Thought leadership – providing free, informative, client-centric content – has become a mainstay in a solid marketing program. Within the professional services environment, this content serves several end goals. It can help clients and prospects distinguish one service provider from another (differentiation point in a saturated market); it is highly searchable (strong SEO value); and, it may help brand a lawyer or firm as an expert in a field of law.
It’s natural, then, that one of the questions I hear most often from professional services marketers is: “How do I get a lawyer/accountant/consultant to write more?”
Below are five tips to get professionals to take time from billable hours, project work, family obligations and prospecting to write content.
1. Align Content Efforts With Personal Development & Interests
In a related post, 3 Resources When Launching a Blog or Microsite, I explain that it is imperative to plan a content calendar, which assigns posts to individuals and to have someone at a senior level who can help enforce the schedule.
In addition to this structured approach, I’ve found that each individual content writer is motivated by different reasons. For example:
- Partners: Try identifying topics that speak to this person’s seniority and industry knowledge (breaking news; major decisions).
- Associates: Try identifying topics that help with professional development, such as expanding expertise in an area of interest. This is also an opportunity to get the attention of a senior lawyer.
- Research Lawyers: Try identifying different ways to think about content, such as brainstorming for an infographic to accompany the blog.
- Law Clerks: Try identifying posts that speak to this individual’s deep knowledge of processes and extensive client interaction.
- Business Development: Don’t be afraid to seek content from a business development lead; this is a great opportunity to work on growing industry / area knowledge and work with a senior lawyer.
2. Create A Content Marketing (Promotional) Machine
This is your time to shine. When content is created for a blog by a billable professional, there is an inherent tradeoff of that person’s time writing vs. their billable rate. So make sure you maximize the value of their content efforts. This is perhaps the most important part of encouraging professionals to write more. As smart, business-savvy persons, they will naturally ask about the return on investment of their time and this is where we, as content marketers, must step up to bat and create opportunities.
Sample Content Marketing Promotional Machine:
|Post via brand channels on social media||Post via social media||Post via social media|
|Distribute via Newsletter||Forward to key contacts||Forward to key contacts|
|Create link in bio / practice page||Identify key influencers (publishers/media/bloggers)|
|Distribute via aggregators ($)||Be available for interviews|
|Allot budget for SEM and social amplification ($)||Create a LinkedIn Pulse blog entry reposting content with link to blog/microsite|
|Post newsletter to publications or articles page on firm site||Post to LinkedIn Groups (where rapport has been established and topic is on theme)|
|Promote on firm homepage, if applicable||Answer questions and inquiries from blog post|
|Submit to relevant publishers/media/bloggers, if applicable|
|PDF content and add to SlideShare/Issuu|
|Use in pitches, if applicable|
|Create eBook / white paper from various posts (longer term)|
|Include RSS / newsletter sign up feed on blog/microsite|
|Post to LinkedIn Groups (where rapport has been established and topic is on theme)|
|Include web form for questions on each post|
|Seek guest blogging opportunities and engage in social media influencer engagement ($, if outsourced)|
|Ask for content opportunities from sponsorship packages|
3. See Content Opportunities Everywhere
If you look around your firm you’ll find there are content opportunities everywhere.
Turn speaking engagements into blogging opportunities
- Rethink blog content as simply text: post a presentation to SlideShare and embed it in a blog post with a synopsis. The same goes for a video.
Take advantage of multimedia to feed text entries
- Use Fiverr to get a transcript of a webinar, webcast, podcast, TV/Radio appearance or video (i.e. get a recording of the lawyer speaking) and massage the content into a blog post series (or eBook)
Interview a professional and ghostwrite based on an approved blog outline
Update older content with new information and republish as ‘Updated’
Don’t be afraid to borrow from other industry and practice groups by tailoring an existing post or article to your audience
4) Identify Key Opportunities For Content Expansion
Knowing when to spend more energy to expand a firm’s content offerings on a topic is key. Suppose a major change is occurring in your clients’ and prospects’ industry; this is a great time to expand your content beyond a blog post or article.
- Seek out speaking engagements and have a professional create a presentation
- Post presentation to SlideShare (remember to make sure the slides stand alone)
- Record a webcast (presentation with voiceover) as a takeaway for attendees and as a prospecting tool
- Transcribe webcast content and create:
- Blog post
- Newsletter article
- Take webcast audio and create a podcast
- Have some budget left? Create a video series on key themes / key changes
- Host a seminar on the topic and produce a webinar for individuals outside driving area
- Create a white paper delving deeper into key themes
- Host a Twitter chat using FAQ
- Put it all together on a landing page
5) Track and Promote Your Wins!
It may go without saying but adequate tracking of wins, such as potential new client inquiries, new files opened, media mentions, client feedback, industry kudos, etc. will motivate a professional to write more.