Deciding how to present your content is a dilemma.
You want to present your content in a way that doesn’t bore your prospective client, but you also want to make sure you’re getting all your thoughts across.
You can stop worrying.
This post has 2 templates that will turn your blog into a client-attracting machine.
I have created this post, specifically keeping consulting firms in mind, so that you can convert your readers to paying clients through your blog posts.
Note before we begin: if you don’t have a list of topics, read the keyword research post first to identify blog topics that will rank and convert your prospects.
Let’s get started.
1. The case study
It should come as no surprise that I chose the case study as the first option here.
Most of you are already leveraging some form of case studies, but 90% of consulting firms are only using 20% of a case study’s potential.
Let me explain.
Your case study is a fantastic way for you to demonstrate your expertise to your prospective client, all the while solving their problem.
Where most firms go wrong is:
1. Just uploading your case study willy-nilly without any SEO. If it never ranks, who’s going to see it?
2. Keeping the focus of your case study on your achievements instead of solving your reader’s problem. “We helped a distributor make $200k” is not as convincing as “How this distributor made $200k by optimizing warehouse management”
3. Using PDFs. This is the worst. Not uploading case studies on your website and instead, hiding them away in some PDF, or slideshow in your “capabilities deck”. Your case studies need to be seen and to be seen they need to be on your website, so they can rank on Google.
Now that I’ve explained how most firms are doing case studies wrong, here’s how to do it right.
Your client comes first. Address THEIR pain points.
Start by choosing a topic that resonates with your readers, and delivering your case study in the context of that topic.
For example, let’s say you’re a marketing firm like ours. I know my clients have huge trouble deciding what to post on their blog. They usually have no standard process or data to inform their blog topics.
I also I know we’ve worked with an education consulting firm to solve this exact problem by supplying them keyword-targeted blog topics.
We did this by implementing a keyword research and clustering strategy that revealed what their audience was searching for.
We then sorted their audience’s interests by popularity (search volume) and gave them a list of 200 topics around which they can use to create content.
So, I will create a case study like:
“How this consulting firm never runs of out blog topics that interest their audience”
In this whole title, not once did I sell the fact that WE are the reason they aren’t running out of topics.
That is a message for you to convey through the case study.
The first step is always to address THEIR problem.
Use this case study template with all our writing prompts
How to never run out of blog topics that interest your audience [Case Study]
Emphasize their problem. Resonate with their pain points. Mention the outcome of your solution and preview the solution. 5 lines max.
Introduce your champion.
You want your prospective clients to connect and identify with your champion.
Start with a quick intro of your champion, like:
“360 College Review is an education consulting firm that helps prospective students with overseas college admissions.”
Next, add the problem:
“They acquire most of their students through their blog posts. However, they were facing a challenge in finding new and relevant topics for their blog.”
Then, add the turning point:
“Once they had completely exhausted their usual sources of inspiration and were struggling to come up with fresh ideas, they knew they had to do something. Their growth was in question without new blog posts. So, they reached out to us.
Do you see how I have connected you with the winner now?
You want your prospective clients to look at this and think, “NO WAY! That’s me! I’m going through this exact problem.”
If you do this right, just this part right here will be enough to get them to at least call and open a conversation with you.
Because you seem like one of very few people with the experience and expertise to deal with what they believe is their specific problem.
This is not going to be a huge section.
You’re just going to outline the results you achieved with your winner and then move on to show your readers the steps they can take to replicate your winner’s success.
This section is important though because this is where your readers will find the motivation to want to do something, including signing with you.
Here’s what it would look like:
“360 College Review scheduled a consultation with us on February 13, 2022. On August 13, 2022, here were their results:
- $255k in profit on their original investment of $15k
- 3x more leads from their blogs
- List of 200 blog topics for them to create content
- Faster content publishing since they don’t waste time researching blog topics”
Then add your transition to the solution, which can be something like:
“Here’s the step-by-step process to how we actually accomplished this.”
There is no detail too small in case study your solution
This section is going to be the meat of your case study.
No detail is too small here.
All the small details in your solution are what connect you with your reader.
The small details could comprise elements your reader already considered as a solution to their company’s problem but never saw mentioned by anyone else.
That said, you also don’t want to lose sight of what you’re talking about and get wrapped up in the details.
The goal of this section is twofold:
1. To give your readers an actionable process that they can use to replicate what you have achieved for your client.
2. To inspire trust in your solution.
By actionable process, I mean reducing the amount of thinking they would have to do for themselves. The reason for this is that your prospective clients have more faith in your thoughts and your ability than they do in themselves.
Additionally, when you lay out your process for your reader, understand that they will have follow-up questions. Your job is to preempt these questions and address as many as you can within the process.
To inspire trust in your solution:
- Use solid data to support your claims.
