You: “Yes, Karen, I get this whole content marketing malarkey. I realise I’ve got to write blogs and create content that is relevant and helpful for my target audience.
But I’ve done that. I’ve written some blogs and updated my website and recorded a few videos and tried Facebook Live, and no one is seeing it. I’m not getting the leads. It’s not working, Karen.”
There are three things that will get your content noticed:
- Be passionately fascinated by what you can learn
- Keep at it for months and months and months (this is where I share some numbers for you!)
- Share it everywhere
1. Be passionately fascinated by what you can learn
Starting is great. I’m encouraged and re-motivated myself when I see accountants starting to learn social media, or pushing themselves to write blogs, or completing homework items in our Accelerator programme.
But starting is not enough. Even continuing, steadily and consistently, on its own is not enough.
As you are starting, and as you are continuing, the level of passion and enthusiasm that you have for the game will directly influence the results you receive.
Here’s how you can intensify your learning experience:
- Follow people who do it well. And follow the type of people and businesses that you like. My Twitter feed is full of breweries, coffee shops, creative agency owners, vloggers, whisky distilleries, comedians. When they put out a new video or blog post or Instagram story or GIF, notice what they did and how they did it, and think about how you can apply it to your accounting business.
- Spend time with people who are also passionate about learning all things marketing. After Xerocon, I met up with Andrew & Pete, who were speakers at this year’s event. They’re fun people, and they love content marketing and do it well. It transpired during the evening that a friend of theirs was joining them, and he’s also passionate about all things social and content marketing. An hour later we were all sharing an Uber, and I was recording live on Twitter that Pete was Instagramming Carl writing a tweet and using the Andrew & Pete GIFs. If none of that makes sense to you, then you need to hang out with people like Andrew & Pete, and Carl.
- Go to marketing conferences. Accountants are great at going to accounting events and conferences and seminars and workshops. Naturally there’s some CPD that you need to gain, and presumably this all helps you be a better accountant. Well, if you want to be a better marketer, go learn about marketing. Make sure you go to good ones, though. Here’s my list of the top marketing conferences. Off you go.
- Get training. Online, offline, with a coach, group training, one on one, whatever suits you. Because accountants are such experts, there’s a real danger that you resist marketing training because you don’t feel comfortable having someone else tell you what to do. You’re used to calling the shots. You’re the one that people come to and ask for advice, and most of it you know off the top of your head. That’s comfortable. You feel good about yourself. It encourages you that you’re doing a good thing. But you have to be humble enough to be trained by an expert in something you know very little about. If you don’t know where to begin, our 12 week Accelerator programme has literally been built exactly for you. If you’ve been getting these marketing tips for a while, you may have a connection with the way I work and speak and do my best to practice what I preach. I’m the one running the programme, so you get to learn with me!
- Ask all the questions. The adage “there’s no stupid questions” definitely applies here. Better to ask something that you feel makes you look a little foolish for a few minutes, than to continue doing marketing that will make you and your firm look foolish for years on end. If you don’t know who to ask, I’m here. Ask away.
2. Keep at it for months and months and months.
Col Gray, who is our Head Brand Designer (and also the owner of brand company Pixels Ink) set his own challenge of delivering a video every day for 100 days.
Once the video challenge was complete, he continues to record videos on branding, logo design, and graphic design.
Here are the numbers Col shared on how long it took to build his subscriber base (which is currently sitting at nearly three thousand):
- 0 – 250 = 6 months
- 250 – 1000 = 5 months
- 1000 – 1500 = 2 months
- 1500 – 2000 = 6 weeks
- 2000 – 2500 = 4 weeks
The longest stretch of time is the first stretch.
When no one has heard of you, and your content feels like it is going out into a black hole of nothingness, and what does it matter anyway, you’re building a foundation that will be added on much faster down the road.
I would encourage you to set yourself a challenge: it’s the only way to power through the low days, the discouragements, the feeling that this isn’t working. Here are a few to choose from.
I suggest the 100 day mark for the daily challenges, or 6 months for the weekly ones. It’s long enough to push you past the initial enthusiasm and short enough that the end is still in sight.
- Write a blog every week
- Record a video every day
- Pick a social media platform and post something every day
- Go on Facebook live or Instagram story once a week
- Create a custom image using Canva or a similar app every day
- Write a personal email to your clients every two weeks (tell a story, share an idea, ask for input)
The best way to make any of these challenges effective is to create a list of topics so you’re not being random or rambling. But even if you are rambling, do it anyway. That’s the way to learn.
3. Share it everywhere.
It’s all good to create content but how do you make sure it’s visible?
Whatever challenge you pick up, give yourself the accountability of telling people you’re doing it. Then add to that accountability by sharing everything you create – EVERYTHING. If you record a live video and you think it sounds terrible or is at an awful angle or is rambling and pointless, keep it. Share it. Share your thoughts about it and be real about how hard it is.
You’ll be surprised by how many people are encouraged – because we’re all finding things hard. Running a business is hard. Life is hard. Family is hard. Creating content is hard. When someone else we admire finds it hard too, we have a connection with them.
Here are 9 places you can start with, to share your content.
Always include a good image with your content, or a screenshot of your video if it doesn’t appear automatically.
You can also mix and match: if you write a blog, share it on all the socials and embed a video too. Rewrite a website page, and embed a video that points back to the blog, which is shared on social…you get the idea.
- Facebook – This is a visual platform: make sure you include a good image.
- Twitter – Keep the intro short, with 1-2 hashtags at the most.
- LinkedIn – Your profile, your company profile, a group
- YouTube – Create a channel for you or your firm
- Vimeo – Cleaner than YouTube, but a little less reach. Good for embedding into a website page or blog post.
- Instagram – Share one image, multiple images, a video, or a live story
- Blog – This is on your website. Include your other content within this blog: images, video, links to other blogs or social posts.
- Website pages – You can have a static page, one that doesn’t change massively. This would be something like our About page. Or, you could create a simple landing page which is for a particular purpose, like our page on the Traits of the Entrepreneurial Accountant guide
- Email – Integrating content also works here. Write an email, and link it back to your new web page or blog post. Encourage people to follow you on social too.
There are hundreds more of course, but this is a great place to start.