In this post, I’m going to cover:
1. How B2B consulting firms can realistically attract clients through content marketing, or more specifically, blog posts.
2. How to create B2B blog posts.
Let’s dive in.
Why is B2B content important
So, there’s been a lot of hype around podcasts and TikTok and Instagram and blah blah blah.
But, here’s the thing.
Unless you’re advertising on those platforms, they will:
1. Take longer to materialize than blog posts
2. Yield a smaller ROI than blog posts.
For the sake of this post, I will concede certain products can do better on social media. Maybe even productized services (OnlyFans lol). And social media and podcasts do have their place in branding.
However, for most service-based businesses? Especially B2B?
Yeah.. your ICP is not searching for “the tax liability for cross-border e-commerce sales” on TikTok.
That said, I’m going to use an example of a financial consulting firm to illustrate how content marketing can basically make you a millionaire over time.
First, let’s consider the landscape [Example]
Let’s say, you’re the owner of a financial consulting and accounting firm, and before starting your own firm you did some client work as a freelancer or as part of another company.
Additionally, you’re certified as a CPA, or whatever degree you need to practice your specific financial service.
Now, you know you’re accredited, and you know you’re good at your work, but you need clients to get paid.
At this point most people in your position as a new business owner will start networking, advertising, using aggregators cold emailing etc. to gain some initial momentum.
Nothing wrong with that.
On the contrary, you need to hustle to get some clients initially. However, you can’t keep hustling for the next client forever. At some point soon, you’re going to want to create a predictable source of leads.
If your plan is to keep hustling for the next client all day and have no freedom of time or money, what was the point in starting a business?
Now, I’m going to demonstrate how content marketing will serve as a predictable, sustainable high-quality engine of clients.
How blog posts turn your website into a client attracting machine
In a nutshell, blog posts get you paid by motivating readers of your posts to sign with you as a client.
Blog posts achieve this result by:
1. Ranking on Google for queries relevant to your ICP/audience persona, so they can find your post.
2. Converting your ICP to a paying customer by giving them an effective solution to the query they typed into Google.
Here’s why ranking on Google works so well to convert your ICP.
1. It proves you are an authority on the subject
If Google has decided to show your website as the one of the first results for your audience’s query, you must have SOME sort of credibility. That’s what goes through your reader’s mind when they see you as the first result.
2. It shows you have expertise dealing with your reader’s problem
Once your reader opens your post to read it, and you’ve provided an awesome and well-crafted solution to their problem, they will recognize your expertise in your domain.
Probably even better than if you took a meeting with them because they can pore over every word in your content.
This helps them understand what you’re saying at their own pace.
During meetings a lot of times your leads will just nod along to not sound stupid, but not actually understand a thing. Then they will be too hesitant to bring up the point(s) they didn’t understand and just continue believing you’re not the right solution provider for them.
Written content does away with any ambiguity.
3. It inspires trust in you and your agency
Your readers are not stupid.
When they had a query and they see you giving an otherwise paid solution away for free, it makes them believe you’re looking out for their best interests.
• They know you can provide this solution.
• They know it took you time to write and edit this solution.
• They know that under normal circumstances this is information they would have to pay for.
To your readers this is a gesture of goodwill. It conveys that you are a highly ethical and moral organization to work with.
So how much can a consulting firm really make with content marketing?
Continuing our example of the financial consulting firm, let’s say you hire an experienced content marketer or an agency.
They get to work.
They do some robust topic research, identify keyword clusters, ensure your website’s optimized to rank, and get to work creating content for the identified topics.
In about 3 months, they produce 10 long-form posts. After 10-12 months, you notice that 5-6 of those posts rank, and 4 don’t.
The posts that rank collectively bring in about 6k visitors a month.
Out of which a measly 1% contact you. From which only 10% convert to actual paying customers, so 6 people.
Now let’s do the math, the average invoice for a financial consulting firm is $5k (I’m not even touching firms that serve as fractional CFOs, that’s more like $50k).
So, if you’re invoicing $30k, every month (6 clients x $5k), you’re adding $360k to your revenue annually.
For what? $10k – $15k to publish 10 blog posts. That’s a 36x ROI! I could be off by massive amounts and you’d still make money!
You can basically scale this to ends of the earth, and steadily grow your business.
Why consulting firms should scale content to become a brand
Now you know, content attracts huge swaths of clients, and even with measly conversion rates, you’ll still knock out a stellar ROI.
But here’s the true power of content marketing.
Let’s say after the first 10 posts, you have more money available to you, so you go for 50 posts this time.
What you’ll likely end up doing with 50 jaw-dropping articles, other than making millions, is become a whole brand on the internet.
Once you have strong branding, your readers will recommend you to their sphere as the default choice for financial information.
This will bring you very “warm” referral leads.
Additionally, you will:
- Be able to charge premium prices.
