When you look at what's fueling the growth of businesses within service industries, you'll realize quickly that content marketing almost always plays a role in modern business success. In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find a successful business that hasn't at least dedicated some resources to this valuable lead-generation tool.
The Value of Content
- For starters, content attracts people to your brand. In fact, according to MedPro Disposal, 61 percent of consumers have made a purchase because of something that they read on a blog post. It's the way that you tell prospective clients about who you are, what your vision is, and why you're worth listening to. Content can be like an invitation to a party. What happens at the party is what makes it memorable or successful, but the invitation is necessary if the host wants guests to show up.
- After attracting users, content serves as a tool for educating and nurturing prospective leads and turning them into clients. It's this conversion wherein companies see a direct return on their content marketing efforts. Sometimes, this conversion takes place immediately, while other times, it's a gradual process.
- Finally, quality content engages clients and customers and keeps them coming back for more. If your goal is to retain clients, content is one of the best tools that you have to keep them engaged over a long period of time.
Five Tips for Leveraging Content in Service Industries
Most business owners and marketers don't question the value of content. Instead, they're left scratching their heads and contemplating how best to leverage content in order to ensure that their efforts result in positive returns. While it looks different in every situation, the following tips are helpful for businesses within service industries.
1. Tell Your Brand Story
You can't look at content marketing solely through the lens of advertising. Instead, think of it as a storytelling device. Successful companies are able to frame their brands in terms of a relatable story. If you're only producing content that's blatantly self-promotional, you aren't going to see good results.
The good news is that there's some flexibility in storytelling. According to Jeanne Dininni of Biz Assure, you may choose to tell the story of your company, people, brand, or services. And, because stories are constantly evolving, you'll always have something new to write about or to discuss.
2. Prove That You're a Thought Leader
Anyone can write about anything; however, consumers are much more willing to trust brands and people who have experience in the niches about which they choose to write. In your case, you have more clout writing about your business' industry than a random blogger with no hands-on knowledge of the concepts or techniques about which they're writing.
As you invest in content, you should focus on becoming a thought leader in your niche. While there are many different ways to achieve the status or title of "thought leader," quality content is one of the quickest ways to the top. As a byproduct of becoming an authoritative name in your field, you'll notice that your brand will experience organic growth.
3. Utilize Multiple Media
- Static copy. Your initial focus should be your website copy. This is the first thing that prospective clients see, and you need to engage them successfully. If you don't look at your static site content, and think to yourself, "Wow! This encapsulates perfectly what my business is about," then you need fresh copy.
- On-site blog. The second thing to focus on is your on-site blog. I do this with my company blog. It helps us connect with our customers. Your website copy may remain untouched for months at a time, your blog should consistently be populated with fresh, relevant ideas. This is how I grow my community while helping people grow their businesses.
- Guest blogs. You must expand your horizons beyond your own URLs. By partnering with other websites and bloggers, you can develop guest-blogging relationships that let you grow your reach. The right guest-blogging relationships are incredibly effective when aiming to become a thought leader in a particular industry.
- Social media. Social media is an incredible luxury for the modern marketer. Never before has it been possible to reach so many people with such little effort. Not only should you be sharing content on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but you should also consider producing original content for these networks.
4. Interact with Readers
You can't create content, and then sit back and watch. Content marketing is all about engagement, and the more attention you give to it, the better your results will be. For starters, you need to interact with your readers. This means acknowledging comments on blog posts (even when they're negative or sobering), answering questions on social media, and reaching out to customers for opinions and feedback.
"Engaging with your audience by way of answering questions or giving the odd hint or tip is a sure fire way to ensure a reciprocal kind of loyalty to your site - and it humanises you," writes marketing expert Jeff Bullas. "It cannot be stressed enough that social media must be an inherently social activity - the conversation goes both ways!" While Bullas is specifically talking about social media, the reality is that you need to interact with readers across all media.
5. Focus on Quality
The "quality over quantity" mantra is often overused, but it holds true in the case of content marketing. If you want to maximize your efforts, don't get held up by the quantity of your content. Instead, focus your time and money on creating stellar content that's guaranteed to last. One piece of share-worthy content is exponentially more valuable than five bland posts that provide little substance.
Make Content a Priority
In today's business landscape, many service industries are oversaturated with competition. Low barriers to entry mean that it's possible for just about anyone to launch a business, and compete for your customers. And, while there's nothing that you can do about the barriers to entry in your field, you can ensure that your brand is seen in a better light by focusing on quality content marketing.
The five tips mentioned in this article should help you to understand the value of content, as well as where your focus needs to be. Your business is different from the next business, but the same principles apply in virtually all situations. If you want to facilitate growth, rely on content's ability to attract, convert, and engage.