3 content marketing tips from IBM

IBM’s microsite successfully positions the company as a strong thought leader. These simple tips can do the same for you.

For professional services firms, the concept of content marketing is pretty old news.

Most companies in this space have marketed their services this way for decades. They sell expertise, and that requires content that showcases their smarts.

But that doesn’t mean professional services firms are leaps and bounds ahead of other companies in the way they approach content marketing.

Professional services firms are actually playing catch-up. They still rely heavily on old marketing communication methods—white papers, articles, newsletters—and are only starting to toy around with bite-size content and varied formats that connect them with audiences in different ways.

If you’re wondering why shorter is better, check out Jay Baer‘s post on why marketers trend toward shorter content.

While many professional services firms take baby steps, there are a few that leapt forward. IBM caught my attention with its latest Global CEO Study. Its microsite is one of the most dynamic I’ve seen to showcase thought leadership.

A few things caught my attention:

1. It gives you reasons to keep coming back.

The volume of content alone compels you to return to the site a few times. You can find a comprehensive report and panel discussion video on top, but the rest of the information is in manageable snippets.

The site also gives visitors the promise of new content. You can clearly find when to expect new videos, case studies, infographics, and other types of content.

The site also outlines how visitors can stay abreast of updates—they can bookmark the site or download the IBM app. One overlooked option, in my opinion, would be to allow people to submit their email addresses to get updates. It’s a nice way to build up a prospect list.

2. It breaks up information into three clear sections.

In each section, you can follow a consistent path to drill down into the content. Or, if you care less about themes and more about an industry category, there’s a clear option for that.

3. Visitors can choose their own adventures.

The site offers a variety of ways to engage with its audience. Journalists looking to report on the information can easily find case studies, the study report, related information, or a way to connect with an expert.

Potential customers might choose to download audio insights to listen to later, explore the related services IBM offers, or connect to a study expert via LinkedIn. Or, if you just want to look through all the case studies or videos on the site, there’s an option for that as well.

Huge studies like this can become overwhelming very quickly. Most people don’t have the patience to sift through a 25-page report. You can tell IBM really thought through the different journeys a customer might take on the site.

I can only imagine the resources and time it took to pull all this information together. Not every company has the same luxury. However, IBM’s site is a good source of inspiration that others can replicate on a smaller scale.

Have you seen any good examples of content marketing by professional services firms?

Kellie Sheehan is senior vice president and director of professional services at Bliss PR. A version of this article originally appeared on the Bliss PR blog.

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