Don’t hide your light under a bushel

Let’s start with a few facts. A lot of money is spent by consulting firms on producing thought leadership, including reports, articles, insights, podcasts, and the like. The specific amount varies by firm, but looking across the sector as a whole, we can be confident that it is nevertheless a very large number. A fact we can be a bit more definitive about, because it’s based on a global survey that we carried out a few months ago, is that senior consulting buyers see thought leadership as the second most effective way of marketing to clients. What’s the most important way, we hear you ask? Well, that would be a consulting firm’s website—central to showcasing the aforementioned thought leadership.

Given the scale of investment into thought leadership, and the value that clients place on it, why is it that clients often have to work so hard to negotiate consulting firms’ labyrinthine websites to find the thought leadership content that they are interested in? In order to maximise the chances that clients will find—and want to read—the content that they need and that you would like them to see, we recommend:

  1. Providing an index page that can be easily searched. Allow clients to restrict their searches to different thought leadership formats so that they don’t have to wade through a sea of press releases and partner profiles to drill down to what they really need. Bain does a nice job of this.
  2. Thinking through potential client journeys and providing routes to relevant material from a number of different entry points. This can be particularly important for flagship material with its own microsite. With apologies to John Donne, no microsite should be an island.
  3. Inspiring clients to engage with your relevant content by offering a compelling summary of what that content covers, and giving them an idea of the time investment they will need to make—EY (among others) offers a precise estimate of reading time in minutes. This is particularly useful when users have a range of format options.

In summary, don’t make your clients—and potential clients—work too hard to find what they need, and once you’ve got them, keep their attention. Make the most of that thought leadership investment, by paying as much attention to how and where your audience will find your content as you did to developing that content in the first place.