As an accountant, do you ever wish you could clone yourself?
Just think, if there were copies of you running around, how many more people could you help? How many more people would benefit from your advice? How much time would you save if you didn’t have to explain the same tax and accounting principles over and over?
While not exactly cloning yourself, a blog can help you reach more people. By writing regular blog posts for your firm’s website, you can teach simple tax and accounting concepts to your clients and prospective clients. Write the post once, and your words have the potential to help hundreds – or even thousands – of readers for years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The best blog posts aren’t fine literature, nor are they academic treatises on an esoteric topic in accounting. The most useful blog posts help the readers by answering a question or showing them how to solve a problem with their businesses or financial life.
Here are some of the best reasons why every accounting firm needs to have a blog page on their website:
1. Increases your search engine rankings. The engineers at Google are constantly refining its search engine algorithm with the goal of helping users find useful information easily and quickly. The best strategy for raising your firm’s ranking in Google is to simply add useful content to your website regularly.
Adding regular blog posts to your website tells Google that your website is a source of relevant, useful, and interesting information. It takes time for this to happen, so you’ll need to be patient. If you’re one of the only accounting firms in your city or region that has a blog page, you’ll also get quicker results for local searches.
2. Instant credibility for referrals. Many accountants rely on a steady stream of referrals from other professionals. These days it’s a given that those freshly referred prospects will check out your website before they call or visit your firm. They may also check out the websites of your competitors. And if your website doesn’t measure up, they might not even call you. You may risk losing out on that new client.
A good website with lots of free and useful information not only establishes you as a competent and capable professional, but can also pre-sell a prospect on working with your firm. That means that by the time a prospective client calls or visits, they may be all but ready to sign your engagement letter.
3. Build relationships with clients and prospects. Your blog gives prospects a taste of what working with your firm is like. Easy-to-read articles with useful information highlight your firm as a source of valuable advice to build their businesses and their wealth. Blogs that show your personality make your firm feel more like a friendly and helpful advisor and less like the stereotypical dull bean counter.
Because your clients focus their energy and attention on their businesses and their lives, they don’t live and breathe tax and accounting the way we do. Blog posts also serve as reminders to your current clients of ideas they need to discuss with you to grow their businesses or save on taxes. It’s a gentle way to stay top of mind with your clients.
Has this ever happened to you? A steadfast, years-long client tells you that they engaged another firm to perform a service beyond the usual tax return or annual financial statement you provide them. And when you sputter, “We could have done that for you!” they reply that they didn’t know you do that too. If you write posts about all the other services you provide, your clients won’t go elsewhere when they need something unusual.
4. Stand out from the competition. At present, very few accounting firms have regularly updated blogs on their websites. According to the 2017 Accounting & Financial Services Research Study recently published by Hinge Marketing, the most profitable firms were three times more likely to identify their marketing and business development methods as a differentiator from other firms. One of the marketing methods favored by these firms is blogging, which, according to the study, is “known to be effective in demonstrating expertise.”
5. Save time in answering questions. If you write a blog post that answers a question you hear over and over from clients, you can simply point a client to it when they ask you. This saves you time, and you also know that your clients are getting a consistent answer every time they ask it.
And when you send your client to your website, they might happen upon a post from months ago that speaks to a problem they have now. They’ll thank you for putting the information out there.
6. Establishes your firm as experts. If your firm has an industry or service specialty, then regular blog posts on this topic can help establish your firm as the go-to firm for these types of clients. Just like a neurosurgeon commands a higher salary than a general practitioner, your expertise will earn you higher fees.
7. Your firm newsletter is already written. By picking up the blog posts written since your last issue, you already have the bulk of your newsletter written. Sending out a regular newsletter helps you spread your articles to the folks who don’t visit your website regularly. And because you already know what the hot-button issues of your clients are, your newsletter, filled with articles that address those issues, will be more interesting and relevant to your clients than a pre-made newsletter supplied by your software company.
A regular blog has all of these benefits and more. It’s among the least expensive of methods in your marketing toolkit, and it’s a way to stand out from the majority of firms that don’t have a blog.
It announces your willingness to share your expertise with the world. It’s a way to educate your clients, which turns them into better clients: more successful in their businesses and personal finances. It’s also a way to form deeper connections with your clients and prospects, and a way to extend your reach beyond your neighborhood.
Above all, it’s a way to help your clients with their finances, which is why most of us became accountants in the first place.
Liz Farr, CPA, spent 15 years in tax and accounting at small firms in Albuquerque, NM. Besides tax returns of all flavors, she worked on audits of governmental entities and not-for-profits, business valuations, and litigation support. Now she's a full-time freelance writer specializing in content marketing for accountants and bookkeepers around...