Many accountants recognise the value of writing regular content to provide value to their clients.
Of course, sitting down to craft each 1000-word article is a considerable effort in itself. Yet perhaps even more of a challenge is deciding what to write about in the first place!
As a marketing agency specifically for accountants, we at AccountantLift appreciate that coming up with a relevant, engaging list of topics can be a big task. Yet, once it is has been solidified it brings a lot of focus, clarity and momentum for your content marketing efforts. When it comes to writing the content itself, you can just commence without having to agonise over what to talk about!
At AccountantLift, we refer to this as a “content calendar” – a document which outlines how many articles you will write each month; when you will write them; how long they will be; what the articles are for; which points you will make and which resources/evidence you will use as inspiration to write them.
We tend to create content calendars for our accountant clients which cover a 3-month period, often corresponding with each business quarter (although not always).
Naturally, you are of course free to produce your own client newsletter content yourself, in-house, if you so choose. However, you are naturally welcome to speak to us if you are looking for an experienced content creator to assist you!
So, what are some of our top tips for creating a perfect content calendar for your client newsletter?
#1 Review your capacity
If you are going to produce content in-house for your clients, then it’s important to honestly assess how much you are capable of writing each month.
Will you be writing each article yourself, or will other members of your team be contributing? If the latter, then will their current workload allow them to each write, say, one decent article per month?
Allowable time is important, of course. However, capacity also involves taking “ability” into account as well. It might sound like a blunt question, but how would you grade your own skills when it comes to creating informative, engaging content which would appeal to clients? If you are involving your other staff in content production, what is their standard of writing?
Sometimes, it helps to get an impartial opinion on yours and others’ abilities in order to answer that question accurately and fairly. We often think we are great writers, but our clients might think differently – and they are ultimately the reason you are producing it!
#2 Decide on your purpose
Why are you going to write content for your clients? What is the ultimate purpose of it?
The answer might seem obvious, but it will be different for each accounting firm and will likely involve a blend of various purposes depending on your specific goals.
It’s important that your content calendar explicitly mentions the purpose of your articles, to keep you focused when writing them.
For instance, are you writing content mainly to increase your search engine rankings?
Are you looking to establish yourself as an industry authority in a particular field of accounting, in the hope that your writing is featured in prominent publications elsewhere?
Are you looking mainly to educate your existing clients about a specific topic or subject area, which keeps coming up during client meetings?
#3 Check “outside”
Whilst you do not want to copy mainstream media outlets with their choice of topics and the angle they take on various subjects, it can help to know what everyone else is talking about.
In particular, what are others in your industry talking about, who are popular with your target audience? Which subjects and themes are currently trending?
These major publishing businesses are likely focusing on these topics because they know that they are interesting to their readers, and will get a lot of engagement. As a small accounting business, you don’t have the time to do that research yourself but you can piggy-back off others’!
#4 Check “inside”
Of course, whilst it is helpful to take the wider media narrative into account when pulling your content calendar together, what ultimately matters is the interests, pain points and need of your own clients.
For instance, suppose you are an accountant specialising in a particular industry or field – such as footballers. If that’s your target audience, then it’s important that your content slants towards topics, angles and insights which will specifically interest them.
#5 Review past performance
One of the advantages of running a digital newsletter is that you have access to a lot more records and data, showing how your content has performed in the past (e.g. open rates, click rates, session time etc.).
Check your Google Analytics and other databases to see which articles went down well with clients in recent months, and which did not. Naturally, you might want to consider gearing your content calendar more towards the former and away from the latter.
#6 Run the “value” test
At this point, you will likely have some semblance of a content calendar coming together.
From here, it’s important to really put yourself into the shoes of the client and ask yourself: “Would I be interested in clicking on this, and reading it?” In other words, does it offer any value?
It might be that one or more of the topics are interesting, but you need to re-phrase the headline to make it more intriguing or provocative. In other cases, perhaps your idea is too technical or just plain boring!
Regardless, make sure you refine your topics down in the basis of client value.
#7 Aim for balance
In some cases, it can make sense to offer two or more articles on the same subject or topic, in a content “series” kind of fashion (e.g. part 1, part 2 etc.). In most cases, however, you should try and provide a bit of variety to your clients so that at least one article for that month grabs their interest at that moment.