What is hero content?

image of the 3H model

Hero content is a concept that is central to many content marketing approaches and in this post I’m going to explain what it actually is and show how you use hero content in a campaign.

In this post

What is hero content?

Hero content is the main piece of work that an entire campaign will lead up to or centre around and can feature (among other things) a major white paper, a research piece or an eBook that provides valuable and useful information for its readers.

Hero content establishes the credibility of you and your brand and shows users that you can be relied upon to have a detailed grasp of the subject. In short, it shows you are a subject matter expert.

The benefits of hero content

To my mind there are three benefits of hero content.

The first is the establishment of credibility.

When you are working in services marketing credibility is the key because with services the potential client needs to know that they are buying quality.

A chunky piece of hero content helps to establish that credibility and shows the client that you know what you are doing. It gives them the warm feeling they need that you have the background, experience and knowledge needed to help with their particular issues.

The second benefit is that it gives you a substantial subject for the focus of your marketing.

If you are wanting to get press attention, backlinks and visits then nothing works as well as original research or a thought leadership white paper.

Your hero content can form a central part of your marketing effort and depending on your objectives will enable you to drive engagement, shares likes etc. for your site.

The final benefit is the use of hero content to build a mailing list.

There can’t be many people who haven’t signed up to a mailing list to get a valuable piece of research or to read an insightful article.

It’s pretty much standard practice in the business world and from my point of view, I accept it both as a price to pay for the content but also in the hope that when I get emails from the company they will also be interesting.

Using the ‘3H’ strategy

The 3 H strategy was devised by Google to help YouTubers and is a method of garnering interest and pushing them towards hero content.

It’s an excellent way of marketing, especially if you are in services but it works across the spectrum and you can see charities, government organisations and online stores all using the 3H strategy too.

The 3H strategy uses 3 different types of content; Hygiene, Hub and Hero to engage with the audience.

The idea is that it all revolves around giving away free content to build credibility and brand loyalty.

image of the 3H model


The 3H strategy:- Hygiene

Hygiene is the name of the content that underpins the whole strategy.

If you were to transfer it to the AIDA marketing concept then it would be an ‘A’ – Attention.

Also called supporting pieces these are short, sharp attention getters that give potential clients some insight into a small area of your expertise.

They form the bedrock of the strategy and are useful for getting hits through keyword marketing.

The important point is that they aren’t necessarily going to make you sales.

If it was in the field of human relationships then a hygiene piece would be a first date. All your customer is doing is seeing if they like you enough to go on a second date, you’re not getting married yet!

The most common types of hygiene content is a blog article but it could be a short podcast or video. In fact, anything that is designed to get attention from your target market.

Because they tend to be simpler and shorter, hygiene pieces are the cheapest to produce and many marketers will say that done well, they produce the best ROI of anything.


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The 3H strategy:- Hub

Longer and more in-depth than a hygiene piece, the hub content is the next step in the 3H marketing method.

Also called ‘pillar’ pieces, hub content is a way of gaining more engagement from your intended audience.

You’re starting to give them something of real value here so the types of assets you produce could be things like worksheets, step by steps, longer ‘how-to’ videos and indeed anything that your customer can use in their day to day work or life.

Strangely they tend to be the longest-lived content because where the hygiene pieces are often topical and of the moment, a good pillar piece can be reused in a variety of different campaigns.

The 3H strategy:- Hero content

This is where it ends up – Hero.

Now you are really getting to the meat of the issue and what you are providing is a chunky, original and useful bit of work.

Maybe you have done some original research that will help businesses or you have an ‘ultimate guide to…’ that assists startups, helps with inheritance tax or even helps people plan a funeral!

Whatever it is I guarantee that in your business there is some hero content that is waiting to be discovered.

By the time your potential customer has read some of your hygiene content, used your pillar piece worksheets and pored over your hero guide they are clear that you are trustworthy, you know what you are talking about and you are professional.

And when you are in services that is the golden nugget that you are searching for.

Start with a plan

The place to start is with a sensible and realistic plan.

Think about what you want to achieve as a result of the campaign.

Think about your potential clients. What issues do they have that you can solve?

Think about how all the pieces of hygiene, hub and hero will work together.

You can decide to produce all of the hygiene first and then roll it up into a hero piece or you can start with your hero content and then chop it down into bite-sized chunks. Then you can expand upon these in a series of blogs.

Generally speaking, I’d say you need to look at producing one hero content, 2-4 hub pieces and an 12+ hygiene pieces that all support the theme.

And don’t get too ambitious. You are much better off proving you are a subject matter expert about a single, focused issue than trying to write a hero piece that contains everything you know.

3 ideas for great hero content

So I’m going to fess up here. These aren’t 3 great ideas for hero content that I have just had.

In fact, these are all pieces of hero content that I have already produced for clients, so I’m not being original. But then the point is that these are simply examples of ideas that you could use in your own industry.

Rydoo – the state of expense management

Rydoo is one of the best global Travel and Expenses systems out there and they asked me to produce a report based on the data they were seeing from their users.
The report was designed to who how expenses claims had changed as a result of COVID and what it meant for employers and employees alike.

This is a great way to use data you may already have in your systems and produce something of value for your potential customers and to make you a thought leader in your industry.

