IT and Consulting Services have Changed – Make Sure Your Marketing Keeps Pace

“Short and sweet.” “Keep it simple.” “Nobody has time.” “People don’t read!” These marketing maxims are so deeply ingrained that it’s easy to bristle at any other marketing direction. And yet, the big marketing shift happening today, especially for IT and consulting firms, is a move toward more content in greater depth.

Wait – what?

Orbit Media research shows that longform online content is on the rise, with stories that are at least 1000 words long growing by nearly 30% over the past five years and stories that are 500-1000 words shrinking by almost 40%. The most-read stories on LinkedIn – by a factor of three – are at least 1900 words long. A Curata study says that the most successful marketers are focusing on ensuring that their content delivers well-written quality information and insights. And, that same study says that long-form content generates nine times more leads than short-form content.

A deeper dive into these trends shows that people still don’t want to wade through long, self-involved sales messages. But they do want content that can make a difference to their businesses. In fact, they’re looking for marketplace/industry analyses, insights, and information that can both inform and confirm their own findings. The kind of content you probably have at hand if you’re good at what you do.

Obviously, you don’t want to give away your “secret sauce,” But you can – and should – share content that reinforces the knowledge and thought leadership you can offer. Here’s how:

  • Keep your intros in “easy-open packaging.” Entry points are where those old maxims still hold true. You wouldn’t introduce yourself to a potential new friend by launching into a deep-dive monologue about yourself (we’ve all met those people at parties – awkward, to say the least). The same goes for content-heavy outreach emails and social posts. Tease valuable content enough to make it easy for your prospects to click through to get it.
  • Speak to your audience’s real-world experiences. Your business is not the center of your clients’ and potential clients’ worlds – no matter how much you wish otherwise. Put yourself in your prospects’ position. What excites them about their work? And, what stresses them out at 3:00 in the morning? That’s where you and your content need to meet them.
  • Offer valuable perspectives, knowledge, and information. Again, we’re not recommending you give away all your secrets. But there is value in connecting prospects with enough compelling ideas to show them that you understand their business and, better yet, make them want to continue the conversation. (Most recently, we’ve been offering our post-COVID Guide to Professional Services Resilience).
  • Keep your audience awake. Especially with in-depth content, don’t forget to keep it easy to look at and consume. Will an infographic help people who want an at-a-glance perspective? Could a video lead prospects through a complex idea? How about some old-fashioned narrative storytelling to inspire an emotional connection? Consider what creative approaches will express your messages in the most compelling ways for the people who need them.
  • Answer when called. You wouldn’t ignore a direct call from someone who read an article you wrote. So, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for comments on your social posts, clicks through to your website, and downloads that deeper content, too. Respond to those messages so you can create and continue conversations that can ultimately yield genuine business relationships.
  • Let existing clients help you out. Have you done some terrific work lately? Did the client say so? Capture those testimonials and, with your client’s permission, share them:

“What you get with Relish is a holistic approach to integrated marketing… Direct marketing, websites, PR – the integrated mix, bearing in mind budgets and such. Serving up options and having regular discussions. That’s what you get with Relish.”

Gareth Clark
Senior Advisor, Focus

  • Let us help you, too. If deepening your content strategy feels like work – from strategy and media development to writing and design – here’s a reminder: it’s part of how we support our clients (see above).

That old conventional wisdom that tried to force content into 140 characters or less has its place. But, your prospects’ hunger for meaningful content is an excellent opportunity for you to assert your leadership, connect with your audiences in ways that matter to them, and produce results for everyone.