Content Marketing. Seems like a new phenomenon but humans have been telling stories to inform and entertain since the dawn of time.
Unlike traditional marketing, where your interaction is solely based on sales, content marketing is a slower burn strategy. It involves creating regular interesting entertaining or useful content and simply giving it away for free. But the rewards you get in the long term are immeasurable.
Great content, that is relevant to your audience can boost your audience, build preference, positively affect your SEO rankings and establish you as the expert you are!
Eventually, when customers make a purchase decision, their loyalty already lies with you. They will purchase your product and prefer it over competitors’ options.
Content marketing is giving first and sales second. It is the backbone of important marketing techniques, especially digital marketing, and is driving results for companies of all types and sizes. Yes, accountants and bookkeepers too, so here is a quick guide to the various forms of content for marketing to get you started.
The Written Word: Blogs, Newsletters, Whitepapers, e-Books
Whether you create them in-house, use BOMA’s content library to get your started or hire a writer, this text content will improve your website and, if done correctly, your search engine optimisation (SEO) too. Think carefully about the strategy and subject matter of your content to ensure it has the maximum appeal for your audience. Here are some ideas:
- Advisory Content – The content you create should be useful and valued by your audience. Information that helps them in their business is great for your client and helps establish your firm’s thought leadership in areas where you hold expertise.
- News and Industry Insight – Give informed commentary on finance and accounting news and be prepared to offer a new and different opinion to cut through. The effects of budgets, new tax law or tax breaks could be significant to clients and prospective clients alike. Being a source of clear information and help will see your accounting firm gaining recognition, trust and new clients.
- Products and Services – It is important to see your content not as a straight advertisement pushing your business, but useful advice and guides will reflect positively on your firm. Consider subjects such as ‘How to Find the Right Accounting Firm’, or specific advice such as payroll, small business tips .succession planning or tax.
- Useful tools – are there tools you can share that will help drive profitability or support an area of your clients business. Is there an app you have discovered that you can talk about? Such as cloud accounting or a business dashboard reporting tool?
- Case Studies and Testimonials – Demonstrating how you can and do help existing clients can be a powerful draw to others, it is also a good way to underscore your accounting firm’s strengths and specialities.
- Seasonality – There is a distinct seasonality for most business sectors and you should tailor content to your client’s market, be that agriculture, retail, tourism. Create great ‘evergreen’ content that will be relevant year in year out so with only minor tweaks you can repost again and again. Topics like tax deadlines, financial health checks for on and off-season times of year all work well.
Creating Visual Content
If you are using social media marketing – and you should – remember that it is a visual medium. Everyone understands that Pinterest and Instagram are image based, but pictures get more likes on Facebook and Twitter too and they’ve redesigned their feeds to better accommodate them. You should be able to use all the methods below in a way that is relevant to your accounting firm and interesting to potential clients.
- Infographics may mean employing a freelance designer, but they are a great way to share the authority and expertise of your accounting firm in a snackable way that people can like and share.
- Templates or relevant timelines/calendars/checklists, with your branding, that can be used by leads and existing clients are a useful way to add value and increase your visibility.
- Photography and Images with or without text can be used to highlight your firm’s personality, amuse and engage the audience. Do use subjects that are inspiring, sympathetic and light hearted. Consider humanising the firm by using images of staff events etc.
And Don't Forgot About Video and Audio
Video and audio are popular too, and they don’t necessarily take a whole production department to achieve but quality is important so don’t be too ambitious at first. The below are all achievable, in house, without Spielberg on speed dial.
- Webinars are simply web-based seminars. You can invite clients and leads to ‘virtually’ attend on-line and then share the recorded event, or an edited version of, on social media. A great way to offer training, share presentations and offer a live Q&A
- Interviews with experts, either within your accounting firm or external guests can be audio or visual are another way to underscore your authority and share information
- Slideshows and Presentations do not have to be boring, they are easier to produce than videos and are hosted on your website and/or social media platforms such as LinkedIn’s Slideshare or Youtube).
All of the above is achievable for your accounting or bookkeeping firm, but you don’t have to do everything at once.
Your content strategy should be built on and expanded over time. Take into account the results of previous campaigns, respond to feedback and analytics and put your client at the centre of each new piece. The more targeted your content is for your audience, the more likely you will start to yield the results.