Written by: Austin McNair
One of my favorite philosophical dilemmas is Zeno’s dichotomy paradox. You may have heard it before! A version of it goes something like this:
The greek goddess Atalanta plans to take a run to the end of a certain well-beaten path. Well before she can reach the end of the path she must make it to the halfway point. But before she makes it to the halfway point she must make it to the quarter of the way point! And before that, she needs to make it to the eighth of the way point. And before that the sixteenth of the way point…
Here we sink into the dilemma: How does the Atalanta ever reach her destination? How does she even begin?
Many B2B marketers find themselves in a predicament similar to Atalanta’s. They are fully aware that their firm ought to be producing relevant content as a marketing strategy, but they’re stuck on the starting line wondering how to even get started.
Fortunately, mathematics has an explanation for Zeno’s paradox. And the frustrated marketer can, too—by reframing and looking at it through the lens of content relevance.
But before we discuss some strategies to help you increase the relevance of your content, it’s important that we understand how the marketplace is changing and why it matters more than ever to focus on content relevance.
Relevancy is on the Rise
The trouble at hand is that competition is increasing for professional services firms. In fact, in the Hinge Research Institute’s last four High Growth Studies, increased competition in the marketplace has been named a leading threat faced by the fastest growing firms.
And there is more data to back up this sentiment. According to Hinge Research Institute’s third edition of its Inside the Buyer’s Brain study:
- Visibility of professional services firms is up 41.7%
- Professional services firms have improved their reputations by 10.8
- Buyer loyalty has sunk to a historic low, down nearly 2%
But among these findings, one of the most staggering changes is in how the relevancy of services provided by professional services firms has increased. In Figure 1, we see that more than ever, today’s buyers are looking for firms that can solve their biggest problems—and they believe that professional services firms like yours can solve them.
The most successful, professional services firms are not only improving their marketing, they are improving the relevancy of their services. The question now becomes how can we demonstrate our relevant expertise to prospective clients through great content.
Prioritizing Content Relevance Is the Way Forward
Whether you are publishing a series of blog posts, conducting a new webinar, or creating a gated piece of content, you are now working in the most competitive content landscape of all time.
Every day, thousands of marketers from around the world are releasing or republishing new content and striving to gain their prospects’ attention. With so much competition there are certainly strategies that will not work—chief among them the all too common practice of producing ad-hoc content.
So what should be the northstar for marketers in charge of developing new content? If we are to believe the research (and we at Hinge, certainly fall into this category) it is content relevance.
As professional services firms strive to become ever more relevant in their service delivery, it is the marketer’s responsibility to maintain pace. By leveraging your firm’s differentiators, special expertise or marketing positioning in your content, you will only make you more credible to your readers. And in a world that is widely oversaturated with content, only the highly relevant content will last.
4 Strategies for Increasing Content Relevance
For marketers working together with their team and their firm’s experts, we’ve made the case that content relevance should be your top priority. So what strategies can you implement to increase the likelihood that your content will be perceived as relevant. Here we discuss four different strategies:
STRATEGY 1: CONDUCT CUSTOM RESEARCH ON YOUR CLIENTS
Any longtime reader of Hinge’s work will know that researching your target audience is often our recommended starting place for setting your marketing strategy. Interviewing and surveying your current and past clients can be a way to authentically capture what is unique about your firm.
“How did the client find your firm?”
“What tipped the scale when the client selected you as their service provider?”
“How did your firm solve their issues?”
Analyzing the answers to questions like these can yield helpful insights that can be applied by your marketing team. From a strategic standpoint, client research is invaluable in the process of refining your positioning and messaging. When it comes to content relevance, understanding how your current clients found you, what they valued, and what additional problems you could solve for them can give you a baseline idea for the kinds of issues and topics you could write or speak about in your next content campaign. It’s likely other potential clients are out there looking for the same level of support you provided to the clients you’ve worked with. Now it’s time to prove it with some strong messaging and great content.
To learn more about conducting research on target audiences, download Hinge’s free Professional Services Guide to Research.
STRATEGY 2: LEARN THROUGH KEYWORD RESEARCH
Another avenue you can use to increase content relevance is keyword research. According to Inside the Buyer’s Brain, three out of the top ways potential buyers search for work-related topics is by consuming digital content. The top option among these is of course conducting a general web search.
While professionals are still willing to ask their peers and colleagues for a recommendation, the very next thing they’re likely to do is turn to Google. Will you be found when they do?
Regular keyword research that intersects with your content creation plan is a surefire way to increase the visibility of your content and improve the likelihood that it will be relevant.
In keyword research one of the main pieces of information you’re looking for is the keyword volume. Low volume? Clearly less prospects are searching for that term. The sweet spot is when you can match a keyword opportunity with a keyword with higher volume. Find these keywords and center your written content around them to increase the volume of quality traffic to your website.
And do you want to hear something amusing? It was through keyword research that our team identified “content relevance” as a topic to write about! So we practice what we preach.
Read this article to learn more about B2B SEO best practices!
STRATEGY 3: REPURPOSE CONTENT ACROSS MANY MEDIUMS
Repurposing, repackaging, and rewriting content is one of the most efficient ways to increase content relevance. This all starts with what we accept to be common knowledge that different people learn in different ways.
If you have gone through the exercise of identifying and producing a piece of content that has proven to be relevant, it should be one of your top contenders for expansion or repurposing. What are some examples? Here are a few:
- Take a relevant blog post and rewrite it align with specific industries you serve
- Go deeper on a topic and create a downloadable guide
- Turn a popular topic and begin conducting original research on it
- Produce video blogs as companion pieces to your top performing written content
- Host a webinar on your most relevant topic
Even if a piece of content is relevant for a potential buyer, there’s a chance they may miss it. If you’re confident that a particular issue or topic is resonating with your audience, then double-down on that topic and ensure that it gets as wide a reach as possible.
STRATEGY 4: USE RESEARCH AS CONTENT
For our fourth strategy we see everything converge into a single powerful entity. Namely, leveraging the power of conducting your own original research and baking it into every layer of content you produce.
We mentioned above how fierce the competition is in the world of content marketing. So what’s one way to stand out and make sure that the relevancy of your content is indisputable? Conduct custom research, sponsor or license key research reports, or co-sponsor a webinar with a research firm based on a piece of research.
When you leverage research, you are staking a claim of expertise on a particular topic. From there, you can begin to fill out a diverse content calendar all sourced from that commissioned, sponsored, licensed or presented piece of research. See below in Figure 2 just how many ways one piece of research can be utilized in a single marketing campaign.
From live and on-demand webinars that engage attendees and drive conversions to a series of keyword optimized blog posts which highlight different angles of the study and bring more visibility to your firm, custom or licensed research studies can inspire your content creators more ammunition to make excellent content.
Download Research as Content: A Guide for B2B Marketers
The Time to Take the First Step is Now
As more and more professional services firms increase the quality of their digital content, it will be the ones who are the most relevant to their buyers’ issues that come out on top. Researching your clients, understanding their problems, and introducing them to your expertise is the path forward.
Your firm may need to implement new marketing techniques and strategies to accomplish this goal, such as market research, keyword research, and an exercise in repurposing content into different mediums. The key is to experiment and test new ideas. Avoid falling into the rhythms of how you’ve always done things. You can always become more relevant.