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6 Tips for MSPs Pivoting Toward a Content Marketing Strategy

Managed service providers (MSPs) have faced an interesting couple of years in the industry. While the global pandemic has affected business in almost every sector, MSPs have pushed steadily toward innovation and securing their identity in the digital space. In fact:

In the face of these considerations, many MSPs have chosen to pivot their marketing to something more reliable than simple advertising – content marketing strategies. However, for a successful pivot, you need to understand the central point of why you’re doing it to be successful.

So what do MSPs need to keep in mind when pivoting toward a content marketing strategy? Above all else, the one thing these companies need to keep in mind is that their pivot should always meet customer demand. Getting key insights into what your customers actually want from you and meeting those demands is the foundation of making your content marketing pivot a success.

But for more concrete actions, you can consider the following:

1) Don’t Forget Your Audience

One easy mistake to make when pivoting to a content marketing strategy is putting your audience on the backburner: this can be easier than you’d think, especially if you’re trying to implement new content strategies into your existing one.

However, the consequences of getting this wrong can be significant: 80% of customers are far more likely to engage with brands that offer personalization. Forgetting your audience in the hustle and bustle of your pivot isn’t just bad for your bottom line – 42% of customers actively lose interest and may even get annoyed with your brand if you don’t offer it.

If you do a pivot for content marketing, remember that your audience – not your company, your services, or the current trends – should be at the forefront. This helps you keep your focus on why your MSP should be your customer’s choice, and how to market yourself from there.

2) Avoid Changing Everything All At Once

If you’re pivoting towards a marketing strategy, don’t get carried away with the excitement of your pivot. It can be tempting to completely turn your content strategy on its head, especially if you’re responding to market demand – but there are a few reasons why you should not do this:

  • It confuses your existing customer base. If your customers are used to your brand, quickly jumping into a change of tone or pace without warning can confuse their impression of you. This is especially crucial for MSPs, who need to rely on long-term and consistent partnerships for growth.
  • You might mess up your existing content plan. Pivots always demand a lot of resources, and sometimes you’ll need to allocate those sources from already existing teams. If you change your entire content strategy immediately during a pivot, you may end up stopping things that worked for you in the first place.
  • There’s a likelihood that you’ll spend more overall. Shifting everything towards content marketing all at once can be a surprising drain on your resources, and you may find that everything that you want to do isn’t possible. There’s only so much you can cover in terms of costs, and in many cases poorly done and paid-for content marketing is much worse than no marketing at all.

If you’ve decided to pivot towards content marketing, make sure that you do it in stages. This allows you room to check in on your progress, make adjustments, and pivot back if necessary.

3) Understand What Makes You “Special”

MSPs are a fast-growing and competitive market. To pivot successfully towards a content marketing strategy, you need to understand what you’ll be marketing about: in this case, your company and its services. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why should my clients choose my services over the ones offered by my competitors?
  • Can my services guarantee growth, not just solutions?
  • Do my customers have a reason to engage in a partnership with my company long-term?
  • How can my services work for my clients without their constant supervision?
  • Are my services certified by any governing body?
  • How confident am I in my company’s IT infrastructure?
  • Am I able to explain my services succinctly and clearly to potential customers?

If you can decisively answer these questions, then you have a firm grasp on why your customers should engage with your MSP – and one step closer to a successful pivot toward content marketing.

4) Build Trust, Not Sales

A large part of content marketing has to do with customers that aren’t necessarily interested in buying anything from you at all. For MSPs, this means that the vast majority of people that your content will reach are people that have an idea of what they need. So trying to sell them something right off the bat will likely backfire.

Plenty of customers find direct marketing intrusive, unnecessary, and possible grounds for litigation, so advertising can only get you so far. You’ll fall into these traps if you’re thinking about your pivot in terms of sales, instead of building trust.

More than 80% of customers read reviews before buying anything, and you’d best believe that your potential clients are doing that with you as well. If more people trust you, you’re more likely to make sales – not the other way around. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to talk about sales at all: just make sure it’s not the foot you use to get in the door.

5) Experiment With Your Content

One of the more exciting things about pivoting to a content marketing strategy is that it opens a lot of opportunities for your company to experiment with your content. While the majority of your writing may revolve around blogs, that isn’t the only thing you can do. Some of the other types of content that you can publish include:

  • Video content: vlogs, webinars, podcasts, or even interviews about your MSP and the services it provides
  • Case studies: build on your referrals, showcase successful clients, and show off your accomplishments in your industry
  • Infographics: versatile and can be published on their own or as part of a blog post, article, or landing page
  • Whitepapers: explore the possibilities of long-form content with a thorough explanation of a topic or service you’re an expert in
  • Other materials: presentations, templates, checklists, and other visual aids that can be a handy reference for your customers with their day-to-day tasks

Because MSPs often have a wide array of services, they have plenty to write about. All it takes is a little creativity and experimentation, and your pivot should look a lot more interesting and appealing than simply releasing a newsletter or announcing something on your social media.

6) Invest In Blogs

Blogs are a crucial part of content marketing.

But despite this, many people still see a problem with blogs: they’re too long, too confusing, or aren’t designed well at all. So while you may understand that blogging is crucial for the success of your pivot, it’s also important to know what exactly it is that drives your blog’s existence.

And a huge part of that is making sure that you have the right investments in making your blogging as consistent as possible. SEO support, content ideation, editorial calendars, backlinking, and organic shares – all these are key pieces to making a successful blog for MSPs. And while it may sound like the benefits of blogging can’t be quantified, it only takes a consistent posting schedule before you realize that content marketing pivots will always have to include blogs.

Pivoting for Providers: Manage Your Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re going to pivot towards a content marketing strategy as an MSP, you must understand the value that your company can bring to your clients. Once you have a firm grasp of what exactly you can do for them, it becomes far easier to think of how to market yourself so you can steer the conversation to engagement.

Remember, it’s easy to get everyone’s curiosity on the internet. But to get their attention as an MSP requires a little more work – but with a cohesive content marketing strategy, your company can pull it off.

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