Here at Passle we are often approached by marketing teams within professional services firms that are after a solution to their lack of expert-led insights. They are rammed full of busy lawyers and consultants but it is hard to put a process in place.
Our marketing team just the other day produced some insight into how you go about fixing it and came to the conclusion that there are four factors that separate successful professional services thought leadership programs:
- Author-centric publication: Empowering authors to create content in an easy and well-understood way.
- Governance: Quick and efficient approvals processes for all content.
- Create Once, Publish Everywhere Distribution: Guaranteed reach for published content to the audiences that matter.
- Relevant Feedback: Layered feedback to each of the stakeholders - particularly to the authors who must see the value of creating the content.
This feeds nicely into a recent article I read by Daniel Gray who is head of content at professional service firm Blick Rothenberg. Daniel talks intelligently about winning new business by showcasing your people within the firm and showing what they know. When done right, content marketing:
- Forms an emotional connection between fee earner and target audiences/clients
- Creates cut-through
- Helps attract potential new clients
- Arms frontline people within the business with insights and tools to have consultative selling conversations
- Improves existing client relationships by offering up a steady stream of pro bono insights
- Helps convey your culture and values to potential recruits
- Creates a sense of pride amongst your people
Daniel suggests that of course there is a certain 'managing of tension' that takes place between the expert subject creators (the fee earners) and the marketing and content teams. Ultimately though it should be the marketing team's responsibility to use their know-how to be the ultimate arbiter of what is published. He goes as far as to say that the head of content's role is like a managing editor's role and they should oversee and drive to a certain extent, the creative direction of the firm's content.
He concludes by suggesting that firms need to break through the 'spray and pray' approach to content and the successful way to do this is to adopt a content strategy that is totally aligned with the key marketing and business objectives of the firm. Firms can then start considering themselves as publishers with marketing owning and managing the content.