Having a strategy behind the content marketing for your tax firm determines whether or not you will be successful. Rather than simply posting content when the time seems right, a strategy allows us to create a concept, execute a plan, and measure whether or not that strategy is achieving results.
Here are ten of the most important components of your content marketing strategy.
1. Determine Your Goals
Goals help you bring your business forward. When you lay out clear objectives for your firm’s content marketing strategy, you can continue to push your business to reach new heights.
Take a moment to think about what you want your content marketing to accomplish. Is it an SEO play? An engagement mechanism for your existing clients? A follow up touch to your prospects?
While you’re probably sitting there thinking that you want all of those things to happen, you need to focus in on the most important. If you’re not attracting any visitors to your website, your content marketing plan may be to get new traffic for lead generation. If you’re bringing traffic but they’re not opting in as a lead, your goal may be to convert more visitors to leads. Think about what your business needs and craft goals around your unique position.
When creating your goals, you want them to be clear and measurable. Set a deadline, a number, and make it realistic.
2. Know Your Audience
After you’ve determined what your goals are, think about who your target audience is. Just like wanting to accomplish all the goals, you may believe that your target audience is everyone and anyone. But while you may think this thought process will include any individual that comes your way, you’re actually making it more difficult to pull in new clients.
Take a moment to think about who your ideal client would be. What do they look like? Where do they live? What are their careers and hobbies? Where might they find your message? Why should they do business with you instead of your competition?
When you take a moment to understand exactly who you want to work with, you can narrow down your focus and create content that identifies directly with your target audience. It can also help you determine where you should be posting your content.
3. Content Channels
Your content channels are where you will post your content. While you may believe that you should be posting on a variety of different channels, it is actually more important to create a strong strategy on a few than have weak strategies on all.
Your content channels should also relate back to your target audience. When you know your target audience and can understand where they are spending their time, you will know the best channels for getting your information in front of them.
Consider the social media platforms or websites that your target audience is spending the most time at. These should be your main channels where you focus the majority of your effort. You should also make a list of secondary channels where some of your target audience may be.
Remember, it is more important to get your information in front of a smaller group of the right individuals than send a mass message to a larger group of individuals who may not be your target audience. The more you can focus your efforts, the more return on your investments you will see.
4. Content Format
Your content format and your content channels will usually go hand in hand. If your content channel is where you will be posting your content, your content format is how you will be sharing that content.
Different platforms typically allow for different kinds of format. If you find that your target audience spends a lot of time on YouTube, you should focus on creating video content that you can post on that channel. If your target audience enjoys reading long, detailed posts and articles, you should focus on a channel that allows you to create this type of content. If you are making an SEO play, you need to focus on text on your own site (e.g., a blog).
For most content marketing strategies, you will need to create a fairly balanced mix of text and multimedia content. However, you will also need to keep in mind that each channel you will be on usually requires a unique format. You will probably not succeed if you are posting the same exact message to each of your social media pages and website.
5. Posting Frequency
After determining who you are posting for and what kind of content you are posting, you need to think about how often you are going to post. But determining the right frequency schedule can be a bit difficult and may require some trial and error.
The amount that you post will depend mostly on the channels you have selected. For social media, you will probably need to be prepared to post content a few times a day. For blog posts and articles, you should aim to have at least one post a week. For email marketing campaigns, you may be looking at an email promotion around three times a week, while newsletters may be once a month. For longer pieces of content, such as e-books or white papers, you may only do them once a quarter or twice a year.
Take some time to consider what is right for you and what is right for your audience. Experiment with frequency schedules and see what they best react to. Remember, what works for you may not work for other tax firms and what works for other tax firms may not work for you.
6. Develop a Voice
When you create content for your firm that is built around your brand, you want each piece to sound like it is written from the same individual, even if multiple staff members contribute. A cohesive voice throughout everything that you do can help tie each piece of marketing together to maintain authenticity and create a connection with the customer. Do note that this is very different from your firm blog that might contain unique voices as various staff contribute their expertise.
The voice of your brand should align with the target audience we talked about earlier. In most firms, the voice of the brand should appeal to the voice of the IDEAL™ client. It should be someone that they can relate with, someone that they feel understands them, and someone that they can trust.
In order to ensure a voice is present in each piece of content you create, you will want to create style guides to help reflect this to other individuals. Are there certain words that your voice uses? What persona does your brand voice give off? Does the brand voice talk to the client directly?
These are all important questions to think about and consider. If you’re unsure of what your voice should be, consider how your IDEAL™ client acts and create a persona to reflect that.
7. Content Creation
The content creation component of your content marketing strategy may be one of the most important. Once you have each bit of back information for developing your content, you’re finally ready to start making awesome content to be shared among your readers/viewers/listeners.
But how does your firm create their content? Who is responsible for writing the content? Who is responsible for coming up with the topics you’re going to write about? Who has the final say in what is posted and what needs to be revised?
Take a moment to look at who is responsible for creating your content. Make sure each individual who creates content for you understands all the crucial components of a content marketing strategy that we’ve already discussed, including the voice and the IDEAL™ client profile.
It is important to designate specific individuals for content creation to ensure you’re maintaining the image of your brand and that each piece you post meets the same set of standards.
8. Maintaining Organization
If you’re posting multiple times per week, you need to have an organized schedule that shows what is to be posted, where it is to be posted, and when it needs to be posted. In many cases, these schedules should reflect the exact time you would like a piece of content to be released online.
You also need to be able to maintain a database of previously covered topics, potential topics for the future, and what topics are already being covered but have not been posted yet. This type of organizational system can prevent you from repeating topics or reposting content you’ve already put online.
Software management programs are a great way to maintain organization during the content creation process. Create a system in your content marketing strategy that says who, when, and where documents should be saved so that they are properly recorded in the database.
9. Marketing Analytics
Once you have your content created and posted, you’re not off the hook just yet. You still need to take some time to see how it is resonating with your audience. Marketing analytics allows you to see if your post is popular and if you should continue creating similar content or if your audience did not enjoy that particular topic.
Within your content marketing strategy, you will want to lay out systems for checking your analytics. What kind of analytics software will you use? How often will you check the analytics software? What specific analytics will you look at when determining whether or not a piece of content was successful?
If you develop a system that says you will measure each piece of content the same way, you can more clearly see what is working and what is not. But when measuring your analytics, remember that different measurements can mean different things. What is important to you may not be important to another company and vice versa. Instead, create an analytics reading strategy that helps you and your business move forward.
Very few tax pros will get their content marketing strategy perfect the first time around. In order to create the best content for your audience, you need to pay attention to what is working and what is not.
Consider how much time you will allow your content marketing strategy to go through before you make revisions. While you want to give the strategy enough time to secure accurate results, you also don’t want to waste too much time following through with a strategy that doesn’t meet your needs.
Know when it is time to make revisions to your process and what those revisions need to be. As you continue to make small tweaks and minor changes to your content marketing strategy, you can better appeal to your target audience and convert them into leads.
In 2017, content marketing is a critical piece of your tax firm marketing plan, but if you’re relying on just posting whenever you’re ready, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Create a content marketing strategy with these ten areas in mind and you’ll be surprised at how much it impacts your bottom line.