Creating content is not easy. Creating it for a CPA firm, where your access to technical experts can be somewhat limited (especially during busy season), makes things even harder. Not to mention any budgetary limitations you may be experiencing.
For these reasons and more, our team at Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing developed a survey to explore how CPA marketers were handling their content marketing challenges—how do they produce content, how much time do the spend, what industries do they write for (or wish they wrote for) and how much do they spend?
In the details and infographic below, you’ll see how your peers responded to our survey. We look forward to repeating this survey in the future, and would appreciate any feedback or additional questions you may have. You can send those to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Importance of Content
Not surprisingly, nobody that completed the survey selected that they do not create content at their firm. Plus, most firms at least understand the importance of thought leadership these days, even if they are a little strapped for resources.
Almost half (49%) of respondents are using a combination of resources to meet their content needs. Those include in-house writing, freelancer(s), agency and/or subscription service. Another 44% are creating their content in-house. A mere 7% are using a subscription service only, and no firms are using a sole freelancer or agency.
How Much Content?
Most firms that are creating content in-house are developing 1-2 articles per month; though the average falls in the 3-4 articles per month range. Similarly, for firms that are outsourcing their content writing, the majority are purchasing 1-4 articles per month.
An impressive 13% of respondents are purchasing 16 or more articles per month, so at least four per week. Our experience tells me that these are probably the larger firms that support multiple niche areas, or that they are trying to keep a strong cadence of content for SEO purposes.
For firms that are developing content in-house, 43% are spending less than five hours per week creating that content. This number matches up well considering how many were only creating 1-2 blogs per month. On the other end of the spectrum, 9% of respondents said that their firms spend over 30 hours per week developing content.
The three most popular industries covered, each with over 70% of respondents selecting, are nonprofit (79%), manufacturing (77%) and construction (72%). There were a number of write-in votes for “other,” but the three that had a few votes each were government, employee benefit plans and investment management.
Of the topics that respondents wished they covered, but don’t, the top vote getter was insurance with 14%. That was fitting in that it was the last place finisher for topics they were currently covering. The other top industries that they wished they covered were hospitality (14%), construction (11%) and technology (11%).
Content Marketing Challenges
By far the biggest challenge that CPA marketers face regarding content marketing is resources, with 45% of respondents selecting that option. That makes sense considering their reported lack of time for content development, and the survey question about their budget for annual spend on outsourced content. Respondents reported that 23% have $5,000 or less to spend on content each year. It’s difficult to build an effective content program, especially one that is built to deliver consistent leads to your firm, with only $5,000 or less annually.
The second biggest challenge based on survey responses was finding unique content (16%). If that is in relation to subscription-based content, our recommendation for respondents would be to make efforts to add details to customize that content slightly to help differentiate it from competitors. The smallest percentage (2%) came from respondents who just listed the word “content” as their biggest challenge, which gave me a good laugh. For those individuals, and those who didn’t respond, but can relate—don’t worry, we’re in this together!
Thanks again to all of those that participated in our first CPA marketer content survey. We hope you found this information valuable, and that you can use it to help plan for next year. Perhaps you can even make the case for more content in your marketing budget. Please don’t forget to reach out if you had additional feedback or ideas for our next survey. You can reach me at email@example.com or 440-605-7106.