If the thought of blogging makes you as nervous as an executive facing an IRS audit, stop worrying. You can overcome your challenges with these tips.
1. Blogging is good for business. You'll benefit as your blog displays your expertise and makes your website more findable in online searches. Publishing fresh content on your blog boosts your website's search engine rankings. It also attracts more potential clients. Small businesses with blogs attract 126 percent more leads, according to "The Blogconomy," an infographic published on the Buffer blog, as part of "10 Awesome Infographics to Guide Your Marketing Plan for 2014."
2. It's easier than you think to generate blog post topics. "I don't know what to blog about." This is a common fear. Your best starting point? Look at the questions your clients ask you about taxes, audits, or other accounting issues. For example, "Will deducting ____ make the IRS more likely to audit me?" or "Am I recognizing revenues correctly for this specific kind of shipment?" or "Does this specific action qualify for a federal tax incentive?"
Clients' questions work because your blog will attract the best prospects when you address your best clients' biggest concerns. No one understands these concerns better than your clients.
Another advantage of using your clients' questions is using language that your clients and prospects can relate to. You might speak in technical terms, referring to tax code numbers. Clients start with plain English, which is more appealing and less intimidating. There's time to get into the technical details later, after you've enticed people to start reading.
If your clients aren't asking many questions, you'll find an entire chapter on brainstorming blog post topics in my book (see below).
3. You don't have to be a great writer. Good writing helps. But keeping your blog posts short and focused can help you to overcome weaknesses in your writing. Pick one point to make in each blog post and pare away any content that doesn't support that point. Check your post's organization, grammar, and punctuation. My book provides checklists to help you do this.
If you can communicate your passion for a topic, readers will overlook little mistakes in your writing. This is especially true if your blog post solves a problem for them, which it will if you're answering a common question, as I suggested in my first tip.
4. You can keep your blog going, even during tax season. Sometimes you'll be too busy to write blog posts. But this need not derail your posting schedule. The secret? Write and schedule blog posts in advance.
For example, if your clients typically ask about filing for extensions during the month before the April 15 tax deadline, you can write about that topic way ahead of time, but schedule it to post around March 15. An added advantage: You can refer clients to this post when they ask you about this topic. Your blog post may even spare web-savvy clients the need to call you with routine questions on the topic.
As an accountant, you are accustomed to taking a logical, methodical approach to your work. You study the rules and figure out how to apply them to your clients' circumstances. Take a similar approach to blogging, and you'll attract new clients and deepen your existing relationships.
About the author:
Susan Weiner, CFA, is the author of Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients, which is tailored to financial planners, wealth managers, investment managers, and the marketing and communications staff that supports them. These tips and more appear in the book. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter, Google+ or the Investment Writing Facebook page.