Communications pros are waking up to something important about content marketing: The name is a bit of a misnomer.
In practice, all marketing is content marketing. You need content to fuel your SEO strategy. You need content to establish thought leadership in your industry. You need content for effective account-based sales enablement.
Truthfully, you need content across all marketing channels.
As marketing needs shift toward an omnichannel future, content has become home base for all marketing initiatives — so much so that 41% of marketing budgets are spent on content alone and 77% of companies see written content as a top focus area. This need for content is especially acute in the consulting and professional services fields, where razor-thin competitive edge comes from the ability to deliver truly original insights.
Despite this need, the team members trained to refurbish drab content are conspicuously missing from many marketing teams in professional services.
I’m talking, of course, about editors.
Even if you’re in an industry where innovative ideas or technical expertise are differentiators, your content should provide more than that, and adding an editor to your content marketing team can help you turn the ideas and insights driving your business into a marketing Swiss Army knife.
At Influence & Co., we stress the importance of having strong editorial support as the centerpiece of any content marketing strategy
We put our money where our mouth is, too. We staff each account team with two editorial specialists:
However, these editors do more than beautify your content. They make sure the ideas behind your marketing make sense, resonate with target audiences, and drive readers to take action.
In consulting and professional services, your content is also a reflection of the quality and care you put into clients’ work, meaning a good first impression is paramount. You might only have a potential client’s attention for a few hundred words, so each sentence should count.
Here’s how having trained editors on staff can help you achieve content marketing greatness:
Editors face a stereotype of being persnickety grammarians, but they just want to communicate clearly. Editing isn’t only about making sure commas are in the right place — it’s about telling stories readers will respond to.
Consider this: Content that elicits positivity or strong emotions (think awe or anger) is more likely to be shared. This is the difference between a potential client reading a case study on your website versus having that potential client feel some kind of deeper connection to it.
This Shopify case study wisely opens with a first-person experience and weaves in conversational dialogue. This creates more emotional attachment in readers than if the case study had stressed the client’s increase in sales a million times over. Shopify’s editorial decision-making elicits valuable reactions in readers — and editors are most qualified to craft your content in this way.
Your content marketing strategy probably already includes blogs and email newsletters. With an editor on board, though, content you couldn’t produce before suddenly becomes possible at scale. This could include everything from keyword-optimized pillar pages to guest-contributed articles or whitepapers.
Though assembling marketing materials from a consultant’s notes might be a laborious process for many marketing generalists, editors can effectively repurpose nonmarketing content to accomplish marketing needs.
Take, for example, an editor who turns a sales deck into a whitepaper and uses that material to craft a pillar page and blog campaign. All of these content marketing elements stem from one place — the sales deck — but their interconnectedness means they’ll funnel more leads into the whitepaper than if it stood alone. HubSpot did something similar with this pillar page covering productivity applications, which also promotes its downloadable productivity guide.
Through and through, editors understand how to make complex content compelling and weave it into your strategy. That opens up more ambitious content marketing options for your team.
You probably don’t need an editor’s meticulous eye to spruce up the tagline on your consultants’ business cards. But what your editor can do is make sure the ideas that tagline conveys match the ideas put forth by your marketing as a whole.
For example, Mailchimp’s practical yet meticulously crafted on-site content follows through on the company’s mission to help customers grow their audiences — an idea that’s peppered throughout the website. Aligning with a consistent tone and voice will help potential clients get an idea of your brand and navigate your site to find what’s most valuable to them. Trained editors — masters of language and the strategy behind it — can identify and fill in any gaps.
With an editor on board to optimize your content, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle a holistic marketing plan with your content confidently leading the way.
This piece was co-written with editor Marlee Ellison.
I'm a content strategist-turned-director of account services at Influence & Co. When I'm not busy helping our team drive content marketing results for clients, I'm probably curled up with a book or writing my weekly newsletter covering all things Colorado Rockies.