If you’re an accountant you probably get bombarded with emails every day about online marketing. I’ve never been an accountant, but I can see the headlines…
- “Get more clients with content marketing!”
- “Explode your client list with SEO & PPC! Learn More!”
- “We’re the number one company doing blogging for accountants!”
If you don’t receive these emails yet you get the idea. Online marketers are annoying, and it’s easy to think that everything they’re trying to pitch you is garbage. The truth is, however, that there’s at least an inkling of truth behind a lot of the “junk” they’re trying to sell you, it’s just a matter of knowing enough to see where the truth lies amidst the flurry of B.S.
Content marketing really can grow your accounting business
If you’ve been in any sort of a business and done a minimal amount of research on how to market yourself online I guarantee at least one article mentioned starting a blog. Heck, your firm may have even tried a blog for a while and after a couple of articles realized no one was reading it and threw it to the scrap heap. Blogging just to blog has never been successful for anyone, what you need is a plan.
Blogging for accountants. Don’t do it without a plan.
Digital marketing can be a colossal waste of time if you don’t start out with a plan. So let’s put together a framework for a plan. Here are the main components.
- Develop goals
- Identify your audience(s)
- Work backward from goals and audiences to topics
- Build a content calendar
- Identify owners/content creators
Now let’s work through each of these.
While this might seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many accounting firms and other businesses have started up blogs without any measurable goals. Do you want to build brand awareness? Reel in more clients? Promote yourself nationally? Become an industry thought leader? Whatever your goals are, narrow them down, it will help you with every successive step here.
Identify your audience(s)
Let’s say one of your goals is to bring in new clients (I mean, whose isn’t?). If your clients are small businesses, your target is going to be small business owners. If you also work with larger businesses, you may want to think about who those financial decision-makers are that you typically work with. If you’re looking for more households – then you’ll want to aim at heads of household. This might seem obvious, but again, all of these things work together.
Work backward to your topics
Everything needs to align if your blog’s going to work. Too often, accounting bloggers just talk about things that they find interesting. However, they need to be creating content that is interesting to their target audience(s) and brings them to your site with the intention of completing your desired goal. So, let’s say you’re targeting small business owners.
Knowing that you already work with clients in this space, you can pull together your team and start building a list of common problems you solve for this audience or common questions new clients have. Do you get a lot of phone calls with questions about quarterly estimates? Perfect! If there are a bunch of easy-to-answer questions, make a single post that answers frequently asked questions about quarterly estimates for small businesses. If the questions require lengthier responses, break them up into a series of posts.
Build a content calendar
Where even the best-intentioned content marketing campaigns for accounts go wrong is a lack of planning. You might start out with a list of amazing topics, but once the well’s run dry, the blog dies on the vine. How many accounting blogs have you seen that haven’t had a post since 2014? I see them all the time, and it’s just a missed opportunity.
A content calendar is something you should build from the get-go that includes a list of topics, target publication date, tracking for actual publication date, owner/writer, and any other pertinent details you need to keep track of internally. Perhaps most importantly, you need to schedule time for your team to update it periodically so you don’t run out of ideas.
Another key piece here is to pace yourself! Let’s be honest, you’re not writing a current events news site, we’re talking about accounting – you don’t need to post every other day. A cadence of one to three posts per month is enough to keep your content fresh and engaging, but won’t burn you and your team out.
At some point someone actually has to sit down and write this content. It’s not easy, but if you can split up the responsibility among your staff it becomes a lot easier. It’s also good to have someone on staff who is responsible for keeping everyone on task. Schedule notifications and send updates a week or more in advance that someone’s article is coming due so they have plenty of time to research, write, and revise their piece.
If you don’t have the manpower or talent on staff to crank out content, you can always hire a writer. There are plenty of resources online like Upwork or Textbroker where you can hire writers fairly inexpensively to write for you – you just need to provide them with enough detail and direction to get them going. They may not always hit the mark, but I’ve found that even non-writers can edit a blog post that’s 70% complete or accurate without spending too much time on it. This is often a cost-effective solution for many accountants’ websites.
You’ll never find those potential clients if no one sees this amazing content you’re making! So you’ll want to have a plan for how to get this content in front of people. There are plenty of options, like using small paid promotional campaigns on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn is one easy approach. You can also build an email list or use your existing email list to send out a newsletter linking to your new blog content. This is a great way to continue to build relationships and encourages high-value content to be shared and helps you reach new prospective clients through referrals.
Of course, content marketing for accountants is just one piece of the puzzle in the overall plan for effective SEO for accountants. If you’d like to talk to some experienced professionals about more ways to meet your firm’s goals, contact us today.