Content marketing is a hungry beast. For your content plan to be full to the brim with interesting blogs, emails and how-to guides, you’ve got to feed the content beast enough juicy words to keep it happy – and that means that one truly fundamental task must be completed:
You’re going to have to write something! (Eek!!)
Yep, scary, we know. As content marketers, we understand that the transition from left-brain technical thinking to right-brain creative thinking is not an easy one for every accountant.
And we hear a lot of different reasons why our accountancy clients are worried or stressed about starting the writing process.
But the best way to conquer a fear is to own it, and simply get started.
Here are the top five problems accountants have with content writing, and the best ways to overcome that fear, becoming best friends with the content beast.
1. I don’t know where to begin…
As we mentioned in our last blog, a blank page can be a scary place to start the writing process. So it’s probably best not to sit down in front of your laptop and to stare at Microsoft Word for an hour seeking inspiration.
Content writing is all about telling stories and sharing a narrative with your audience. The place to start is by referring to the real world, real clients and real business stories that you deal with every day in practice.
- Think about common questions you’re being asked by business owners, or issues that seem to be coming up regularly with clients. These are the seeds that will provide the green shoots of your content ideas.
- When an idea strikes, write it down or make a note of it – and try to have somewhere central online that the whole team can do this.
- Keep up to date with business and industry news sources and see what’s topical for your clients and your audiences.
- When you have a library of content ideas, take some time out to expand and enhance these rough sketches. Take a title or theme and write down the five key things you feel are most important or fundamental to the topic – and use these ‘key points’ as the framework for your piece of content.
So, if you don’t know where to begin, and hate the thought of beginning with a blank screen, this is the way to avoid it. Take your content ideas, your title and your key points and give yourself a blueprint to write around, and see where these bare bones take you.
2. I don’t consider myself a writer…
We’re constantly told by accountants that ‘I’m not a writer’ or ‘I’m not creative’. But in this digital age, we’re ALL writers.
Stop and think how many emails, texts and social media posts you write every day. All of them require you to write – and if people read those words and understand your intended message then you sure as mustard know how to write. There’s no ‘magic’ to it. It’s just about being clear, confident and honest in your writing.
Creativity isn’t just something that’s restricted to marketers, either. Every time you’re faced with a financial issue to solve for a client, you’re using your creativity and innovation to come up with the right solution. It’s just a case of rethinking what ‘creative’ means:
- Coming up with new and interesting topics to talk about
- Finding new stories, analogies and examples that demonstrate your ideas
- Applying the benefits of digital marketing and social media in new ways
- Telling stories that give your clients and prospects new ways of working
We’re confident that you can do all of these things, with a little help from us and the team of people around you.
3. I’m just too busy…
In a busy accountancy firm, it’s very easy to get lost in the everyday fee-earning work and client service – after all, that’s what clients are paying you to do. The problem is that it leaves very little time for marketing and content writing.
But if you’re going to make your content sing, you’ve got to put in the time – and place enough priority on your writing as an important part of your business development.
We all have the same number of hours every day – the same as Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa and Albert Einstein. Everyone is busy. The ‘busy’ excuse isn’t enough to explain why you’re not writing: it’s a lazy default we use when we don’t know why we’re avoiding something.
Here are a few ways to use your time well:
- When you think of a great idea, topic, or story, starting writing straight away. You don’t have to write the whole thing – but you do need to start. Taking 3 minutes to write the first few sentences will save you hours of time later.
- Put aside a few hours every week in your diary that’s ‘content writing time’. Make content marketing and writing an integral part of your business week – not an afterthought on your to-do list. (Most importantly, do NOT let client work or new prospect meetings intrude. We know you’ve done this before, and how well has that worked for you? Exactly.)
- Delegate writing a blog, or thinking of a new how-to guide topic, to someone else in the team – all the pressure doesn’t need to be on your own shoulders.
- Outsource the actual content writing, and either send key points to the outsourced writer, or have a phone call or interview with the writer and tell them everything you’re thinking on that topic. They can do the writing and you can review it, make a few edits and see it done. (This is how we work at PF when we’re writing content for accountants.)
4. I want it to be perfect…
In accounting, being a perfectionist is a great character trait – with accounts and tax work, knowing that everything is accurate, correct and perfect is precisely what you do. But when you’re starting to draft a piece of content, perfection isn’t your key aim.
“The first draft is perfect, because all it has to do is exist.”
What’s more important than ANYTHING when writing is that you get some real passion, truth and honesty into your content. It doesn’t matter how rough your first draft is, the critical thing is to get your idea down on paper.
- Capture your thoughts, ideas and client stories on paper as quickly as you can.
- Don’t overthink it – just write, write, WRITE from the heart.
- Go back the next day and re-read, review and edit out the bits you don’t need.
- Keep the insightful, interesting bits and ditch the filler… (and check for typos!).
5. I feel like my content doesn’t matter
One reaction that we see a lot is the question ‘But who’s going to read this blog anyway?’. And this lack of belief in your own content can be a big hurdle to making your marketing effective.
If you don’t feel that what you’re writing and posting is interesting, valuable and offering real practical advice to an engaged audience, that will undermine your confidence. But the key thing with any content marketing is that you’ve got to BELIEVE there’s an audience out there.
- Identify some ‘ideal client types’ that you’re aiming your content towards.
- Keep these personalities and audiences in mind when you write and jot down blog ideas.
- Write a blog aimed at (for example) tech start-ups, and another aimed at property businesses – and see the impact when clients in these sectors genuinely get something valuable and helpful from what you’re sharing out there in the digital world.
Be confident, honest and passionate
There you have it. Writing may seem like a big job to take on but, in truth, there’s nothing to be scared of when you start down the content marketing path.
Be confident in the themes, topics and ideas you share with your audience, and make sure that your writing conveys the expertise and passion you have for your work. With social media making it easier than ever to share and communicate with your clients and prospects, there’s never been a better time to get writing and posting content.