By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
Published in AccountingToday on May 27, 2014.
by Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president
Between the rising popularity of content marketing and the fact that it isn’t going anywhere soon, many firms these days find themselves pondering the important question, “What do we have to say?” The possibilities are endless! Rather than getting bogged down in existential paralysis, firms should embrace the convenience provided by that unlimited scope.
You can explain a new regulation or law. You can comment on an article that someone else shared (with proper attribution, of course). You can even enlighten your readers with a funny story that teaches a lesson. Whatever you do, don’t overlook the vast resource for content development that is right in front of you.
One of the best places to mine content is from your very own clients. We’ve talked before about the benefits of sharing case studies on your website and other marketing materials, but you can also create some amazing blog posts and videos from your clients’ stories as well.
Answer Their Questions
At most firms, it’s not uncommon for your clients to call with you a question about their business finances or personal tax issues. Why not create a firm-wide repository for these questions as they are asked and then use this as fodder for blog posts when you need it? If one client has a question about a particular issue, others are probably facing the same situation. By answering these questions, you can quickly become the usual information resource for your clients, referral sources and even prospects. And if you are the firm with all the answers, you’re likely to be the firm with quite a few new clients as well.
Share a Common Issue
Tax laws change frequently, creating issues that will need to be handled for a group of your clients. Rather than waiting for them to call and ask about it, create a blog post explaining the issue and discussing how they can prepare for it in their business or personal lives. Or explain how it will impact them now and down the road and list strategies to work around the new challenge. Yes, I realize you are giving away a wee bit of the store, but in the end your clients and those considering your firm will appreciate your help and come to you when they need it. In most cases, having an idea about what they’ll need to do to handle the situation will increase the likelihood of them coming to you for help implementing the changes. Few readers will take the knowledge you’ve given them and blithely skip off to handle it independently.
Recount a Challenge
None of us are perfect, and sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to get to the correct answer. Why not share this with your readers? Walk them through the process you went through to solve the problem and even share the dead-ends you encountered along the way. This saga will clearly demonstrate that you thoroughly review all options at your disposal and eliminate those that don’t work. It will answer questions your readers may have, too. They will appreciate the answer but even better, you will communicate the fact that you don’t jump to a conclusion without looking at all the options to ensure you land on the best one.
Simply Tell Their Story
Of course, one of the best ways to share information is through the words of your clients. Case studies need not be long or cumbersome. Simply recount the challenge at hand, the way you resolved it and the result of your work with a particular client. Ideally, you will include your clients’ comments on your work together and recount the story in their own words as much as possible. It’s a powerful way to share your expertise without patting yourself on the back too much. Think about it: you can talk about how good you are all day long, but when someone else takes the time to praise you and your work, it comes across as much less self-serving and far more powerful.
What other ideas for content development can you share? Have you tried any of these on your blog yet? What has been the response?