As a sales and marketing coach, you’d better believe that I’ve seen my fair share of content marketing mistakes over the years. When done right, content marketing is a powerful tool to attract high-value clients to your accounting or bookkeeping firm. Unfortunately, however, there are a lot of people out there getting it wrong.
Attracting clients to your firm rather than chasing them down sounds like a dream right? Well, sure, but dreams require hard work. You can’t post a few Facebook updates every now and then and expect clients to come knocking at your door. Content marketing is a little more complicated than that, and there are several common mistakes that can really hold you back.
What is Content Marketing?
First things first, let’s establish what content marketing is – and what it isn’t.
Simply put, content marketing is about telling rather than selling. It’s not putting an ad out saying “hey there, please choose us!” Content marketing isn’t about self-promotion, it’s about the audience. By creating online material to entertain and educate your audience, you generate brand awareness and interest in your business. Your content could take the form of:
- Blog posts
- LinkedIn updates
- Live videos
- YouTube videos
… Just to name a few.
By creating content, you’re able to cut through the noise and position yourself as the go-to firm for your client niche. Quality content leads your audience to trust and respect you. It creates an emotional connection that allows you to stand out from the crowd. It truly is a superpower… when you get it right.
Let’s dive into the common content marketing mistakes I see firm owners making all the time and, more importantly, how to fix them.
1. Not Creating Content Every Day
In order for your content marketing to work, your content has to be visible every single day.
In order to be visible every day, you have to publish content every day.
You can’t just upload a YouTube video once in a blue moon, or post a quick LinkedIn update whenever you feel like it.
I get it. You’re an accountant or a bookkeeper, not a creative. You don’t want to sit there creating content all day. You don’t have time, or perhaps you just don’t enjoy it. Therefore, “create content” sinks further and further down your to-do list, and it just never gets done.
The thing is, you need to be creating a consistent stream of content or you won’t be visible. And how can you stand out to your audience if they can’t even see you?
So what can you do?
In this case, the best thing you can do is outsource. If you never get around to creating content yourself, get someone else to do it for you. Outsourcing your content is very cost-effective and allows you to stay visible without losing focus on your core business. For more on this, check out The Content Lounge.
2. Not Enough Reach
Reach is an essential part of your content marketing strategy. It refers to the number of people who actually see your content.
Being visible is one thing but actually being seen is a different matter. Content that goes unseen is totally useless, so you need to reach as many people as possible.
One way to increase your reach is to create more content. The more content you publish, the more likely it is to be seen. However, it’s not enough for your content to just exist. You need to promote it.
In order to increase your reach, you need to consistently publish and promote content every day across multiple different platforms. The more, the better. Your LinkedIn updates, for example, can also be posted on Facebook and Instagram. If you do regular livestreams, use simulcasting to make use of multiple platforms at once.
Being present – and, more importantly, active – on multiple channels each day is vital to ensure that your content reaches as many prospective clients as possible.
3. A Lack of Action
What I’m about to say may shock you…
Content marketing does not get you clients.
Your blogs, videos and social updates aren’t what ultimately make a client choose you. The purpose of engaging content is to start those all-important conversations.
No matter how amazing your content marketing is, it won’t get you predictable lead generation because you’re relying on people reaching out to you. You have no control over who sees your content or the action that they take.
This is why your content marketing needs to not only show prospective clients that you’re the expert in your field, but actively engage them in a conversation with you. You need to leverage your content to generate leads that ultimately convert into sales.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to ensure that you put a call to action (CTA) at the end of every blog post, social update or video to get people talking to you. You don’t want your audience to admire you from afar, you want to actively build relationships with them.
CTAs are usually a short sentence at the end of a piece of content that urge your audience to do something. After all, you don’t want your them to finish checking out your content and then continue scrolling. You want them to take action and engage in a real conversation about how you can help their business.
Remember, it’s called “content marketing” not “content publishing.”
4. Selling Too Hard
Content marketing is not about the hard sell.
Content marketing is about entertaining and educating your audience with the end goal of engaging them. It’s not an out-and-out advertisement. Your content should serve your audience, not sell to them. You position yourself as an expert by delivering value, not by insisting that you’re the best. Your content channels and sales pages are two very different things.
Think about it: do you want to read a blog post that’s filled to the brim with self-promotion? No. You came to learn something, not to read a long-winded ad.
It’s important to maintain the line between copy and content. Bear the old adage in mind: “content tells, copy sells.”
5. The Wrong Strategy
Content marketing will never bring you clients if your strategy is wrong.
You can publish engaging content every single day. You can have thousands of likes and comments and views, but all of that means nothing if your strategy misses the mark.
So what makes a good content marketing strategy?
1. You have to target the right people.
2. You have to create the right offer for that audience.
3. You have to take the right message to market for that offer and audience.
If one of these three elements is wrong, then I hate to say it, but no amount of marketing will work. Your audience, offer and message define your entire content marketing strategy and so you need to be absolutely clear on these factors before you do anything else. In order to successfully market your firm, you need a proven step-by-step process and the right tools and tactics to implement it.
6. Not Focusing on Evergreen Content
Evergreen content means content that stays relevant for a long time. Just as evergreen trees keep their leaves throughout the seasons, your content should keep driving traffic all year round. This is particularly applicable to forms of content with a long lifespan, such as blog posts, Pinterest pins and YouTube videos.
If your content focuses too much on daily news and viral trends, it won’t stay relevant for long. Concentrate on topics that people will still be researching well into the future. Social media posts have a much shorter lifespan, so if you’re really keen to say something about a flash-in-the-pan trend, that’s the place to do it.
Evergreen content has a much greater ROI than trending topics, so it’s a big mistake not to prioritise this type of content.
7. Not Reviewing Your Performance
You can’t just throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. If that’s your content marketing strategy then you’re in deep trouble.
It’s crucial that you take time to review how well your content is performing. That way you can double down on what’s driving engagement and adjust or eliminate the processes that aren’t.
I’d advise reviewing your content marketing performance at least once per quarter. Some important questions to ask are:
- Which channel generated the most website views, leads and sales?
- Which channel had the highest ROI?
- Which type of content received the most engagement, and how well did that convert into leads and sales?
The Power of Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there, but it still requires planning, strategy and consistent action. Many firm owners fail at content marketing because they hope that a few random LinkedIn posts will suffice. Successful content marketing requires investment and dedication, just like any other area of your business. It’s not easy, but when done correctly, it’s a powerful and effective way of attracting high-value clients and propelling your firm towards success.