It’s easy to think of marketing as something that’s only relevant to the management board and the marketing team within your firm.
With traditional outbound marketing, it was the senior team that identified the campaigns, signed off the press adverts and did the interviews with the local paper to promote your new service offering. So everyone else in the firm saw marketing as ‘someone else’s problem’ and not part of their role – in short, marketing was put in it’s own neat little silo, away from the day-to-day, fee-earning side of the firm.
But times have changed. This ingrained thinking doesn’t work anymore.
Old school marketing doesn’t do the job in these digital-savvy, social media-driven times.
These days, EVERYONE in the team is a marketer and a representative of your firm’s brand: and embracing this fact will help you to meet the needs of your clients a lot more effectively.
Modern business owners and entrepreneurs want:
- Helpful practical advice that solves their business issues
- Regular, engaging content that’s targeted to their needs
- Accountants who they can connect with and who reveal their true personality
- Business advisers who are true partners and who understand their business
To deliver this, your marketing needs a rethink. By publishing helpful content that truly reflects your personality, your clients and the things your team talk about every day, your marketing will reflect your expertise, knowledge and value.
Achieving this is far easier when the content ideas, the blog topics and the social media replies are coming thick and fast from every single person in the team – not just through the filter of the senior partner.
8 key ways to get your team content-savvy
So, how do you get the whole team singing along to the same content melody?
1. Make sure everyone knows what content marketing is
Everyone (from the intern in the accounts team up to the senior tax partner) is a representative of your firm’s brand. So the whole firm has to understand why content creation, social media interactions and online relationships are important. Arrange ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, send your team on training sessions, or use team meeting time to get this point across.
2. Be prepared for confusion or concern
Most people hate change, and accountants are no exception. When it comes to bringing everyone on board, there WILL be dissenters and critics. Address this up front by helping every team member understand how their role (whatever it is) has a direct impact on the firm as a whole – its turnover, its profits, their salary, their bonuses… whatever it is that will help them be motivated to see that ‘marketing’ doesn’t mean ‘lining the partners’ pockets’.
3. Give everyone the best content marketing training
Training and education are a vital part of building a content marketing mindset into the fabric of the team. When people feel you’re investing in their skills and their future, they’ll have a more positive outlook on any change process. So put time aside for proper training, whether this is face-to-face or using easily manageable online tools and resources like our Social Marketer or Content Marketer programmes.
4. Get the team involved in two-way communication with clients
When employees aren’t involved directly with clients, it makes them feel distanced and disengaged from their work. Social media is a great way to get the whole team interacting in two-way conversations with clients and targets. Set clear guidelines for social media best practice, but trust your team to apply the same professional standards on social media as they would in face-to-face conversations.
5. Make your content creation a democratic process
The broader you cast your content ideas net, the more bountiful the catch will be. So make sure everyone in the firm is involved in suggesting ideas for topics, blog posts, events and longer-form guides and content. Ask for suggestions in team meetings, or have a central online resource (like a Google Sheet or Dropbox folder) where everyone can note down suggestions for content when the thought is fresh in their mind.
6. Make people responsible for a key area of content
If you have a number of different industry niches, or specialist departments in the firm, then nominate someone from within the team to lead each area of content. Giving someone a key responsibility for all pensions-related content, or all property-related blog posts, helps to make the team feel motivated and influencing the firm’s content output.
7. Make sure the team know it’s ok to set aside time for marketing
If your team are feeling the pressure to deliver accounts, send emails and have meetings with clients, they won’t know how to fit marketing into that mix as well. The subtle culture of ‘billable time’ needs to be addressed. Allow team members to diarise a certain amount of time per week to research topics, talk to relevant case study clients or take online training. The biggest challenge may be your own: if you’re worried about how this will directly bring in money for the firm, it might be time for content marketing training for yourself.
8. Be experimental and try new ideas
Accountancy is not an industry known for taking huge risks, but do try new and innovative ideas for content, marketing and events. Let people make mistakes. Give something a try and don’t evaluate it purely on the ‘we spent £x and we got £y back’ formula – that may only discourage you and the team. Content marketing is a long-term game that everyone needs to play.
There’s always something new to learn when it comes to content marketing. Nothing stands still when it comes to social media tactics, SEO best practice and content preferences, so it’s important to continually educate yourself and your team to keep your content fresh.
Sign your team up for the Content Marketer course and start embracing the content marketing mindset.