Your consulting business is doing well. You’re established. And you love content…you consume it all the time. Now you’re considering if investing in thought leadership content is worth it.
Is content a worthwhile investment for me and my consulting firm? Will content drive ROI for me?
It’s a question that I’ve been asked a lot. There’s a disconnect. Many consultants know that content is important. They know that they should be producing it themselves. But they find it hard to justify the ROI.
In my experience, this belief is widespread for a few different reasons.
First, modern popular digital marketing content has most of us looking at content through the lens of SEO. Too often, we narrowly view content as a vehicle for ranking for popular keywords and organic growth.
And it is. But that’s just one side of the coin. In this article, I’ll explain how consultants can organically inject content into their already-existing sales processes to close more (and better) deals.
The problem is that most consulting firms will find it difficult — if not impossible — to rank for meaningful keywords in organic search. You are going up against industry giants, with huge content teams and the budget to match. Driving organic search traffic for B2B terms is incredibly difficult and is only going to get more so as time goes on.
This ties into our second reason why many consultants find themselves on the fence about producing content.
Content is a long-term investment. No doubt about it.
Through SEO it can take years before you start to rank for meaningful keywords. Even then, the chances of you being able to “out-do” the big companies with their budgets and rank #1-3 for popular keywords are slim to none.
If you sat around and waited for your SEO efforts to pay off, well, you’d probably end up looking like this guy:
But content, when created with specific goals in mind and used smartly, can start generating measurable results for consultants in days or weeks — not months.
In this article, I’ll cover some of the different ways that content delivers ROI for consultants and consulting firms.
Content Drives Referrals
Consultants live and die by word-of-mouth and referrals. There is a good chance that clients through this source make up one of the most significant sources of revenue within your business.
Content is specifically designed to grow your referrals by positioning you as an industry expert.
Founders and executives talk to each other. And when they are looking for someone with a very specific skill set, they ask people in their network for recommendations.
Content allows you to stay top-of-mind for your specific skill set among prospects, clients, and even those who would have no need for your services — but they may know others who do.
Ask yourself — how much is one new client worth to you?
If you’re like most consulting firms, the answer is likely going to be in the tens of thousands, or potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
How many new referrals could content potentially bring to your business if you published just one piece of content per month?
After a year, that’s twelve pieces of content. When you publish content that answers very specific questions or concerns from prospects and clients and position yourself as an industry authority, those twelve pieces add up over time.
If your content helped you to secure three more clients per year, what would that mean for your business, revenue-wise?
A lot, I’d imagine. And when you are doing content marketing well as a consultant, three clients per year is way underselling what is possible.
If you create amazing content and work to consistently share it with your audience, it’s difficult for content not to pay off in the long-term for high-ticket offers.
Content Creates Trust Among Prospects And Facilitates Easier Sales
As a consultant, your number one goal is to get your prospects to trust you. They have to, in order to buy a high-ticket service. In fact, they have to have a lot of faith in your ability to help them.
How do you win that trust now?
Without content, the most common way to build trust with prospects is over a series of calls and projects. You get to know each other. You build a rapport. Maybe you start small, with a basic project to get a feel for working together.
If things go right, you earn the client’s trust and can move on toward your big-ticket service.
Instead of starting from 0% trust, wouldn’t it be easier if prospects came to you already 50% of the way there? I’d say so.
Prospects that have trust in you as a person and your ability to deliver make for an easier sales process. They don’t need all of that nurturing and starting with small projects before diving into your big-ticket offer.
That’s exactly what content does. It keeps you top of mind and consistently gets you in front of interested prospects, sharing valuable insights about your industry or niche. Over time, they begin to associate you with topics around that subject. And when the time comes for them to invest in the service themselves — there you are. With tons of content proving your expertise beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Content that is specifically designed for your sales processes — such as an article or video that answers a question that you are often asked by your clients (just like the article that you are reading now — is a truly valuable long-term asset.
Think about it.
This article helps me provide a detailed answer to prospects that are having trouble seeing how content will help them to produce an ROI for their consulting business.
I write this article one time — but it will influence sales conversations that I might have for the next decade. How many sales will this single piece of content influence?
Content Helps Grow Existing Accounts
We put a lot of thought into how content assets will help us to secure new clients, but one of the biggest reasons for consultants to invest in content is because it will help them to grow existing accounts.
The people that you are already working with are the easiest source for revenue growth that you have at your disposal.
These people already trust you. They already value your work. But, they may need a little nudge to take that next step and grow their investment with you.
Content helps you to grow existing accounts in two different ways.
Content helps you to stay top-of-mind and sell new services to longtime clients.
When your current clients see you publishing new content, sharing insights on social media, and generally interacting within your niche community — they take notice.
Staying top-of-mind is so important. If you want to grow your collaboration with a specific client, you have to work to help
For a high-ticket service, you might sign a few clients a year. But, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t handling numerous projects for each of those existing accounts.
Content can be used to plant the seed for new projects and services into a prospect’s mind. Talk about the other things that you can do for your current clients. Share that content with them. Some of them will be excited to jump at a new offer — especially if they find your current offer valuable.
Content Is an Investment
Yes, content is a long-term investment. But it is also a short-term investment.
From the moment that you publish a truly insightful thought leadership article, you have an asset on hand that can help you to:
- Drive referrals and new word-of-mouth interest
- Create trust among prospects that you are nurturing
- Grow existing relationships with clients to include new services
Your ability to promote that content does play a big role in the ROI that it produces. But most people overthink promotion.
The formula is simple. Create great content that answers key questions from your audience. Share it with your prospects directly. Break every piece down into tidbits and share them regularly on social media. Bake it directly into your sales processes.
You don’t have to create hundreds of pieces of content and reach thousands of potential customers to be relevant.
No — you only have to create a few to reach a handful of your ideal clients to begin generating real, verifiable ROI from content.