When I run full-day content strategy workshops and shorter content consultation sessions with accountants, a few questions come up time and again.
- What should I write or talk about?
- Do people still read blogs?
- Do I need to be making videos?
- Which social media platforms should I use?
I’m going to try to cover all of those in this post, starting with arguably the most useful thing: specific suggestions for content you might want to produce between now and 2022.
What should I post as an accountant?
In short, you should focus on topics that are either ‘evergreen’ or urgently topical, with a perspective only an accountant can bring.
The following ideas for content are a mix of things that are relevant right now – useful for driving topical conversations on social media – and that will have longer-term value.
There are a few ways to approach each topic.
You could simply state the facts (‘A quick guide to…’), go into more depth (‘A complete guide to…’) or offer commentary or opinion based on your own knowledge: ‘Why everyone else is wrong about…’
Making Tax Digital (MTD)
It feels like a 2018 topic but the fact is, it’s not going away, with MTD for income tax self-assessment (ITSA) coming in April 2023. ‘MTD for rental income’ is something particular that pops up as a suggested search via Google.
Corporation tax increases
In March this year, the Chancellor announced an increase in corporation tax due to kick in from 2023, with some complicated exemptions for small business. ‘Will I have to pay more corporation tax after 2023?’ might be a good starting point for some content.
Sole trader or limited company?
There’s a reason every accountancy firm has a variation on this post on its blog – it’s one of the most commonly asked client questions and therefore what we call evergreen content. To make your version pop, though, consider focusing on a particular sector, and emerging sectors in particular. ‘Sole trader or limited company Amazon FBA’ is a Google search that seems underserved with content.
Amazon, eBay and eCommerce
There’s been a huge boom in online shopping for obvious reasons. Those trading via online marketplaces and auction sites have lots of specific questions about how the systems work, software for integrating with Xero, VAT and so on. Again, the more specific and targeted your content the better: talk about particular apps and platforms, and specific niche sectors.
From clairvoyants to glamour models, there are all sorts of occupations that need accountants but which accountants rarely talk about. Trade-specific advice on allowable expenses, for example, or VAT, will be useful. This content will also send signals about your brand, letting people know that you’re not stuffy.
Off-payroll working, AKA IR35
This is a changing landscape and one which continues to be of interest to contractors and employers alike. What’s your take? How does it apply to specific trades or sectors? ‘IR35 for IT contractors in 2021’ would be a nicely specific starting point.
Cloud software recommendations
People want to be told which software to buy. If you have a strong opinion, and express it clearly, they’ll thank you. Which is best, and why do you rate it? It’s also an opportunity to link to your QuickBooks, Sage or Xero page, boosting your overall SEO performance.
Myths and mistakes
People love listicles and, sorry to say, are also often drawn to content with a negative spin. ‘Five myths about VAT that need to die’ or ‘Ten things startups always get wrong’ will probably grab attention. Thinking about the things your clients persistently misunderstand will help you make this your own.
Environment and ethics
With the Government increasingly using tax and policy levers to encourage green business and renewable energy, there’s a chance for your firm to position itself as an expert voice. From tax breaks for electric vehicles to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores, there’s plenty to talk about, too.
R&D and creative industry tax reliefs
These are great fuel for content because (a) they’re complex and (b) they remain underexplored. Again, the best results will come from finding specific details of each scheme to unpack, or from applying them to specific sectors. ‘R&D tax credits for architects explained’, for example, or ‘Can I claim creative industry tax reliefs for promotional films?’
That’s ten ideas. Now you can see the thought process, have a go at coming up with some of your own, with the following prompts:
- What questions do clients ask?
- What mistakes do they make?
- What do your clients in specific sectors need to know about?
- What do you have strong opinions on?
- Which upcoming changes will matter to your clients?
Yes, people still read blogs
First, let’s say this upfront: blogging is still important and worthwhile. For many people, including me, the written word is the best way to absorb information.
It’s true that the heyday of the blog as a medium was a decade ago…
…and that the hype has dropped away since then. In my opinion, however, that’s good news. Anyone who has attended one of my workshops will have heard my rather grumpy spiel about ‘content for content’s sake’.
That was the inevitable result of everyone setting up a blog regardless of whether they had anything useful to say, simply because everyone else was doing it.
Now, people who maintain blogs tend to do so because the form really works for them and/or for their audience – and because they have real expertise or insight to share.
Blogs should only be one strand of your content strategy, though – perhaps, for now, the most important part – but complemented with a range of other media, through other channels.
Looking for content that
Our results-focused content marketing is designed to cut through noise, nurture sales prospects and build your firm’s reputation.
Yes, you should be making videos
There is some evidence to suggest that, after a false dawn a few years ago, video has become more popular – especially on social media.
Research by HubSpot and Wyzowl published earlier this year found that 87% of those using video for marketing reported that it delivered a good return on their investment (ROI) – a figure that’s steadily grown from 33% in 2015. When it comes to how useful video is in helping people understand products and services, 94% of marketeers agreed this was the case.
The great news is, it’s quicker and easier than ever to make decent videos. And it’s also easy to use blog posts, the cornerstone of most content strategies, as inspiration for those videos.
Our free ‘Beginners’ guide to video marketing for accountants’ is a great place to start if you haven’t already.
Social media: presence vs. activity
Accountants should have accounts on all the major social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any others that spring to mind.
That’s because (a) it will stop someone else nabbing your name; (b) it can be a great business card, if nothing else; and (c) it can help your search engine rankings.
When it comes to posting actively, though, you might want to focus on just those platforms you know are used by your clients and potential clients. Or, alternatively, sign up to our social media service for accountants.
Twitter is the easiest place to share links to blog posts. It’s also worth sharing them on LinkedIn but be aware that its algorithm often deprioritises off-site content, which is why people do that ‘Link in comments’ thing.
LinkedIn allows room for some quite lengthy content in its own right. It’s a quick-win to take your blog posts and share summaries of them, or even entire chunks copied and pasted, as LinkedIn status updates.
Facebook can be good for reaching sole traders and high street businesses, because that’s where their clients tend to hang out.
Instagram is harder work for accountants but if you work with retail, leisure, beauty and hospitality businesses, it could be worth focusing some attention there.
Video also works well across all the major platforms.
We run day-long content strategy workshops for accountancy firms, typically generating 50-75 unique content ideas.
Get in touch to book yours.