Most content marketing doesn’t work for MSPs. That’s not because content marketing doesn’t work. It’s because MSP content marketing usually isn’t done right.
When it is done right, it is by far, your strongest and most effective online lead generation strategy.
I have literally watched it create massive success for myself and other MSPs. I’ve seen it happen from ground zero, starting with nothing, to having cold internet searches on longtail keywords turn into massive monthly recurring revenue contracts.
In fact, content marketing is really what got me into doing marketing for MSPs after it worked so well for my MSP.
Why Does MSP Content Marketing Usually Fail
Sadly, MSP content marketing doesn’t just fail for most MSPs, it actually ends up getting them penalized by Google. If that happens… well then… you might as well pack it up and get rid of the domain you’ve worked so hard to build up over the years.
Here’s how it happens:
Some company, let’s call them “MSP Marketing Pros” convinces you to pay for content marketing. They’re like, “dude… we’re going to take care of all your blogs for you, all your whitepapers, and all your ebooks! You won’t even have to worry. And then Google is going to send all this traffic to your blog just because you have so much good content.”
In theory, the “MSP Marketing Pros” know what they’re talking about. But in practice, they’ve set a booby trap for your website, and you’re paying them to do it.
(I’m going to refer to the “MSP Marketing Pros” company that is trying to sell you content marketing as “The Pros” from now on because it’s shorter.)
So, “the pros” are trying to build their own business and wanted to do something that scales. So guess what they do. They figure, “if we pay for a bunch of content to be written, or we write it ourselves, and then we take that same content and sell it over and over and over again to all of our new and existing MSP clients, then we will make tons of margin! We’ll be rich!”
So that is what they do. I kid you not.
I just talked with a CEO of great MSP out of Texas who told me he’d been paying upwards of 7k a month for MSP content marketing and that it wasn’t working for him.
So I dug into why it wasn’t working.
Before long, I found the culprit. I researched the MSP Marketing company he was working with. Then I went and found some of the other MSPs this MSP marketing company was working with.
Guess what I found?
Hundreds of other MSPs with the exact same blogs and content on their sites. The company would create one piece of content and then sell it hundreds of times. They were getting rich, and the MSPs they were serving were getting screwed.
Not only does this tactic not work because Google considers it duplicate content, but it is downright risking the entire company’s internet presence and livelihood.
You cannot hide duplicate content, article spinning, or blog network syndication from Google.
It will be indexed, crawled, and eventually penalized. If you have too much duplicate content, then Google may even do a manual action against you and wipe your rankings and website from the face of the world wide web.
I’ve seen it happen.
There is no feasible remedy once that happens. Your company’s online identity is gone. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen eventually if Google keeps indexing duplicate content.
This is not some random one-off occurrence either. The reason that I’m writing this right now is because it just happened again today.
I had to explain in words and in screenshots how blogs, articles, and press releases were being mass produced, spun, and then syndicated to massive amounts of other clients.
So here’s a protip that might just save your online presence and tens of thousands of dollars in the process:
If you’re ever going to work with an MSP Content Marketing company, ask them point blank if they use the content they’ll produce for you anywhere else on the internet. If they say “yes” then run! If they say “no,” then ask them to send you links to at least 10 of their other MSP clients and then look at their blog to see if you see any duplicate content.
Also keep in mind that they will try to give the appearance of not using duplicate content by spinning the blog or article slightly or changing the title, image, or first few sentences. They’re doing that because they’re trying to fool Google… which doesn’t happen.
The fact that people still do this and companies still get away with selling it to their clients is mind-boggling.
But let’s turn to what actually works…
How To Make MSP Content Marketing Work and Return A Massive ROI
So we know what makes MSP content marketing fail, but how do we actually go about making it work?
It’s hard to pull off because most MSP owners and executives either don’t have the time to write content consistently, don’t enjoy writing, or just aren’t good at it.
And honestly, there aren’t a lot of writers that can write proficiently for an MSP and properly represent the nuances of that company and the industry.
Step 1 – Get Custom Content
So the first thing you’ll need to do is either write the content yourself or have one of the people in your office who knows what they’re talking about write content.
Keep in mind, that this has to be done consistently in order for you to ever see results. I would suggest at least 4 times per month because Google has to see that you are serious about content before it starts ranking your site for those long tail keywords.
If you don’t have time and no one else in the company has the time or writing skill to pull it off, then you could look to outsource to a freelancer, hire a part-time person, or find an MSP content marketing agency.
As a reminder from the above section… be careful when hiring another agency to do your content. Ask them for referrals and go read those blogs to make sure they’re actually creating custom content for each and every client and each and every blog post or article.
You need custom well written and well-structured content in order for Google to index it and for it to be readable and shareable. No one shares canned content and people will know immediately if it’s canned.
Step 2 – Remove The Bottleneck
Recently, one of our most successful MSP clients made an executive decision about the content marketing strategy for his MSP.
For the previous year, when we would create content such as blogs, infographics, and other valuable SEO resources, we would have to send that content through a whole line of members of his team as a way to edit the content.
I see the reasoning. Especially in technical fields. No one wants bad information going out, and given the history they’d had with previous content providers, everyone is going to be a little worried that something might go on to their blog that misrepresents their company.
So what was happening was that we were creating all kinds of well-written custom content for this MSP and none of it was going out.
Because the MSP is busy. They don’t have time to edit content while they’re trying to run a business.
That’s why they hired us.
So when this wise CEO told me that he wanted us to just start publishing the content without going through their internal approval process, it was like he just unshackled the chains of content marketing and allowed his company’s internet presence to soar.
This is something that every company deals with when outsourcing content. They’re worried about the quality of the content.
But that is why you find a good MSP content marketing company. That is why it’s important to read their work and make sure they’re good writers. Then you can just open the floodgates and exercise trust that it will get done.
That single decision combined with a few other best practices has revolutionized his online presence and improved his content marketing strategy 10x.
Step 3 – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
If you are outsourcing your content marketing, keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be written just the way you’d say it.
Keep in mind that it is what it says it is. It’s marketing content. It’s written to be indexed by Google. It’s not a legal document or a whitepaper. It doesn’t have to be perfect or exhaustive. The qualities you should be looking for are:
- Does it read well?
- Does it have any misrepresentations?
- Are there any egregious errors?
It shouldn’t read like a technical document because the average reading comprehension in the United States is at a 5th-grade level. Trying to sound smart in your content marketing pieces isn’t going to do you any favors.
It just needs to be clear and precise.
Above all else, readable and relatable.
If you’re an MSP, read through this entire blog and then check your own blog based on what is in this blog. It just might save your online presence from being banished from existence and costing your tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.