Too many new business efforts are built around the organization’s capabilities. Sure, prospects want to know what services you offer. It’s a necessary part of the business development process.
But I think agencies and professional services firms put way too much emphasis on capabilities.
While prospects want to know what you do, you can bet they’re even more interested in what you know and how you think.
So you have to give very serious thought to the content you’re putting in front of prospects. And that means both what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.
Three minutes to make a first impression
Much of the content I see from agencies and other firms lack relevance. Or it’s not as provocative as it could be. It’s either too self-centered, too generic or safe, or too long. Or all three.
I’ll address the first two weaknesses in a later post. Right now, let’s look at the more fixable issue – the quantity or length of content.
This HBR article makes a strong case for short, punchy content in your new business outreach efforts.
It’s no secret that buyers are bombarded with messages and the web has exacerbated the situation. That likely explains why the average viewing time for content is 2 minutes and 27 seconds.
Do you really think your blog, email blasts, LinkedIn posts, website pages, thought leadership, brochures, and so on are so special that a prospect will spend an above average amount of time with it? Your content could be marvelous. But prospects won’t spend as much time with it as you think.
In fact, once they get an idea of the length of your post, they might not bother to read at all.
And don’t get me started on pitches and other key presentations. Ten pounds of content stuffed into two-pound bags.
If content is king, simplicity is prime minister
Clients want to work with experts who can simplify things for them. Doesn’t matter what the business is or how technically well-versed the clients are.
Here’s what matters: Your ability to take a complex issue and communicate your point of view and solution simply and clearly, in few words and with everyday language. Shorter pieces with clear, powerful insights and messages will attract more readers and make you look more effective.
We want to work with people who make things clearer without wasting our time. Apply these criteria to all your communications.
- Bob Wiesner