Great consultants present their authority, validity, and relationships through their brand.
Your brand is not a slogan or logo. It is far more. First, your brand is an impression you give of the strength, authority, and experience you have to solve your client’s problems. Secondly, your brand needs to give prospects and clients a vision of their future. It should create an image of how good life will be when you help solve their problem. Third, your brand must be memorable, so that you are the first in mind when they have the problems you specialize in.
A short one-line statement may be all it takes to create a memorable image of what you do and who you work with. When talking with a potential prospect you can do that by asking questions like, “Have you ever known someone who had a problem with …?” After their answer you can respond with, “That’s what I fix!”
That's the type of problem I fix!
Another way to build a brand image is using the “Hero’s Journey” developed by Joseph Conrad. Conrad found that throughout history in all cultures myths and stories follow a similar thread. They present a common man, for example Luke Skywalker, with an immense problem. That problem can only be resolved with the wisdom that comes from an expert, the Jedi Knight, Obi Wan Kenobi. As a consultant you are the expert-guru who guides your client to become the hero of their own story. Critical to Success can help you build a memorable hero's journey you can use to your brand unforgettable.
Every consultant must have a website. Your website does far more than your LinkedIn profile. Not only can it illustrate your capabilities with examples, it should also give testimonials to reinforce your capability. It should become your primary vehicle for capturing and connecting you to new leads and prospects.
Independent consultants use two types of basic website homepages and layouts. One is a personality-based website. The other is a business-based website.
A business-based consulting website presents a stronger professional image based on your brand and services. Use a business-based website if your market is larger businesses or organizations and if you want to demonstrate multiple consulting specialties, such as, corporate strategy and operational performance.
There is one website structure that Google ranks more highly than others. Organizing your website content in a tree-like organization moves it higher in Google's search ranking. This structure also makes it easy for your human readers to understand what you do and how you do it. It's a double-win.
Critical to Success members learn how to use free tools to find the best structure and keywords based on how people search in Google and which keywords they use.
At this stage in your consulting, you want to get your website up but have it ready to expand in Stage 5. For now you should just write a well-crafted main page, or trunk, like the "Consulting Niche" page shown in the figure. The topic pages and blogs you can add over time.
The tall trunk of your tree is a single document that describes the three to five main services for your niche. This “trunk” should be a single page linked with a link on your main menu. It's like a table of contents showing your three to five core consulting services.
Inside this main page each service you provide should have a heading and be described in about 200 - 350 words. This one central trunk document makes it easy for Google and your readers to understand what you do. It’s like a table of contents with each heading having a few paragraphs of description.
The three to five core topics in the main page should describe your main areas of consulting. Later you will write topic pages that go into greater depth on each topic.
Once you have the tree structure started you can begin writing blogs that link to the appropriate parts of the main page or any detailed topic pages you have created.
In Stage 5, Building an Automated Marketing Machine, you will add detailed pages that link to each topic on the main trunk. This trunk-and-branch structure shows Google and readers that those three to five services are the core to your consulting services.
At this stage in your consulting write a trunk page with approximately 1,500 words. That’s about five pages of written text. Add a few descriptive charts and pictures to keep it light and you will have a great core for your site.
Later as you add blogs, podcasts, reports, or videos to your website you should link them to the appropriate detailed page. This structure reinforces the strength of your topics for Google. It also makes it easy for readers to understand your services and helps keep you focused on writing blogs that are focused on your core.
Speaking and publicity magnify your brand and increase your authority. Speaking to groups with your client profile, when done with the right follow up, is also an excellent way to immediately capture leads.
Publicity through the press and media builds your authority by getting other authority figures, like associations and magazines, to work for you. Instead of writing and placing articles you write you can gain even more authority by becoming an expert quoted by journalists.
One significant advantage to selecting the right niche market and knowing their pains and gains is that most high-value niches have professional meetings or conferences. These meetings and conferences are a perfect place for you to present, build your brand, and gather leads.
When you speak at a meeting or conference you have two objectives. First, you want to build your authority as an expert. This also helps you get more speaking engagements. Second, you want to capture leads to build your consulting business. Capturing leads as a speaker takes a few extra tricks that Critical to Success teaches.
Expand your brand’s geographic coverage and add more weight to your authority by becoming a source for the press and media. For many public-oriented topics, such as productivity, wellness, or career advancement, journalists are always looking for an expert who can give tips, answer questions, comment on trends, or forecast the future. For niche topics you want to connect with journalists working for industry association magazines and websites.
Critical to Success members receive resource sheets and cheat sheets that show how to make yourself a resource for editors, journalists, and writers who are researching specific topics. When you become a trusted source for journalists you can reach thousands with just a few minutes of telephone time.
Be the first person your prospects think of when they face high-value problems in your niche.
Create Your Core
Expand and Refine
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