You do need to be careful of course. You need to be aware of GDPR requirements and you need to make sure you don’t give away any trade secrets!

Download a copy of the report here.

Access webinar

So although much of the hero content you see on the web is written, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Another COVID themed piece of content, the webinar “How to use the end of lockdown to rebalance your finance operations” was a way to drive engagement with a very specific target market – people who may need to buy new finance software.

The webinar was produced for the Access Group, a major UK based software house and was promoted across their social channels and supported with blogs.

There are lots of good things about webinars; they promote engagement, allowing attendees to ask questions and become part of the discussion, they are accessible for people who hate reading, and the platform pretty much demands that people give their email addresses otherwise they can’t get in!

The good news is that you know all of the information you need. After all you are an industry expert (even if you think you aren’t) so it takes little in the way of research.

And if you really don’t want to present it yourself then why not get a good looking and intelligent presenter. Ahem…

Ebooks as hero content

One of the most important reasons for producing hero content is to build an audience.

You want people to get some value out of your work so that they come back and enjoy more content.

The truth (that most content marketers won’t tell you) is that most of the people won’t buy what you are selling, but you may well find that they recommend you to other people and you may never know.

But, if you produce some hero content with real value it will build your audience and prove your credibility on a particular subject matter.

In a shameless act of self-publicity here’s an ebook I wrote for accountants called “The accountants’ guide to digital marketing” which you can download here.

Don’t worry that it talks about marketing an accountancy practice, in fact, it’s useful for anyone who wants to know more about hero content or just content marketing in general.

Hero content - free guide to content marketing for accountants

Need a bit of help?

I’m a professional writer and I spend my life producing this type of content.

I can either write for you to your plan or I can help you produce your campaign plan that you can write or I can do the lot.

Give me a shout and let’s chat. No obligation naturally.

SaaS companies and content marketing – why?

SaaS companies and content marketing

Saas companies and content marketing- it’s a match made in heaven.

Don’t believe me?

Well read on you old cynic and I’ll tell you why every SaaS company needs to invest in content marketing.

SaaS companies are different

Fact!

And if someone says ‘Fact’ on the internet then you know it’s true.

But it really is in this case.

SaaS companies don’t have a physical product.

Most of the time they don’t have offices or storefronts

They don’t have salespeople that you can meet.

In fact, 93.75% of SaaS products are bought with no human interaction at all*

Why does this matter?

Well the truth is that for a customer to buy they need to have some form of validation.

Put simply they need to know your product does what it says it will.

They need to know what it will do for them.

And they need to know that you won’t use their credit card number to buy a Mercedes Benz in Tallinn. (no offence Tallinn people**)

In short, what you need are credibility and credibility.

Content marketing builds credibility

Not on its own obviously, but I can guarantee you that before they choose to buy, people who hit your site have a really good look around.

They look for signs that you know what you are talking about (blogs)

They look for signs that other people have found your service useful (case studies)

And they look for examples of ways that it will benefit them (white papers, eBooks and reports).

If you don’t believe me then think about what you did before you bought that PeopleHr or Calendly subscription.

In my opinion, SaaS companies and content marketing go together like eggs and bacon (mmm bacon) and there are three steps to a successful content plan.

Step – 1 build credibility

The first thing you need to do is to build credibility by having a back catalogue on your site that reflects the service you are offering.

Generally these will be blog postings about specific issues that your customers may face.

So for example, you are a company that offers a SaaS product that automatically tracks and reports on assets.

You’d produce a series of blogs that are related to the fixed asset industry; How to secure your assets, Should you use asset tags? How to report asset depreciation.

These aren’t sales pitches, although there’s no harm in having a call to action at the end of the post, they are more about building the credibility of your site simply by demonstrating that you understand the problems that your industry faces.

Step 2 – Build confidence

Your potential customer already feels you have credibility within your niche but they want to be confident that your product is a good one.

Remember that they can’t touch it or test the quality other than what they find online so you need to provide the digital assets that will give them the confidence they need to make a purchase.

You do this by providing validation of your service.

So my favourite are well-written case-studies.

These show real-life customers with happy smiling faces who have bought your product and found their lives transformed. You know the sort of thing.

In my opinion no SaaS company should ever have a website that doesn’t have half a dozen case studies on it.

Case studies showing happy smiling people work wonders. Just perhaps not that happy.
Ok perhaps not THAT happy and smiling

Step 3 – build shareables

So far we’ve looked at what people see when they get to your site but how do they get there in the first place?

What you need to build are shareables.

These are things of value that people will share with their network and that you can push out to your own network or through paid advertising.

If you do it right, then you can pick up free publicity from newspapers and magazine sites that are hungry for original stuff. Trade magazines are particularly good for this.

So I’m talking about original surveys, reports, eBooks and maybe even infographics and explainer videos.

These cost more but there’s a good reason why you want to invest in it.

They work!

Seriously, have a word with an SEO guy (or gal, let’s not be sexist here) and find out how valuable a link to your site from the top trade magazine in your niche would be.

A good, weighty piece of original work is also worth handing over your email address for so it also helps you build your mailing list. Gold dust.

OK so this isn’t the whole story

Look you’re not going to get rich just by doing a load of blog posts and sticking them on your site. Often blog posts don’t work on their own.

