There’s not enough time
“I’m too busy to create content!”
“Our consultants are busy people, they don’t have time to create content!”
These are two of the most common responses we get from Consulting leaders and their Marketing teams when talking about why their firm isn’t producing more content.
Having been consultants ourselves, we get it. You’re flat out delivering the last phase of your project while trying to balance your other internal commitments and still have a weekend left at the end of it.
We know from personal experience that there are projects where you have to work 12 hours a day, flat out, sometimes for 1, 2 and maybe even 3 months to deliver for the client.
We also know that there are projects where you aren’t working anywhere near that hard and have time to dedicate to other internal activities such as supporting with BD, helping with account financials or organising the next practice social.
Given that most Consulting firms will have a mix of projects falling somewhere along this spectrum it surprises us when I’m we’re met with the “time” excuse.
Don’t get us wrong, time can be an issue – and we’ve got some solutions below on how to solve this – but we don’t believe it’s the real reason for Consultants not creating more content.
So What Holds People Back?
From our conversations with leaders in our industry, as well as from our own experience of having produced almost 100 hours of podcasts, countless blogs and a fair few videos, we’d say there are three key reasons. All of which we’re going to help you resolve in this blog.
Reason 1 – Fear of putting yourself out there
We’ve all had it. From the school play when you were five to the presentation you gave last week. We all get scared of putting ourselves out there in front of others.
By putting yourself out there you risk others seeing you and thinking you’re an idiot…or worse, saying you’re an idiot.
We fear that we have nothing of value to add or nothing ‘new’. We fear what our colleagues will think. We fear what our clients will think. We fear what ‘the internet’ will think.
All of these fears are legitimate but almost always unfounded. If you are good at what you do, understand who your target client is and create content that you know your target client will be interested in it will always be well received.
From all of the content we have created, we are yet to receive a negative comment online or negative response offline. Quite the reverse. Creating content has opened doors for us in more ways than we could have ever imagined, and so far nothing bad has happened as a result.
As Gary Vaynerchuk says, in 2019 your first priority should be producing content, regardless of whether you’re the leading expert in the industry or not.
If you’re senior in your firm then creating engaging content for your target clients should be easy for you. If you’re struggling for ideas we’ve got some advice for you below.
If you’re reading this and you’re more junior, or don’t see yourself as an expert, then focus on something your audience would be interested in. Maybe something about your career or a lesson you learnt from a client. For a great example of just this see this blog from Ross Webb
Reason 2 – A lack of understanding of how to create content
The second reason most Consultants don’t put out content is that they just don’t know how!
Now you may be thinking, “you’ve said before that Consultants shouldn’t create content themselves. Are you now saying we should?”
Well, the answer to this depends on the type of content you’re looking to produce. I’ve said before that I don’t believe that writing blogs is a good use of Consultants’ time when it comes to creating content. Marketing teams and external copywriters are often much better at this.
Where we see massive value though is in the creation of audio, video and social content that helps build the brand of the firm, the personal brand of the Consultant and the relationship with their prospective client.
The problem is that this is where so few Consultants focus their efforts and ironically, the content that takes the least time to create!
As we’ve highlighted before, recording a short, 1 to 2 minute video about a topic you know your target client is interested in may take you 20 minutes, including scripting and retakes.
Recording a podcast can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the style and format.
This compares with at least half a day to create a blog!
If you’re interested in seeing just how easy it is to create video content with your iPhone, we’ve done a video on exactly that topic which you can watch here
Reason 3 – Resistance from their senior leadership team or Marketing function
While we’re sure this challenge does exist – and we’ve spoken to both Consulting Leaders and Heads of Marketing who we doubt would ever let their Consultants create their own videos/podcasts – we firmly believe that this is only a very small minority of firms.
For the most part, Consulting firms are open to anything that will raise their profile with both their target clients and potential recruits.
If your firm is happy for you to try it but doesn’t have the budget to commit any money then start with something cheap (or free) – like micro-videos recorded on your iPhone – and then move on to something bigger – like a podcast series – once you’ve demonstrated the impact that these videos have..
If your firm’s leadership team or Head of Marketing aren’t convinced about using these tools for Marketing then I’d show them these examples of Consulting firms and Consulting leaders who are successfully using these formats, right now, to grow their businesses:
Hopefully by now we’ve helped dispel some of the fears around producing content.
Now we want to return to the problem of time. How do you fit all of this into your busy Consulting schedule?
To help you with this we have two key tips:
Carve out time to create content
Re-purposing what you have.
Paraphrasing Natalia, her solution was to write down all of the questions you get from your day to day work and then batch your content creation by carving out an hour or so each week to write answers to all of those questions. These pieces of content can then be posted over the following week while you’re busy doing other things.
To add a Consulting lens to what she suggested. Every time a client or potential client asks you a question that you think would be of interest to other clients, make a note of it. Every time something happens on a project that you think could be useful for others, make a note of it.
At the end of the week, block out an hour and write or record answers to each of these questions.
Lets say you have 10 questions and 10 answers. That’s 10 pieces of content that you can share yourself or pass on to your Marketing team to flesh out into something bigger.
Repurposing what you have:
Many Consultancies take ‘thought leadership’ to mean brand new content. They feel they have to say something new instead of thinking about how they can demonstrate leadership by reinforcing the key messages and content that help them stand out.
If you go to your firm’s blog page you’re likely to find at least 10 blogs written last year that are still as relevant today as they were then. The problem is most Consulting firms never do this. Instead, they leave these great pieces of content to languish on the 5th page of their blog roll.
Re-purposing old content is a fantastic way to reinforce your message and create new content when you’re short of time. It’s also something that can easily be done by your marketing team or an external agency without having to worry that they’ll misinterpret the meaning or become confused by the complexities.
So how does it work?
Let’s take the example of a blog on operating model change – a well understood, common problem, where the solutions are relatively timeless.
You could take the 500 word blog you wrote on operating model change and:
Take sections from it to post as social statuses.
Create infographics showing key information from it.
Repurpose the solutions into a handy guide for prospective clients.
Create a micro-video using the blog as the basis for your script.
Record a podcast based on the blog.
Or – and the easiest of all – repost the blog on your social platforms in case some of your clients missed it.
If you did these 6 things for 10 of your best blogs you would have 60 additional pieces of content to post for minimal time/cost investment.
Many Consulting Leaders and Heads of Marketing say that time is the key issue when it comes to creating more content.
While this is sometimes true it’s often an excuse for the real underlying issues of fear, lack of knowledge and organisational constraints. Resolving these issues will help significantly improve your Consulting firm’s ability to create effective content and use Digital Marketing to generate leads from your target clients.
In certain instances time can be a legitimate reason for not producing content. To help overcome the time issue focus on batching your content creation and re-purposing what you have to get more content output for less Consultant input.
If you want to develop a Digital Marketing strategy that drives results for your Consulting firm, feel free to get in touch – we’d love to talk to you!