Making content marketing work for your accountancy practice
Content is supposed to be king, isn’t it?
So you gave it a go – blogging, LinkedIn, even YouTube videos. You kept it up for weeks, even though you’re busy, and… nothing.
No engagement, no traction, no leads.
Like shouting into the void.
I promise you, though, that if you go about it the right way, it does work. Here’s some advice that I hope might inspire you to give it another go, or to take a different tack if you’re still slogging away but thinking of giving up.
Post more often
Posting once or twice a year doesn’t really count as content marketing. It gives the impression your heart isn’t in it and means your content will almost always seem a bit dusty and out of date.
I would generally recommend, as an absolute bare minimum:
quarterly eBooks or white papers
monthly blog posts
daily social media updates.
But monthly eBooks, weekly blog posts and hourly social media updates would be even better, time and resource permitting.
Post frequently and you’ll not only get better at producing content quickly, but you’re almost certain to see improvements in your search engine rankings. Google prefers fresh content to stale – don’t we all?
Be more interesting
Think about the kind of content that grabs your attention and that you can’t help but stop to read or watch. I bet it’s colourful, energetic and opinionated, isn’t it?
You need to find the nerve to do the same.
I see an awful lot of dry content from accountancy firms, full of long, multi-clause sentences designed with technical accuracy in mind rather than getting clear meaning across. It lacks oomph and purpose.
It lacks personality – ‘By Admin’ isn’t an uncommon byline – and too often holds back from expressing any clear opinion.
Try writing with a particular client in mind – one you especially like. Focus on solving their problems. Stick up for them. Get a bit angry if you like. Tell them something they don’t know that will make their lives easier.
And when you edit what you’ve written (or filmed – the same principle applies) make the sentences shorter, remove unnecessary detail and don’t be afraid to let ‘in most cases’ replace a paragraph of footnotes and caveats.
Don't be shy about promoting your content
If you’ve gone to the trouble of writing blog posts, making videos or crafting perfect social media updates, share them everywhere, and often.
The hard truth is, people are unlikely to stumble upon your content, or to keep checking your blog every day hoping it’s been updated. You have to take control and boost its signal yourself.
I know that doesn’t come easy to British people – it’s ingrained in most of us not to like show-offs, as a rule.
I’ve also noticed that some people are shy about sharing because they can’t help but focus on how other accountants will react, or the risk of being publicly corrected or criticised.
You need to get over that instinct to be modest or shy. Big up your work and get across to people why they should be excited to read it.
Share blog posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Embed videos in blog posts. Encourage people to connect on LinkedIn in your videos. And put links to everything you’ve produced in your monthly client newsletters.
On Twitter, share your blog post several times, at different times of day. Pull out a different quote or point each time – there’s usually enough fuel for five or six Tweets in the average 1,000-word article.
On LinkedIn, distil your blog post into 200 words and share it as a status update, then drop a link to the full post in the comments. Even better, record a video summarising the key points – two media for the price of one!
Stick at it
Unfortunately, content marketing, like SEO, requires patience and faith.
When I launched a blog in 2007, nobody read it for weeks, months, years… But I kept writing as if I had a huge audience of rapt admirers (another top tip) until, one day, I realised my little website was getting a thousand unique visitors a day.