Spend any amount of time scrolling through social media, attending industry conferences, and reading blogs like this one, and you’ll likely see the same message cropping up...
You need to create content.
And the truth is that in 2020, you probably do need to be creating content for your accounting firm.
It allows prospects to get to know you and your firm (and in turn they can come to like and trust you)
It allows you to showcase your expertise (which in turn helps build this trust and establish you as a credible authority)
It puts you out there in the minds of prospects (which means when they’re in the market for a new accountant, you will be top of mind)
So if you understand that you have to create content for your accounting firm, the next question is usually...
Where do I start?
If you find yourself scratching your head, thinking about what to post (and as a result, not posting at all because you spend way too long thinking about it), then here are 10 places to look for ideas and inspiration..
An important caveat before getting started…
As a marketer, and not somebody trying to sell you a £97 content creation course on LinkedIn, I’m obliged to tell you the following…
Posting content without a strategy is short-termism. If it gets you into the swing of posting content, great, by all means go for it. But longer term your content needs a strategy behind it.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat” - Sun Tzu
Having a strategy means that your content is focused on the right things and for the right people. You’re not posting for postings sake. Everything you create is for a specific purpose and can be linked to the rest of your marketing strategy. This in itself is another article entirely but for now, let’s move on to 10 places to look for ideas and inspiration...
10 places to look for content ideas and inspiration
1. Conversations with clients
Think about it, you and your team speak with clients and prospective clients all day long, answering their questions and helping them to overcome challenges.
These same questions and challenges are the perfect inspiration for you to create content. If one client has asked it, the chances are that many others will also be thinking about it.
I’d recommend checking out a book called ‘They ask, you answer’ by Marcus Sheridan where he goes into a lot more detail about how to turn the most common client questions and queries into pieces of content that will repeatedly generate future business.
2. Things happening to you personally
Outside of work and the conversations you have with clients and team members, there’s a whole world of content inspiration for you.
Think about things you’ve seen or experienced, and then how you can weave this into a piece of content that links back to your target market.
For example, you might be in a shop and notice that they have a great pricing strategy. This could be used to tie into a piece of content about the importance of pricing and the impact it can have on margins for business owners.
An example of my own would be when I bought some trainers from Sports Direct who then subsequently sent me 3 promo emails in 3 days for trainers. This was my opportunity to create some content about segmenting your audience and making the right offer. As somebody who had just bought trainers, chances are I wasn’t going to buy a 2nd pair straight after. But if they had offered me some trainer socks, or something else related, chances are it might have worked…
3. Other people
Other people are creating and posting content all the time, which means this can be another source of ideas and inspiration. For example, on LinkedIn there are many active accountants who are sharing new content on a daily basis - this should give you a good idea of where to start.
This doesn’t mean you should become a copycat and steal other people's content and IP…
When taking inspiration from others make sure to make it your own and add your own touch to it., If there are any similarities with the original content, do the courteous thing and link back to the original source.
4. News and industry websites
News jacking is when you piggyback on news stories to create your own highly relevant content. It’s great if there are some big news stories and announcements that are relevant to your target market and trending online.
This could be taking a news story e.g. latest Furlough scheme announcement, and turning it into your own piece of content. Or it could be more targeted on an industry specific website e.g. construction news sites (if that was your target market).
Chances are if it’s newsworthy, then it could be worth you shouting about it as well.
5. Books & podcasts
Most business owners consume any number of books and podcasts on a monthly basis - and these can also be used as inspiration for pieces of content.
For example, the quote I included further up about strategy and tactics was by Sun Tzu from his book, Art of War. I could quite easily turn that into a bigger piece of content looking at the differences between strategy and tactics.
Equally, if you were listening to a podcast about mindset, and you thought what you had heard would be relevant for your target market, then create some content around it.
6. Your competitors
Shh…. don’t tell them!
Copying competitors is a bad strategy. In fact, it’s not even a strategy full stop. But even so, you can usually get a couple of ideas and inspiration from content by watching what your competitors are doing.
Similar to the point I made earlier with others' content, never copy somebody out right. Always try to make it your own and add your own edge to it so that it stands out.
7. Re-purpose old content
Unless the content is only relevant at a specific point in time, then chances are that your content has a much longer shelf life and can be used again.
This is especially true for social media posts where it very much depends on who is online at that time, whether or not they saw your content.
Go back through old blogs or previous social media posts and look to give them a new lease of life and spruce them up. Maybe there’s something extra you can add or some changes to make to them this time round.
8. Search terms (Google and Answer the public)
People search for things online… a lot!
You can use this search volume to your advantage to think of different content ideas for your target market.
If you go to Google and start by typing something like ‘small business’ - you’ll see all of the search suggestions that appear based on the most common search terms used by people.
You can also use sites like Answer The Public to generate hundreds of search terms for a specific keyword in seconds. Here’s an example below for ‘small business’.
9. Online discussion forums
As well as searching for things online, people like to discuss them with other human beings.
Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit, these are all places where your target market may or may not go to ask questions and discuss things with other people - so go and search them for some content ideas and inspiration.
10. Ask your followers
If you’re unsure about what to create content about, as well as trying all of the above methods to think about different content ideas, you could always go straight to your target market and ask them….
Anywhere you might have a following e.g. Facebook group, social media, email list - these are all places you can put the question out to your followers “what content topics would you like to hear about most?”
If you have a few options and ideas, then maybe run it as a poll. If not, keep it as an open question and see what comes in.
Content inspiration is everywhere…
It really is, and once you start looking for it using the ideas I’ve outlined above then you’ll never run out of content ideas and inspiration again…ever!