The Easy Way to Attempt Content Marketing for MSP
Content Marketing, or Inbound Marketing, is a buzz word in the marketing world, just as Cloud is a buzz word in the IT industry. Over the last few years, it became a marketing standard for all kinds of services and products, IT included. With the Internet overflowing with different content, content marketing has become very time consuming and competitive. But the good news is there are some easy things you can do to attempt content marketing without hiring an army of agencies and writers.
These are must-haves for your website. When you have a happy customer, don’t hesitate to ask them for a short testimonial, just like you would ask them for referrals. To save some time, you can prepare a text yourself and send it to your customer for review. In most cases, they will be happy to do it, as long as it’s being posted with their permission. The best time to ask for a testimonial is right after the successful finish of a project or when you solve a serious issue for your customer. In other words, catch a moment when the customer is happy and is more willing to share their positive experience with you.
A few tips for writing testimonials:
- Make it short; 250 words is enough. If there’s more to say, then still try to keep it under 500 words. Longer pieces look like bragging, and no one likes reading them.
- Make it personal. In every customer story, there’s something personal that means more to them than your price range or response time. At some point, you hit the trigger that made them trust you. Find this trigger and make it the focus of the testimonial.
- Avoid clichés, like “they are always there when I need them” or “their incredible team is ready to pick up the phone 24/7.” It sounds like you are trying to put your own sales pitch into your customer’s mouth, and it won’t create a genuine impression of your company.
- Avoid badmouthing your competitors. Let’s say your customer had a bad experience with another IT service provider, and then you came along and saved the day. You can always name the issue without naming the one who created it or failed to solve it.
Many of these same principals work for case studies. But with case studies, you have a great chance to show off your expertise when applied to a real scenario. In our every-day work, we often don’t see how one project stands out from the others, and we are hesitant to write a bunch of similar case studies. Set your case study apart by using your customer’s specific challenge or goal as a centerpiece.
A few tips for writing case studies:
- It doesn’t have to be short, but it does have to be structured. Clearly highlight the important statements and numbers. Segment your case study by “before-after” or “challenge-solution.” We created THIS TEMPLATE for you to use as a starting point.
- Always clearly identify the customer’s industry. It will help you and your sales teams filter case studies down to the those relevant to the specific vertical. Nowadays, customers want to see your experience with their business field. It is very likely that the school district won’t be impressed by your case study with the local hospital.
- Always create both a document version and a web version. Why? So your sales reps can attach a nicely designed and branded PDF when they email their prospects.
Video format is getting more and more popular, and it’s likely to overtake written content in the next year or two. If you look, you will notice that every single social media platform now hosts short or long video formats, including short stories (Facebook and Instagram) and live streaming (YouTube, Facebook). What’s more, Twitter and LinkedIn made directly posted videos more visible for the audience than those you embed to the post with a YouTube link. Every social channel is pulling the video blanket their way. They want to own your video, not borrow it from YouTube.
Why is this? Videos grab viewers’ attention and are easier to consume than written text. And more importantly, it’s easier for social media to monetize video content than anything else.
Videos are now impacting your SEO. Three to four years ago, only written description, closed captions and comments mattered for search engines. Today, Google’s AI can recognize visual images and even listen and understand videos. Your videos are being thoroughly analyzed and ranked in the search results.
Luckily for all of us, it has never been easier to produce short videos, even with our mobile devices. A three minute “tip of the day” video posted three times a week on your YouTube channel or a Facebook page will increase your online visibility within two months. Although, if you want to put customers’ testimonials into video, I would highly suggest investing in good production.
The best approach to content marketing is a multi-pronged one. Videos, case studies, and testimonials should work together to draw in and convert prospects.