Public relations for professional services firms usually revolves around highlighting the expertise of the firm’s staff – as “thought leaders” – through published articles, expert interviews and speaking engagements, which are then reproduced or linked to for promotional purposes.
Now, however, these PR vehicles can be re-purposed to reach a much larger audience through a strong content marketing program.
What is content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
For the past few years, content marketing has been touted and flouted; it’s either the greatest marketing tool ever or a big waste of money, depending on the point-of-view of the person evaluating it.
In truth, no one marketing tactic is the answer for every business. Like every other tool in your marketing toolbox, it’s how you use it that counts.
Content marketing requires three main components to be successful. The first is obvious. You must have technological capabilities – either in-house or through an outside platform. But if that were all there was to it, anyone could be successful at it, and surveys tell us they are not.
Two other requirements are essential: a strategy and interesting content.
Strategy. As with any PR program, you need to have a plan of action before you start. This means:
- Profiling your target audience and their primary areas of interest
- Having a compelling message – in this case, producing content that addresses the interests and concerns of your target audience
- Identifying the best ways to reach your target audience with your content
Interesting Content (and Lots of It). It is really important to have one or more staff members whose sole job it is to produce well-written or well-produced content, including:
- Content that appeals to the target audience
- Content that is compelling and valuable to the reader
- A variety of content: written, video, webinars, etc.
That’s a time-consuming job, especially if you don’t have a large in-house PR department. You may need to hire someone or bring in an outside firm to handle it.
Finally, as with any new marketing program, it takes a while to see measurable results. But content marketing seems to be made to order for professional services firms, and it’s worth considering.
Posted by Margot Dimond