The two most significant barriers to effective marketing are 1. committing to a strong, differentiated unique value proposition, and 2. consistently creating insightful, empathetic content that supports that positioning and sharpens your expertise. For years, we’ve tried to help the firms we work with crack the content part of that equation—and sometimes we’ve been more successful than others.
For many of our clients, our content consulting program and matrix have worked wonders. All they needed from us was a strategic focus, a healthy dose of accountability, and a push in the right direction; their team does the rest. For others, no matter how badly they want it, the time and resources required to maintain a consistent, well-focused content strategy will always be a hindrance.
So how do we help those clients?
If you had asked us that question a year or two ago, we probably would have admitted there’s not much we could do. We can give your firm most of the resources you need to succeed, but if your team is not the one actually driving content production, those resources can only go so far.
Our content marketing strategy evolution
Back in the early 2000s, our philosophy on content marketing was pretty simple—just do it. In other words, create content and put it on your site. We did it, and we told our clients to do it because, well, it worked.
Over time, we’ve crafted and perfected a content matrix with a more in-depth content plan that lays out content type, buy cycle stages, authors, and the frequency of each (i.e. this individual writes a blog on this topic for this buy cycle stage at this time).
A few years ago, Lauren McGaha took our content guidance to a whole new level when she created our content services department, which we’ve fondly marketed as “everything but the writing.” This service delves as deep as we’ve ever taken our clients into content marketing, with a much more comprehensive matrix, monthly topic brainstorm sessions, analytics review, quarterly theme discussions, copy editing—the works.
One of the most valuable features of this content consulting program is the inherent accountability it offers; particularly for those clients who have struggled to maintain a consistent content production schedule. But even with that level of accountability, some firms still need more help.
Everything but the writing…until now
We’ve always said we can’t write your content for you, and our perspective on that has not changed. Your writing has to convey your thoughts and expertise, using your words. You’re simply going to phrase things in subtle ways that reflect the many years of exposure you’ve had to your prospects. It’s innate. You can’t teach someone how to be you. There’s no amount of interviews or research a ghostwriter can do to develop the same level of understanding and empathy that you have for your prospect.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be the one doing the writing.
If you’ve consumed any of our content over the past few months especially, you probably know that we rely pretty heavily on a dictation service called Rev.com to transcribe our podcasts, webinars, and videos for SEO equity. Over the years, we’ve experimented with dictating blog posts to a service like that one, but we always knew something was missing.
It’s clear that the missing piece was a real person. If you want to communicate your thoughts and knowledge in a way that sounds like you, you have to actually believe you’re talking to a real person; dictation simply won’t work.
Our solution to this is interview-based content creation. Here’s why it’s so effective:
Each month, clients on this new service offering will choose three topics they want to write about—each one focused on a relevant audience persona and buy cycle stage. After filling out a brief preparation guide, they’ll meet with a writer on our staff for one hour to produce a recorded interview covering all three topics. We’ll guide them through the conversation, then create three SEO-optimized article drafts at 750-1000 words apiece—one for each topic.
It’s that simple.
Embrace your communication strengths
It goes without saying that this service makes sense for clients who simply don’t have the time to write. But it can be just as effective for those firms who don’t really have a strong writer on their team, or who, like me, find that writing is not their most compelling mode of communication.
We’ve been focusing a lot on communication styles over the past year or so at Newfangled. During this time, I’ve begun to realize that some of my best ideas come naturally to me when I’m speaking with a prospect and we’re truly just having a conversation. When I’m relaxed and in the zone like this, I end up saying things and expressing ideas that I haven’t thought of or put together before.
At first, this felt careless—like a character flaw. Should I really be spouting off ideas before thinking them through? Is that irresponsible? But the reality is that I process my thoughts vocally, out loud. It’s just how my brain works. In my dealings with most of the principals we work with, I’ve realized I’m not alone in this; in fact, I’m likely in the majority. Most principals I know would rather sit down, have a conversation, and talk through their ideas with somebody than put pen to paper.
Maximize the return on your content marketing investment
While it could be an easy selling point, this service is not meant to be a carte blanche to your firm to never write again. White papers, case studies, videos, and webinars are still a crucial part of your content marketing strategy. We maintain the belief that your team is best suited to write this gated content.
With this new service model, we’re simply giving you the opportunity to invest more deeply in the type of content that drives your content marketing strategy and solidifies your firm’s expertise. By letting us take the reins on indexable content (the content that brings people to your site) your team is free to focus time and energy on gated content (the content that creates the conversions on your site).
We truly believe this service can change the way your firm does content marketing. In fact, we believe in it so much that we wrote this article using our content development process. Even though the thoughts and voice are all mine, I didn’t actually write a single word of it.
If you think your firm might benefit from this kind of approach, we’d love to talk it over with you.