- Have YOUR pick of clients.
- See more customer loyalty.
- Create barriers to entry for new competition around your niche.
- Hit the ground running if you want to expand beyond your niche.
With that, let’s discuss how you can create content as a business consulting firm.
How to create B2B content that ranks
In a nutshell, the process to rank B2B content works just like B2C content.
The process will generally look something like this:
Step 1: You analyze your competitors
Step 2: You audit and prime your site’s SEO to ensure there’s nothing holding it back from ranking
Step 3: You conduct keyword research and clustering
Step 4: You choose topics to start writing about
Step 5: You conduct a SERP analysis for the topic you want to talk about.
Step 6: You create skyscraper content for your topic
Step 7: You track your content on GSC (Google Search Console) and let the clients start rolling in.
These are the broad strokes of how to create content that ranks.
Of course, each step has a lot of sub-steps and actually doing this is a huge time-commitment, but you get the point.
Now, to market B2B content successfully, you need to incorporate additional elements on top of the basic content marketing structure.
How to meet the unique content demands of B2B buyers
As a consulting firm, the first thing you need to know is who are you marketing to? Not necessarily, who has final say on your proposal – that will almost always be the CEO.
Rather, who will champion your case to the CEO.
If you’re targeting smaller businesses under 10 people, most often the founder/CEO will type in a query that lands him on your page.
However, if you’re marketing to companies with 10+ employees, you need to know who internally deals with the problem you’re solving.
That is your champion (ICP).
For example, for most financial consulting firms with 10 – 50 employees, your champion will be the CFO. For marketing firms like ours, it is the CMO/head of digital marketing/etc. You’re looking for the senior-most positions within the vertical you’re serving.
Unless you’re catering to businesses with 150+ employees.
In that case, you’ll need to do your own due diligence to find your champion.
Next you want to understand your champion thoroughly.
For example, on a basic level we know CMOs need to generate leads, find the best ROI strategies, ensure campaigns are meeting deadlines, etc. But, when I look into the CMO’s problems more deeply, I find things like:
1. They have an SEO expert who keeps blaming the non-ranking blog posts on backlinks, incorrect keywords, bad content writers, etc.
2. The have an email marketing expert who barely converts any emails because no one reads them. He’s been A/B testing the subject line since 400 BC.
3. They have an offshore content writer who writes such irrelevant and un-engaging content that they need to rewrite everything themselves.
On top of which, he faces pressure from his CEO every day to earn his keep by driving results. Your champion wants a robust and effective solution too.
You just have to convince him, you’re the firm for the job. Demonstrate that you specialize in his problems, and you’re the best firm to help him.
How to create content for your champion
Once you know who your champion (ICP) is, the next step is to create content that
1. Is at least 3 layers niche
2. Speaks their language
Start by focusing on topics your champion would actually search for. For example, if your champion is a CFO at a VC-backed startup, you want to create content that is:
1. For CFOs (role)
2. For Health-tech (industry/sub-industry)
3. Helps your champion achieve a beneficial outcome (result of reading your post)
4. Troubleshoots a problem (optional – but this usually makes a massive difference)
This is four layers of niching. Most of your competitors aren’t going nearly as deep to create relevant content, so this should help you rank and convert your posts right out the gate.
By which I still mean 6 months or so. But at least you’ll rank!
Just as an example your content topics could look like:
- “Why Your Healthtech Startup is Struggling with Cash Flow: How to Fix it”
- “Is Your Healthtech Platform Overspending on R&D? Balancing Expenses and Financial Sustainability”
- “Why Your Healthtech Startup’s Burn Rate is Too High: A CFO’s Guide to Managing Expenses”
Now, the second part of communicating with your champion is to speak their language. What I want you to keep in mind here is AVOID a “B2B writing style”.
Your champion is still a human person and they don’t want to read something that bores them to death. That defeats the whole purpose of researching and understanding your champion to create engaging content.
Instead, talk to them like you would to a friend. What this means is:
“Collaborate with your teams to achieve better results and improve your profits.”
Should not become:
“Synergize your cross-functional teams to drive optimal outcomes and enhance your bottom line.”
Keep it simple. Keep it normal.
Drawbacks to content marketing
- Often times, your blog posts will take upwards of 6 months to rank, so it is a bit of a long-term play.
- The upfront investment is expensive. Not everyone can afford quality agencies and writers.
- It takes some work to weed out the good content marketers from the ones that are just going to litter chatGPT spam on your site.
- Content marketing works better for high-ticket, remote services than volume-based, local services.
I say this with no delusion, if you’re a B2B service agency, you can make millions and blow your competition out of the water with content marketing. A 36x ROI through a single content creation effort is no joke.
If you aren’t already leveraging content, what are you waiting for?
Need help with your content?
Not sure you’re doing it right? Let’s help you improve your content.