The headline and subheader tells us what you're offering, and the form header closes the deal. Over here you can explain why your offer is so great it's worth filling out a form for.
People keep asking me – often somewhat skeptically – if my hard content work has been paying off, has helped me to grow my consulting business in the past years.
I get those questions because becoming visible with valuable content is something most consultants really struggle with. The truth though is that visibility is the only thing that is going to make you stand out in a crowded and very competitive consulting world.
The biggest blunder that consultants can make is to think that somehow potential clients will find them. Nothing could be further from reality.
It wasn’t always easy to produce valuable content. Not every swing was a hit. But it never felt like an uphill battle to me and sharing my expertise has enabled me to create opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.
Instead of developing short-lived content with the aim of telling potential clients how great we were (which would have been a darn uphill battle), I always focused on sharing deep experience and knowledge. The teacher in me kept asking:
Marketing yourself as a consultant is surprisingly easy! Share your unique stories and experiences in an authentic and passionate way and you will organically create a strong and loyal client base!
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I’ve always been surprised that by sharing my stories from the front line I was able to outperform the visibility of thousands of top consultants at Deloitte globally.
The more content I shared, the bigger the results, the easier to grow the consulting business.
It’s a little bit like a real estate developer: the bigger the assets, the bigger the results. I’ve always considered my content to be the assets of my library.
The more assets I had, the bigger my follower community became, the more traffic to the website I generated, the wider my reach and visibility got, the easier to grow the consulting business. Here’s an overview of the ‘secret weapon’ I was able to unlock for the business.
I call this the ‘content flywheel’: sharing valuable content leads to receiving speaking engagements, which, in turn, leads to more content opportunities and, as a result, to more speaking engagements, etc.
The ‘content fly wheel’ resulted in almost 100 conference and event invitations over the past decade. It was an incredible amplification of my visibility within my expertise domain.
Many consultants view ‘speaking’ as too narrow and are not leveraging something I’d call the ‘collateral visibility’.
For me, actually being on a stage and presenting has only been a very small part of the game. It’s the ‘collateral visibility’ that has always been a solid consulting business development engine for me, worth investing a lot of time.
Here are a few ‘collateral visibility’ effects:
Going to international conferences is often perceived as the ‘nice side of being a consultant’, but for me those were top opportunities for consultancy business development and I always tried to leverage every single minute, including the late night dinners and early morning breakfast encounters. I loved it!
Make sure your audience can see you. If you want to understand how the lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle. (Jim Stengel)
(Picture: Keynote presentation at the Bucharest Technology Week)
Result #2: A rock solid online footprint and following
It has never been easier to get online visibility but at the same time, it has never been more difficult to convert this visibility into real business opportunities.
Success no longer comes from sharing a few articles or infrequently scattering ‘likes’ on LinkedIn (and I see a lot of consultants doing just that). The game has changed in the past years. Dramatically.
I know that many of you are struggling with the digital and social media jungle, but it’s actually not as difficult as it seems. ‘The game’ is not at all about social media as such, although it remains my most powerful tool to share my existing content.
As a consultant, I’ve always been a big believer in (and an active content contributor to) the social media.
I invested (and still invest, of course) a lot of time in social media, but I fully outsourced the content distribution and curation preparation work to a social media expert. The distribution of the content as such has always been fully automated using the Buffer tool (in the past) and the Hubspot platform (today). A powerful combination: outsourcing and automation!
Here's a picture from the July 2020 automation on Hubspot. You can see that I am posting content every day (no exception) in a 100% automated way (every bar with the social medium logo is a post, in total >120 posts in July).
(Picture: my automated social media scheduling tool in my Hubspot platform)
A few outcomes of my visibility and online footprint:
(Picture: Currently, almost 60% of traffic to my website TheVisibilityAuthority.com originates from my social media. It demonstrates how important social media are these days)
In November 2017, I was a keynote speaker at the Tucana People Analytics Conference in London - in those days, the ‘mother of all people analytics conferences’. The conference moderator, fellow people analytics consultant Jonathan Ferrar, introduced the conference with an article that I had written a few months before.
The picture of my article (see below) was projected on a big screen (with the ‘iNostix by Deloitte’ logo in the bottom-left corner). The subject of the article became the leitmotif of the conference.
Wow! Of course, I was damn proud and took a picture quickly. It was the reward of hard and consistent content work for almost a decade. During the 2 days of the conference, about 30 to 40 participants talked to me about that article! Content impact!
And of course, the most relevant and most significant question: did my visibility in the market have an impact on the consulting business growth? Yes, it did. Big time!
Visible Experts play a major role in driving growth and profit. (Hinge Research)
One of the main drivers behind the acquisition of iNostix was Luk’s status as a well-known global thought leader in the people analytics space. Luk has proven that amplifying visibility as a consultant is more than a feel-good marketing technique. He has clearly demonstrated that a deliberate and systematic approach to thought leadership and expert visibility is a compelling business development strategy. During more than a decade, he consistently and openly shared all his experiences and learnings in an authentic and passionate way leading to an incredibly strong and loyal client and follower base. (Yves van Durme, Partner at Deloitte and iNostix acquisition lead)
Clients don’t buy from consultants that they don’t know, don’t like, or don’t trust. So how do you get your target audience to know you, then like you, then trust you?
I hope I was able to demonstrate that investing in visibility and trust in a consistent and authentic (hard working) way can ultimately deliver incredible impact on the growth of your consulting business.
What are you waiting for?
If you have questions, reach out to me and let's find out how you can get to similar results by improving your visible authority.
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Hello, I’m Luk Smeyers and I’m guiding consultants through the journey of growing their business by helping them transform into visible authorities. I have been in consulting businesses for almost 20 years, in very different roles: as European CHRO in a global consultancy, as a startup founder in an analytics consultancy, and as a leader in a 'Big 4' consultancy, post-acquisition of the startup. I had the privilege of achieving global visibility as a consultant and I never had to sell, persuade, or negotiate as a result. I have now bundled all those experiences, expertise, know-how, research, reading, successes, struggles, and failures from managing and growing that visibility in the past years.
The Visible Authority is a brand of:
Luk Smeyers BVBA
Offices in Leuven (BE) and Munich (DE)