The best bloggers for professional services understand the need take a professional approach. Business in this sector depends on the level of trust and authority you can convey to your potential clients (and to your existing clients). So just casually throwing a few words together will simply not bring the results you are looking for.
In this post we are going to look at three essential elements that contribute to a polished and effective professional services blog.
Clients will be paying for your time, expertise, intelligence, experience and knowledge. They are not expecting you to waste their time, stray from the task in hand, or go off at a tangent when they engage your services. Your blogs needs to be focussed, clear and to the point.
Part of this is planning – so have a content strategy that identifies the core topics you wish to write about – topics that you know your potential clients want to understand and are actively researching.
To do this you should:
- talk to existing clients and potential clients about what they are looking for
- look at your offerings and see where client education might be necessary
- look at your business plan and the overall goals of your organisation to help identify those areas you need to focus on to get where you want to be.
Once you have an idea of the broad areas you need to write about, use comprehensive keyword research to identify those long tail keywords that will get you the most return for your writing efforts. That keyword research should lead you to subjects and titles for your blog posts.
In addition, you should stay up to date on all appropriate areas of your industry and be prepared to comment on news and developments. These posts should tie in with your content strategy and your core topics.
By focussing unerringly on the correct topics, creating content driven by well-researched keywords and by staying on message; you will create an effective blog that will engage your potential clients and convert them.
As part of your content strategy you should clearly identify your key buyer personas – those typical prospects that you want to draw in and ultimately, get to purchase your services. This process should be tied in with the content strategy, business plan and organisational goals. Those buyer personas will dictate what topics you focus on, the language you use, the approach you take and the depth of your content. Write content aimed squarely at those buyer personas – the more you can answer their questions and address their doubts, the more successful your blog will be. Look at the buyer’s journey – from awareness to decision – and target appropriate content at each stage.
Providing well-targeted, and therefore relevant and useful content at the right stage of the buyer’s journey is the key to successful content marketing.
Your clients and prospective clients, like everyone else in business today, suffer from a shortage of time. Put yourself in their shoes – does your blog title sound like there is a benefit to them in reading the post? If the answer is yes, they will then scan the article to assess how much time they should spend on it – a simple equation – is the time spent reading the article going to help them achieve a goal?
If they start reading the article, they will still, in the back of their mind, be gauging whether they should read further, whether they are still getting the benefits they expected from their initial assessment of the content. If they are in any doubt they are likely to bail and go on to something else.
Here is where not only the writing, but the structure of your posts is vitally important. Yes, your post title and subheadings should all be well written and more importantly, promise benefits, but the post should also flow – telling a story with a beginning, middle and end. Each sentence should make a point and lead naturally on to the next. At no point should the reader feel lost or like they are not going anywhere.
Professional service practitioners that do well, fully understand the power of a story to move the minds and hearts of clients. There is nothing like a well-told case study to engage potential clients who find themselves in a similar situation.
When writing then, lay out the main points of your blog first. Arrange them in a logical sequence so that they tell a story with a definite beginning, middle and end. The beginning should start by detailing the benefits to be gained from reading the post, sets the background to the story and explains the issues the post will address. The middle is the story proper, which should flow and move logically between the various stages in the narrative. The end should be a summary of the story, with a clear benefit message emphasising the main point of the post. This should always be positive and written to link in with whatever Call To Action you’ve chosen for that post.
If your content is focussed, targeted and structured – then you will have the basis of a very effective professional services blog. Concentrating on these elements, you will find your posts are more powerful and productive.