What’s So New About Content Marketing? Professional Services Marketing Must Evolve
For professional services firms, the concept of content marketing is pretty old news. Most companies in this space have marketed their services this way for decades. They sell expertise – and that requires content that showcases their smarts. But, that doesn’t mean professional services firms are leaps and bounds ahead of other companies in the way they approach content marketing.
Professional services firms are actually playing catch-up. They still rely heavily on old marketing communication methods (white papers, articles, newsletters), and are only starting to toy around with more bite-size content and varied formats that connect with audiences in different ways. Check out Jay Baer’s post on why marketers are trending toward shorter content pieces if you’re wondering why shorter is better.
While many professional services firms take baby steps, there are a few that have leapt forward. IBM caught my attention with their latest Global CEO Study – and it was impressive enough to prompt me to write this post. Their microsite is one of the most dynamic I’ve seen to showcase a piece of thought leadership. A few things that caught my attention:
- Gives you reason to keep coming back. The volume of content alone compels you to return to the site a few times. You can find a comprehensive report and panel discussion video up top, but the rest of the information is in manageable snippets. The site also gives visitors the promise of new content. You can clearly find when to expect new videos, case studies, infographics and other types of content. It also distinctly outlines how visitors can stay abreast of updates – via bookmarking the site or downloading the IBM app. One overlooked option, in my opinion, might have been to allow people to submit their email address to get updates (a nice way to build up a prospect list as well).
- Breaks up a wealth of information into three clear sections. In each of the sections, you can follow a consistent path of choices for drilling down into the content. Or, if you care less about themes, and more about an industry category, visitors can find a clear option upfront for that.
- Flexibility to choose your own adventure. The site offers a variety of engagement levels and formats to appeal to the diverse audience that is likely visiting the site. Journalists looking to report on the information can easily find case studies, the study report and related information, or connect to an expert. Potential customers might choose to download audio insights to listen to later, explore the related services IBM offers or connect to a study expert via LinkedIn. Or, let’s say you really just want to look through all of the case studies or videos on the site – there’s an option along the bottom for that as well.
Huge studies like this can become very overwhelming very quickly; most people don’t have the patience to sift through a 25-page report. You can tell that IBM has really thought through the different customer journeys one might take on the site. I can only imagine the resources and time it took to pull all of this information together, which not everyone has the luxury to do. However, I do think it’s a good source of inspiration and could be replicated on a much smaller scale.
What good examples have you seen of content marketing by professional services firms?
Photo by nojhan
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