By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president and CEO, bbr marketing
Everyone’s talking about it and most accounting firm owners have a sense they should be doing it, but what exactly is content marketing? In a nutshell, it’s a marketing paradigm that opts for providing something of value as a method of showing audiences why they might want to choose your services rather than telling them to do so. The benefits to your accounting firm are well worth taking the plunge. Content marketing helps you:
• Build your brand
• Establish your firm as an information resource and you as a thought leader
• Build relationships and create viral marketing
Content is everything you share through blogs, social media, podcasts, newsletters – absolutely everything except paid advertising. Appearing on a radio show as a guest to discuss a topic of interest to the listening audience is content marketing. Buying radio air time to advertise your firm isn’t.
Before you get started you’ll need to define your process and goals so you know where you’re going. Come up with clear parameters that hone in on your:
• Objective and purpose
• Integration with other marketing
• Creation process
• Definition of success
Content marketing is based on offering audiences something of value; they choose to participate because they’re getting something out of the deal. Content marketing takes advantage of your unique position in your markets to generate valuable insight and advice on the issues your clients and prospects care about most. Try these tips for maximum effect:
• Communicate your differentiators. They create and define your unique market position.
• Value is in the eye of the reader, so think about the issues and challenges that weigh on your audience.
• Remember, you’re the expert here. What do you know that your audience doesn’t?
• Divide the work by encouraging managers and other staff to contribute (with a reward, if necessary). You can also hire a knowledgeable ghostwriter.
• Keep it focused on what’s important to your listeners and their issues, not your services or practice areas.
• Make your content exciting and interesting. It doesn’t always have to be super serious.
• Don’t be advertorial in your content. Blurring the line is a sure way to build resentment and lose your audience.
• Find ideas as you go about your day. Consider these sources for inspiration:
o News alerts and Twitter searches
o Interesting blogs you read
o Industry publications
o Competitors you respect
o Partners, staff and referral sources
o Your clients! They’re the very best source for ideas. Answer the questions you hear repeatedly and you’ll be offering exactly what they want.
• Let your audience know about your content in as many ways as possible:
o Page optimization
o Social media
o Links in your signature
o Guest posts on other blogs
It’s here to stay
Content marketing may be trendy but it’s not a flash in the pan. By now 93 percent of B2B marketers reported using the strategy. It’s safe to say that content marketing is here to stay, so you might as well explore your options and let the strategy start to work for your accounting firm. In the process, you may achieve more than effective marketing: creating good content marketing is a fun way to stay on top of your profession, get in touch with your creative side and deepen your understanding of just what it is that makes your own firm so special.
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is president and CEO of bbr marketing, a full service marketing firm in Atlanta that serves professional services firms nationwide. We provide insightful and cutting edge marketing strategy and services that help accountants, attorneys, engineers and other consultants reach their audiences and grow their firms.
Learn more about generating leads from Ruszczyk by watching the on-demand webinar, “How to Generate Leads Through the Web.” Or download the free whitepaper, “Feed Your Accounting Firm: Generate Quality Leads.”