Sandra Stewart | September 25, 2014
The biggest fear about content marketing that we hear from professional services firms (after “We don’t have anything to say”) is “We don’t want to give away the store.” Professionals often worry that if they share their knowledge in any substantive way, potential clients will just do it themselves.
The reality is, if others could act on your knowledge as well as you can, they’d be your competitors, not your clients. And if you can teach people how to do something at a professional level through a few reports or a series of blog posts, you should abandon what you’re doing right now and start making a mint on online education.
Sure, if you provide rich how-to content, some people will use it as a guide to doing the job without your help (or anyone else’s). But typical do-it-yourselfers have no budget for the work, don’t see quality as a top priority or just aren’t ready to hire someone—or all three. They’re not real prospects, so you lose nothing by helping them out, and you gain a few karma points. Plus, once they’ve gotten past the DIY stage, you’ll be on their radar.
Real prospects do their research before making a decision, and they want to know how you think—they’ll be paying for your expertise and insight. Which brings up a larger point—how-to’s probably are not the only type of content you should be producing. There are plenty of other types of content that can provide value and showcase your expertise, such as:
- Insights into business problems your clients face
- Perspectives on trends or news in your industry or in clients’ fields
- Answers to common client questions about the work you do
- Discussions of best practices you’ve developed or tested
- Articles that demystify technical topics that clients find challenging
For more tips on succeeding with content marketing, see our Content Marketing: Myth vs. Reality guide.