Our monthly contribution from Andrew Leon Walker of Rame Marketing…
I was presenting recently to an audience from the professional services industry, and I asked the audience: “What’s your value proposition”?
I received the usual bland replies, such as:
- “we provide a professional service to our clients”
- “we put the client at the centre of our service offering”
- “we really focus on our clients”
But who doesn’t do that today? Focusing on your customer or clients needs is just part of the table stakes and if you don’t do that, you’ll lose market share to those who do.
The reality is that I could have taken the company name of any of the businesses in the audience and substituted those names with the names of their competitors and nobody would have noticed.
If a business can’t distinguish the benefits of its own offer against the competition, how do they expect their audience to do so?
This is not just a problem within the professional services sector. Too many businesses in general are in tick-box marketing mode, just paying lip service to what needs to be done and churning out vanilla flavoured messages, probably copied from their competitors’ websites. The result is a bunch of “me too” offerings that confuse an audience and leave the decision of whether they get chosen or not, down to issues such as luck, the colour or design of your website, and price.
This is not where you want to be. One way to resolve this is to stand on a platform and raise your voice within your market sector. To do this, you need to consider the following 5 points:
1. The Content Audit
Why is this important? Before you move forward and invest time and effort into your content creation activities, you need to draw a line in the sand to help benchmark your progress. A content audit pulls together all of your existing content to indicate where your content is strong and highlights weak areas where content is poor or non-existent. This will help guide decision making and budget allocation.
2. The Content Strategy
Why is this important? Remember the last time you tried to construct that flat-pack piece of furniture? After hours of frustration you had to swallow your pride and read the instructions. It’s the same principle; a plan is like a set of instructions to keep your business on the right path and moving in the right direction. Your plan will determine the type of content you need to create, when you’ll create it, how much budget you need, who will create it and how you intend to target, distribute and promote that content to your audience.
3. The Content Creation process
Why is this important? Content powers the internet, can help your business get found online, drives audience engagement and provides a platform to get your voice heard. But it’s important to create content to help, inform, educate and inspire your audience wherever they are in the sales process. Developing a content (or editorial) calendar will ensure things get done on time, for the right audience and will highlight (and police) responsibilities.
Most visitors to your website will be in research mode. Creating a blog is a great first step towards a content marketing approach, allowing you to post articles on subjects that will help explain what you do and how you can help, pulling visitors through to the rest of your website. Once you are comfortable blogging you can consider other forms of content such as articles, case studies, and video to help your audience validate their decision and to reinforce the value of your product or service offers.
4. Content Promotion
Why is this important? It’s not a case of “if we build it, they will come”. It’s a busy world out there and even if you have the best written article in your industry, you still need to get it out there for people to see and read. Yes, some people will find it through organic search. But by using a mix of social media, e-newsletters and paid advertising you’ll increase the visibility of your content, engage with a larger audience, establish credibility and trust and pull people to your site where they’ll hopefully convert.
5. Content Analysis
Why is this important? Creating content is hard work, so it makes sense to focus on what’s working and amend or eliminate what isn’t. Your website analytics package will be able to identify the most popular content and provide you with ideas to develop and create similar stories.
Introducing a properly considered (and resourced) content marketing process will help give your business the voice it needs, differentiate your offer and elevate your business above the crowd. Who wouldn’t want that?
If you want to find out more about how Content Marketing can help your business, download the ebook: Content Marketing Fundamentals.