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Real People Don’t Read Fake Content

Social anxiety drives many professional service firms to generate shallow content in search of clicks and “likes”. Equally influenced by the fear-of-missing-out and search engine optimization, the resulting content relies heavily on memes, trending hashtags and lists-based articles that carries the expectation of clicks and visits. I want to suggest that kind of content is fake and attracts fake followers — people who will never partner with your team, or hire your firm on a project.

Firms spend too much time, energy and resources on getting clicks while neglecting the real, relatable content that could attract real readers organically. There is an appropriate time and place to integrate search engine science into your firm’s marketing strategy, but don’t let it drive the messages you share. Isn’t it smarter to write for the real people who actually hire your firm?

Let go of viral aspirations. It’s misguided strategy that doesn’t deliver real business growth. Viral content — suggesting we should be vaccinated against it — seduces firms into sharing irrelevant content which could hold more risk than reward to your firm’s reputation, much less deliver new business relationships.

Focus on making your original content (articles, columns, posts, and updates) authentic and relatable to a very focused group of real readers — your ideal clients. Address how your firm solves the very specific and complex problems your client encounters regularly. Potential clients with real problems will find you organically because you’re solving the kinds of problems they are anxious to resolve.

On the other hand, if your carefully targeted content does go viral, it will because the material struck a chord, addressing a specific problem a large number of real, potential clients want solved.

It would be better to have fewer high-value strategic content wins than buckets of bots or impressions from people who will never need to be a client.

Start with a strong, foundational marketing strategy that can direct an integrated content campaign and focus on what a potential client gains from working with your firm. Not how your firm has services clients might need at some point of the relationship, but how you solve the complex problem they are facing right now. It’s a subtle difference, shifting the focus away from your team’s experience and background to how potential clients benefit from hiring you. A solid marketing strategy also defines where you should share these messages. (Hint: not on Facebook.)

Here are a couple of content categories to help you write authentic content:

Case Studies. Pretty standard fare in content marketing that often gets overlooked, probably because they can be dry and very technical. But effective. Identify the problem, discuss the solution, and reveal the outcome. Add relevance for similar-sized clients or markets and include quotes or testimonials.

Thought Leadership. Tap into the talent of your technical team and find topics within the industry that animate and excite them. Perhaps it’s the application of a new technology, theory or practice. Also referred to as thought leadership because it often elevates practice to a higher level of thinking.

What We’re Working On. Careful with this one because it’s easy to fall into old habits writing to your team more than your clients. Focus on what you’re solving with the project, not just visibility or name-dropping.

If you’re struggling to create strong content that attracts real clients, we can help you figure out what you should be saying.

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