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, most of the consultancy partners I meet never even considered teaching what they know. What explains this gap?
The way I see it, this happens due to one a combination of these factors:
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 lives 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:
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 - who still feel like they are not qualified enough to teach.
We are our worst judges. Anxiety, impostor 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 more 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?
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:
Teaching is nothing more than communicating what you've learned, after all.
“If you're running a consultancy, your experts are already creating content, all the time - it's part of their job! Think about it:
Are you writing SOPs for your firm? Are you noting down learnings? Are you documenting projects? Are you answering RFPs? Are you writing proposals? Are you creating pitch decks? Do you answer client questions?
Of course, you do. And I bet these are full of your and your firm's expertise. But as long as you keep them where you keep them (in file folders and attached to e-mails written for pretty small groups of people who already know your firm) - you're effectively keeping them a secret.
Why? And... why not change this?
Just put the LITTLE extra effort it'd take you to edit and then publish these pieces for a much larger audience, an audience you could get in front of for free every day.”
Source: Florian Heinrichs
Data from the latest edition of Hinge’s High Growth Study showed 41% of High Growth Firms use educational webinars as a part of their marketing strategy.
Only 15% of “No Growth” Firms do so.
Source: High Growth Study 2023
Content marketing initiatives are a powerful way for soloists and boutique consulting firms to grow their practices. You probably already know this. But many consultants never experienced the real magic that happens when you perform them at a high frequency.
Writing a blog or LinkedIn post every day. Publishing a newsletter or podcast every week.
These high-frequency initiatives create some sort of “asymmetric intimacy” with those who consume the content. You don’t know them at all but they feel like they know you.
I have personally experienced this as both the author and the reader. Regular exposure creates intimacy with your audience. And those people will not only hire you much faster and more often, but also mention your name and work among their peers.
Of course, there are pros and cons to committing to a high-frequency initiative. You will need to invest time and effort upfront. You will need to overcome perfectionism and impostor syndrome. You will need to learn new skills.
But for most of you, both the process and the results are extremely rewarding.
Ask yourself today: