Professional services firms are investing heavily in thought leadership: on average 23 percent of total marketing budgets in the current budget cycle. And his is set to grow, with 87 percent of firms increasing their budgets next year and 29 percent revising budgets up significantly.
Clients and new business development are driving this investment. Four-fifths (82 percent) of service economy marketing leaders say clients expect firms to produce insightful content as a matter of course, while three quarters (76 percent) believe thought-leading content is the key to profitable conversations and establishing deeper long-term relationships.”
Marketing used to be all about putting your message out there and getting as many people as possible to notice it.
Today, that’s impossible.
With millions of marketers emailing and posting and tweeting and littering the World Wide Web with websites there’s just no way to rise above all the noise. Smart marketers no longer even try to rise above the noise. Instead, they…
The best way to reach somebody has always been through somebody else they know. Referrals have always been the most effective, most powerful way to grow your customer community. Today’s best marketers know that, and have embraced it into their most effective and powerful new strategies. They accelerate and amplify the growth of their community by routinizing and automating the process of obtaining referrals.
That’s a nice way to say that everybody wants to know what’s in it for them, which is simply a reality of human nature, and it’s one we can leverage to our advantage.
When you show someone that you have what they want, they want to get it from you. When you show them that you know what they need someone near them to know, they want to be nearer to you. They want to listen to you and learn more that will make them better at what they do, or who they are.
This is the heart of thought-leadership. We read the writings of those we learn from, those who offer us deeper insight, those who can teach us to be more successful. We buy their books, we frequent their speaking engagements, and we regularly return to read their blogs.
We engage them to provide needed services to us!!
Many clients ask me if I think they should launch their own blog, and I almost always answer “No.”
Then I qualify that “no” by adding, “Unless you’re going to commit to driving readers to your blog and using it as part of a coordinated thought-leadership program to convince them that they need your services.”
One mistake many people make is thinking that ‘new media’ like blogs, social networks, rich content and more can or should stand alone. They are new tools, and just like the old tools they need to be blended together into a cogent strategy to be effective. The HMC Thought-Leadership Marketing Program provides that cogent strategy in a format that can be flexibly adapted to your goals and your budget.
The foundation of the program is your blog. In our first planning meeting we will set out the goals of the blog and work together to create and schedule a list of blog posts to be written over the next few months. These topics will be consistent with the services you sell to your clients, and should also coincide with any events happening in your business, such as new product or service introductions.
Each post will contain a compelling lead-in hook, a link to more valuable information about the topic, and an easy-to-do call-to-action. Whenever we put a new post up on your blog, starting with the first, you will also broadcast about that post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other social networks you participate in. These notices will include the title of the post, a link to the post, any relevant hashtags to make the post visible to interested audiences, and the broadcast will include all relevant network groups that we can find.
Upon posting your first blogpost you will send out an email to as broad a list of prospects and customers as you’d like. This can be your existing mailing list, or we can augment it with contacts obtained through various sources. This email will announce the new blog and request permission to continue emailing information.
The keys to success are persistence and consistency. We will post a new blog item at least once weekly, preferably on the same day each week, so visitors never encounter stale content. If they don’t find something new regularly, they will stop returning. Over time, many readers will find a topic that resonates with their current circumstances, needs, or environmental issues. Between the call-to-action in each blogpost and everything else we do to follow up, we’ll capture that interest, penetrate that account, pursue and win their business.
To further extend distribution and increase readership of the blog you will email a brief monthly bulletin which discusses, in one or two paragraphs, the topics that have been covered on the blog recently with links embedded into the text that will take the reader directly to those posts.
This will be followed by any announcements you may want to include.
Finally we will list the next few posts that will be coming soon on the blog. We will then close by encouraging readers to forward and share the bulletin with their friends and associates who may also benefit from reading our blog.
The best way to demonstrate the depth of your thought-leadership is by having the link in each blog post take the reader to a white paper that was written by your company. The white paper should be brief, to the point, and help the reader better understand the issues that make this topic so important to them, and how to best proceed to pursue further action.
It is said that “cold calls get a cold reception.” Far better to have our expert phone specialists call to confirm that your readers received the free white paper we sent them. It’s non-threatening, and will always get an answer that a conversation may be built on. Our call team works closely with our email management team to coordinate their efforts so each person gets a call soon after they’ve received our emails.
The most compelling market messaging by far, case studies show prospects what you’ve done, not what you promise, and details the benefits and return your customers have received from your work. They make the ideal follow-up collateral to send once you’ve established some interest from a prospect.
Our experts will track the click-through and other analytics being generated by all of our social media activity for you. We’ll provide very useful reports that you can use to direct whoever is calling on prospects to focus on those who have shown interest by clicking on call-to-action or any of the links in each post that lead to more information. We’ll learn what works, what resonates with your target audience, and how to optimize future posts, tweets, and other marketing efforts.
Perhaps the most powerful and simple call-to-action is an invitation to attend an upcoming webinar. You select the topic and we’ll work with your team to understand your related offerings in greater depth so we may produce a highly impactful webinar presentation. We’ll produce the invitations, track RSVPs, and even present the webinar for you. Our presenters are noted experts in the IT field who many in your audience will recognize and respect.
Explore the Possibilities
Use our contact form or simple email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your thought-leadership and how we work with you to put it out there where it will serve you and your clients best.