PracticeWeb is launching a new series of short, easy-to-understand guides covering the basics of digital marketing, one aspect at a time, because we’ve been listening to the accountants we work with.
One of the easiest and most powerful sources of ideas for content is a list of questions you’ve been asked by clients, such as “What does this phrase SEO you keep saying actually mean?”
That’s a paraphrasing of a real comment I had during a content strategy workshop a few months ago. It stung a bit, if I’m honest, because I like to think of myself as someone who communicates clearly.
When I told my colleagues about it, some of them had similar stories, or were reminded of questions they’d been surprised to be asked by clients.
The problem is, spending most days surrounded by people who are experts in various aspects of marketing and communications, from graphic design to website development, it’s easy to get lured into the cosy embrace of technical jargon.
Your idea of what is obvious, universal knowledge gets a bit skewed.
You forget that CRO, CRM and CMS aren’t everyday turns of phrase, and that not everybody is familiar with Google Panda or Screaming Frog.
There’s a rule in writing which is that the first time you use an abbreviation you spell it out. Equally, the first time you use an unusual term, you should explain it. We all know this, but it’s so easy to let the habit slip.
At PracticeWeb, with that in mind, we’ve decided it’s time to refresh our commitment to helping accountants understand, engage with and get the most out of marketing.
Introducing our beginner’s guides
Our new series of free downloadable eBooks have been written with absolute beginners in mind and our guiding principle has been to assume no knowledge on the part of the reader.
That feels counter-intuitive because accountants are, by definition, among the most knowledgeable people around. They’ve built careers on understanding highly complex, technical information and applying it was precision. They’re smart – sometimes intimidatingly so.
The last thing we want to do is talk down to them.
At the same time, we need to acknowledge that our field of expertise is very different to theirs.
The first guide in the series is on the subject of search engine optimisation (SEO) and is a case in point.
As we were putting it together, we challenged ourselves constantly: are we skipping something here? Does this passage go into enough detail? Would it really clarify things for the refreshingly honest client who inspired all of this?
This is a principle we’re always preaching: write with your audience in mind, and ideally a specific buyer persona in mind – or even better, a real person.
We hope you think we’ve got the balance right, but do let us know if not, especially if there’s somewhere you think we could have gone into more detail or been even more clear in our explanations.
Whether it’s a chat on the phone, an exchange of emails, a follow-up blog post or revised editions of the eBooks, we’ll find a way to give you the additional information you need.
What’s on the agenda?
The second, the beginner’s guide to social media for accountants, by Declan Cox with Melissa Tredinnick, went live on 6 August.
In all honesty, though, there’s not much we do at PracticeWeb that isn’t a true team effort, and all of these documents are the product of conversations across the business.
Coming shortly, we’ve also beginner’s guides to:
- Webinars put together by our marketing manager, Philippa Jordan, with input from our colleagues at AccountingWEB.
- Google Analytics, by our managing director Mike Crook.
- Customer relationship management systems (CRMs), by our commercial director Zoe Sweet.
- Using video in your marketing, by me.
If there’s a subject you’d like us to cover, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion for a topic and any specific questions you have.
Our aim is that, by the end of the year, we’ve got a comprehensive suite of learning materials that accountants will want to bookmark for reference.
After all, the better our clients understand the underlying principles of marketing, the more confident they’ll be as buyers of marketing services, and the more productive and efficient our conversations will be.