Today is all about how to promote content that attracts high-level consulting clients.
We all know the story of creating a piece of content, whether it be an e-book, a blog post, et cetera, and when you finally press the "Publish" button, and nothing happens. No buzz, no social shares, no comments, and definitely NO clients. You spent so much energy trying to create something useful and to get little (or no) response can feel like a waste of time and effort.
So let's both take a step back and clear our heads together...
- Let's acknowledge the fact that the piece of content (all by itself) doesn't attract amazing clients.
- Let's acknowledge the fact that the piece of content (all by itself) does not move people along the funnel.
Truth is, you get the most value out of your content creation efforts when you think about them strategically in your content marketing funnel.
A Quick Review
1 - It's all about your core concept. It is the highest level offering you have. It is the transformational "thing" that you do as a consulting company.
2 - Core concept becomes content pieces. Break the transformational process into steps and each step becomes its own piece of stand-alone content. Each piece of content shows people how valuable you are so and makes it easier to accept deeper level services from you.
3 - Visitors become leads. That's made available here on a landing page specifically about your big consulting offer.
4 - Follow up and close. Once they register, there's a very simple follow-up process. discovery call and proposal call.
This is what a content marketing funnel looks like, and we've been breaking this apart, piece by piece.
Today, we're talking about the promotional piece. You've got your core concept. You broke it apart into pieces. You've created the content. Now it's time to promote that content so more and more people are interested in hearing about what you really do as a business.
Promote by Syndication
The first option that you have when you create each piece of content is to syndicate it. Take the content as it stands, and put it in more than one place: For example your content can be posted on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your email list, and your blog.
Marie Forleo is a business coach who is excellent at this:
LeadPages is a B2B software platform that makes consistent use of content marketing:
If you made a video as a part of the content, that goes right to YouTube. Syndication's already happening.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are as simple as just publishing the image, if necessary, and a headline with a very quick link, so that's very easy to do. If you've got an email list already (which you should) then add it to the mix. If you have a blog (which you should) the add it to the mix. You've already made the content so you write a quick email to your email list and post it on your blog.
Each of these things provides their own level of value, and if you have already committed to the process of creating create content, this is easy to do.
Here are a couple of "Watch outs" about just this first tier of content promotion.
Things to think about...
If you are already creating high-level content this is simple. Many of these elements are already packed into your existing process.
This is also the steadiest approach. You really should be doing this anyway. Even if you're not doing some of the more advanced things deeper in this post, this syndication alone will nurture your existing audience and nurture them down the funnel.
With some of my clients syndication is the only strategy we used. (Creating and) syndicating focused content created an increase in clients and sold-out programs, so this is certainly steady.
But this process alone is slow for growth. If you're in the start-up phase, and you're trying to get your consulting business started quickly it is going to be slow. By slow, I mean 6 months to 12 months type of slow. If you've got six months to dedicate to only doing this, then that's fine. Go ahead. But if you do this only, it's a 6-month to 12-month kind of experience, and that could be a bit frustrating, and you're going to want to look at some other strategies.
Let's click to Level Two and see what that looks like.
Promote with Email Outreach
Here's where you start doing email outreach. You already have your high-level content. It's already been created, and you want to ask influencers and existing publications to spread your content.
Influencers. You typically do that by contacting influencers in your niche via email. There are a couple of tools to help you identify the right people. Some are free, some are paid. Followerwonk is one of those tools with a free and paid version.
I'll make a list of them, and include it as part of this post. Here there are! -->
Once you find a list of influencers used to sharing content simply say, "Hey, I've made something really good that solves for a problem in this niche, and so would you mind sharing it? Would you mind linking to it, tweeting it?" Some will say yes. Some will say no.
Then there are the existing publications. These are the newsletters that you already know about and the magazines you already read. They are publishing content on a regular basis and are interested in sharing more good content. Your role? create a high-level post that solves a problem in your niche, and make it available to one of these publications to share on your behalf. Some will say yes. Some will say no.
Side note: How NOT to come off as selfish (and clueless)
The "share my content" is good for YOU. Let's talk for a second about the part that's good for THEM. When you begin to do this outreach, it's really easy to be incredibly selfish and miss what makes the partnership good for both sides. Be careful of asking for what you want without fully appreciating why they would want to work with you in the first place.
One at a time, beginning with the influencers -- the influencers are interested in sharing your content, because they are also experts in their field. As thought leaders, they've already invested in sharing content that is valuable to their end user, they are interested in any content that solves a legitimate problem for the people they serve.
When you contact them and say, "Hey, I've made something great. It's high-level, well-structured, and solves a real problem. It's a stand-alone piece of content with nothing held back." It makes it easy for them to say, "Yes," and simply pass it along. By doing so, THEY look good. They have recommended good content to their following and that reflects back highly on them.
