how to create engaging content image

Cute kittens.

Mouthwatering cupcakes.

Some small businesses and organizations have it easy.

But what if your business is focused on something a little less tempting — like, say, tax and accounting resources?

Can you ever create content that excites your audience?

This is a challenge the team at CPA for Freelancers® has been tackling since they started with email marketing six months ago.

“As far as accounting content, there’s a lot of dry and hard-to-understand content out there,” says Gaynor Meilke, community manager for CPA for Freelancers®. “What we want is to build a community where people can access information easily and in terms they understand.”

By providing useful and engaging content, CPA for Freelancers® has added over 2,000 subscribers to their email list and turned leads into paying clients.

Here are their best tips for creating engaging content in a seemingly “boring” industry:

1. Focus on your customers’ problems.

Every piece of content you write should address a problem your audience members struggle with and offer a possible solution to overcome it.

For CPA for Freelancers®, content inspiration often comes directly from conversations the founder, Jonathan Medows, CPA, has had with clients and prospects.

“Jonathan has served the freelance community for over a decade, so he’s encountered a lot of questions over the years,” says Gaynor. “We work to answer these questions with an interesting twist on what otherwise might be mundane topics. We try to keep it fresh, but also keep it relevant so people can put it to use.”

Here’s a look at some of the latest blog posts on the CPA for Freelancers® blog:

CPA for Freelancers recent blog posts

From information on tax amnesty to how to file for a tax extension, their content provides helpful and timely advice.

CPA for Freelancers® also targets relevant keywords that people are searching for online. Spend some time researching keywords that are relevant to your business and optimizing your website to show up in search results.

2. Get to know your readers better.

Once you start developing useful content, get a better understanding of who your readers are and what they’re responding to so you can tailor your content to them.

One of the best ways to connect with your audience further is to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list.

CPA for Freelancers® collects contact information from website visitors through an online sign-up form and a pop-up message created with the MailMunch app.

MailMunch sign-up form example

MailMunch integrates with Constant Contact to automatically add new subscribers to your Constant Contact account.

“It’s been consistent since we launched the website and email marketing program that we’re getting 10-20 subscribers a week,” Gaynor says. “I think what’s really powerful is that these people want our information. People are very receptive to getting our emails, and we have a really low unsubscribe rate.”

3. Share new content consistently and track engagement.

By practicing permission-based email marketing, CPA for Freelancers® is building an online audience that wants to hear from them. Now the challenge becomes keeping their audience interested by consistently delivering engaging content.

“When we’re creating emails, the number one thing is to make it something people want to read,” explains Gaynor. “That means choosing the right topics, then also not making the email too long. We want it to be concise, but also really friendly and humorous. Just as engaging as possible — not what you’d typically expect from another tax and accounting email.”

CPA for Freelancers® consistently sends one email a month, like clockwork. Here’s an example of their December 2015 email:

Constant Contact accounting email example

A typical email from CPA for Freelancers® includes a friendly introduction from founder, Jonathan Medows, two or three useful content pieces, and an overview of the business towards the end of the email.

Notice how the email is filled with fun headlines, like “Read the Blog…You’ll Thank Yourself Later!” and bright images.

“That’s Jonathan’s way of differentiating himself from being just another CPA,” Gaynor explains. “He’s made CPA for Freelancers® unique in that way — showing some personality. Everything is done with a little humor. I think it resonates really well.”

After sending an email, Gaynor uses email reports and website analytics to see what content is generating the most interest and driving people back to their website.

“Click-throughs are invaluable because then we get people back on our website,” says Gaynor. “That’s our primary goal because the website is one of the best ways to secure new clients. We can see in our website analytics that people get the email and visit the website. We get a lot of traffic that way.”

Tracking which links are getting the most interest gives CPA for Freelancers® insight into what content they should create next. For example, if the “Last Minute Tax Planning Checklist” generated the most clicks in the mailing above, Gaynor would know checklists are a good format for her audience.

4. Experiment with different types of content.

In addition to checklists and blog posts, CPA for Freelancers® also uses videos and webinars to connect with their audience.

The CPA for Freelancers® homepage features a short, minute-long video to provide a business overview.

CPA for Freelancers website homepage

(Watch their video here.)

Long-form content, like webinars, provides the opportunity for CPA for Freelancers® to go more in-depth and show their expertise. This gives attendees the chance to get to know, like, and trust CPA for Freelancers®.

Remember that engaging content is about reaching the right people with the right information at the right time. While a quick video works perfectly on a homepage for people who are new to your business, your mailing list might enjoy something more substantial like an e-book or webinar invitation.

Say goodbye to boring content!

As CPA for Freelancers® demonstrates, your industry is no excuse for dull, lifeless content.

Be helpful, actively work to understand your audience’s pain points and interests, and continually try new things to keep your content fresh and interesting.

Get started today by thinking about a big problem your customers or clients are facing. Ask yourself: What problems are they facing and how can my business help?

Write for your audience and help them be more successful. Then you’ll have them on the edge or their seat, every time.

Need more tips on engaging your audience? Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re struggling with.