Content marketing can work wonders for your firm, but only if you do it right. And – make no mistake – lots of firms aren’t doing it right.
Why invest in content marketing anyway, you ask? Well, because it can help you:
- Build a stronger brand
- Gain industry authority
- Get more high quality leads
But not just any content will help you get these kinds of results – content marketing success takes a lot of hard work and must be strategy-driven. So, if you’re not seeing the results you want from your content, start thinking about these four reasons why most CPA firms fail at content marketing:
1. Failure to differentiate and build a strong brand
The content that most firms produce is often a bit dull, thanks to their failure to differentiate. Instead of actually trying to stand out, they mimic their competition, regurgitating the same content that potential clients have already seen online a million times.
As a result, those clients don’t know which firm to choose. That’s why it’s so important for you to make sure your content is memorable. You’ll set yourself apart – and you’d better believe that the firms that do so are the ones who are making the most money.
2. Failure to provide content of value to the target audience
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of creating content that other accountants might like, but remember that they aren’t the ones you’re trying to sell to. You need to impress your ideal clients – not your peers.
So, every time you produce a piece of content, ask yourself this:
“Does this content provide valuable information to my target audience?” To take it a step further, if you don’t have a contact or lead that you know for a fact would find the post of extreme value–don’t write it. And I’m not talking about just your target audience you should be able to identify someone down to a name and email that would find the piece of content you’re writing valuable.
If you can’t do that, don’t publish it. Plain and simple.
To start brainstorming about what you should write about, you need to define your target audience and get inside their heads. Think about what questions they’re asking in relation to your industry. Creep on their social networks and the message boards where they hang out to see what they’re talking about. Or, simply ask your ideal clients what they need help with.
3. Being too sales-y in the content
Think about it – when you read blog posts or other educational content, do you like seeing tons of sales pitches?
No way. And neither does your target audience.
When you’re producing content (blogs, whitepapers, email newsletters, etc.), your job is to educate your readers – not bombard them with pitches. After all, the whole purpose of content marketing is to create content of value for your ideal customers so you can build trust and get on their radar.
Once you do that, they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to buy because your firm will stick out in their minds as a trustworthy authority.
Bottom line: the best sales strategy with content marketing is to NOT sell.
Crazy, huh? But trust me – when done right, it works.
4. Failure to blog regularly and promote content properly
While you don’t have to blog to get leads, it can definitely help. But let’s be honest – many accounting firms that actually have an active blog are doing it all wrong and hurting themselves in the process.
And it’s easy to understand why. Creating effective blog content is tough, time-consuming, requires a solid strategy, and can take months (or even years) to generate results. Plus, outsourcing content creation to a good blogger can be pretty pricy – so pricy, in fact, that some firms can’t afford it.
The good news for you? If you can produce and promote effective content on your firm’s blog, you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors pretty easily. That’s because almost no firms are doing it now.
Wondering how to do that? Here are a few tips:
- Write the way your audience talks. That means no accounting jargon, no fluff, and no stuffy “business speak.” Remember, your readers are people, and they’re looking for content that’s relatable – not content that reads like it was written by a robot.
- Develop a unique voice. Figure out what writing tone resonates best with your target audience and is true to your personality. Then, make sure every piece of content you produce (even if it’s not on your blog) is written in that tone – consistency is key when you’re building your firm’s brand.
- Get active on social media. Find out which social media sites are most popular with the members of your target audience, and start interacting with them there. Then, when you promote your blog posts on social media, you’ll be much more likely to see the engagement you want.
But that isn’t all you have to do to succeed at blogging. You’ll also need to create awesome headlines for your posts, break your paragraphs up for easy readability, follow copywriting best practices… the list could go on and on. If you aren’t good at that stuff and don’t really care to learn about it, then hire someone qualified to handle it for you.
And remember this:
If you’re not willing to put lots of effort into your content marketing, don’t create content at all.
You might think you can get away with succeeding by producing just any content. But the truth is… you can’t. So, if you’re going to go for it, really go for it. Otherwise you’ll just end up wasting time and hurting your brand.