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Marketing Monday June 2016: Why Content Marketing is an SEO Catalyst

     -     Jun 6th, 2016   -     Content Development   -     0 Comments

By now most accounting marketing professionals are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO). The process of modifying meta data by keyword or topic to attract those who may have an interest in purchasing a service offered by the firm. In fact, many of the firms we talk to have had success transforming their website from an online information center into an interactive lead generator for the firm. The number of visitors, time on site, and pages viewed all increase for several months in a row. However, after some time the leads seem to drop off, visitor numbers plateau and performance seem to slowly fade. The challenge many face is that they simply don’t know what to do. After all, they followed all the expert advice about optimization. The truth is that a good SEO program is important, but it’s not the only piece to the puzzle. A firm needs to have a robust content development program that provides content on time and engaging content of interest to the target audience. To help prospects and others understand how to build an effective program, we have outlined key elements below.

Content Marketing Program Elements

  • Service Focus – Most firms have a number of services and industries to choose from when determining what content to highlight and focus. The reality is that it’s not possible to select every single niche or service line. So consider which areas make the most sense to focus on. We advise clients to create a spreadsheet that lists the prominent services offered by the firm and identify the timeframe which is best to market it. For example, if the firm offers benefit plan audits it makes little sense to market the service in July when filings are due. Gain an understanding the sales cycle of these services. Using this data create a priority list and identify which services should be promoted on the site during what time of year.
  • Leverage Enthusiasm – It’s often the case in human behavior that some people are not willing to participate in new programs, especially if the results are not proven. For this reason, when reviewing the priority list it’s advised to engage those partners and other staff who have some enthusiasm for participation. Since this is a new program for most firms it’s important to find those who are willing to participate and engage them.
  • Topics – This is an area where most firms struggle. It’s a rookie mistake to allow professionals to decide what they want to write about without coordination. We have seen situations where clients get 4 articles on all on fraud prevention when it was not a prominent service offered by the firm. For this reason, it’s important for marketing to work with individual staff to identify key topics they should write about. Consider talking with them to find out what are the top issues and challenges clients are dealing with? This information should be easily available given these professionals work with client issues every day. Work with each professional to identify a series of topics they can write about and keep them focused on these topics. The more involvement you have earlier in the process the more effective the content will be when finished.
  • Editing – Remember that partners and staff are not marketing writers. For this reason, it’s important to work with them to ensure they understand what marketing content should look and sound like. Firms who do well with this provide a sample copy of a good marketing article, tips for how to structure articles, and even offer a APA or other style guidelines. It’s important to offer as many resources as possible and allow those individuals who need such information to use it. Finally, remember that marketing may need to edit the articles which are submitted. So make it clear that the article submitted may need to be edited. Making this clear upfront will reduce any tension or issues which can article.
  • Develop a Schedule – Creating a content schedule is the final piece to the puzzle. Make sure you have a clear schedule for when content is due and when will it will be published. Start with a few articles per month, something simple that can be adjusted over time. Once there have been successes, then increase the number of articles published per month and number of professionals participating in the program.

Your Experience

Creating a content marketing program at your firm may not be an easy task. It requires the input and participation of not only partners to support it, but other professionals. What have your experiences been with content marketing?


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