I've previously written about the value of consultative conversations and how educational initiatives can be seen as the "golden standard" of lead generation. Still, the vast majority of the consultants I know never even considered teaching what they know. What explains this gap?
The way I see it, this happens due to one or more of these factors:
- You don't see it as a priority.
- You suffer from imposter syndrome and perfectionism.
- You don't know where to start.
Let me provide some data and perspective for you to rethink each one of those.
It's Not A Priority
When consultants don't understand the impact that teaching would have on their life and business, it becomes impossible to justify investing their time and energy in it.
In terms of marketing effectiveness, the following statistics (from different sources) are quite compelling - buyers do care about your digital footprint and educational content:
- 90% of service buyers will actively do their own research on a consultant. Unfortunately, 8 out of 10 consultants automatically get rejected because their digital footprint does not point to a desired level of expertise. (*)
- 70% of professionals agree that educational content counts as thought leadership. (*)
- The typical B2B buying process involves 6-10 decision-makers. Each is independently scouring online for 5-6 content pieces to bring to the table. (*)
Teaching what you do and how you do it will also facilitate the process of documenting your methodology. Translating the specific knowledge and experience that's inside of your head will have a massive impact on your consulting business.
I know many seasoned consultants - some with more than 30 years of professional experience - that still feel like they are not qualified enough to teach.
We are our worst judges. Anxiety, imposter syndrome, and perfectionism will attack when you think about creating educational content, when you start to do it, and before you hit publish. The sooner you learn how to deal with it, the better.
Several ideas can help you overcome this block - I listed the ones that work better for consultants here.
Don't Know Where To Start
Consultants don't know how to educate their target market. But that's not a valid excuse to avoid it forever.
It's hard to start something new. Especially if you've never done it before. The good news is that your head is making it much complicated than it actually is.
My biggest advice is to stop being so self-centered and put others first - your expertise is a gift to the world. Ask yourself: Why do people learn things?
- Because they need to. They want to change something but don't know how. Maybe their business is struggling. Maybe their relationships are being affected. Maybe they see a big risk they want to avoid.
- Because they enjoy it. They find a topic inspiring, or are naturally curious about it. We may see this happening less often in the B2B consulting industry, but it's still a powerful driver for people to want to learn new things.
This means the first step to producing educational content is finding useful, valuable, inspiring ideas. I'm sure you and every consultant out there can do that.
Here are some of the ways you can start:
- Use the creative technique of list-making to identify the ideas you're most comfortable with, and you'd enjoy exploring.
- Write 100 blog posts. Focusing on consistency will help you conquer the fear of publishing, find a direction and tone-of-voice, and provide proof of expertise.
- Document your methodology, and start creating your IP.
Teaching is nothing more than communicating what you've learned, after all.