – how do you get your team to write blog articles?