- Use graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.
- Leverage opinions from thought leaders in your industry to corroborate what you’re saying.
A conclusion is not necessary. You can keep it as a summary of everything you talked about. Alternatively, you can head right to a CTA in the context of your case study.
2. How-to guides
How-tos are a personal favorite of mine because they are a great opportunity to show off your expertise while solving your client’s problem.
And unlike a case study, you don’t need to back it up with a previous client’s results.
How-to guides are all about troubleshooting your prospective client’s problem. That’s my one rule for how-to guides.
Your post should focus on solving a specific problem, not general improvement.
No one has the time or inclination to take 20 minutes out of their day to read something that isn’t a pressing concern. Least of all, YOUR clients.
You’re a consulting agency. Arguably, most of your clients are going to be business owners or department heads.
These are busy folks.
For example, if you’re a management consulting firm, your clients will not waste their time with nonsense like “How communication is key in business”.
However, they will read something like, “How to handle a difficult employee ignoring company policies” because that could be a pressing concern for them.
Writing prompts & template for your how-to guides.
“How to handle a difficult employee ignoring company policies”
Same as a case study. Hook them using 5-6 lines that describe their problem in a relatable way. Then preview your solution.
Understanding the problem
This section has two goals:
1. To prove you’re on their side.
2. To help them diagnose their problem.
Let’s start with the first goal. To prove you are on their side, do not ride the fence here. They’re right, everything else is wrong.
Read that again.
THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT.
If you start attacking your client here by taking a diplomatic stance to their problem, they will think you don’t get it.
For instance, in our example, if you were to side with the employee as well as the client, forget about your client parking any money with you.
Imagine you’ve had a terrible and what you firmly believe is an unfair day, and you try to talk to your friend about a problem.
But he keeps interrupting you to tell you how the other person is correct in their own right.
You’d stop turning to him for help pretty fast.
Even if you’re right and they KNOW you’re right, they’re going to consider you arrogant/holier-than-thou/ “not the right fit” if you don’t side with them.
You’d have given them the solution and encouraged them to sign with a management consulting firm. Just not yours because they want someone who “understands” them and what they believe is their specific problem.
So, first things first. Take their side.
Once you’ve established, you’re on their side, you can get to diagnosing the problem.
This is going to be technical and based on the nature of the topic you write about, so I’m not going to expand on it too much. Just follow the “take their side” guideline above, and you’ll be fine.
You can use multiple sub-headings here and even make this 30-40% of the body of the article.
Give them a direct solution
There are a lot of ways to layout the solution section. I usually like to go with step-by-step solutions because they keep readers engaged throughout the article.
Be direct with your solution. Don’t sound indecisive. Your clients want instructions on how to solve their problem.
They don’t need any more “might work,” “you can try,” “maybe,” or anything that doesn’t sound firm.
They need direct answers to their problem that they can start applying asap.
Also, unlike case studies, in how-to posts, your knowledge is directly implied, but your expertise is not. To emphasize your expertise, throw in your services in the context of the solution.
For example, “Whenever we’ve dealt with difficult employees in our clients’ businesses, we’ve always used our proprietary workflow optimization tool to quickly diagnose the issue.”
This is a weak example, but I couldn’t come up with anything else in the context of dealing with difficult employees. We do marketing, not HR management.
Regardless, my point is to keep threading in your services within the post as naturally and indispensably as you can.
The best way is to thread your services in such a way that your client recognizes the time and effort they will save if they just let you handle the solution instead.
You can use this in the problem section too.
In how-to guides, you also want to keep stressing the outcome of the solution while providing the solution to keep your prospective clients engaged.
For example, instead of simply writing “Explain to your employee that being a team player will only serve their best interests,” add “…best interests, so you can secure the efficiency you’re looking for.”
Keep reminding them of the outcome that is motivating them to read the post in the first place.
Similar to a case study, this is where you add your main CTA in the context of the guide you just wrote to solve your client’s problem.
Other blog post types (these suck..)
1. Industry analysis – “5 Trends Shaping the Future of the Healthcare Industry and What They Mean for Your Business.”
2. Thought leadership – “Why Investing in Management is Key for Businesses in 2023.”
3. Best Practices – “5 Best Practices for Effective Supply Chain Management.”
4. What to do after X – “Your healthcare startup just got funded, what you should do now”
While these all may seem like viable options on the surface, they pale in comparison to how-tos and case studies.
If you want to rank your articles and convert your audience to paying customers, stick to how-tos and case studies.
As a consulting firm, those are the templates that will serve you best.
Need a hand with your content?
If you don’t have the time or internal resources to find blog topics and create blog templates, get in touch with us.
We’ll find the topics, and create 10, 30, or 50 custom, SEO-focused content templates for your firm.