Content Marketing Tips for Accountants

Gusto Editors

How can content impact your bottom line? Content is the powerhouse of marketing, driving some of the best results of any form of advertising. In a world where “content is king,” your firm will significantly benefit from crafting a strategy designed to bolster your reputation and boost conversions.

Gusto partnered with CPA Academy for the webinar “How to Do Content Marketing at Your Firm From Two CPAs Who are Pretty Good at It,” featuring Greg Kyte from Comedy CPE and Gusto’s own Caleb Newquist. The two pros gave hilarious insights into important questions like: What does content marketing consist of? What are the best content marketing examples? How can your firm create a content marketing strategy that works? Keep reading to learn how the two presenters showed how to make accounting fun, funny, and interesting enough to make a lasting impression in people’s minds. 

Content marketing tip #1: Develop an authentic voice

Caleb is a master at developing a voice that’s approachable, unique, and uniquely his own. When asked how he developed the voice for his site Going Concern, he said: 

“I took my interior monologue and I wrote it out in words. … I do think there is something about writing how we have a conversation Just like we’re having a conversation now, or how you’re having a conversation with your friends at the bar or over dinner, or at a ballgame, or whatever it is that you do, wherever you hang out with people and talking to them about things. … I think your content can take on that same feel and that voice and that tone.”

– Caleb Newquist

Have you read any industry blogs or websites? They’re usually written in the same formal, robotic tone. There’s no sense of a person behind them. Yet the notion that people like to buy things from people is ubiquitous in the business world. That’s why developing an authentic voice is key. 

“Ultimately, when people are reading you, … they start to get to know you. They start to have a certain expectation [such as] … I know what he sounds like. There’s something in the words, the way he writes that I can hear.”

– Caleb Newquist

So, avoid sounding like you’re writing a thesis or an article in an accounting magazine. Instead, work on your authentic voice. This will take some experimenting. Practice writing what you’re trying to say, and ask yourself how you might explain this idea to a friend. Write like you talk. Then go back and refine it based on what’s appropriate for your firm and your audience. And remember: Don’t try to sound like someone else.

“My hunch is that my particular style probably isn’t suitable for most folks. Or maybe it might be suitable for some folks. And so, that’s something you have to experiment with. But in general, using your interior monologue, however that sounds, or however it sounds after you have a couple of pints at the bar. That’s a good indication of where you can take it.”

– Caleb Newquist

Another tip? Have fun with it. Include funny anecdotes, jokes, and personal stories. If you’re having fun yourself, your audience will have fun too. 

View of hands of male working away on a laptop in portrait view

Content marketing tip #2: Look to other sources

Coming up with ideas for regular content can be tricky. The fact is, not every idea you have will be your own. With so many resources out there, it’s only natural that many of your insights will be inspired by other people. This is fine. Either put your own take on it or give an explicit response. Your reaction to it is your unique content.

To do this right, you’ll need to always attribute your sources. That’s just an industry standard.  Without doing so, you’re not only plagiarizing, but losing trust from your readers. Include outbound links to the source and make it clear that you’re pulling data or insights from them.

“It’s always important to say where that content comes from and attribute it to the right place. And possibly the author if that’s appropriate. … Also [link] back to it so that your audience can follow it and make their own determination of whether or not your reaction is warranted.”

– Caleb Newquist

Referring to other people’s work also helps to build trust in your brand and your authority. You’re giving people insights but also opportunities to explore ideas for themselves. Additionally, it’s best practice to include numerous links in long-form content. It may have a positive effect on your SEO rankings.

Content marketing tip #3: Find a niche

Niche is now a buzzword in the content marketing world. So what is niche content? It’s content that’s tailored towards a specific demographic or subset of people with whom you can build a  lasting relationship.  It’s an important element of the content marketing process because it increases the likelihood that you’ll become the go-to expert for your readers. 

“If you’re not niche, you’re wasting your time.”

– Greg Kyte

Considering how many accounting businesses are online, showing that you have general knowledge or expertise will only take you so far. People may read your content. They may see you as knowledgeable. But you are probably not instantly the first firm they think of when they need help.

