Being able to provide consultations for professionals in your niche is often the goal of any successful business person. Not only does it provide an additional revenue stream, but it can prolong your career beyond the years of your practice.
If you decide to step down from the day to day operations of your business, no matter the industry, you can still make a name for yourself as a consultant. In fact, you may find being a consultant even more fulfilling of a career path than what you were doing previously.
No matter your motivations, you don’t become a professional consultant over night. It takes work, beyond just being really good at what you do every day. In order to start gaining business as a consultant, you need a strategy to signal that you are in fact an expert in your field. Have a strong value proposition to show that you’re able to strengthen a client’s business.
An excellent way to do this is to engage in a well thought out content marketing strategy. Content marketing is an emerging and hot topic in the marketing world. But, as a consultant, you want to make sure you’re executing a strategy that is specifically relevant to your field or what you’re trying to accomplish.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you will need to do in order to gain more prominence and come to be known as a the go-to consultant for your particular niche.
Have a Personally Branded Website
The most important content you’re going to create is a site that pertains to your personal brand. We’ll get to the other kinds, but the first thing you must establish is a personal website. Most professionals are going to want their name in the URL.
Unless you’re looking to create an entity that you’ll be working under the name of, you probably want to register “yourname.com” for maximum search engine optimization benefits. The primary way people are going to find you for the first time (outside of word of mouth referrals) is through Google. An exact match domain will go a long way to getting your personal site to rank for your name.
Once you have the site set up, you want to add details that tell people a bit more about yourself without going overboard. Some of the information you want to include should be:
-A brief bio that includes your professional accomplishments.
-Testimonials from clients
-Examples of your work
-A place for your writing on your topic of choice
-A contact form
You may not want to go too far beyond this because information overload is a real thing. Make your pitch, give relevant information that can be easily read, and give a clear way to contact you.
Write, Write, Write
Any successful content marketing strategy relies on a steady stream of fresh content that is relevant and shareable on social media. There are two main places (generally speaking) you’re going to be placing this content: your site and someone else’s site.
On your site, you want to create some real evergreen content. To put it simply, this is content that doesn’t expire and will always be useful to people who are searching for very specific answers. This is where Google comes in, again and again. Cornering the market on general questions is a good practice because that search term will eventually lead people to your site.
As for content that goes on other people’s sites, you want to pitch ideas that are specific to the owner’s existing content but obviously with your own spin. These are the pieces of content that will pay the most dividends when it comes to expanding your user base. Getting a guest blogging spot on a well trafficked site could cause your own site’s traffic to spike overnight.
Engage in Conversation
Conversation on the internet can take many different forms. Social media is the biggest one. If you’re not engaged in social media, you’re not going to get very far as a consultant who operates on anything beyond direct, personal referrals. You want to be on as many appropriate social media networks as possible.
LinkedIn, of course, is a major one because it’s geared towards professionals and allows for long form blogging. Twitter is great for breaking news and live discussions of panels or events relevant to your industry. Facebook can have mileage for engaging with “fans” or the community you curate. And Instagram can have uses if you work in an industry that can benefit from the use of images. Feel free to think outside the box on that one.
Developing your brand and working on it every day is the key to success. Content marketing is a great, low cost way to do this. If you commit to building your brand, you’ll begin to see measurable increases in your consulting business.