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AAM Summit in Review

     -     Jun 30th, 2015   -     Uncategorized   -     0 Comments

Last week I had the pleasure of attending my first Association of Accounting Marketing (AAM) Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The theme for this year’s conference was “Roots of Success”. As a “newbie” to the field of accounting marketing, it was an exciting opportunity to meet with many of you and attend sessions where I was able to learn more about the “roots” – tools, ideas, and strategies – that have provided “success” in your marketing strategies.

However, no matter what session I attended, the importance of high-quality, relevant content was continuously stressed as a vital “root” for any marketing strategy. This was not surprising and is nothing new to accounting marketers. Most of us know that quality content is key to an effective SEO and inbound marketing program. After all, it is the content that draws clients and prospects to your site, but that does not mean the process is always easy.

The Challenge

For many accounting firms, content development is something they know they should be doing more of but just can’t seem to get around doing. Time and resources can be scarce and let’s face it, getting a partner or shareholder on board can be a challenge. That leaves many marketing directors with the task of either having to hire a writer (outsourced or full-time) or creating a content development program that involves employees— both have their advantages.

Outside Writers

Hiring an outside writer can be a great resource for many accounting firms. For one thing, most accountants chose their profession because they are naturally better with numbers than they are with words so writing can be a challenge. Most of their writing training and experience involve technical communication versus more marketing-driven communication. Having a good writer will not only ensure high-quality content, but it will also allow you to develop more content quickly.

Many firms don’t really have the need for a full-time writer as they simply don’t have enough volume. However, if you find that deadlines are being missed and content isn’t being published regularly enough, then you might consider bringing in an outside writer. Developing a new website would also be a time where outsourcing content development would be helpful due to the large amount of content and time needed.

Internal Writers

Although some firms have in-house writers, the majority rely on internal professionals. Using internal staff to produce the content for your website and blog can often be to the firm’s advantage because who knows and understands the culture and subject matter better than the employees themselves. Below are some suggestions from others’ successful efforts in creating a successful internal content development program:

  • Have a group of 5 or more share the responsibility. This creates a more collaborative approach and makes it so one or two don’t carry the entire load. As a bonus, involving professionals from different focus areas will help ensure a broad spectrum of content.
  • Don’t just rely on partners or shareholders. The reality is partners are very busy and have lots of demands and responsibilities that eat up their time. For this reason, it is important to use other staff members. Find staff that are comfortable and willing to write content and maybe even offer incentives for doing so.
  • Create content based on your audience. It is vital to keep your clients in mind when creating content. Be the answer to their search query. Write articles that are timely and address current topics of interest or answer commonly asked questions.
  • Create premium content. This would be content available in exchange for a visitor’s contact information. This includes e-books, whitepapers, surveys, webinars, etc. Not only is this type of content a great way to interact with potential customers before they are ready to buy, but it is also an easy way to track your ROI for your online marketing efforts.
  • Plan content in advance. Identify what subject matters you want to promote at what times of the year. Because accounting is a deadline-driven industry, there are certain times of the year when you should be talking about a specific topic relevant to the target audience. Remember, it is important to deliver the most relevant information at the most opportune time for your prospects.
  • Share content on social media. Last year, content on social media drove more traffic to websites than search engines. The various social media platforms are a great way to share content with your clients and bring them to your website. Firms that used Twitter in particular had more traffic and ranked higher in the search engines because of the fact that it is a medium for link sharing.
  • Get the most out of content you have created. When you write something, squeeze everything out of it that you can. A great piece of content can further be broken into whitepapers, fact sheets, flyers, seminars, webinars, blog posts, etc.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of things that really stood out to me as I attended the AAM Conference. Hopefully I have given you some ideas and food for thought on how to either get a content development program going or ways to improve one you already have in place. We would love to hear about your successes or challenges you have had in content development!

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