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Content Marketing Gets Attention but Research Content Sells

By Joe Walsh
March 21, 2014
Content Marketing Gets Attention but Research Content Sells

Content marketing appears to be the new black. You see articles on content in trade publications, calls to do it better on social networks and talks about it in breakouts at industry conferences. All for good reason. Content marketing shares what you know in a way that may help others do their jobs. Content marketing teaches. And it helps raise your marketplace profile.

Much of the current content fervor attaches itself to SEO efforts and rankings. That's because content marketing, done the right way, helps to drive effective SEO results. But more fervor means more clutter. So how do you stand out from the mass of content to get yours noticed and read?

Use a different type of content. Surveys and research studies are, as McKinsey and the Big 4 know very well, the consummate branding and business development tool. With few exceptions, law firms and the next tier of accounting firms have not followed these leaders. To make our case, let's use the example of our own recent study, "The Great Recession and Brand Regression/The Current State of Professional Services Branding."

Brand Regression, a survey of CMO and CEO opinions from B2B firms about their brands, was fielded this summer. We worked hard over the fall to make sense of the findings and package it beautifully. Since then, we've:

• given three speeches on the topic, to roughly 300 people, all prospective sources of future branding work
• mailed 7,000 copies of the report to clients and prospects
• secured seven articles about the study findings in trade publications
• broken the findings into a series of ten blog posts
• tweeted the posts to all our followers, earning new followers along the way
• shared the findings with our other social networks
• and talked up the study in all new business pitches.

Results? We saw traffic to our site increase dramatically during this campaign. Additionally, requests for copies of the study spiked. Most importantly, to date, we have received three prospective client inquiries, none of whom knew us previously. All mentioned the brand regression study when they contacted us. Our hope is that more will follow.

In the end, the brand regression research study helped us share our point of view about branding, increase awareness of our offerings, provide clients and prospects with information that has some utility in their work, and add to our new business pipeline. Wouldn't you be happy if your content marketing netted the same results? Tie your content to research.