If you run a small service business — such as a financial advisory practice, property management firm, or HVAC company — you’re probably wondering where content fits into your marketing plan. You don’t have a massive budget to spend on SEO or unlimited time to dedicate to an endless stream of organic content creation.
If you want to know the cold, hard truth, getting to the top of page one of Google in a highly competitive niche such as yours is challenging. It’s going to require thousands of dollars and months of hard work. You’ll need to hire an SEO expert. You’ll need to invest in strategic content creation and link building. After that, you’ll probably cross your fingers that you’ve done enough to please the search engine gods.
Even then, there are no guarantees that you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
So: Is Service Business Content a Waste of Time?
In light of what’s just been described, it’s easy to assume that content is a waste of resources for the average service business in a highly competitive niche.
However, that’s not true at all. SEO is just one aspect of content creation. You need to shift your view of content. And a simple change in perspective could be the game-changer you need to get your service business content strategy back on track.
Content as an Authority Builder
Let’s assume, for a moment, that you’re a financial advisor in the suburbs of a major city. While you know you’re one of the best in the area, the reality is that you look just like the 25 other advisors in your zip code. You operate XYZ Wealth Management Firm while your closest competitor operates ABC Wealth Management Firm. You’re wearing a navy suit in your LinkedIn profile picture and so is she. You offer retirement planning and 401(k) rollovers, and so does she.
Truth be told, there isn’t a whole lot that separates the two of you.
And if we’re being honest, this is the case in almost any local service business niche. Whether it’s HVAC, plumbing, landscaping, financial advisory, bookkeeping, house cleaning, or general maintenance, it’s challenging to stand out in a field where everyone is offering the same basic services. You’re forced to compete on price, which drives profit margins down. Someone else is always willing to go lower.
Service Business Content Must Set Your Company Apart
Herein lies the true power of service business content. When leveraged effectively, content has the ability to differentiate you from the competition by amplifying your authority in ways that few other marketing investments can.
Think of it like this. All else created equal, which of the following companies is a cold prospect going to trust more?
- ABC Wealth Management Firm: Has a basic website, simple LinkedIn profile, and created a three-page retirement investing PDF seven years ago.
- XYZ Wealth Management Firm: Has a clean website with 25 blog posts, a LinkedIn profile that shares valuable content once per day, and a library of retirement investing guides and books available for download.
The choice is clear, right?
ABC Wealth Management Firm might have a slick logo and clever website, but everything is generic and replaceable. XYZ Wealth Management Firm has a marketing strategy with teeth. If everything else is created equal, 9 out of 10 cold prospects are going to call XYZ to set an appointment.
While visibility obviously matters — and you can’t convert a prospect into a client if they don’t first find you online — the reality is that content should be viewed as an authority builder. When created through this lens, you’re much more likely to generate high-quality content that resonates with your target market. Plus, you’ll see some residual SEO results on the back end.
Tips for Developing Authority-Boosting Service Business Content
Once you start to look at content as a conduit for authority, rather than SEO collateral, you’ll suddenly see new opportunities that you were never focused on before. And if authority is the play, here are some simple ways you can maximize the value of content marketing and use it to your advantage.
1. Create better landing pages.
Most service business websites have a home page, an About Us page, and a basic What We Do page. But if you want to stand out and build authority within your niche, start by creating robust landing pages for every individual service/market. Check out this Katy Property Management page from Green Residential as just one example. They’ve dedicated landing pages for every one of their individual markets in the state of Texas. Pages burst with social proof and detailed information. This establishes instant credibility with visitors, as opposed to one big generic page that makes it look like they try to serve everyone.
2. Author a book.
Writing a book is easier than ever before. Thanks to online tools, self-publishing platforms, and Amazon, you can write, design, publish, and even print books with a very low overhead cost. Consider writing a short, 50-100 page book on a topic that your audience finds valuable. Most people will never read it. But the fact that you have a book instantly bolsters your credibility.
3. Share useful content on LinkedIn.
Your business should be zeroed in on the LinkedIn platform. This is particularly true if you’re in a B2B service niche and/or work with a lot of white-collar professionals. However, regardless of who your niche serves, LinkedIn is a good place to build up your circle of influence with other businesses in the area. Share well-written content, connect with people, comment on posts, and otherwise make yourself known.
4. Seed your blog with pillar content.
You don’t need dozens of blog posts on your website. However, it’s a good idea to have a handful of “pillar” pieces. These are long, in-depth posts that touch on the biggest pain points and/or solutions in your industry. All of your marketing and traffic acquisition efforts will center around these pieces of content.
Evolve Your Service Business Content Strategy Over Time
There are obviously other steps you can take, but this short guide should provide a pretty good starting point. As you begin investing in service business content, you’ll see new opportunities emerge. At this point, you can continue to adapt your strategy.
You don’t need to publish five blog posts a week. You don’t need to send out an endless stream of tweets throughout the day. Quantity is not the goal. With authority-boosting content, it’s all about quality. A well-developed content strategy that accounts for this fact will get you the results you’re seeking.