That's why an influencer would share your content. It's important to appreciate that when you do the outreach, so that you speak to their needs.
Here's the need of the publications. The publications are creating content on a regular basis. If you flip through a newstand magazine, it's got 80 pages or 100 pages, and every page has content on it. News publications have a constant need (you could even call it an appetite) for content to share.
Show a publication your portfolio of work. But you expertise on display. Make yourself available and say, "Hey, I make good content on a regular basis." This makes a publisher really happy because they an existing need, a continual need, for great content, and they just found a new source (you) to help meet their needs.
Either way, just make sure you are sensitive to what your potential partners' side of the equation is.
A couple of watch-outs....
Things to think about...
This particular promotional strategy is relationship driven, which means you've got to reach out, connect, interact, be human.
If you're not interested in building relationships in this way, then this is not the best approach for you. You should consider using another approach. You may want to hire someone to do this for you and make them responsible for cultivating these relationships.
The second is, this is probably going to be cold outreach for you. Your prospective partner doesn't know who you are. You're not a familiar name to them, at least not yet. So you've got to be OK with hearing "no"over and over. There are probably going to be nine "no thanks" before you get one "yes". There may be 80 "no thankgs" before you get 20 "yes". The point is, it may take some time to get some momentum here.
Be patient. This is cold outreach. Again, you may want to hire someone to do this for you and build the momentum. Warning: it's really easy to get discouraged when you continue to send out your great content to these avenues and not get a favorable response. But that's the nature of cold outreach when you're trying to get going.
A good benefit here is that you become associated with the publication or influencer where you've had your content shared. This is like the "Oprah" strategy. When Oprah Winfrey was doing her talk show, she introduced us to Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and Suze Orman. We didn't know who those folks were until Oprah introduced them to us.
Because we liked Oprah, we liked them, too. Because we trust Oprah, we trust Dr. Oz, we trust Dr. Phil, we trust Suze Orman.
The associations help build more trust more quickly with the audience, which moves them down this funnel even faster.
Here's Tier Number Three of what you can do with your content, is that you can advertise your content.
Promote by Advertising
There are a lot of ways to advertise the content, but we're going to focus on a couple of them that are, I think, easiest to get to from where you are right now.
Every place you syndicated content (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) has an advertising platform. Our focus on long form content with a header image, info-graphic or video, and content upgrade makes it much easier to advertise and see results.
*Special Tip* Because you have a lead generation element, the content upgrade, there is a opportunity to immediately convert a web visitor into a lead (moving people down the funnel). The best part? Advertising where you syndicate is congruent with your existing content marketing strategy. You don't have to learn a new platform.
You've got these four, then you also have solo ads. Solo ads are not a social media play, but there are many newsletters where you can pay a fee to promote your content in one of their editions. It's that simple. You pay a fee, you submit the advertisement, and away you go.
There are some very targeted solo ad opportunities that are out there, or newsletter advertising opportunities that are out there, that can really add a good pop to the content that you're promoting.
Things to think about...
Number one is that this can be incredibly targeted. It's actually quite amazing. The ability to advertise on these platforms get's better and better everyday. The ability to speak directly to your BEST client is really, really powerful and we have tools are now within your reach.
You need a budget to make this stuff work. You can't just spend a hundred bucks one time and think clients will fall from the sky. Successful advertising , like anything else, requires discipline and you've got to take a budget, apply it every day, and test/tweak/improve to find the best results.
An advantage that this particular category has over the others is it scales in an exponential way. If you decided to master one platform at a time imagine the reach if you were advertising in YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It's almost obnoxious to consider. My point, to keep us both grounded, is that there is very real and very large accessible opportunity if you develop the right strategy.
What to do...what to do...
Creating content alone doesn't do enough. Content belongs in a funnel.
You took your core concept, broke it apart, and created stand-alone content for each step. That takes deliberate effort. Now you have to promote the content so that they people who should see it, actually get a chance to SEE it.
Unfortunately, there is no magic to it. It's good old-fashioned hard work. But as you do it, it greases the wheels and moves your prospects down your funnel even further.
One of these three methods speaks to you most, and that's the method that you should work on first, and then simply just stack each method on top of it. Again, like I promised, there are tools needed to make each of these steps work. What I'm going to do is I'm going to make a little toolkit available for you at the bottom of this post, and so you can download that if you'd like.
Choose a model that works for you, apply it, get the benefit, and go forward.
What did I miss? What did I say? What should I have said? Talk back to me. Post a comment. Let me know so we can continue this conversation and get your funnel working the way it's supposed to.