Create a content strategy to satisfy prospective clients and search engines
Recruiting new clients is a top priority for every accounting firm. It is with that goal in mind that most people share content online. To garner a return on your firm’s content, it must be picked up by search engines, then viewed and acted on by readers.
To increase the likelihood that those events occur, a comprehensive vision for sharing information is essential. That vision is your content strategy. It drives the planning, creation and delivery of what your firm creates. And if you think a content strategy is only necessary if you write a blog, think again. Content also includes social media posts, videos, podcasts, white papers, e-books and anything else intended to increase brand awareness.
Why a Content Strategy is Essential for Business Growth
Content strategies vary between businesses; however, they all share two goals: (1) that the content ranks high on search engine results pages (SERPs) so it is found and (2) that once found, that content is engaging and useful enough to readers to encourage them to respond to a call to action (CTA).
Lacking a solid content strategy leads to:
- Low, or no, ranking on SERPs;
- Reader confusion about what your brand represents;
- Low reader engagement; and
- Lack of prospect conversion
Avoid these issues by developing a content strategy that satisfies both search engines and readers.
3 Steps for Creating a Content Strategy
1. Clearly define your purpose. Consider what you aim to achieve by sharing content. This goes beyond the overarching goal of boosting your bottom line. For example, you may want to increase awareness of your business to attract new clients. Alternatively, you may want to broaden the scope of your business by offering new and diverse services. In deciding what you wish to achieve by sharing content, consider your brand, its mission and the reason you are in business (besides earning income). Think about why you started your business and why you do what you do each day. Every piece of content you create and share should reflect this purpose. If it does, your content strategy will always be consistent with your brand and its values, which sends a clear message to prospective and current clients.
2. Know your potential customers. Consider who your desired customers are. Know the demographic, know their buying habits and know how they are most likely to consume content. Are your prospects on Facebook? Do they read blogs? Are they using a mobile device to access content online? All these questions drive how you create and share content. To learn about potential customers, examine the behavior and needs of your current customers, evaluate your website analytics, use professional social networks like LinkedIn to engage with other professionals in your niche and use your social media channels to engage with current and prospective clients.
3. Know your market. Knowing your niche or specialty services and who your immediate competitors are is imperative; however, it is also important to explore the broader market. This allows you to see gaps in the market. If you find a gap that you are qualified to fill, you can create content that satisfies the unmet need, which makes you stand out as ahead of the curve in your industry. That is an attribute that converts!
Rank in Search and Engage Readers
It’s no secret that using the right keywords to boost SEO is critical in ranking on SERPs, but remember that search engines look beyond SEO and grade content on quality as well as keywords. Low- or no-value content doesn’t rank well and can harm your overall site ranking. Besides, even if your content makes it to the SERP because you managed to boost SEO, chances are readers will click away if what you share is devoid of useful, quality information.
The solution is to do keyword research and use that information in conjunction with your purpose, customer demographics and overall market information to tailor your content to your audience’s needs.
Essential Questions to Ask Yourself when Creating a Content Strategy
- What is the main reason you do what you do?
- What is your goal in sharing content? Is it to win back former clients, to gain new clients, to sell a service, to boost your ranking in online search?
- Who is your audience?
- Where will you share your content?
Once you have a robust content strategy in place, remember to measure your results. Metrics like website traffic, social media traffic and engagement, SERP success, leads, and new clients or sales are all ways to determine how well your content strategy works and whether it needs adjustments. This advice will help you create an organized blueprint for delivering content that will satisfy search engines and readers, and ultimately serve your firm’s bottom line.