No matter the industry - from law firms, to accounting practices, to financial services - one of the key pieces of content professional services firms make are updates for clients. Whether it is a case note, a market update or a regulation change, professionals love to talk about what they know (and think their clients want to hear it).
The main issue with these updates is that most firms prepare and write them as if they were speaking with other lawyers, accountants or professionals, and not their clients. We often see highly technical, practice specific content that no one would want to read. It’s a balancing but the core issue most firms get wrong with their content marketing is not really understanding who they are writing for or even think about what the content actually delivers in terms of value and also ease of consumption.
Making content that is hard to consume, is not focused on solving an issue the reader has, and is written poorly is a waste of everyone's time.
So how can you avoid this?
This is often overlooked. When a client is making a decision about who to engage, what are they looking for? Obviously, technical ability and reputation are big, right? Well yes, but it goes without saying that a client will expect you to be competent.
More important than that, clients want to know what the experience is going to be like if they trust you with their work. Whether that is how you conduct yourself, what your processes are or how you communicate.
With this in mind, shouldn't demonstrating these things be high on your priority list when marketing your firm? Using content to tell your story and show your process does this, and helps give your clients peace of mind around your process. By letting them “peak in” to the way you deliver your service, you can overcome one of their biggest questions.
At the moment, you are just another law firm. How many people really give any thought to their legal, accounting or other services until they hit a problem that forces them to engage. But when they inevitably do, the question quickly becomes: who do I trust and get along with to carry this forward for me? This goes way beyond your service offering but the way these services are actually delivered and the end customer experience. Giving real insight through focused content will do far more than marketing mumbo-jumbo in a pitch document.
Does your content reflect who your target market is? Clients love brands that reflect who they are, feel like the content being made is designed specifically for them and that is consistent. You must genuinely share your ideas, experiences and give your readers an insight into your personal and/or business journey, style and approach.
The typical client who is looking for a specific service in legal, for example, will not make their decision solely based on your service offering or even your value proposition. They will also want to know what others have experienced in working with you, the ease of engagement, as well as certainty around pricing. But the personal connection and narrative is a key element that is fundamental to building trust and growing your reputation on this point. For example, tell your prospective clients and audience about how your process works and how easy it will be to deal with you and your firm compared to the laborious traditional approach.
We love to write! Thousands of people read our blog each month. But does that mean everyone loves our content delivered this way? Does it mean we should only ever write? Absolutely not, which is why we do so much audio.
The point is that clients will want to consume your content in different ways. So if you're only making it one way, they're not going to engage with it.
For instance, many people would much rather watch a video or listen to a podcast if it is easier to do. Personally, we listen to far more than we read now, from audio books to podcast episodes. So if you were wanting to engage with me, you'd make audio!
But how do you go about that?
Identifying specific problems and gaps that your firm looks to fill is key to getting good engagement together with targeted channelling. In plain English, this means making things people want to know about, in a medium they want to consume it in. For instance, think about what problem your clients face and what prevents them from engaging with legal services to get help. Remember, 70% of people who have a legal problem will not see a lawyer or legal services provider as a first step. They generally try and do their own research as a first step, so your firm needs to be present across key terms online. But what will get them to engage with you and at what stage?
Looking at a computer screen can become exhausting, but with podcasts, rather than using your eyes you use your ears to engage with genuine human voices rather than words and images on a screen. This makes for a far more memorable experience, not to mention giving you a better quality of engagement. Remember, audio, in particular, is the one medium that allows you the scope to consume content in parallel, so the potential engagement is out of sight.