“You’re going to do what?!
You will only survive six months tops!”
Those not so encouraging words came from my dear colleagues at Willis Towers Watson when I left as their Marketing Director for Continental Europe to work for a Law Firm in Amsterdam. And I must say that it was not at all easy at times, but I’m always up for a challenge and in the end, it worked out very well.
To convert highly billable professionals into Content Marketing “rock stars,” you need a few tricks up your sleeve To convert highly billable professionals into Content Marketing “rock stars,” you need a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are a few that come from my experience of being the Marketing Director for Kennedy Van der Laan Law Firm over the last five years (yes… 60 months instead of 6!).
First of all, professionals are most happy when doing complex work for clients, so they have neither the time, nor the energy, to do extracurricular and futile activities like management and business development – let alone producing content for your content marketing program. So you need a cunning plan… and a few tips! Here are 5:
1. Communicate Your Vision, Every Occasion You Get
I got up on the podium of our restaurant the first week I got to work to share my content marketing vision for the firm. Instead of getting them all to a meeting, which they probably wouldn’t go to anyway, I caught them by surprise while they were eating their lunch! At least that got them thinking and it laid the groundwork for me to go to every practice meeting I got wind of and spread the content gospel further.
2. Find Your Hidden Content Creators
There are people within your company that are already content creators , either at work or in their spare time. Get these people on board for your plans and create a content creation movement. I found a secretary that wrote several novels, a lawyer that was a digital rock star and a PA that blogged in her spare time. See if you can have them work their magic for the firm as well. I did!
3. Use Unused Content
There’s tons of content already at the firm. Most professional services firms are content gold mines. There are advice papers that can be transformed into eBooks, presentations that can become blog posts, and also a lot of professionals are editors of their own niche trade publications. Convert these publications into articles for your newsletter.
4. Be Their Guiding Light And Help
As I said, professionals do not care much for doing things other than complex work for clients, but you need them to get that content gold out of their heads, into your marketing and communication channels! You need to have people in your marketing communications team that see opportunities in every encounter they have, with the professionals they work with.
Do the work for them! Write that article based on what they told the audience when you were sitting in on that client event. Even if the article is not exactly how they wanted, at least you have started something for them – and now they can edit it. That’s better than not starting at all.
Or use video! Interviews work very well because there’s hardly any prep time for the professionals, which they love because the can go back “to work” ASAP! And get them out of their comfort zone now and then, and have them show their human side (as the video below highlights). It works wonders for their personal branding!
5. Constantly Show Their Efforts Matter
“Why do we do this?!” is a question you kind of want to avoid when championing content marketing within the firm. Especially when it’s asked by people who charge $400 an hour and don’t want to help you create content. Do reports on what is being read (and what is not, and find out why and adapt). Show them the stellar analytics of their blog posts and eBooks. Demonstrate how the call to action in their article led to eight more people coming to their seminar. Have a competition on who is the “Content King” this month (hang a poster by the water cooler).
Showing results of their efforts will lead to more enthusiastic professionals (not saying ecstatic – let’s be realistic here, but it’s a start) and this way they will be more willing in providing you with more content when you ask next time.
Nobody said it was going to be easy; you chose to work in a professional services firm yourself! And yes, for a marketer or communication professional this is the most challenging environment to work in (even hostile at times). But if you dig in, create opportunities and show results they will love you… or at least not refer to you as the “Fee Burners” instead of the “Fee Earners” that they are :) Good luck and hang in there, it can be done!