7 Keys to a Successful Blog
We’re halfway through the year and while there are many areas you can focus on to further develop your CPA practice, now is a great time to think about how you’re marketing your firm. It’s natural to think that effective marketing requires a commitment of extensive resources, but that isn’t necessarily true. A corporate blog is a marketing vehicle that can be managed by your existing staff.
A blog offers many opportunities: it allows you to demonstrate the expertise of you and your staff; it lets you showcase your values as a firm and convey your firm’s personality so you can attract the “right” clients; it allows you to answer frequently- asked questions and introduce potential clients to your staff. Another big advantage of blogging is that it can help your firm rank higher in search engine results.
According to Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing report, 68% of the marketers surveyed, said they expect to see their blogging activities increase this year. If you want to elevate your blog or start a new one, here are seven things you can do:
- Create a blog strategy: Similar to how you might advise a client to have a plan in place so they can reach their retirement goal, you need to develop a strategy for your blog. Ask yourself a series to questions to determine what you ultimately want to achieve. Is it more business from a new line of services you’re offering or do you want to spotlight under-utilized services? Do you want to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area or do you want to showcase that you are a family-owned firm? Going through this exercise will determine what content you create for your blog. But remember, your strategy is a roadmap that will likely change as your organization evolves, so plan on revisiting it at least once a year.
- Know your audience: Chances are, the readers of your blog are either current or potential clients. Find out what their pain points are. What are their fears, dreams, desires, habits and goals? Tapping into your target audience’s mind will guide you in creating content that solves a problem, which leads us to the next point.
- Provide valuable content. Offering your best advice on your blog is a way raising the “know, like and trust” factor, which is essential to building long-term relationships.
- Be consistent. Depending on what resources you have available, you may decide to blog once a week, twice a month or once a month. Regardless, consistency is key. With the barrage of media options these days, it’s increasingly challenging to hold an audience’s attention. So you need to create content regularly. The best way to stay on track is to develop an editorial calendar. Planning topics ahead of time will not only save you the headache of writing last-minute posts, it will also let you time posts with new services you’re launching or other firm goings-on.
- Respond to comments. Remember, the main reason you are blogging is to build relationships with your readers, so take the time to respond to comments. Also, rather than deleting negative comments, address the issues raised head on. It will speak volumes about your firm’s culture.
- Market your blog. You may have the best blog content but if no one knows about it, you won’t have a readership. Social media is a great avenue for marketing your blog. You can also include recent blog posts in an email newsletter, if your firm has one.
- Measure results. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information on blog and website traffic. You can also look at engagement on your social channels to see what topics resonate best with your audience and create more content around those.
AICPA Members: To learn more about blogging, check out the AICPA’s Blogging Guide. It’s a valuable resource to have on hand, no matter where you are on your blogging journey. Plus, check out the Tax Practitioner Toolkit for an inventory of potential blog post ideas.
What aspect of blogging do you plan to tackle? Share in the comments.
Kalyani Deshpande. Kalyani is a social media marketing consultant and contributor to AICPA social media channels. Her expertise is in social media management and strategy, content creation, copywriting, analytics and reporting. She has an MBA from Wichita State University and has more than 10 years experience in marketing.