It’s rare to find an IT services and staffing company with a blog on their web site, and there are a number of reasons that we think this is the case. Some of it has to do with the traditional sales model that IT services companies employ, and some of it has to do with the continued effort required to keep a blog running. Regardless of the reasons, companies that utilize the value of fresh and unique content will achieve a competitive advantage over time.
Collectively speaking, there are four clear and compelling reasons IT services and staffing companies should have a blog:
- Differentiation. Content marketing is continuing to thrive. With the age of marketing continuing to slide into digital and mobile, getting found through content will become a more valuable source of lead generation and differentiation. Let’s face it, IT services companies have a hard time with differentiation because IT talent buyers are exposed to so many of the same companies day in and day out. Creating a blog is one way to show the personality, passion, and culture of your company which can prove to be valuable to a prospect looking to determine whether or not they want to add you as a vendor. A blog adds a personal connection as part of the overall selling proposition, giving your company an opportunity to provide points of distinction and uniqueness. With many staffing companies saying the same thing on RFPs and in web copy, it’s hard to discern whether or not there is really any difference from one company to the next. Is the leadership team smart? Do they really get my business? How do I know that one company is better to work with than the other? Unless your company gets referred to, or you already have a contact in the purchasing organization, you will need to rely on cold-calling tactics and/or other forms of lead generation to make headway. Having a blog is one way to build a gap against your competition.
- Demonstrate your experience and leadership. With many IT Services companies saying the same thing on a company web site ‘About Us’ page, it’s hard to tell what “leader with x number of years in the industry” really means. Blogging lets your employees prove the value of their thought leadership and the insight that x number years of experience can lend in a content format. A blog will allow for company thought leaders to explain detailed knowledge on solutions relating to clients and prospects alike. The blog will build endless possibilities to showcase industry expertise and leadership.
- Raise the awareness of your company. One advantage of blogging is the value of community engagement. If you write something that is open to discussion, or offer new and innovative perspectives, the online community has the opportunity to respond with feedback, social linking/sharing, syndication, or Likes. Socialization of blog content is an on-going activity that can push content across audiences through a natural domino effect. Great content will put your authors and company on your prospects radar if done correctly.
- Generate leads. Numbers don’t lie: Blogging ultimately leads to new customers. Numerous studies have shown that B2B companies with a blog generate as much as 67 percent more leads than companies without. B2C companies with a blog generate nearly 88 percent more leads. The numbers speak for themselves. Building a digital footprint will help your company get found and will ultimately create awareness and increase lead generation. An inbound marketing strategy includes a number of moving parts, with a blog being a critical piece to the puzzle. By optimizing your posts, your company’s SEO authority will rise and prospects will find your web site. In addition to organic SEO, a blog will give your company a variety of content that can be used to generate interest in communities and social networks. If you do not have content available to generate new leads, the SEO opportunity doesn’t even exist.
Companies that optimize blog content for search are much more likely to be found than those that do not. It is also important to make sure that the content generated has a high interest value to targeted buyer personas (Vendor Managers, IT Hiring Managers, HR). Equally important to having a blog are the topics you write about. For IT Services and Staffing companies, it is vital that the content is interesting to IT hiring managers and vendor management professionals.
Investing and committing to a blog must be done for the right reasons. IT staffing companies should think very carefully about why it would make sense and what the impact of their business would be. Creating a blog and keeping it current is a lot of effort, which should be managed through a content marketing schedule. The return on investment is there if it is measured accurately (using the echogravity inbound marketing dashboard is one option) and given time to develop. As we always say, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Oh yeah, if you are an IT staffing company that is tired of being a sub-vendor and in need of more direct clients, check out this slide deck.