The truth is that there are a whole load of things around it that you need to get right in order to really sell your proposition, but having a credible and fresh site is the way to start and once you have the foundation, you can then start to add the bells and whistles that will really make your site earn its keep.

The whole point about SaaS companies and content marketing is that it helps develop the credibility of your business and if done right fosters a community feel that is worth its weight in gold.

SaaS companies and content marketing – the ad

You didn’t think you were going to get away without an ad did you?

C’mon dude, that would be ridiculous!

So look I know you haven’t got time to write all this content yourself so that’s where I come in.

I produce superb content that will show potential customers the beauty, nay, the majesty of your product or service.

Just click the button and let’s talk.

* and 97.383% of statistics are made up.

** we love your 8 administrative districts and humid continental climate

Content for accountants – 9 great ideas for winning posts

content for accountants ideas

Content for accountants is always a tricky subject.

If you believe popular opinion, the world of accountancy is dry, dull and overly technical so it doesn’t bode well for generating winning content ideas.

The truth is that many business owners see accountancy and finance as necessary evils so producing something that is going to wow them is a must if you want to get traffic to your site.

So how do you come up with winning content? Read on for my 9 favourite types.

In this post;

  • Content types Vs Content topics
  • What to use the different types for
  • How to generate topics
  • Your job isn’t finished

Content types Vs Content topics

It’s important to understand that there are different types of content that you can put out there for your accountancy practice.

These shouldn’t be confused with the topic of your content.

There is a whole series of different types of content and they vary wildly. I’m also making myself a hostage of fortune here because new forms of content seem to appear daily.

After all, two years ago no one had heard of TikTok and now it’s in the top 30 web sites by visits in the world!

But anyway, let’s give it a go.

So typical types of content for accountants may include;

  1. Blogs
  2. White papers
  3. Reports
  4. Case studies
  5. Explainer videos
  6. Podcasts
  7. Infographics
  8. Surveys
  9. Calculators

Notice that there are things missing from this list.

So I wouldn’t suggest that doing a 20 second TikTok is going to be appropriate content for accountants as generally speaking the format is more light-hearted and doing a silly dance to the soundtrack of a 1970s soul/funk classic might not be giving out the impression you want.

Having said that if you are a young, funky go-ahead practice then why not? You won’t have much competition!

What to use the different types for

Each of the different types of content has a different use for an accountancy practice.

It’s important to know what you want to achieve from your work because this will inform the type of content you produce and how you use it for example;

Blogs

Blogs are great for fattening up your site, providing credibility and depth for better search engine rankings.

They work really well if you want to explore a small part of one subject in-depth but you don’t want to be writing 5,000 words on inheritance tax and then try to get people to sign up to a mailing list to view.

People often use blog posts as a way to signpost and direct people to weightier, hero content that they can ask for an email address for.

Want to know what Hero content is? Click the image below

image of the 3H model

White papers

White papers are longer than blogs and shorter than reports or eBooks.

They are designed as an in-depth discussion about one aspect of a particular subject and are particularly good for sending to existing clients to introduce services that they don’t currently use.

For example, a client may buy bookkeeping services from you but not know that you do company formations or tax planning.

Sending out a link to a new white paper that explains the important aspects of owner-manager tax planning is a great way to get them thinking about it and drives enquiries.

It’s also very shareable content and works well if you link to it from a LinkedIn post.


Reports and eBooks

Reports are a great way to build your credibility and your email list.

These are chunky pieces of work and they are particularly effective if you are using them as thought-leadership and original research pieces.

These are very definitely Hero content and are something that you need to be getting something in return for, in other words; emails, links, shares.

Hero content is worth spending some money on to publicise using post boost or PPC advertising because it will be chunky linkable content that will bring traffic into your practice site.

Yes it will cost more but it will be worth it as long as you use it right.

A really good example of an eBook is my guide to content marketing for accountants which you can download for free by clicking on the image below.

Case studies

Case studies are epic pieces of content that highlight one of your services and how it has made a real difference for a real-life client.

They massively add credibility to your site and in my opinion no accountancy practice website should be without them.

Personally, I reckon you should have a menu item dedicated to case studies.

They are also really useful to send to prospects that operate in the same industry or who is looking for the same services as the case study.


Explainer videos

Accountancy topics can be really complex and boring, we know that, but a great type of content for accountants is the explainer video, especially if you are able to confidently and clearly explain your topic.

Most accountants I know hate the idea of hearing their own voice and detest having their photo taken or appearing on video so if this is you don’t worry.

I’ve written lots of video scripts which we then either film with an actor or use a whiteboard video producer and a professional voiceover to make it ultra-professional.


Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to attract potential customers or engage with your current clients.

You choose a simple topic that you can talk about for say 30 minutes and maybe invite a subject matter expert to informally discuss with you.

Typical topics might be how to do business post-Brexit or what MTD means for SMEs.


Infographics

Infographics are a great way to produce shareable content that can generate some epic links for your company.

A lot of my clients have had great success using an online app like Canva, but if you can’t be bothered to learn how then engage a designer on Upwork or People Per Hour and let them sort it out for you.


Surveys

If you have some original insight then that’s like gold dust in the world of content for accountants.

You don’t need to go overboard but doing a simple survey into a topical subject using something like Survey Monkey can give you some great shareable content for blog posts, white papers and infographics.

