There's a lot of power in becoming a relevant expert, an authority among your clients, which goes beyond just being an expert.
If you're a licensed or certified professional, your expertise is already implied. Your credentials instantly communicate that you're proficient to some degree to earn that degree, certification, or license.
But it takes more than just having the right credentials. Credentials do not convey that you're specifically capable of helping potential clients with their unique problems or situations.
Content marketing has the ability to do that.
The purpose of creating content is not just for educating your audience on your capacity as a professional, but also for communicating trustworthiness, understanding, and empathy.
It's also one of the best ways to promote your expertise. It's inexpensive and beneficial in so many areas — with SEO and brand awareness, for instance.
But when it comes to producing content, you're not (and shouldn't be) limited to articles. In my experience, there are five areas you should consider:
- Tips and advice.
- Case studies and success stories.
- Comments and replies.
- Opinions and analyses.
- News and updates.
Tips and Advice
This is probably the most common form of content. Write content that demonstrates your expertise. By offering helpful advice and solutions, it also communicates that you're willing to help.
Start by providing a scenario or challenge that your advice is aims to help, or present a question that people often ask you along with your answer. By doing so, readers will identify with them and will be drawn to you as a result.
Whether you're blogging or publishing an email newsletter, the key is to make your content helpful and not promotional or boastful. Let the value of your helpfulness communicate your expertise for you.
Case Studies and Success Stories
While many view testimonials as less self-serving than boastful claims, they can often appear contrived and inauthentic, too. “Testimonial blindness” and “review fatigue” are pretty common these days.
Plus, many professionals are prohibited from using testimonials and endorsements in their marketing, while others shy away from using them thinking they're still overly self-promotional.
I often recommend converting testimonials into case studies as they appear more educational. They are effective because they demonstrate results, and provide context and contrast that amplify the perceived value of those results.
Comments and Replies
Search for questions related to your expertise or industry that people are asking. Provide a genuinely helpful answer. To keep things brief, you have the opportunity to post a link back to a longer article on your website.
Simply look for questions on various platforms, such as Quora, Reddit, Yahoo! Answers, discussion forums, social media (particularly groups), and the like.
Doing so creates awareness and deepens your influence. It also provides other benefits, such as boosting SEO by increasing signals to your website, as well as providing content ideas you might want to write articles about.
Opinions and Analyses
Discussing a trending issue can create significant exposure. Offer analyses of relevant current events, clarifications of popular misconceptions, predictions of future trends, or commentary on content published by other industry experts.
For example, without taking a stance on political issues, you can discuss the implications of the upcoming elections that might affect your clients or industry.
One of my previous clients is an immigration lawyer. She writes extensively about the many challenges and opportunities that recent immigration laws and travel restrictions have created.
Nevertheless, the idea is to show you're in touch with what's going on and able to help in any situation. The byproduct is that it will help attract clients who have a greater affinity with, and appreciation of, your way of thinking.
News and Updates
People are craving for connection. They want to get to know you. By sharing news about what's going on, both personally and professionally, you show that you're personable, authentic, and approachable.
Go beyond status updates on social networks. Share updates on your website and email list. And don't limit yourself to news. Tell personal stories and anecdotes, too. For example:
- A clinical psychologist openly vlogged about her cancer scare.
- Ann insurance broker journaled his move to a new state on his podcast.
- And the CEO of an engineering firm, shares the details of his fishing trips — with photos, of course!
You don't need to be excessively transparent. You just need to be tastefully candid. Moreover, the bigger benefit is that it adds value to all your other content, because it deepens your influence, your humanity, and your credibility.
In the end, remember that content marketing is not just a marketing tactic. In today's competitive and cynical climate, it's essential, too.