What is content?
We tend to think of content as that function of our firm that conveys something of value in writing to our clients. Here is an aphorism that might make it a little clearer for mature professionals – when it comes to your website, all content is marketing and all marketing is content. What does this mean apart from a smart aleck adage? It means that everything you write on your website should be about marketing to your clients. That is the essence of “content marketing”.
What type of content? Blogs, eBooks, FAQ, webinars, podcasts, media releases, images – anything that is on the website, including the home page. Everything is content, and all content is marketing. Think of it as a conversation and not words on a page.
Are our firm’s services content too?
Some commentators take this concept to another level.
Having a very linear and restricted view of what content is will only restrict and inhibit results:
– Content is the staff within your business.
– Content is the design of your shop/office.
– Content is your products and services.
– Content is the menus on your tables.
– Content is your company values.
– Content is your customers.
– Content is EVERYTHING.
This might be taking it a little far. You can’t apply the same parameters to services as the content on your website. No matter how innovative you claim to be in your client services, there is an element of sameness in the service delivery amongst professionals. In general, especially for smaller suburban firms, there is not the same scope for innovation as exists in the production of website content, which can be endlessly reimagined.
However, it is how they are described that can make a true marketing difference and add value to the service. As well, the culture and values that encompass service delivery can be seen as “content”.
But there is no doubt that good content will transform your firm’s website. Bland content, so often associated with professionals – lawyers, accountants and all superannuation, insurance and finance professionals – will only harm those efforts.
What are your goals?
It all depends on your goals. What is your marketing objective? Is your main appeal to existing or prospective clients? What type of narrative will appeal to them? For most small suburban firms that will involve in some form of narrative or storytelling:
We thrive on rich imagery – words are always better when they create an image. If you are a lawyer describing a will, don’t assume your readers have in mind the same document you do. Instead of describing a will as a “document that deals with your estate”, try to give it some colour. “Why do you need a will? Your family are grieving, they are confused and anxious about the future. The last thing they need is to have those anxieties exacerbated.”
But if your marketing strategy is to reach (for instance) high worth clients concerned with inter-generational wealth transfer that maintains its capital value, a different strategy will be needed. Those clients don’t want a well crafted marketing story, they want a well crafted and communicated investment strategy that uses carefully constructed legal and financial instruments. They want you to exhibit your specific expertise, and they are willing to pay for it.
What content should we produce?
It’s not the “what” that matters – it’s what the content achieves. Does it educate clients? Does it create an empathetic relationship with the client? Does it anticipate or alleviate pain points in their service transactions?
This is a different model than the traditional online “brochure” advertising of most professionals. It requires an understanding of your clients’ wider needs. It is no longer enough to know they need proper house insurance. To properly address those insurance needs, and to lure them through your content, you need to show them you have anticipated their underlying anxieties about the best ways to protect their assets and their families.
That’s real content marketing.
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