OK so in itself it may not be brilliant but the value in this for clients and prospects alike is the insight you bring to the table.

Calculators

Calculators are a superb way to climb the rankings and are actually a lot easier to develop than you think.

Simple calculators like an inheritance tax ready reckoner or a National Insurance calculator can help your clients and add real weight to your site.

How to generate content for accountants topics

Deciding what to write about can be the biggest obstacle to getting content for accountants out there.

What you are looking for here is not things that are interesting to you, but things that will be helpful to your target market.

Don’t get ambitious though. Choose depth over width in this respect.

What I mean here is that you are better to write everything there is to know about paying staff expenses for hotel stays rather than writing the ultimate guide to everything you ever need to know about staff expenses.

You can find a post I wrote about deciding your topics here

Your job isn’t finished

Once you have produced your content then your job isn’t finished.

If you leave it there then you probably won’t get any hits at all because nobody knows what you have done.

The best way to publicise content for accountants is to send a link out to your existing clients by email (assuming you have your GDPR ducks ina row). It won’t cost you anything and you can ask for links and shares too.

Post to your practice LinkedIn page, Twitter account and Facebook page and make sure you share it to any groups you are a member of.

The more socials it is on, the more likely it is to get traction and if you have spent money producing your content then why not invest a little more into some PPC and paid links to make sure it really gets out there?

Content for accountants – need some help?

Look if you are a busy accountant then you probably haven’t got time to start writing witty and urbane posts about SDLT so why not outsource the job?

I’m a professional finance writer and I can help you at an nth of the cost of doing it yourself.

Why not book an initial call and let’s have a chat?

If you have enjoyed this post then why not share it?

11 examples of tone of voice

I wanted to give you some examples of tone of voice as a companion piece to my post on types of tone of voice.

In this post I’m highlighting some very different types to hopefully give you some inspiration and show how your tone of voice can be different, even if you are in the same industry.

Crunch.co.uk

I chose accountants as they get a pretty bad rep for communication generally.

I think sometimes this is fair, but there are some accountants out there that really spend a lot of time on their marketing and communication so I wanted to celebrate a couple here.

Crunch is an online accountancy practice that specialises in working with smaller businesses.

They get my vote because they have put a lot of effort into their marketing with a bright and cheery site, not too many long words and no jargon.

It’s easy to find what you want and understand the language when you get there.

Their tone of voice is cheery, helpful, friendly and is designed to give people a sense of an approachable business.

Crunch accounting

Deloitte

Deloitte is the other end of the scale entirely.

They work with very large companies and government departments and look how their use of language differs.

There’s a fair bit of corporate speak in there with words like ecosystem, illuminate, perspective, divestiture.

They are speaking in the way that their customers expect and the whole tone of voice in this example is designed to show that they are ultra professional and serious people.

Deloitte website

Rolls Royce cars

Check out the Rolls Royce website for a great example of tone of voice.

RR have decided that less is definitely more and you’ll struggle to find much in the way of copy on the site.

Why?

Because it’s all about brand perception.

People who visit the site are looking for a dream car and frankly they don’t need you to tell them about MPG or CO2 emissions.

I love this site because of the minimalist approach they have taken, I just hope that the copywriter wasn’t paid by the word!

Rolls Royce cars

Ford

In contrast, Ford has taken the view that its customers need to know exactly how much value they are getting for their money.
There’s lots of information about the cars and it’s presented in an easy to read and accessible style.

This illustrates one of the things about tone of voice that many people forget. Sometimes it’s not about what you do say (Ford) but what you don’t say (RR).

Ford torneo

Virgin wines

In this example I wanted to show how the tone of voice can extend across a whole brand.

Virgin wines uses very youthful, fun, enjoyable language to entice the buyer into their club.

But it is interesting how the same tone of voice is used across the whole virgin brand from wines to mobile phones to airlines.

What is interesting is that not all of the virgin companies are still owned by the group but they continue to use the same type of tone of voice.

Virign wines example tone of voce

Even the main group websites uses the same tone of voice!

Virgin group example tone of voice

Berry Bros & Rudd

Berry Bros & Rudd are reputed to be the UK’s oldest wine merchant and their website is set up for serious wine buffs.

Sure they have selection cases just like Virgin, but the way they describe their wines is totally different.

You’ll find a lot more detailed information on the site too, as this is what serious wine people want and the language is more sober (if you’ll forgive the pun) and speaks to people who are often wanting wine as an investment and not for their Friday night dinner party.

Berry bros & Rudd tone of voice example

Amigo loans

Held up as a disruptor in the personal loans space in the UK I’ve always been impressed with the tone of voice that Amigo adopted.

Bear in mind that when they started out the loan market in the UK was pretty ‘fuddy duddy’ and the traditional banks spoke to people as though they were something that the cat dragged in.

Amigo pioneered the straight-talking, accessible language that we see on so many finance sites nowadays.

This is a good example because it shows how accessible language can be used to make complex subjects easy.

The site is professional but friendly and across the pages it makes it clear that borrowers can always call in and talk to a person.

Example of Amigo Loans tone of voice

Royal Bank of Scotland

RBS takes an entirely different approach.

No messing about trying to become your friend for these guys – they are right in there with the APR and their copy ‘above the fold’ reads like an extract from the little legal bit they have to put at the bottom of their print output.

