Creating a Content Culture
In today’s ever-more competitive accounting industry, a content culture is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’: it’s a prerequisite for success. Firms continue to seek out ways to differentiate: spinning up niche practices, expanding into new markets, redesigning their website, and more. All of these are valid and effective, but there’s one route many firms are not yet pursuing:
Elevating the voices of their people.
A content culture casts your firm’s leaders as experts in their field: whether that’s auditing nonprofit organizations or providing tax strategy consulting services to construction firms. This prominence casts a halo effect over your entire firm, expanding your audience and boosting your credibility with important decision-makers. People buy from people they trust, and in a digital economy, content is a primary vehicle to develop that relationship.
In addition to that, a content culture is a hugely efficient way of marketing your firm. No more blindly throwing money at paid advertising and waiting to see what sticks––a content culture builds up your firm’s reputation in a tangible, sustainable way. In many ways, it’s an investment that continues to pay dividends over time. The more effort your firm puts into creating content, the greater the return it stands to gain. That’s not even considering the creation of your own IP along the way.
Despite this, the idea of a content culture still seems uncomfortable to many accountants and professionals. There’s no question it takes some level of vulnerability to create content, whether written, video, or audio, and actively promote it to your network. But growth is not meant to be comfortable. If you’re hungry for success and passionate about advancing your firm, you’ll quickly find that a content culture is an invaluable asset. Sometimes this hesitancy is due to a lack of confidence in what a digital presence and footprint needs to look like – from creating your own content to establishing your voice on platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube.
What is a Content Culture?
A great content culture relies on three key elements:
- Content that is meaningful to the firm’s target audience and/or the niche being targeted
- A commitment from leaders and subject matter experts to producing content
- A network of digital champions to amplify this content
These three elements are closely interwoven. Think of them as a three-legged stool: if one of them is missing, the entire content culture will fail to function. Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements and explore exactly what each looks like in practice.
Meaningful, Relevant Content
Firms shouldn’t just produce any old content––the content they produce must be valuable to their target audience and/or Ideal Client Profile (ICP). The more relevant the content, the better. That means sharing your firm’s perspective on new tax regulations in the days after they’ve passed, helping boards interpret new accounting standards as they go into effect, and more.
Buy-In From Leaders and Subject Experts
To create this meaningful content, marketing teams must rely on the support from leaders of the firm and domain experts in various topics. Leaders must lead by example, creating original content, building their personal brand and using assets such as their LinkedIn profile to amplify the reach of the firm’s content.
Experts from across the firm must also be involved: the leaders of practices, industry verticals, and regional offices should all weigh in with their perspectives on relevant issues. Fortunately, the expectation isn’t for all of these busy employees and partners to author all this content themselves: instead, work with a firm like Winding River Consulting to ghostwrite high-quality content in a fraction of the time with a proven process currently being followed by many top firms today.
Effective Content Distribution
For content to be effective in creating and nurturing new client relationships, it must be read by your firm’s target audience. At first, this can be a slow burn as you invest in building a following across LinkedIn and other media platforms, but over time, you’ll quickly realize an engaged, active audience is one of your firm’s most valuable assets.
Why is a Content Culture Important?
Infusing a true content culture throughout your business can be challenging, but done right, it’s a strategy that reliably yields success. A great content strategy functions as a moat that’s near-impossible for competitors to imitate, unlike paid advertising in industry publications or investing in Google Ads.
Beyond competitive positioning, an effective content culture opens up all kinds of new opportunities for your firm and your people. A highly-effective content strategy will reliably produce dozens of new leads for your firm each month. It creates stronger client relationships, delivering excess value over and above the services typically provided by your firm. And it makes your firm a more attractive destination for top accounting talent.
How to Gauge Success
A content culture can be a growth engine for your firm. But like any other growth engine, it can’t be created overnight. You’ll likely face resistance. Some partners may be unwilling to commit the time required. Others would rather not promote themselves in public.
Reaching the stage where the content your firm produces delivers all of the benefits above is a process that can take years to come to fruition. That’s a timeframe that isn’t typically associated with growth and marketing strategies: your firm’s leaders will likely expect to see a much shorter payback period. This demands that you create frameworks that track the evolution over time.
There are several ways you can gauge success before your content strategy starts to bear real results in terms of attracting new clients. They include:
- Traffic: to websites, LinkedIn profiles, and more
- Audience Growth: increases in email subscribers, LinkedIn followers, etc
- Engagement: social media likes, comments, and shares
- Loyalty: email open rates, the time spent on your website, and so on
Part of creating a content culture is building an effective attribution network that enables your firm’s marketing and leadership teams to understand where new business is coming from. With those insights, your firm can double down on what’s working.
Build Your Content Strategy with Winding River Consulting
Creating a content culture is no easy undertaking, particularly for the uninitiated who have little experience at the intersection of change management and content strategy. To successfully effect change, firms must seek the guidance of experienced practitioners who bring a tried-and-tested playbook to building a winning content culture.
At Winding River Consulting, that’s exactly what we do. Through our holistic approach to firm strategy and growth marketing, our team is well-equipped to help your firm nurture a content culture that delivers significant benefits for years to come.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today to discover how we can help your firm.