Alison Simons blog content strategy | Simons MarketingI don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that for most professional services firms it takes a concerted effort to create content for the website’s blog.  Billable work takes priority, and when busy season hits, all bets are off.

But this stuff matters.  57% of a typical B2B purchasing decision occurs before the decision maker has a conversation with any potential providers.  And even if you get a prospect through a referral, at some point in the buying process, 81% of all buyers go online to check out your professional services firm.  (source)  Having a robust library of articles to reinforce your firm’s expertise in various industries or services will separate you from the competition in a meaningful way.

Here are five ideas to help you develop a blog content strategy:

1)  Divide and conquer – Count how many professionals you have in your office and compare that with the 52 weeks in a year.  And yes, I am including staff through partner.  If you have 26 professionals, each person only has to write 2x per year for your blog to have one blog post per week.   Or,  if you’re satisfied with an every-other-week posting schedule, everyone only has to write once per year.  Even for the most reluctant team members, that seems reasonable.  Yes?

2)  Put someone in charge – Blog content is one case in which you need one person to be in charge of feeding the beast.  Give him/her the authority to hold people accountable for meeting deadlines.  Ideally this person has a year-round even workload, can get along with everyone, has a good understanding of the services that your firm offers, knows your client base, and enjoys social media so he/she can follow thought leaders and feed article ideas to your professionals when they are feeling stuck.  If you don’t have someone in-house, this is a role that can be outsourced.

3)  Make it your goal to get ahead of the demand.  Have a library of posts that can be used for when times get busy.  “Ever green” is the term used for topics that are relevant year-round and don’t get stale if there is a lag in the post date.  This article, for example, is an ever green topic.

4)  Prevent writers block – When professionals say “I don’t know what to write about” share these ideas:

  • Mix it up – Some blog posts can be technical, other can be anecdotal.   Anything from a regulation change to a question you got asked by a couple of clients lately – or that question you had to research the answer for, can be a blog post.  Styles and length can vary so don’t get too caught up in specific standards for length or format.  Consider interviewing a client about their business – it’s a good bet they’ll say something nice about you along the way.
  • Continue the conversation – Marketers call it “Content Curation” when you make an existing article (from your own website or a well known publication) and create a blog post around giving your opinion.  You can agree or disagree with the article, or add-on to the original author’s premise from your perspective.  This can comprise about 25% of your content strategy.
  • Use a mix of mediums – Writing isn’t everyone’s favorite form of communication.  Perhaps you can start a short video blog (it doesn’t have to be a high quality production) or have an infographic made if you have some statistics to share.  Graphic design for these isn’t prohibitively expensive.  
  • Share your firm news –  Another 25% of your blog posts (at most) can be firm news.  This can include office celebrations (photos please!), promotions, new hires, awards/honors to your firm, new clients (if they OK this), your speaking engagements, webinar/seminar invites, etc.

5)  Measure and improve – Periodically look at your blog’s analytics.  What are the most searched keywords?  What are the most read articles?  What topics are falling flat with readers?  Refine your topics over time to meet your readers’ interests.  Compare text with video and infographic visitors.  If you’re not getting the traffic that you want, consider changing things up.   Give the people more of what they want.  

If you need help with a blog strategy, let’s have a conversation.

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Alison has more than fifteen years of professional services marketing and business development experience. She is a Boston College Double Eagle, holding both a BS in Management with concentrations in Marketing & Information Systems, and an MBA. Alison is a member of the 2009 Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 class of honorees.