I’ll be honest, I hate this.

OK so it is compliant with FCA regulations but guys, c’mon. It’s 2020.

Buy me a drink before you ask to take me home!

RBS tone of voice

Lush

OK so I used this one in my post on types of tone of voice and I make no apologies for including it here.

Own up time: I worked at Lush in the early days and I remember how much effort went into developing the tone of voice and look of the site.

Personally I think they have got it spot on and not because I worked there. I’m most certainly not in their target demographic!

If you want to see a really individual tone of voice then check out their product descriptions or read their blog.

Lush tone of voice example

Yves Saint-Laurent

Ok so sometimes it’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it (see Rolls Royce) but sometimes…

When I started searching for examples of tone of voice I found some that I didn’t and YSl is in that category.

I’m including the YSL site here because it shows something really interesting.

On the corporate site YSL badges itself as ‘The most subversive Parisian luxury beauty brand’

However when you come to read the product descriptions they are anything but subversive.

In fact, it’s almost like someone forgot to tell the copywriter what tone of voice they were going for!

This is a good example of what not to do.

Don’t set out your stall as one thing and then choose a tone of voice that is completely at odds with your mission, goals or marketing themes.

Take a look at the wording below and think ‘subversive’. Not really is it?

Are subversive people really worried about the colour of the bottle that their Eau De Parfum arrives in?

YSL tone of voice

Boots

In contrast I really like the site of UK High Street giant Boots.

OK so it’s not as funky as the Lush site but they are going for a different demographic (me maybe).

Their fragrance descriptions are well written, clear, accessible and enticing.

They are even formatted a little like wine descriptions.

Personally I think they have done a good job here and it shows how you can use different language in simple product descriptions to speak to your audience.

Examples of tone of voice – now find yours

So I’ve given you some examples of tone of voice to get you thinking about how different companies use language to communicate their brand values.

Some I liked and some I didn’t but what I think doesn’t matter.

It’s what your customers think that is important.

My best advice is to keep a note of sites you visit where you like how they communicate and then ask yourself whether that would work with your customers.

Then try it on for size.

Write some product descriptions or a blog post in that tone of voice and decide whether it fits or not.

Sometimes gut feeling is better than scientific analysis!


Give me a shout

If you’d like help developing your tone of voice then why not contact me by pressing the big blue button?

How much does copywriting cost?

How much does copywriting cost

If you are looking to spend some money on your marketing then you are going to need a copywriter and that leads you to the question “How much does copywriting cost?”

You can find copywriters that will range from $8 up to $2000 per thousand words but you have to ask what you are getting for your money.

So why would you pay $2000 when you can get the same number of words for $8?

Read on friend and find out…

You get what you pay for (mostly)

The truth is that you wouldn’t need to try very hard to find someone somewhere in the world who would be happy to know out a thousand words for $8.

But the work you would get would be awful.

Don’t believe me? Check out what happened when I bought some cheap writing here

The problem is that when you buy a number of words for a very low price what you will get is exactly that – a number of words.

They won’t necessarily be connected to one another in a way that we’d think makes sense and they won’t be specially designed to impress your reader.

There are two different way you can get copywriting done cheaply; a copy farm or buying from somewhere that human work is cheap.

In the first one you’ll get given something that has been produced using a computer and some version of an algorithm or what they may call AI.

What will come out of the end is something that reads a bit like those chat boxes that you sometimes get when you are looking for help from your utility supplier.

The words are there alright but they aren’t quite right. There’s something a little odd.

Now you have to ask yourself if you are happy with giving your customers the impression that there’s something not quite right about your business!

In the second case you’ll be buying from someone who has English as a second, third (or more) language.

They are cheap but you do need to be aware that you’ll probably spend more time spellchecking and reorganising the grammar that you would have spent writing the thing yourself!

It’s not worth the hassle.

When you are asking “How much does copywriting cost?” you actually need to also ask what the output will be.

So it’s worth spending as much as you possibly can on copywriting?

Well maybe.

You see copywriters are a little bit like cars in this respect.

You can buy a Bentley or you can buy a Ssangyong, they both have four wheels and get you from A to B.

So it’s not really “How much does copywriting cost?” but how much style do you want to travel in?

In the world of copywriting you can go to one of the big agencies and pay an absolute fortune for a copywriter (and their account director and their assistant account director) and you will definitely get some good stuff.

Or you can get someone who hasn’t really done any writing before but will have a bit of a go for £20 and a packet of malteasers.

Then in the middle, there’s a whole swathe of people from freelancers, to people who work for agencies that will do you a bang-up job for the equivalent of a BMW.

How much does a copywriter cost?

Well the answer to that question is up to you.

You can check out the average prices here based on London freelancers or you could just give me a call and I’ll tell you how good value I am!

Haven’t touched your blog since June 2019? Here are 7 different types of posts you have to make now

Freelance financial copywriter

OK so we’ve all been there, the blog sits on the to-do list, never getting ticked, just glaring at you.

You’ve been putting it off, I know you have.

So look you know that writing your blog regularly is the best way to get your site to creep up the rankings (higher rankings=more hits=more business) but you haven’t got the time.

What you need is either; an amazing financial copywriter (cough) or an injection of enthusiasm.

