Recently, I shared some great examples of e-commerce content marketing – three companies that are using content to promote their online product sales. It was a hit, so let’s do it again – but this time, let’s look at some service professionals that are doing great content marketing work.
As ever, the goal of content marketing is primarily to build authority, trust, and interest in your brand. By positioning yourself as an authority on a topic related to your business, you’re greatly increasing the chances that people will turn to you when they need your services. In other words, content marketing is a great method of lead gen for service professionals.
Here are three service professionals putting out awesome blogs and other content to inspire your marketing ideas.
Brand New: Addictive Concept, Spot-on Voice
Brand New is a design blog run by Under Consideration, which is a graphic design company. The blog has a very clearly defined purpose – they look at corporate brands and logos, particularly new branding or redesigned/relaunched branding, and critique them.
If you’re a branding wonk, this really never gets old, and you never run out of stuff to talk about because companies are constantly redesigning their brands.
What’s Awesome About Brand New’s Content:
- It’s addictive – If you can come up with an addictive angle for your blog, like chart porn, you’re gold. People won't just keep coming back, they'll want to share it too (don't forget promotion is part of the content process).
- Active community – Since a big part of the concept is the whole “Does this suck or not” question, Brand New has an active community of readers who like to weigh in with their own opinions. The site also has a quick poll on each post where readers can vote on whether they think the logo is great, fine or bad – again, encouraging community.
- Great design (duh) – You’d except a design blog to look good, and this one does.
- Superb use of voice – Most B2B blogs have a very similar voice: basically friendly and helpful in tone. But the Brand New blog has a very snarky voice. They are probably critical more often they are positive. But this works for their brand. Their readership wants to see an expert point out the dumb things that big companies are doing with their millions. It’s sort of about proving that they’re discerning and have very high standards of quality, which reflects back on the work they do (we can assume). And because the design world is hip and edgy, this totally works for them, whereas it might not work in other industries. However, they don’t just criticize. There’s a “Friday Likes” series that promotes branding they think is top-notch, so there’s a balance.
Lisa Eldridge: Killing it with Video Content
Lisa Eldridge is a professional makeup artist based in the UK, and she has a really terrific blog with dozens of how-to videos, like this one:
As well as photos from her professional shoots:
What Makes Lisa Eldridge’s Content Awesome:
- She targets long-tail keywords – The video above is called “how to apply false lashes.” This is the kind of keyword that makes so much sense to target with a video, because it’s much easier to demonstrate a process this way, versus just writing it out, or even using a series of pictures. Scanning around her video section, you can see lots of good long-tail keywords, e.g. “how to make thin lips look full,” “ultimate guide to red lips,” etc.
- She answers real questions – Many of the keywords Lisa addresses are questions, like “how to choose the right shade of foundation,” “where to apply blush,” etc. People are looking for good answers to these questions. And what Lisa does is answer these questions better than anyone else. So she has a very loyal following both on her blog and on YouTube. And this only builds her credibility as a makeup artist, making her more likely to get booked.
- She makes high-quality videos – Note the good quality of the videos. Clean white background, a nice intro sequence, details added in text after the fact (for example, the name of the shade of her nail polish). She takes this stuff seriously!
- She pays attention to comments – I also want to point out what a good job she does with comment management. She has a cool setup where the comments from YouTube are reproduced on her own blog too. And look how many comments she gets! (http://www.wordstream.com/images/lisa-comments.png) And she actually reads them! She doesn’t respond to every comment, but she does respond to select questions, and you can bet she’s looking at all the questions to get ideas for future content and videos. Like the question right below her reply. In fact she often says at the beginning of her videos that she’s doing one on such and such a topic because “so many of you asked for it.” This is a great way of nurturing your community and showing them you care.
All this awesome content is great for building her brand and business – even if many of the people who visit her site would never hire a professional makeup artist of this caliber, she’s building a huge, loyal following and that just enhances her professional reputation.
Fritinancy: Catering to Word Nerds
Lastly, we’ve got Fritinancy, a blog for word nerds run by Nancy Friedman, a name developer and corporate copywriter. She describes her business, Wordworking, like so: “[We] work primarily with well-funded early-stage companies to create names, taglines, and compelling brand stories. We also name products and services for companies at every stage of growth.”
So if Under Consideration focuses on the visual side of branding, Friedman focuses on the language side. Her blog review corporate brands and products names, both the clever and the wildly stupid, as well as trends in naming (such as the recent spate of book titles following The End of X formula). There’s also a “Word of the Week” series so you can learn fun terms like “manicule” (one of those punctuation symbols that looks like a pointing hand).
Why Fritinancy Is Awesome:
- Regular features – Like Brand New, Fritinancy’s posts follow a few formulas, making it sticky and addictive. Read one “Word of the Week” and you want to read them all.
- Learning is fun – You can learn a lot reading this blog, and she posts the kind of quirky information that people want to share, so she’s getting a lot of links and social activity out of her blogging.
- Insider expertise – This lady knows way more about branding than you do. Part of the reason these three blogs are so good is because you really trust that you’re listening to an expert in their field. For example, in a post on the trend for brands that sub a Y for an I in the name, she points out that this might be driven by “Lazy Domain Syndrome”: “We couldn’t get a dot-com domain with the dictionary spelling, so we jury-rigged it.”
Friedman seems so smart (especially when pointing out why certain brand names are bad), she must get hordes of business for her services.
What are your favorite professional services blogs? Which service providers do you follow just because their content marketing is great?