Generating over $1M in new business through thought leadership content
This is what consultant Dan Kelly told me recently on a call. A single article on his website turned into over $1M in new business for his firm.
Yet this story is not typical of most consulting firms and agencies. More often than not you hear stories of “We tried writing articles on our website but nothing really came of it.”
So what’s the difference? How does one firm generate $1M in sales while another firm sees zero results from their content?
That is what we are going to answer in this case study.
Give away your secrets
When I first started working with Dan Kelly of The Negotiator Guru, he was reluctant to my approach to content marketing at first.
Dan runs a consulting firm called The Negotiator Guru where he helps companies negotiate their deals with big software players like Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc.
In his area of focus, Dan is an absolute expert and leader in the space. He’s worked on deals that generated literally $53M+ in savings for large corporations! That is $53 MILLION dollars.
So needless to say, Dan was an expert in his field.
Yet Dan had a problem. He couldn’t figure out how to get new business for his firm which is why he hired my company to help.
Defining Dan’s content focus
One of the first things we did with Dan was decide on a specific niche and focus that he would pursue. In this case, we chose Salesforce negotiations because he had the most experience and case studies working on these types of contracts.
Second, I told Dan “We are going to interview you, and then give everything away in a massive guide on ‘How to negotiate with Salesforce’.”
Dan’s response was typical of what I hear from most consultants…
Dan and I clashed a bit about this topic, but in the end he trusted the process and gave away all of his secrets through a series of podcast interviews that we turned into audio and written content for his firm.
View the cornerstone content we created for Dan:
Cornerstone Article: Understanding how Salesforce Negotiates
Podcast Interview Series:
In this content, Dan walked through his entire process and framework for approaching deals with Salesforce. He gave away the nitty gritty details and held nothing back.
BUT, Dan also realized something during the interview process.
No matter how much he gave away, he knew that the nuanced elements of these deals could not be taught in an article or interview.
The value that Dan brought to a deal was handling the unique situations and organizational dynamics that pop up.
How one article turned into $1M+ in new revenue
When Dan and I first published the content, he was still skeptical. We at first used the content to send out to his existing leads and prospects in the sales pipeline.
This helped build trust but still did not make a massive impact overnight.
But then over time something started to happen… Dan started getting inquiries about the article.
Leads were stumbling across the content online and large corporations were calling him to renegotiate their Salesforce contracts.
Dan took a look and realized that his article was now one of the top ranking results when someone searched “how to negotiate with salesforce”.
The article literally ranked above any content from Salesforce. It even ranked higher than massive consulting firms like Gartner who offer services in a similar space as Dan.
We didn’t hack this SEO by writing some cheap article filled with keywords about Salesforce negotiation.
Instead, we set out with the intention of writing the best resource on the internet about How to Negotiate with Salesforce. We accomplished that, and as a result Google rewarded our efforts with a high ranking, and Dan’s firm was awarded with winning over $1M in new business for his firm.
SEO companies are lying to you
As you just saw, a huge part of the growth Dan’s firm saw was from the organic rankings that this Salesforce guide received on Google.
So at this point I need to tear down a lie that you have most likely been sold…
SEO companies are liars.
5-10 years ago, it was possible for a company to do some specific tactics and increase the likelihood that your content would rank well on Google.
But Google’s a bit smarter than them and eventually put an end to nearly all of their tactics.
While you can still “optimize” your content for Google, any company who tells you that they can “get you ranked at the top of Google” is full of it.
Google is literally a system that is 100% out of their control.
So how did Dan’s content get to the top of Google?
Simple. It was the best content on the internet about the specific topic we wrote about.
This is what Google wants. They want their users who search on their platform to quickly find the best and most relevant links to their search.
The entire Google algorithm is based around rewarding the best content, and trying to weed out any hackers who are putting up low quality articles full of keywords.
The internet is full of “5 tips” articles that are fluff and leave the reader in no better position than when they started.
Even if one of those articles had ranked on Google, would it have converted to a lead the same way as the comprehensive guide on How to Negotiate with Salesforce?
It’s not just the Google rankings that matter.
It’s the quality of the content that the prospect reads when they land on your site that builds trust and converts the visitor into a lead for your company.
Create the #1 resource on the internet for your topic of choice
If you want to see the success that Dan has had, then your approach to content should be simple.
Create the #1 resource on the internet for your topic of choice.
If you do some research and realize that you can’t do that, then you need to consider niching down or selecting a more narrow topic.
If Dan had tried to write a guide on “Corporate Negotiation” he would have certainly fallen short and ben lost amidst a sea of other negotiation books and authors.
But by choosing a narrow focus of “Negotiating with Salesforce”, Dan was able to create something that was literally better than anything else that existed on the internet.
At Content Allies, we help you navigate this path and achieve these outcomes.
The Consultant’s Path to Thought Leadership
Becoming an expert at the work you do is one thing.
Being recognized as an expert by your industry is a totally different challenge.
At Content Allies, we take expert consultants and turn them into the thought leaders they desire to be.
This is what we did with Dan, and this is what we can do for you.
Our simple process for turning you into a thought leader is below:
The diagram I just shared with you gives you the vision and the long view. This is the system to follow to turn yourself and your firm into a thought leader in your field.
Strategy - If you don’t build a plan from the outset, then you will not make it far. While content is agile and may shift in the future, you want to have a strong plan of action in place before beginning.
Cornerstone Content - This is where you give away all the goods. This is the “How to Negotiate from Salesforce” article. This is where you teach everything you know and create the #1 piece of content in the world on your topic of expertise.
Education Content - On an ongoing basis, you need to be putting out some form of thought leadership content. That may be in the form of audio, video, or articles which are demonstrating your expertise and thought leadership. These all drive traffic back to your cornerstone content.
Networking Content - Your network is your net worth. One of the biggest misconceptions most people have about content is that it is all about the audience you build. Here is a secret… Use your content to interview, feature, and network with strategic partners, prospects, and peers in your industry. (Ex. Interview them on a podcast, feature them in an article, share their content on Linkedin) This tactic alone will elevate you to another level.
Linkedin Content - The content you create should be repurposed and promoted on a regular basis on Linkedin. This helps you gain more leverage out of the content you already have, and keep you top of mind with your prospects on Linkedin.
Email Newsletters - At minimum, you should be sending an email newsletter once or twice per month. This will promote the new content you are creating and keep you top of mind with the most valuable prospects who have opted into your email list.
That is the path and the system at a high level. This is not a short term hack to produce results tomorrow, and this is not something that takes no work on your side.
In fact it’s a lot of work…
But here is what I have learned after years of building myself up as a thought leader.
You can’t do all this alone.
Any thought leader you meet has some team or support behind them, because if they tried to do all of this on their own, they would be completely overwhelmed.
Your goal as a thought leader is to spend your time on the highest value activities by sharing your unique ideas and insights with the world.
You can go 10x faster with a support team.
That is why we created Content Allies. We are a firm to support you on this journey and help you evolve from a consultant into a thought leader.
Contact us at email@example.com or fill out the form to learn more.