Well let’s assume you can’t find an amazing financial copywriter no matter how hard you look so this post is here to give you some ideas as to the type of blogs you can write for your business.

A blog about you

Yawn.

Yes you could, but unless it is incredibly engaging then nobody wants to know about you.

Sorry but thems the breaks.

Since we were little we have been told we’re special but the truth is that in business terms we’re not. So avoid writing about yourself wherever possible unless you are the Olympic champion carpet fitter or something.

A clickbaity blog

You know the sort of stuff

14 things you can do with a porcupine (you won’t believe number 6)

Ok so sometimes they do work otherwise people wouldn’t use them but generally avoid unless you have 21 pictures of Meghan Markel one of which I won’t believe.

Blogs about issues in your industry

Again, you CAN do this if you want and to be fair a blog about your own industry issues will often be very good for SEO purposes.

They can also work where your industry issues are your clients’ issues.

For example, if you are an accountant writing about IR35, well that’s an issue in your industry and will also affect your clients.

So go for it.


More resources
Wondering what to write about? Find out how to choose your blog subjects here

Blogs that answer questions about your product

Now I particularly like this one.

A blog that answers questions that your clients may have about your products is useful for three reasons;

  1. SEO. A blog about your product is going to include a lot of searchable terms
  2. It answers the questions that your clients are asking and gives them a warm feeling about you
  3. A good answer blog is very shareable, and we like shares.

In fact I would go so far as to argue that any company should have a good selection of posts that answer these sort of questions in detail.

For example let’s imagine you are a finance broker, then you need to make sure you are writing up blogs about the application process, features of different products, compare and contrast products or reviews.

Blogs that answer questions about something your product can be used for

This is different to the above.

So in the above section you are answering questions specifically about the product itself.

In this one you are answering questions about the uses to which you can put a product.

Can I use this finance to buy a house at auction?

Can I use this SaaS software to manage my practice?

Can I sell this software to my clients?

What you are trying to do is to answer questions that your customers may have but at the same time give them ideas about other ways that they can use your product or service.

Also these are answers to questions and Google loves that, it really really loves that.

Blogs about issues that affect your clients

Now we’re getting to the epic stuff.

Answering questions about things that affect your clients is a great way to get your service/product in front of them.

So for example, let’s imagine that you provide recruitment industry finance.

You write blogs about cash flow in the recruitment industry, 5 things to think about when you start your recruitment business, how to finance your payroll.

Naturally each of them do mention invoice finance but not in a salesy, in your face kind of way.

Your blogs are pointed towards people who may not even know that invoice finance exists or what it is.

Blogs about issues that affect your client’s clients

You wouldn’t believe it but this is an excellent way to publicise your business and it’s one that service providers use all the time.

I write content for software providers, often in the financial services industries and one of their favourite subjects is to write helpful posts about problems that their clients’ clients are having.

So I have a few software SaaS companies that provide software for accountants.

They write posts about specific industries that their clients market to.

For example they may write about changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

They post the article and then (and this is the important bit) they publicise it to their accountants telling them that it is a good resource to share with their clients.

That way not only do the accountants read it, they also share it because it is some free resource that they can pass on that makes them look good in the eyes of their own clients!

C’mon dude, get that blog up and running

Right look, blogs are brilliant for SEO and they are awesome at giving potential customers a warm feeling about you.

Nobody likes seeing a website that has cobwebs growing in the corner so get to it and write a blog today, you’ll feel better about yourself, promise.

Haven’t got the time?

Course you haven’t, that’s why I’m here.

I’m that annoying guy that sits in the corner of your coworking location tapping away on his keyboard all day muttering to himself and letting out an occasional unnerving chuckle.

But I’m not bad at writing.

I can sort out your keywords, write your blog, post it on your site and do all that SEO stuff that you’ve never quite got your head around.

My mum will tell you that I’m a nice guy so get in touch now and let’s have a chat about how I can stop your website looking like the room that the Addams family are scared to go into.


What is a good bounce rate?

what is a good bounce rate she's thinking

What should you consider as a good bounce rate for your company?

This is a question that exercises most people who are looking to move their pages up the SERPs and it’s one that is to a large extent a question of opinion.

The problem is that Google, Bing and all the others don’t publish guidelines like this so any view is largely based on experience, hunches and personal opinion.

However we can give general guidelines as to what constitutes a good bounce rate as long as we add on a few important health warnings!


bounce rate image
Want to know what bounce rates are? click to read all about it

If you don’t believe me then check out what Google say about bounce rate here

A good bounce rate isn’t necessarily a good bounce rate

Confused?

Good.

So here’s the thing, one person’s good bounce rate is another’s disaster and this is our first health warning.

To a great extent the measure of what is a good bounce rate depends upon the type of company you are promoting.

This all hinges upon how you expect users to view your site and how it is organised.

For example, imagine a shop site that has a home page that has links to several product category pages and from there many product pages.

It would be highly unusual for a customer(real) to visit one page and do nothing else.

However a site with just one page that exists purely as a ‘contact us’ page or looks to get people to sign up can’t possibly have a low bounce rate as there are no other pages to view.

So your first port of call is to understand what type of site you have.

Types of company and what their bounce rates should be

So we know that there are different types of company and they all have different bounce rates so what are they?

Most sites should sit in a range that goes between 25%-90%.

