Editorial calendar: A schedule of topics for your firm’s online presence. It might list the topic of each piece of content, as well as the form (text, e-book, video…) and the lead magnet or offer you plan to include. It helps make sure that all of the practice areas of your firm are served by your marketing efforts, helps you plan your work, and makes it more likely your firm will actually produce content on a regular basis.
E-newsletter: In today’s professional services world, “e-newsletter” is about as redundant as saying, “Online website.” What other kind is there? Printed newsletters are pretty much relegated to fundraising for charities. A newsletter is distributed by email, but can also go out via social media – posted online, with links via Twitter, LinkedIn (and Facebook, if you must). It’s closely related to “blog,” in Part One of the Demystifier.
Explainer video: A video that explains “what we do and why we do it.” It’s important for stating your firm’s values. I also think that there’s a huge opportunity for each senior professional, or head of a practice area, to have their own explainer video. It gives the prospective client a sense of who is behind the firm’s service offerings, and provides a comfort level with working with that CSP.
Facebook pixel: I usually think of a “pixel” as a single dot on a computer monitor. But in Facebook world, it’s analytical tool that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your Facebook advertising. It’s the sort of thing I’d go to a real social media expert to unravel, assuming you feel a pressing need to get tangled up in Facebook at all. I don’t think that FB is relevant to most professional services marketing. Maybe for recruiting. FB is good for targeting messages, but it’s largely a business-to-consumer platform, not business-to-business.
Gated content: Any content that’s not freely available on the Internet, that requires something of the person accessing it. That could be a paid subscription – and many of the trade publications in which I publish my clients’ content have gated sections of their websites. Many publications provide subscriptions to select readers (VP level and above) at no cost, because these readers are so valuable for the publications’ advertisers. Or, the “gate” could be just providing one’s email address and an agreement to accept emails. My own business provides gated content in exchange for signing up for this newsletter/blog. I think that many firms miss out on this opportunity – preparing an e-book, perhaps, with content that would be valuable to their ideal clients, to induce those prospects to sign up for their newsletter.
Google juice: Anything in what you write that can result in higher search engine rankings for your content. This can include key terms that are hot in the news – such as the name of a new law, regulation, or other news item. The “juice” can be really, really narrow – I’ll talk about “newsjacking” later in this Demystifier.
Infographic: Information presented in graphic form. It’s easier to show you than tell you – you can see some infographics here and here. To make these happen, I just sort of doodled the idea and inserted the text, PDF’d that sketch, and sent it to my graphic designer, Carolyne Wagland of Gravity Art & Design. She took the sketches and produced something that you can see includes my company’s branding and look-and-feel. Just saying … she does great work for me, and she can probably do that for you too. And she didn’t even ask me to write that.
Landing page: A website page intended as a virtual front door to your content. It might be the home page, or it might be a page that’s the entrance to a mini-site within the whole website. If you have an announcement about an upcoming webinar or course, you’d likely have a landing page telling people about it and inviting them to sign up. It’s not necessarily a squeeze page, but it could be.
Lead magnet: Something of value that you offer at no cost – in exchange for someone providing their name and contact information. Usually, it’s used as a way of building one’s email or subscription list. So what’s the “something?” Something that the user will find valuable enough to sign up for more email from you. It’s usually in the form of an e-book or a white paper, and it should be on a topic that the user will find really, really useful. On my own website, there’s a lead magnet – an e-book called “Be where they are,” offering a listing of hard-to-find niche publications covering markets such as higher education, highway construction and the mining sector.
Newsjacking: I was doing “newsjacking” on behalf of my clients for years, before there was a name for it. This is simply wrapping your content around a piece of news – describe the news, say why it matters to the intended audience (also known as a “prospective client”), and then provide recommendations on how to avoid a problem or gain a benefit. See Post #83 for more on that. Newsjacking can involve really narrow topics, as I talked about in Post #67. So, a recently-issued regulation, or even a survey or report of interest to your audience, can be great opportunities for creating news they can use.
Opening a loop: When you raise a question in your reader’s mind, with a promise to answer it later: “We’ll get into that topic in a moment. But first, let’s make sure you understand the background…” It’s a device that helps you organize your content in a logical flow, but more importantly it makes your prospective client stay with you. When you actually get around to fulfilling your promise, that’s “closing” the loop you opened.
Sales funnel: This is an important part of content marketing, that I think that we in professional services marketing ignore at our peril. Simply put, most sales funnels have three sections, charmingly described by Digital Marketer as TOFU (“top of funnel”), MOFU (middle) and BOFU (bottom). The content you prepare for prospective clients who are not yet aware that they have a problem (see “newsjacking” above) is very different from the content prepared to help your clients make a decision on which firm to choose to solve that problem.
Slide show: A series of graphic images, generally with text blended with images, that the user can scroll through. They’re a good way to present a case study provided you have images to go with them. Most people put their slides on Slide Share, which is a small site with truly eye-watering demographics – it has a trickle of traffic compared to YouTube’s flood, but that trickle probably contains the people your firm wants to serve. Here’s an example of a slide show on the benefits of public speaking. You may be able to take the slides from a presentation and post them to SlideShare – bearing in mind that the best slides for presentations are brief so as to not distract from what the speaker is saying, while a slide show needs to be self-explanatory.
Squeeze page: Most website pages offer many options in terms of where to go next. A squeeze page is designed to ‘squeeze’ a prospective client into one choice – that they can sign up for whatever you’re offering, or just leave the page. The idea is that if you offer them one choice – the one you want them to take – you are more likely to get them to take that action. The signup page for my own newsletter, which you can see here, is a squeeze page.
Tripwire/threshold offer: This is a concept in content marketing that I believe has little or no relevance to professional services marketing. A threshold offer, in content marketing, is a small-money offer designed to get the prospective customer or client to get used to the idea of buying from you. For example, for a while I was pushing some online courses I had developed, and there were some threshold offers of some e-books for around US$7.00. I think that this approach doesn’t work for professional services marketing because the potential clients aren’t usually buying something for their own use, but rather on behalf of their organization. The initial commitment on their part might involve an exploratory meeting to see if a proposal is a reasonable next step.