As an accountant or accounting firm, your potential clients are always looking for helpful resources to help them keep track of their assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.
From researching different accounting software to keeping track of the latest tax law changes, they want to make sure everything regarding their finances is handled correctly.
When they’re doing all that research, you want to be one of the first places they go to for help and advice.
When they see you (or your accounting firm) as a credible source of information, they will know that they can come to you for reliable advice on financial and accounting matters.
This is where content marketing comes in
I’m assuming you already know what content marketing is, but if not, it’s essentially how you create helpful and informative resources to help prospective clients make the right decisions with their bookkeeping and accounting.
This way, you attract them to your brand and position yourself as an accounting vendor they can trust. The more credible they find your content, the more likely they are to choose you over your competitors.
But there are right and wrong ways to do content marketing.
Fortunately, though, I’ve been doing it for the past seven years — so I’ll be sharing how to do it right from my experience.
How to do successful content marketing for accountants
Here are seven tips to follow to drive traffic and leads (aka potential customers):
Step 1: Have a clear content marketing goal
First, you need to identify the goal of your content marketing.
Do you need more leads? Do you need to grow awareness for your brand? Or do you want to position your accounting practice or firm as a go-to expert?
Knowing your goal will help you decide the type of content to create and topics to address.
For example, if the goal is to generate more leads, you’ll need to start creating content that answers frequently asked questions potential customers ask before they become clients.
A real-life example of this is an accounting firm, Schwan & Associates, creating a blog post or video series on questions to ask before hiring an accountant.
With a blog post like this, the brand will attract prospective clients interested in their accounting services, who can then become leads and paying customers.
If their primary goal was to drive brand awareness with this article, their topic will probably be one that’s broader and will attract a lot more accountants — who aren’t necessarily looking for accounting services, but interested in accounting for whatever reason.
Bottom line: have a clear content marketing goal, as it would affect the type of content, topics you will create, and even how you distribute your content (which we’ll get to in a bit).
Step 2: Build your content calendar (with the right topics)
At this point, you already have a goal and are ready to create your content calendar. This is basically a plan for what content you’ll be publishing and when.
As I mentioned earlier, your content marketing goal should drive your topics and, therefore, your content calendar.
Or put another way: each topic you put in your content calendar should move you closer to achieving that goal.
For example, if attracting clients is your primary objective, your topics should be the types that’ll motivate people to hire your services.
A good example is a topic I mentioned earlier: questions to ask before hiring an accountant. The people who’ll be interested in this topic are likely folks who need to hire an accountant or accounting firm.
They might also be interested in topics like:
- How to tell an excellent accountant from a bad one
- What qualifications to look for in an accountant
- What services can you expect from an excellent accountant?
- How to compare different accounting firms, and so on
- 5 signs your business needs a new accountant
But if brand awareness is your goal, where you just want people to recognize your brand, your topics will take a whole different approach.
You can simply center them around themes related to accounting — whether or not those topics will motivate them to become customers.
A good example of such a topic could be “current trends in the accounting industry.”
Other topics that can help you build brand awareness include:
- The evolution of accounting
- How the advances in technology have changed accounting
- How to choose an accountant
- The basics of accounting
- How to read a balance sheet
Even though most of these topics won’t directly motivate people to hire you, they will create a brand association in the reader’s mind.
So, whatever your goal is, tailor your topics to it.
Once you have a list of decent topics, creating a content calendar is easy. You can simply take each topic and assign it to a given day or week in the future, as you see fit.
You can build the calendar on Google Sheets or a tool like Asana (which I use with my team and recommend), with the dates you want to publish and the topics you want to write about.
If you have a team, it’s probably best to go with Asana — as it has features specifically designed for team collaboration. Here’s a glimpse of what it looks like inside:
Once your content calendar is ready, you can start creating the actual content. More on this in the next step below.
Step 3: Start creating ‘truly’ helpful content
The two steps I’ve covered so far are the groundwork you need to create truly helpful content (i.e. content that’s both helpful for your audience and business — at the same time).
Now, it’s time to create content.
“Where do I begin?”
First, you need to decide if you’ll be writing your content yourself or outsourcing it to a freelancer or an agency.
(Note: I’m assuming you’ll be doing written content like blogs articles, etc. But if you’re doing other content types, similar principles apply; determine whether you want to do your content creation yourself or outsource it.)
If you’re thinking of writing the content yourself, ensure that you have the writing skills to pull it off. Everybody can write, but in reality, not everyone can write well enough to drive results. And if your content isn’t well-written, it won’t drive results.
Another factor to keep in mind is time; good writing and content creation take a lot of time and if you don’t have enough, consider outsourcing. But make sure you hire a professional writer who understands (or can understand) your target audience, can write compellingly, and align with your content marketing goal(s).
