A recent national study by Hinge Marketing, Referral Marketing for Professional Services Firms, revealed that 20 percent of expertise-based referrals come from readers of blog posts and articles written by that individual.
Blogs and articles were the second largest source of referrals behind first place, “hearing the individual speak.”
Research also shows that, beyond training, credentials and experience, the majority of potential users of professional services look for someone who is trustworthy and able to relate to their situation.
Regardless of your field or specialty, or whether you practice independently or as part of a group, this data provides significant insight about the ability of written content to motivate readers’ action to either contact you, or refer you to others. It confirms the idea that in-depth subject matter, written and presented well, is a powerful influence on viewer responsiveness.
When you add to this the fact that search engines now use various algorithms to identify high-quality content (in order to help internet searchers find the highest-quality sites), blogs and articles can be better appreciated as important boosters of overall marketing results, not just generators of referrals.
Here are some ways to improve the authority and influence of your articles and blogs. They are based on my research and experience, as well as some of Google’s current criteria for assessing the level of quality of content:
- Research every subject you write about. Nothing can undermine your credibility more than providing inaccurate or outdated information.
- Cite sources of significant facts and statistics.
- Choose topics that address your prospects’ interests and concerns.
- Use original writing only. Don’t duplicate or rehash what you’ve read somewhere else.
- Provide insightful, substantial content; and present it in an interesting way.
- Be sincere and caring. Viewers want to know that you’re concerned, at least generally, about the welfare of your readers and clients.
- Use correct grammar, spelling and formatting. Your written content represents your professionalism.
- Be relate-able. When readers can make an emotional connection with content, they are more likely to take action, such as contacting the site owner or sharing the information with others.
- Don’t overload your writing with keywords. It’s more important to use good writing and provide valuable information.
- Cultivate a trustworthy image. Find ways to indirectly communicate your best qualities: your ethics, integrity, sincerity, positivity, experience and expertise.
- Present material in a professional, authoritative manner. Demonstrating your top-notch standards and expertise is a key to becoming a highly desirable professional services provider.
By providing high-quality, informative, and accurate content, you can increase the ability of your articles and blog posts to serve as “magnets” for attracting both referrals and new clients.