Content marketing is all the rage in accounting marketing. Everybody who is anybody is talking about it. Whether as a critical element of a robust marketing automation program or content for industry publications or niche events, almost every firm out there is trying to build their brand and their pipeline list with content.
Is it working for everyone? Is it working for anyone? The answers to those questions are “no” and “sometimes.” The single biggest hang up to content marketing for almost any firm is the expense of creating and producing quality content—content that reads well, looks good and actually delivers valuable information. The second issue is turning quality content into value for your marketing team and your firm’s professionals. Here are some quick ideas to guide your content strategy and content creation process.
- Start with a defined objective for every piece of content. You can’t just succeed without objectives. Whether your content piece is a part of a larger content marketing program or a complementary piece for an industry event, you should understand why it’s being made and how it should bring value.
- Be sure your objectives align with business development in some way. Big standalone branding efforts are for big firms. If you want your management to continue to support your content marketing efforts, connect them with business development goals and activities.
- Start with a great idea that promotes a service. Just like above, big ideas that don’t raise a question your firm can solve are big wastes of time.
- Get insight from your professionals, but don’t let them drive the finished product. There is a reason they are CPAs, and it’s not because they create riveting content. You’ll need their ideas, but you might also need to translate their thoughts into something meaningful and consumable for the general public.
- Don’t be afraid to get help. There are groups out there like Catalyst that can help you with content creation. Content creation isn’t cheap, but if you have an objective, a strategy and a plan to maximize value, you can get plenty of value to justify the cost of creation.
Design and Illustration
- If your content is going to exist anywhere in print, whether electronically as a PDF or as a hard copy, don’t go cheap on design. Nothing will devalue your content faster in the eyes of a reader than an unprofessional presentation. You want to demand top dollar for your services? You had better look like you are worth top dollar. If you have an outstanding designer in-house, then put them to work. If you don’t, find one that you can work with and develop a relationship.
- Illustrate and provide short takeaways. The average attention span of a business owner is just slightly less than that of a goldfish. You had better grab their attention with your content and your presentation, and then you better reel them in with some quality consumable content snippets.
- Make the most of your content. No matter how you create your content, whether internally or with external help, it’s going to be expensive, whether in terms of time or hard costs. Don’t waste a single penny of what you spent by missing an opportunity to get your content out.
- Develop a comprehensive distribution/publishing plan for every piece of content. Consider the following platforms/channels:
- Live Events
- Outside publications
- Use in collateral
- Direct marketing programs
Not every piece of content will require every channel, but if you don’t have a good working list of distribution channels and techniques that you go through for each piece of content, you are probably missing out on some value.
- Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Once you have created a great piece of professional content, you have another weapon in your arsenal. You don’t have to start from scratch for every opportunity.