Content Marketing for Accountants: When Numbers Need Words
Your firm has a treasury of essential information on accounting topics, and your clients and prospective clients are eager to gain access to it.
By using content marketing to share your accounting expertise with your target audience — writing engaging blog posts, e-books, and social media posts about the cutting-edge consumer topics they care about — you can earn their trust and loyalty.
Here are several factors to weigh when planning your content marketing strategy, plus four pointers that can help you produce strong, effective content.
How content marketing works
Although there are many case studies showing how brands have used content marketing to engage their customers and boost their profits, there aren’t a lot on content marketing for accountants. And that’s a shame, because accountants can benefit from content marketing as much as professionals in other industries.
Offering consumers valuable, relevant information rather than directly pushing your product or service — is both cost effective and extremely powerful. You just have to identify the things that keep your accounting customers up at night and figure out to address those concerns with content that delivers the right information, in the right place, at the right time.
Speak to your clients’ interests and concerns
Blogging has become the content-marketing workhorse in many industries. News sites, industry experts, and many brands have reaped the rewards of connecting with their customers via blog posts. These fairly short (450 to 650 words) articles provide a perfect format to cover a wide range of relevant topics in easy-to-digest bites.
Updating your blog regularly is a powerful way to stay engaged with customers and maintain a dialogue with them. In addition to highlighting your knowledge and credibility, consistent blogging shows prospective clients that you’re active, approachable, and willing to address their needs. Even more importantly, the posts show customers that you get them — that you understand what their accounting concerns are and what they worry about. This level of engagement builds trust through familiarity and openness.
Effective blog posts can summarize newsworthy events, provide success stories showing how you helped solve a client’s problem, or inform clients about changes in law or other accounting issues that may affect them. For example, Freed Maxick’s blog alerts website visitors to the impact that tax treaties have on companies expanding abroad. This post succinctly shows that cross-border commerce is more complicated than many businesses realize and demonstrates that customers facing tax issues related to international business can rely on Freed Maxick’s expertise.
Build a social media presence
Social media channels are powerful yet inexpensive tools for any business that wants to communicate with new and existing customers. By using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can connect with customers and prospective clients, demonstrate your expertise, and subtly promote your services.
Succeeding on social media requires more than creating the right content. Don’t be tempted to simply advertise your accounting services. Just as with blog posts, the secret is to be informative, relevant, and engaging. Creating content that your followers want to share with their followers turns your fans and clients into a free, self-fueled publicity machine.
Become known as the go-to accounting expert in your area by reaching out to answer accounting questions posed on the various platforms. Use hashtags to promote your content, extend the reach of your social media posts, and start a topic trend. There’s even a hashtag for #accounting, but be aware that overusing hashtags can dilute your message.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that all of your social media content has to be serious and dry just because you’re an accountant! Develop a social media voice that incorporates openness and appropriate humor into the sharing of your valuable professional expertise.
Create white papers and e-books to inform and educate
Firms in highly regulated technical fields like accounting can employ two additional effective content-marketing tools: white papers and e-books.
Typically 10 to 40 pages in length, white papers offer you the opportunity to delve into more sophisticated accounting issues that require deeper thought and consideration by the reader. E-books are similar in format, just shorter: 6 to 12 pages.
The best accounting white papers and e-books offer clear-cut solutions to common problems accompanied by visual content such as tables, charts, and infographics. They’re an excellent way to demonstrate your accounting expertise and your accessibility. Although white papers and e-books tend to be academic in tone, they must also present a compelling argument and narrative so readers stay engaged.
To see a few examples, check out these great white papers from Ernst & Young (PDF) and KMPG.
Send targeted emails
Although emails can be more sales oriented than blog posts and white papers, they still have to offer value. Use the subject line to hint at the value that awaits inside. If your subject line is purely promotional — “10 Reasons Why I’m the Greatest Accountant Who Ever Lived” — readers will send it straight to the trash and activate their spam filter. Instead, use emails to let readers know about new services, special deals and promotions, and breaking financial news.
Emails can also alert readers to new blog posts and white papers. A weekly newsletter delivered by email is a great way to keep clients in the loop and offer a variety of information in one place, without peppering their in-boxes with multiple emails.
Are you unsure how to build an email list? Quality content can help. Surveys show that people are more than willing to exchange their contact information for a useful e-book or white paper.
Creating content that really works requires time and special skills. For many accountants, it adds up to outsource this task to companies like Prose Media that create high-quality white papers, blogs, and media updates. Sign up to gain free access to our platform, and start meeting your content marketing needs and goals. Our accounting industry experts will handle the words so you can focus on the numbers.