The Budget is always one of the main events of the political and financial year, but coming two months before a general election, the 2015 Budget is even more of a shop window for politicians than usual. Whether your business is tax advice, making whisky or selling houses, responding to the tax and spending plans of the Government and the opposition is an ideal way to create timely, useful and interesting online content.
The Budget has been described as a ‘spectacular shop window’ for the Chancellor in the run up to the election, and it is no less so for businesses and organisations which want to build their reputation as trusted voices in their industry.
With 2015’s Budget measures including a raising of the income tax threshold, cuts to beer, cider and whisky duty, lower taxes on savings and ISA contributions for first-time house buyers, a very broad range of industries should be taking the opportunity to use their own websites and social media channels to put forward expert opinion: every company with employees will be affected by the income tax change, for example.
In the week before this year’s Budget, a look at the most common Google searches on ‘Budget 2015’, showed the most popular search terms were +date, +highlights, + summary, +income tax and + calculator.
This demonstrates that to create online content which meets a need, you don’t need to wade deeply into politics – most people want the Chancellor’s speech to be made clear and digestible. If your business is thinking as a publisher, you are trying, on behalf of your customers, to answer the question: ‘What does it mean for me?’.
The media companies throw all their resources at events such as the Budget, and they dominated the first page of Google search results on ‘Budget 2015’ following the Chancellor’s speech on March 18 (see how the Telegraphand the FT handled the subject of the Budget here). However two non-media sites made it onto that crucial first screen –accountancy and advisory firm PwC’s Budget coverage, and an income-tax calculator on Moneysavingexpert.com.
Clearly not every company has the resources of PwC, or the business opportunities resulting from the Budget, but the section of the website it has devoted to the subject is an excellent example of online content done well: ahead of the Budget announcement, it had predictions of what the Chancellor was expected to say, links to its tax blog and an option to sign up for updates from its experts. Post-Budget, there is a newsfeed with video explanations of key issues from senior PwC staff, as well as graphs and written opinion pieces.
Rival auditor and advisor KPMG also responded to the ‘what does it mean for me?’ question, posting its Budget 2015 calculator – are you better or worse off? – on its website the day after the announcement, and promoting it via LinkedIn.
March’s Budget announcement is a chance to use your own website and social media platforms to address the big tax and spending issues affecting your sector and how you would like to see them treated by the Government. You can also explain to your customers and readers how measures proposed by all the main political parties will affect them. In an election year, it is the ideal time to get your online shop-window looking as enticing as possible.