I’ve been hiring writers for a while now and here are a few tips on how to hire some of the best ones:
- First, ask for their self-edited samples. You want to see their self-edited pieces because they show how they write on their own — with no help from an editor.
- Once you get those, pick any sample that interests you and see if they’re able to capture your attention within the first few paragraphs.
- If those first paragraphs make sense to you, read further and see if the writing is consistent throughout. If it is, that’s a good sign and shows that the writer can craft an engaging piece from start to finish.
- Always check for grammar and spelling mistakes as well; these minor errors can add up to a huge mistake in the future.
- Also, ask them questions about the accounting niche you want them to write on and see if they know the basics.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to ask them for rates or negotiate — but remember that you get what you pay for.
But regardless of whether you’re writing the content yourself or hiring someone to do it, ensure to have your goal front and center.
While your content should provide value for your audience, it must drive tangible results for your business — otherwise, it’s not worth the time and effort.
Step 4: Promote your content where your audience is
There are so many ways to promote your content and get it in front of people.
But the most important thing with content distribution is to ensure that you are promoting the content in places where your target audience is.
It doesn’t matter if your content is in front of one million eyeballs, if they aren’t the target audience for your accounting firm or practice, it’s not worth much.
For example, if you are targeting CEOs and business owners, then it would make more sense to promote your content on LinkedIn than on TikTok. And it’s not that business owners don’t use TikTok, but they are more likely to be on LinkedIn than TikTok.
Case in point, if you run a quick search under the “People” tab on LinkedIn for ‘CEOs,’ you will find over two million people. That’s a huge potential audience waiting to read your content right there on LinkedIn.
And besides LinkedIn, search engine optimization (SEO) is another great way to get your accounting content in front of the right people.
With SEO, you can optimize your content and make sure it appears on the first page when your target audience types in relevant keywords on search engines like Google.
For example, if they search something like ‘tax advice for small business owners,’ you can use SEO to make sure your website and content appear on the first page of those search results.
And optimizing your content to rank isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to use SEO to promote your accounting content
- Research relevant keywords (topics) — Use a tool like Semrush to find relevant keywords related to your accounting practice. This tool will show you which topics your target audience is searching for on Google and other search engines.
- Identify low-difficulty keywords — You’ll find so many topics during your keyword research process in step 1, but they’re not all the same. Some keywords are easy to rank for, but some others are difficult. If you’re using the tool I mentioned earlier (Semrush), it’ll show you which ones are easy or hard, so you can pick the easy ones.
- Write content around those topics — Create content that is based on the list of keywords you discovered. And make sure your content is helpful and answers the questions your target audience might have regarding the topics or keywords they’re searching.
- Optimize your content for SEO — Once you create the content, be sure to optimize it for search engines. Use the target keywords in your titles and headings, in the content’s body, and in the metadata (aka titles, categories, and descriptions that help describe a web page for search engines).
- Publish — As I mentioned before, promoting your content using SEO isn’t rocket science; it’s as simple as the steps I’ve shared here, and once you’ve run through steps 1-3, all you need to do is publish your content.
Step 5: Measure your results and optimize accordingly
At this point, your content marketing engine is ready to go. You’ve started publishing content and promoting it; now you’re ready to drive results.
But while you’re at it, monitor results — and you can use Google Analytics (GA) for this.
Here are a few important metrics to look out for in GA:
- Organic traffic — This is the number of people who visit your website as a direct result of your content marketing efforts (i.e. they found your content through a Google search).
- Bounce rate — The percentage of website visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page.
- Time on site — The average time web visitors spend on your website per visit.
- Conversion rates — The percentage of visitors reading your content who are converting into subscribers and clients.
Best practices for content marketing for accountants
Here are some best practices you should always keep in mind when creating content for accountants:
1. Always prioritize value
When you’re creating content, it’s important to focus on providing value to your target audience.
What’s “value”? Glad you asked.
It means content that is helpful and provides answers to the questions your audience is likely asking. If your content doesn’t satisfy this basic condition, it won’t drive the results you’re targeting for your accounting practice.
2. Keep it really simple
Simplicity is so important when doing content marketing.
As any content marketer knows, it’s often tempting to stuff as much information as possible into a single article or post. And usually, this thinking comes from the assumption that the longer you make your content, the better your chances of attracting organic traffic to your website from search engines like Google.
It’s not poor practice if you want to add so much value to your content, but make sure it’s real value; avoid the temptation to overstuff your content with irrelevant info just to make it longer.
