Original content development is a central part of most accounting firm marketing plans today. Whether your firm is a seasoned pro or just starting to develop content, here are 6 tips for original content development within your firm.
- Make participation easy.
Original content development requires participation from subject matter experts. Most CPAs didn’t go to school to become writers, so getting them to write can be intimidating. You have to make participation easy on them. How? First, help them come up with the ideas. Most CPAs have plenty to write about, they just don’t realize it. Second, make the process easy. We aren’t looking for perfection. Make it your goal to get their ideas on paper; then you (or an outside writer) can rework what they submit. If your CPAs are brand new to writing, asking them to rewrite an article is a good place to start. Editing their own work can also help trigger more ideas. These steps will play a big role in how easy (or difficult) the process of participation seems.
- Enlist influencers to assist with adoption.
The adoption of anything new takes time. Ideally, you want the directive to come from the top of the organization. The most successful firms make original content development a priority. However, even in these situations you still need key influencers. Start by working with the people that get it and share their successes along the way. Don’t try to change everyone overnight.
Whether you have 50 employees or 500 employees, you need to ensure that you have a quality control process in place. The process doesn’t have to be complex, but it should affirm that the viewpoints represented are those of the firm and that proofing and editing are incorporated. For some firms, it’s as simple as having a partner review copy before it goes to marketing for proofing and editing. For larger firms, there are committees and assigned experts to review copy. In all cases, the goal should be to turn around the copy as quickly as possible, especially in cases where the content is timely.
- Strategically align your content with your audience and your goals.
The number 1 mistake I often see with content development in accounting firms is that it doesn’t strategically align with the firm’s goals or the audience. If you want to grow your audit or consulting practice, but only publish tax content, you won’t attract the right audience. What does your target audience care about? In what areas is the firm trying to grow? An editorial calendar is a great way to help answer these questions and align your content. Need a sample? Request a copy of editorial calendar templates.
- Document your process.
Regardless of how simple or complex your process is, document it. It will make adoption so much easier. Not everyone will remember the process or the steps from just 1 or 2 meetings. It will also make onboarding new individuals into the process that much easier. Answer frequently asked questions and make sure people understand what they are doing, what happens after their involvement, and how long each step should ideally take.
- Enlist outside resources, when needed.
Sometimes we can’t do it all. Occasionally, partners just don’t have the time or inclination to write. Sometimes we don’t have the capacity or skill set within our marketing team to write, edit, or proofread. In these cases, you will want to enlist outside resources to assist you with everything from ghost writing to editing and proofreading.