That’s a big range so let’s chop it up a bit.

If you have a shop type site where you expect people to whizz about different pages then you should be expecting your bounce rate to be in the range of 25-50%.

If it’s more than that then you may well have a problem with usability.

If you have an informational site then you’d expect your benchmark bounce rate to be in the region of 50-75%.

This is because people are much more likely to be reading long-form content that takes longer to get through and it is distinctly possible that they may only have time for one page at a time.

Magazine type sites present a bit of a problem.

If you have a site that has lots of long-form content then you should be looking at a higher bounce rate than one that has short, click-baity type articles.

So these kinds of site could have any bounce rate and could be completely different from other similar sites.

Really good bounce rates can be really bad bounce rates

OK so you log on to your analytics package and you are delighted to find that your bounce rate is down to 5%.


Woohooo! right?

Nope.

You see if your bounce rate is too good (or too bad) to be true then it probably isn’t.

A bounce rate of 5 % would tell me that you have a lot of bots visiting your site or that you haven’t excluded your own IP address so your staff are lowering it when they move from page to page.



Really bad bounce rates aren’t necessarily bad

So your bounce rate is 90% – time to give up and get a job?

Nope.

First of all bounce rate is to a certain extent a function of time.

Sites with high bounce rates can often be very new and not have a lot of content to read and so naturally they don’t get a lot of pageviews.

As they add more pages and more users visit then their bounce rate reduces.

So if you have a very new site, or you don’t have a lot of content on your site then don’t worry, just start adding content and your bounce rate will naturally reduce.

Bounce rate is important but it’s not everything

Bounce rate is important for SERPs ranking but what is much more important is whether your site is doing what you want it to.

So for example if you have a high bounce rate but your site is simply designed to let users view one page and then sign up for a mailing list then that’s all you need to focus on.

But if you have a page that is designed to expose users to lots of ads when they cruise between pages then a low bounce rate is essential.

So the message has to be – concentrate on what you want your site to achieve and if a low bounce rate would help then focus on it.

If it makes no difference then see it as an item of interest and nothing more.

Want to get your bounce rate down?

then you are going to need more content and if you haven’t got time then you need someone to produce it.

Now where can you find an ever so slightly sarcastic writer who specialises in writing superb content?


5 items of content marketing that every accountant must use

Two accountants content marketing discussion

For go-ahead accountants content marketing is the way to go.

If you are looking to grow your practice, or if you just want to make sure your current clients are more engaged and understand all the services that you offer, then you need to be producing content.

And there are some bits of content that are absolutely essential for your content marketing.

So here’s my list of the top 5 things you need to be doing to make sure your accountancy firm stays ahead of the game with its marketing.

#1 – Blog posts

You have got a blog haven’t you?

This the absolute number 1 thing you need.

Firstly it shows your clients that you are an up to date, current practice rather than a firm that put a website up just because it was the done thing.

Make sure you are producing useful stuff though, and make sure its relevant to your focused target market.

And if you don’t have the time then pay me to do it.


Yellow tomato - content advice for accountants
Find out why choosing your focus is so important here

#2 – Technical updates

OK so I’m not talking about technical updates in the way that you or I understand them.

What I am talking about is a digest of a technical development but presented in an easy to understand format.

The aim here is to inform your clients about changes like MTD, IR35 or RTI but in a way that makes is accessible for them.

Essentially you are saying “here’s a problem, here’s how we can solve it for you.”

#3 – Videos

OK so I know you don’t like to see yourself on the screen and you hate the sound of your own voice but 82% of Twitter users for instance consume video content.

But don’t worry. It’s perfectly acceptable to employ an actor to voice or present your videos and they can be surprisingly cheap.

You can also use things like Powtoon to produce an animated video that doesn’t even need to feature you as a talking head.

#4 – Webinars

Remember that you aren’t really selling anything on your site, as a professional what you are looking to do is to increase your credibility in the mind of the client.

Webinars on specific subjects of interest to your clients are a great way to do this.

Look at linking up with other professionals who may have more experience and pool your resources and this can be a very cheap way of driving traffic.

Just make sure you record it so that users can watch it later on.

#5 – Expert reports, white papers or eBooks

One of the first questions that academics get asked when they are looking for a job is “what have you published”.

It’s a way of potential employers understanding how much of an expert the professor or researcher actually is.

So that’s my question for you – “what have you published”?

Producing a meaty piece of content that explores a subject in depth and cements your reputation as a subject matter expert is perfect.

It’s also great for using in an advertising or link building campaign.

Use content marketing for your accountants to grow your firm

Content marketing has a great ROI and done properly it can be long lived and very cost effective.

There are tens, maybe hundreds of types of content marketing that accountants can use but you MUST have these five.

Admittedly this takes time and may need a bit of expert advice and that’s where I come in.

call now or drop me a message and let’s talk about how I can help you boost your practice marketing.

What is TLDR and why you should care

TLDR (or TL;DR as it used to be known) means ‘Too Long;Didn’t Read’.

Simple.

So why should you care?

Well TLDR is really important when you are composing your blog posts and web content and I’m about to tell you why.

In this post;

Truth is no-one likes a wall of text

Have you ever been faced with a wall of text and just decided that life’s too short?

That’s TLDR in action.

