Content marketing continues to grow in popularity, because it’s effective. But distinguishing between solid content and clutter is critical for marketers – since readers are becoming more sophisticated about doing so themselves. Even if your content is of high quality, is it performing the functions you intended? You don’t want to waste readers’ time, nor can you afford to invest resources in producing content that is unnecessary or ineffective at helping you achieve your marketing goals.
Instead of unthinkingly creating more content, your focus should be on crafting better content and targeting it strategically. Here are three keys to making sure your content is a worthwhile investment both for your accounting firm and your audience:
- Set specific goals. What do you hope to achieve through your content marketing? Think about this question broadly but then get granular. Is it attracting new clients to a specific service niche? Strengthening the relationship between your firm and existing clients? Establishing thought leadership and growing readership? These are the kinds of goals you should set to help you hone content that benefits your firm in the ways that matter at a particular moment. You can have more than one goal at a time, but you should still set clear and discrete targets. Each individual piece of content can then be aimed at furthering one of your aims.
- Know your audience. To whom are you speaking and wish to attract? This is another area to consider in depth, because aiming content in a scattershot manner is a great way to be relegated to the “noise” category. Think about the readers you reach, or hope to reach, and assess their needs. What are their concerns and fears, and what reassures them? What’s their preferred style of gaining information? How casual, how visual, how busy and how educated are they? Learn which platforms they prefer, so you can become a presence there. Having a detailed understanding of your target audience will allow you to form a strong connection and become the go-to resource you hope to be for these individuals.
- Deliver content strategically. This covers a lot of ground, but start by thinking about your balance. Will your content be laser focused on one audience segment, one topic, one platform? That’s sometimes a good way to go, if you have a single goal and a fairly homogenous audience. Why dilute your style and message if staying consistent achieves what you set out to do? But for most firms, a more balanced rhythm of styles, topics and platforms will be the best way to build audiences and relationships. Vary your content between trending issues and perennial ones, serious and light-hearted, visual/video and text-based, etc. Just be sure each piece works to further one of the goals you set in the first step. Also select platforms that complement each piece. You can and should re-share content across multiple platforms, but make the original posting where it will find the most receptive audience, then draw others in through their preferred channels, whether that’s LinkedIn, Twitter, newsletters, YouTube, etc.
These steps will greatly increase the ROI of your content, but nothing does as much to differentiate your offerings as quality. Create with care, then proof-read and edit with even more. Shape your tone, topics and presentation around the audience analysis you performed in step 2. Ask yourself honestly, “Would I be happy to find this content if I were a reader?” If you can say yes to that question and you’ve assiduously followed the tips above, you can be confident that your content is the real deal, not the noise.