How content gets you found

Sharon Tanton

The signposts your clients seek

I’m doing some research for a new project – writing landing pages for a Pay Per Click web campaign – and I’ve been assessing my client’s competition. The pages are for a legal firm, so it’s a very crowded market, yet one firm keep coming up top, again and again. And the thing that’s keeping them there is a very simple piece of valuable content.

This firm has created a very straightforward and well written pdf document that answers all the ground level questions that I, (and I presume potential clients,) will have on the subject. It’s not flashy, or particularly visual – nowhere near as comprehensive as an e-book – it simply lays out the key areas you need to understand.

Their expertise in the area isn’t explicitly referred to – but is implicit in the fact that they have created this ‘all you need to know’ document, and put their name to it.

For me, and potential clients at the information gathering stage of a project, resources like this are invaluable. We don’t want to ‘ring for a free appraisal’ – talking is something that comes a bit later, when you’ve orientated yourself in the area, and you know what you don’t know, and where you need help.

However their website would be the first I’d go to, if I wanted more information. And were I looking to pick up the phone to someone, they’d be top of my list, because they have already shown themselves to be understanding of my situation, authoritative, and ready to help.

How to create a valuable document to signpost people to your company

It’s not difficult to create this kind of valuable document, it just needs a clear understanding of your potential clients’ problems and a willingness to share your expertise. Here’s what you need to remember:

  1. Choose the right topic. What terms do people search for in your business? What are the most frequently asked questions from your newest clients?  Build a document that addresses this, and get it up on your website as a simple download.
  2. Don’t write the book. This law firm’s pdf worked because it answered the basic questions, and laid the ground rules. Going into too much detail would be a mistake here. Signposting documents aren’t the place to show off everything you know, rather they should answer clients first questions, and lead them to the next stage.
  3. Make it quality. Had this document been poorly written – stuffed with SEO filler words or simply not good to read – it would have had the opposite effect on me. Constantly being sent to a poor resource is irritating. If it’s going to surface again and again, make sure it stands up to all the attention.
  4. Consider design. You don’t need to go overboard and invest in something too polished. Nor do you need images, it’s fine to produce something text only.
  5. Think about typography. Potential clients are hungry for information, but they’ll still thank you for making it easy to digest: pick a user friendly font; consider judicious use of headlines to make your content easy to read on the web; allow enough white space to give the words room to breathe; break the text up into chunks.
  6. Clear calls to action. This kind of document is the opposite of a hard sell sales piece, however you do want potential clients to know where you are once they’re ready to talk. Include some suggestions for further reading, and do include your contact details.
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  1. Avatar

    Excellent post, Sharon. When doing email marketing and newsletter work, this is one of the first things I recommend my clients do. It’s a win-win situation! The customer gets something of real value in exchange for their precious email address, and the service provider not only gets that email, but establishes themselves at the forefront of the marketplace in the subtlest, gentlest way imaginable. It’s such a simple thing to do, but so many people forget it when they start experimenting with content marketing.

  2. Avatar

    Thanks Eli. You’re right, it is such a simple thing to do, but it makes a real difference. Hope your clients take your advice!


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