A massive wall of text on a webpage is offputting.

Sure if you are sitting in the garden with a white wine spritzer and a copy of catch-22 then you can spend some time enjoying the experience of reading, but if you just want to find a recruitment consultant then you haven’t got enough life left to make it worth while.

Research has shown that our attention span reduced from 12.5 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2015 and the trend is continuing.

This means that as a blog writer you need to make sure your posts are snappy and to the point.

Otherwise your readers will drift away

person drifting away from a boat
If you’re not smart your users will drift away

Split up your text

So what can you do about it?

Well for a start you can practice writing in short, snappy sentences.

Long paragraphs of text aren’t attractive at all so you need to avoid them and make sure you use easily accessible language because the average reader won’t be wanting to read acres of jargon.

Make sure you break up your text with relevant images too that illustrate your point.

Text for your homepage

So here’s the thing – Google says you need plenty of text on your homepage to tell it what it’s about but in reality your users won’t read it. So what do you do?

You start off by getting to the point above the fold.

Above the fold means the bit you can see without scrolling.

If you check out my homepage it says quite clearly above the fold – expert professional services marketing.

If you’ve come to the wrong place then you’ll know straight away but if you have come to the right place then you’ll scroll to…

Telling people what problems you solve

Look, we don’t want to read a page full of jargon, we just want to know what you are going to do for us.

So get to the point as quick as you can, the problem, the solution, who it’s for.

So don’t dance around your handbags for half an hour before getting to the point because your TLDR readers have already left the building.

I’d suggest that above the fold you go for your most important services.

Then as the user scrolls down you provide more detail.

And when they click onto another page you can expand your thought process.

TLDR for blog posts

Have you noticed that I answered the question right at the top of the post?

I did this for two reasons.

The first is for the TLDR people. They don’t have to read any further than line 1.

That’s fine.

If you are going to buy from me then you probably want to know much more than just the simple answer to the question.

So I am happy to give TLDR people the answer to their question because I know that they probably aren’t going to engage with me anyway.

The second reason is for Google.

Google likes posts that answer questions, and it likes to use the answers on it’s featured snippets panels.

So if you answer the question that people are asking quickly and succinctly in the first sentence then you are much more likely to be highly placed.


Free resources to help with your copywriting and SEO
Want free resources to help with your blog content and website SEO? Click the image for more

Chuck in a bulleted list

Did you see at the start of the article that there was a bulleted list?

This is designed to help readers get to the bit they want to read without scrolling or reading through the rest of the article.

Seriously though, with so much great information available why would people scroll past?

But they do!

Oh and set up page anchors so if you click on the item it takes you to the relevant section. Find out how to do page anchors here.

TLDR is important to keep readers engaged

So in summary then the principle of TLDR is important if you want to keep readers engaged in your blog and if you want site visitors to read more on your site.

On your home page make sure you get to the point right away and make it above the fold.

For blog posts, answer the question your readers are asking straight away as this will help engagement and will also boost your SEO score for the page.

And make sure you split your text up into manageable chunks and include the odd image here and there.

Here’s the ad

If you’d like help with your site, whether it be copywriting, marketing or anything else then give me a shout and let’s chat.

Do keywords matter when you are copywriting for accountants?

An accountant who needs copywriting

This is a question that pops up from time to time as I’m regularly asked if I will put some keywords into the copywriting for accountants that I do.

The problem is of course that the answer is that ‘it depends’.

So in this post, I thought I’d explore this in more detail and look at the whole issue of keywords.

Getting accountancy clients isn’t physical sales.

To my mind, the debate has been taken over by physical sales marketing, in other words, the use of keywords and phrases is all about a transactional relationship with the client.

The problem is that this is rarely the way to sell accountancy services as they rely on the build-up of trust between the client and the firm.

So simply packing blog posts with keywords is probably going to do more harm than good, especially in the eyes of Google.

So keywords are no good then?

Nah, that ‘s not what I said.

Keywords are fine for pointing people at the valuable content you have on offer.

They are a way of telling Google what is on your site but I’d argue that once the visitor is on the site it is much more about building a level of trust.

And the truth is that for trust based services like accountancy, people generally don’t buy because they saw you at the top of the search engine results pages.

I’d also say that marketing for clients works much better when it is away from the Google search pages and done on an individual basis.

In short, I think that when you are commissioning copy for an accountancy practice you are better off looking at the meat of the copywriting rather than the fluff of keywords. Treat them as a ‘nice to have’.

Copywriting for accountants – what’s the use?

Well it’s all about credibility.

Look at it this way, imagine you were wanting to find a good practice near you that was up to date and had their finger on the pulse.

You go to a website and find that the last blog post was written in 2014 and was about tax rates.

You’re pretty certain that the tax regime has changed since then (it has) so you are suddenly mistrustful of the site and it puts you off.

So you go and look at another site and you find that they have a wealth of posts about different areas of their practice.

You even find out something that you didn’t know.

So you feel much more confident about the firm, the people and about contacting them for more information.

And this is the crucial difference between selling services and DVDs.

A great set of keywords will sell DVDs directly from the site.

A great set of keywords won’t sell your accounting services, but when people hit your site, poor quality content will certainly lose you the sale.

Want more information about digital marketing?

I’ve produced an in-depth guide that you can download for free by clicking here