Why is this? Well, you have a lot of competition. So the more narrow your niche, the higher the likelihood that you’ll be one of few authoritative sources people turn to. 

“The goal of content marketing is to have your customers recognize and appreciate your expertise. But if your customer is everyone, then people aren’t going to be searching for what you have to say about what is important to them. … They might see you as an expert overall, but they may not see you as the expert that they need to reach out to when they’re having trouble and when they need to pay money to somebody to solve their problems.”

– Greg Kyte

Who does your firm serve? Are you catering to families? Businesses? Entrepreneurs? Athletes? Could you narrow the focus more? If you’re an independent CPA, consider bridging your personal and professional interests. Greg has created a very unique brand out of merging comedy and accounting. You can also consider industries you never thought of before.

“I was thinking about tattoo parlors and tattoo artists. I think that’s a great niche because … there’s not an overabundance of people specifically trying to serve those people. As soon as you go: My niche is with tattoo parlors [and] tattoo artists, then you start going. … ‘Okay, what are the best tax deductions that people are overlooking if they’re in this industry?’ And then you write about it.”

– Greg Kyte

You can also have multiple niches—so write for all of them! If you’re concerned that you don’t know enough about the topic, don’t worry. Selecting a niche will force you to learn about it, which will naturally make your writing more authoritative. And writing about it will reinforce the knowledge.

“Not only does a niche help you learn, and learning helps you write, but writing helps you learn, too. … To be able to create content well, especially on a specific topic, you have to read about it. We’re not to the point where we have a neural link that’s just going to pop the information into our brain. We have to go out and find content and read about it. And then if we take that content, and we try to distill it in our own way, you’re going to find yourself knowing a lot about it or knowing more about it.”

– Caleb Newquist

Content marketing tip #4: Create content consistently

No matter what content marketing platforms you’re using, consistency is key. That will mean different things for different platforms. You may need to do a blog post once a week, while social media content creation may come more easily.  You can probably swing several tweets or Facebook posts a week.

Two colleagues sitting on a couch facing a male colleague standing and speaking

It’s better to post less, but on a regular basis, than post high volumes of content sporadically. So be sure to have a schedule and stick to the schedule, even if it means you stay up late doing it. Take it seriously enough to set deadlines and stick to them.

“Nothing motivates production like terror. And so, things like deadlines are really, really useful for that. Accountants are used to deadlines. We deal with them all the time. Regardless of what service you focus on, deadlines are reality. So, if you apply that same thinking to your content marketing, you’re going to find that you will produce something, especially if you’re taking it seriously, and it’s important to you. That kind of internal pressure is a really great motivator.”

– Caleb Newquist

Greg shared that when he first got Twitter, he forced himself to tweet three accounting jokes every day along with links to articles. Some days it was easy, other days it was a struggle. But he did it no matter what. Within a few years, he had a pretty huge following. 

Learn more content marketing tips for accountants

A great content marketing strategy can reap great benefits for your firm if you do it right. One of the ways it can do so is by positioning you as a trusted friend instead of just a business. So, developing an authentic voice that people relate to easily is the number one content marketing tactic. This voice should sound the way you talk and can infuse humor and personality, provided it’s appropriate for your brand. 

You’ll need to create content consistently to be effective. Set deadlines and stick to them. If you’re out of ideas, turn to other sources. As long as you attribute them properly, you’ll retain your brand integrity while stimulating fresh, original content easily. 

Finding a niche is one of the best ways to become the go-to resource for your customers. Consider who you serve or want to serve and tailor your strategy to them. It’s the best way to stand out in a sea of content. 

Here at Gusto, we want to support your firm in every way we can, including helping you reach new customers. Be sure to look into Part One and Part Three of this webinar article series.

Our goal is always to create a world where work empowers a better life. Becoming a partner with us means you can earn CPE credits through CPA Academy, which hosts a variety of live educational webinars. We urge you to take advantage of our unique and diverse offerings.

In the Gusto partnership program, you’ll also get tools to help you expand your accounting practice and offer your clients new insights, plus a free payroll subscription for your own accounting firm. Sign up today! 

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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