Moore Together: No Time? No Problem! Produce More Content…Without Forfeiting The Billable Hour

Moore-Together-Graphic.jpgMoore Stephens North America is comprised of over 40 member firms that provide key services across a wide variety of industries and niches. This month’s “Moore Together” is written by Abbey Kanellakis with Rea & Associates.

Search engines don’t care that we’re in the midst of tax season. They don’t know that it’s all hands on deck and that firm-wide, your team is locked in a battle against the tax day deadline. All they know is that, this time of year, millions of people are actively searching for answers to their tax-related questions – so they continue to point these inquisitive internet explorers to your website for answers.

But here’s the deal – just because they’ve found your website, doesn’t mean they’re going to stay – and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re going to give you their business. First, they want to figure out if you have the expertise and experience to address their challenges – and they will use the content on your website to help paint this picture.

Does The Content Fairy Exist?
Yes, yes, I know. You’re busy. Not only are you hitting the pavement to bring in new business, you’re meeting with existing clients to propose additional services all while making sure the actual work gets done. Believe me; those of us in marketing know that asking our billable colleagues to write a unique 600-word article on individual provisions outlined in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is going to land pretty low on their priority list. But we’re going to do it anyway because producing timely, well-written thought-leadership pieces is critical to driving the firm’s web leads.

But what if I told you that you didn’t have to choose between maximizing your billable hours and battling through writer’s block? This article is going to show you that collecting the content your firm needs to boost its online credibility and drive leads doesn’t need to be a long, overwhelming process. And – more importantly – it doesn’t have to cut into your billable hours. 

Creating Content: The Easy, Painless Way
Louis, our imaginary director of state and local tax services, has already logged way more than 40 hours this week (and it’s only Thursday!). But, there has been an uptick of SALT-related inquiries on your website lately. Not to mention that, according to the Moz keyword research tool, users nationwide are logging thousands of SALT-related searches each month. Obviously, your marketing team wants to reach out to Louis for content to capitalize on this opportunity. But in addition to being busy, your firm’s marketers also know that the thought of writing is intimidating to Louis.

While this may appear to be a dead end, I assure you it is not.

The best way I’ve learned to harvest ideas and information is to carry on a simple conversation, conduct a brief 15-minute interview or collect the information from the perspective of a fly on the wall. Notice that I said nothing about asking our subject matter expert (SME) to write – not a single word! That’s because all I need is the knowledge Louis has locked away in his brain. Once that’s been collected, the writing portion of the exercise is on me – not Louis!

For example, here at Rea & Associates, we produce a weekly podcast, unsuitable on Rea Radio. Our host leads the conversation and our guest demonstrates why we’ve tapped them as an expert in the first place. The interview is recorded and we go on to request a transcript of the recording. From there, I have the information I need to turn a simple podcast interview into several blogs, a whitepaper, a slideshow … really, I’m only limited by my imagination!

And here’s a tip, during the collection phase, I’ve found that recording the conversation is an essential component of the exercise. As a former reporter, I’ve interviewed my share of subjects and while my shorthand game is strong, I would rather have a conversation that deepens my own understanding of a particular topic. I want to be able to ask intelligent questions and follow-up questions. If I’m burying myself in my notes, I’m only giving the interviewee part of my attention, which makes it more likely that I’ll miss crucial pieces of information.

I recommend purchasing a cheap recorder or downloading a free recorder app for your phone (which is what I use). I can easily email the file and then either transcribe the recording myself or utilize a cheap transcription service. We like www.rev.com, which, at $1 per minute, is well worth it.

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Another place Louis might want to look for great content that demonstrates his expertise is in his “sent” messages. Think about it, on an average day, how many emails does Louis send? How many of those emails include answers to SALT-related questions? And if one or two clients are asking Louis about a particular issue or for clarification something else, how likely is it that others are asking the same questions? In fact, they might even be Googling for answers as we speak!

Remember, a topic you might consider to be bland and boring because it’s so ingrained in the work you perform every single day, could be the expertise point that convinces a potential client to move further down the sales funnel. All this to say, if you would rather not write and you can’t spare a little time for a quick phone interview, take a minute or two to forward a poignant email to your marketing department.

More Bang For Your Buck
I’m going to start this section by saying that if Louis’ Q&A session is only used to generate a single piece of content, an opportunity is being missed. The single interview should generate multiple pieces of content and each piece should feed into another – remember the goal is to attract your firm’s targeted online audience and to keep them engaged.

For example, from Louis’ interview, the marketing team might be able to identify two dominant themes. From those themes, they could put together two or three informational blog posts. Each of those blog posts could then roll up into a single article series or whitepaper. Additionally, each blog post could be the subject of its own slideshow. (I like using SlideShare because it tracks analytics, is embeddable and is incredibly easy to use.) Then, so as not to undermine the importance of social media, tailored messages could be created for each social platform.  Finally, the information collected and compiled from the interview can be used to beef up your web copy and Meta data, ensuring that Google continues to point to your website as a SALT authority.

The lesson here is that if you are using your interview to create a single piece of content, you are missing out. Not only can you create several meaningful pieces of content, you can do so in a way that maximizes your reach while minimizing the strain content production usually takes on your SMEs.

What’s Not To Love?
I’ve already gone on way too long about copy writing. But the truth is that if you follow these simple tips, you’re more likely to:
  • Produce more content than you’ve ever produced before.
  • Help drive increased traffic to the firm’s website by utilizing different distribution methods and cross promoting content.
  • Establish a name for yourself as a thought leader in your region and among the industry leaders you work with every day.
And all without compromising the billable hour.

To learn more about content creation and curation and how to maximize your firm’s reach with limited resources, please contact Abbey Kanellakis with Rea & Associates.

We’re great alone, but we’re “Moore Together!” If you would like to collaborate with other members, or if you have a topic you would like to address, please contact Laura Ponath.