Another factor that could sway you away from keeping things simple is obsessing over what competitors are doing. If you are creating content that’s overly similar or almost identical to what your competitors are doing, you won’t stand out. And that’s not good for your accounting business.
The bottom line here is, simplicity is key for content marketing. By keeping your articles concise and focused on a single topic, you can ensure that they are both informative and easy to read. In the end, this will lead to more engaged readers and a higher ranking in search engine results.
3. Use visuals and other media
In today’s world, people are bombarded with an endless stream of content. Your accounting clients are no exception. They get content from your competitors, news outlets, and so on.
So you need to stand out, and one of the best ways to do that is to use visuals and other forms of media in your content.
For instance, if you’re posting content on a platform like LinkedIn, you can add visuals or infographics that break down complex accounting or bookkeeping concepts in a way that is simple to understand.
A good real-life example of this is how FinTech company Intuit shared a long list of documents and information people need to file taxes in Canada:
It’s a pretty long list that could get anyone tired even just at first glance if Intuit only wrote all this in an article.
So they put it in a visually appealing, downloadable PDF that breaks everything down in an easy-to-digest format.
When people see you’re using high-quality visuals, they’ll be more likely to believe that your products and services are also of high quality. No wonder 50% of marketers in a recent survey say visuals are very important in their content.
So if you want to up your content marketing game, use visuals and other media. It’ll make a big difference.
4. Always create a content workflow
Creating a content workflow will help manage your content effectively. It will help you decide which tasks need to be done and in what order to do them.
So what exactly is a content workflow?
A content workflow is a set of instructions that outlines the tasks that need to be completed in order to produce effective content. It will help you determine which tasks need to be done and in what order they should be done.
Simply put, it’s a system, checklist, or procedure for managing the creation, distribution, and measurement of your content. It looks something like this:
It may look a little different for you and your team, but this is what it’s like for my team — using the Asana project management tool.
Creating a workflow may seem like a lot of extra work upfront, but it will save you time and headaches in the long run.
By clearly defining the steps involved in creating and promoting your content, you can ensure that each piece is of the highest quality and that your campaigns are organized and efficient.
In addition, establishing a workflow gives you a roadmap for measuring your content’s success, so you can make necessary adjustments along the way. Ultimately, taking the time to create a content workflow is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy.
5. Collaborate with industry influencers
Anyone who’s tried to do content marketing on their own knows that it’s a daunting task.
Not only do you have to produce high-quality, original content, but you also have to get it in front of the right audience for your accounting firm or practice. One of the best ways to do that is to collaborate with industry thought leaders and influencers.
By inviting them to collaborate in your content creation process, you can tap into their already-established networks and significantly boost your visibility.
You can invite them to answer questions so you can use their quotes in your articles. Or you can invite them to do webinars or podcasts on topics relevant to your target audience.
A real-life example of this is how accounting firm Grant Thornton Australia partnered with two accountants in other firms to discuss fraud and asset tracing:
What often follows collaborations like this is an increase in website traffic and social media engagement. This is because the influencers will share on their platforms, giving your brand exposure to their audiences.
Additionally, working with influencers can help add credibility to your brand. After all, if an influencer will put their name behind your content, that’s a pretty strong endorsement.
Finally, collaborating with influencers can also be a great way to learn from the best in the business. By seeing how they approach content marketing, you can develop strategies that are sure to be successful.
6. Use Google Analytics to track and measure results
There are several ways to track content marketing results, but one of the best ways is to use Google Analytics (GA) to measure traffic and leads generated.
Here’s an example of a GA report I recently generated for a client:
I could recommend other tools, but this is just the easiest to use — from my experience. And it’s free.
But regardless of any tool you use, by taking the time to track and measure results, you can get a better sense of what’s working and what isn’t, and make necessary adjustments to your content marketing strategy.
In addition, regular monitoring can help you identify any emerging trends you could exploit for maximum effect. Tracking and measuring content marketing results is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy.
7. Improve and update content on a regular basis
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to make sure your content is up to date.
With new accounting technology and trends emerging all the time, it can be easy for your content to become outdated. And this can have several consequences, including hurting your organic traffic from search engines.
It can also make you seem out of touch with your audience.
For these reasons (and more), it’s crucial to refresh your content regularly. This doesn’t mean that you need to completely overhaul your site every few months, but it does mean taking the time to update your information and keeping an eye on current trends.
By doing this, you’ll ensure that your content is always relevant and useful to your audience.
Start creating content
The steps I’ve shared here should help you get started with a content marketing strategy that will work for your accounting business and produce results.
Remember to start small, keep things simple, and stick to your strategy. If you need help anywhere along the way, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to chat with you about getting your content marketing off the ground and working with you.
So go out there and start creating content that will help you reach your goals. Good luck!