Content marketing is vital for staying competitive today. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, 88% of B2B marketers consider content marketing an important part of their company’s marketing program, but only 63% of B2B organizations are extremely or very committed to content marketing.
Here are some best practices and tips for creating, posting, sharing, and repurposing content.
Step 1 – Create Blog Content
Creating a content marketing culture is a challenge, so start small and then ramp up.
- Ask individuals if they would be willing to contribute once or twice a year (to start). This makes the commitment more manageable.
- Focus on the people at your firm that “get” marketing. They will be more willing to write thought leadership pieces.
- Create a content calendar and assign specific due dates to people.
- Brainstorm topics. Writer’s Block? 10 Tips for Professional Service Firm Blog Topics.
- “Evergreen” topics are usually best. Evergreen topics are those that will continue to be useful regardless of when they were written. Topics based on current events can be popular but become dated quickly.
- Remember your audience. What would your clients and contacts find educational and interesting?
- Always ask someone to proofread!
Step 2 – Post Content to the Blog
The final article should be posted to the firm’s integrated blog (or relevant service/industry-specific blog for firms with multiple blogs). It is important that your site is designed and programmed to make the most of the blog content by encouraging site visitors to continue reading and exploring.
- Associate each article with related pages (people, services, industries, etc.) on the site. The recent article headlines should also appear on the related bio pages, services, and industries.
- Suggest other blog posts at the end of the article or in the sidebar.
- Include a call to action for site visitors to sign up for the firm’s eNewsletter and/or subscribe to the blog.
- Include images and other visual content with the blog post. People are more likely to click on blog post headlines if there is a relevant image paired with it.
- Assign the blog post author(s), categories, and tags, which visitors can use to search and sort blog content.
- Add the metadata (title, description, tags).
Step 3 – Share Blog Content on Social Media
Repurpose and increase the visibility of the blog content by sharing it on social media.
- Share the blog post on the firm’s social media accounts.
- Whenever possible include a relevant image to increase engagement. For example, tweets with images are 150% times more likely to be retweeted. Learn more at 42 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2017
- LinkedIn is the most important channel for professional service firms. At minimum, your firm should utilize a LinkedIn company page where you can share your blog content.
- Ask people at your firm to like and share the blog content on their individual social media pages.
- Social sharing buttons on the blog make it easy for people internally and externally to share the post.
Step 4 – Send Email Newsletters
Email marketing’s high return on investment and low cost make it a staple of a good content marketing strategy. We recommend sending a collection of posts monthly in an email newsletter format with links to the recent blog posts.
- Compile blog post into a monthly round up rather than sending individual emails. Recipients tend to unsubscribe if they feel like they are getting overloaded with emails. Once a month (plus a special announcement, if needed) is typically a good rate for professional service firms.
- For each blog post, include the headline and a short teaser “click to read more.” This format is easier for email recipients to skim and will drive traffic to your website. Learn How to Design Effective Email Newsletters.
- Never include the full article in an email. Long blocks of texts in email can be very overwhelming, especially when viewed on mobile devices.
- Use an email marketing platform (i.e. Constant Contact, Emma, MailChimp etc.) with a customized email template that follows your firm’s brand standards.
- Track your return on investment by reviewing your analytics. Email marketing platforms will give you data on email opens and clicks. See how your firm stacks up against the 2017 Email Marketing Performance Benchmarks for Professional Service Firms.
- Send targeted eNewsletters to specific service/industry lists, if your firm has enough targeted content. Firms with multiple blogs should send a monthly eNewsletter for each blog.