Attracting quality leads is the lifeblood of any thriving business, and leveraging what’s topical to create relevant content can help accountants do just that.

Brexit and Making Tax Digital (MTD) have been two of the most topical news stories in the first three months of 2019 and both have proved to be great sources of lead-generation focused content.

Perhaps you have businesses that are seeing cashflow drop amid Brexit uncertainty, or have VAT-registered clients that still bring you paper records.

Straight off the bat there are two opportunities to engage with your client: one from a business planning perspective, another from a technology or compliance angle. Both were relevant, and both were topical in the first quarter of this year.

What clients want to read

One big challenge for writers in the accountancy sector is finding what your clients or ideal prospects want to read. Another is knowing precisely when they want to read it.

It’s one thing getting into the habit of spotting topics in the news that could affect your clients. But it’s another thing altogether to get that content in front of a prospect at a moment when they have the time and inclination to engage.

You could dial into what business owners are searching for on Google, such as ‘what is Making Tax Digital’, and build content around that. You could even research and include related keywords and synonyms to drive traffic to your website.

Another approach is to create a content calendar, building this around evergreen topics occurring at the same time every year. The most obvious example surrounds self-assessment tax returns, which need to be in with HMRC by midnight on 31 January. Two self-assessment deadlines each tax year means two chances to release timely content into the ether at the right time.

As these deadlines seldom change, you can rely on being able to publish content around them, too, which provides at least a semblance of a reassuring structure to your annual communications plan.

Content is more than just words

How customers consume content is changing. Older generations may prefer to buy a newspaper, today’s youth may prefer to view videos or listen to podcasts. You can see why it’s important to move with the times.

We’ve certainly seen an increase in the demand for both these forms of digital content. Short, snappy content that can be posted on your website or social media has the capacity to grab people and has direct impact. Even if it’s not the right format for in-depth guidance, it can compel customers to find out or more about the topic, which will hopefully mean contacting you for assistance.

More people consume content on their smartphones now than ever before (Ofcom – PDF download).

Varying the type of content you produce can also be a helpful way to keep an existing audience interested. You might use a video clip to break up a longer blog post or to illustrate a case study, for example.

Providing a positive experience

Topical content for accountants needs to be part of an overall positive experience of your business and the services it provides.

Ask yourself: is your website easy to navigate, particularly on a smartphone or tablet? Is the content jargon-free? Whether it’s timeless and relatively conservative, or modern and informal, does your firm’s identity come across clearly?

According to research from software giant Salesforce, 80% of its customers say the experience provided by a company is as important as its products or services, so the onus is on you to make the right impression and turn that lead into a new client.

Consider this: if this approach leads to one prospect becoming a new client who pays fixed fees of £2,500 a year, assuming a seven-year relationship, this could be worth £17,500 to your practice. The ends clearly justify the means.