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What CPA Firms Can Learn from the Latest Research on Blogging Success Tactics

Posted by Alan Vitberg

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Feb 26, 2016 3:11:34 PM

5 Tips That Will Make Your Accounting Firm ContentMarketing Results Extraordinary

Smartest_man_aliveI truly dislike plumbing chores around the house.

More likely than not any plumbing work that I take on is because I want to avoid paying a plumber $85 an hour and having to listen to them mutter snide remarks about my plumbing prowess. But this DIY decision comes at a price:

Cursing when trying to remove a part; 3 to 7 trips to Home Depot to get something I forgot; a tool slipping, resulting in yet another bloodletting on a home improvement project (and more cursing); befuddlement when it comes to reassembling the repair; mopping up water when I discover that the repair was not successful; more cursing; and then… a moment of epiphany! 

That’s the moment when I discover (or re-discover) that the upside down backward “righty-tighty/lefty–loosey” rule my father tried to teach me is the key to getting that water running and draining like it shows on the YouTube video.  

5 upside down backwards righty-tighty turns later and voila! Success!

I love those moments.

Blogging and Your Moment of Epiphany

Let’s say that your firm has arrived at a moment of epiphany where it’s been recognized that a content marketing program anchored by a blog is the right move.

Good for you!

It’s never too late to catch up to what’s commonly recognized as the heart of today’s state of the art digital marketing best practices, but today’s commitment is tomorrow’s heavy lift. It’s going to take practice, persistence, and constancy to get your blog to the point where it will be a key ingredient in fueling an inbound marketing machine that raises your online visibility in search engines, drives eyeballs to your site, and then assists in converting those eyeballs into leads.

Over the years, what has been considered best practices for blogging—the “righty-tighty/lefty–loosey” rules, if you will—have changed and it’s likely that these best practices will continue to change. What’s in store for 2016?

Success Tactics of Top Bloggers

Orbit Media recently published research on what top bloggers do to be successful. I am going to highlight a few of these below, but for a fuller treatment, here are two blog posts I recommend: Research Reveals Success Tactics of Top Bloggers: 11 Trends; and from the Content Marketing Institute, How to Take Advantage of the Latest Blogging Trends.

Here are a few ingredients that can help you reach your moment of blogging epiphany:

FINDING RESEARCH SHOWS... YOUR FIRM SHOULD...

Long-form posts are becoming the norm

  • A typical blog post is about 900 words (last year: 800 words)

  • 75% of bloggers write posts of 1000 words or less

  • 8% of bloggers write 1500+ word posts

Prepare your partners and subject matter experts to come to the table with at least 900 words of critical thinking about a hot issue or topic.

Given that this may be a burden in an environment where billable hours are royalty, it may be prudent to minimize an individual’s content contribution requirement to one ortwo posts a year, and/or to engage outside resources to coach or assist the thought leader.

Remember, however, that longer content ranks higher in Google search results than shorter content, and that their best practices emphasize quality over quantity.

Frequency is increasing, but daily posts are still a struggle for some

  • 2/3 of bloggers publish less often than daily but more often than monthly

  • Over half of bloggers publish atleast weekly

  • Bloggers who publish daily have increased from 4.7% to 6.2%

  • Only 15% of bloggers publish at irregular intervals

It’s pretty likely that your firm doesn’t have or isn’t willing to budget for daily blog posts. However, each niche practice in the firm should have its own schedule. Let’s say that your firm has sevenniche practices, each of which commits to two blogposts per month—a very doable number.

That means the firm ends up publishing 14 posts/month; or 168 per year—representing about threeposts per week. Hello, Google!

Bloggers are realizing the power of collaboration

  • Guest blogging doesn’t seem to be declining in popularity

  • 6% of bloggers publish the majority of their original content as guest posts

Part of your firm’s blogging strategy should be to secure guest posts on other sites. The two best ways to accomplish this are to find industry or trade blogs that will let you publish non-advertorial thought leadership with a link back to your site, and for firms that are in an accounting association to have a guest blog exchange program.

Bloggers are marketing their marketing

  • Bloggers are increasing their use of promotion techniques that drive traffic to their posts

  • 93% reported that they share their posts on social networks

Firms need to realize that the blogging effort doesn’t end when the subject matter experts are finished. In fact, this is where and when the firm’s marketing department needs to take over and execute responsibilities that include both optimizing the blog for search, and promoting the post to relevant audiences.

The magic of blogging really happens when a post is socially shared and referenced by other third party sites, and it’s up to firm marketers to create the infrastructure and opportunities to make this happen. 

How_are_bloggers_driving_traffic

 Source: Research Reveals Success Tactics of Top Bloggers: 11 Trends

It takes more than 2 hours to write a post

  • About half of all bloggers spend about 2 hours writing

  • 16% of bloggers spend more than 4 hours per post

  • 6% of bloggers spend more than 6 hours on a post

Just writing a post isn't the end of the process—or time resources needed—to get it published and promoted. In fact, once a subject matter expert delivers final thought leadership copy, the process of getting that post published and posted can easily take a couple of additional hours.

What that means for a firm is that you need to think of blogging resources as having at least two components—time for writing the post and time for back-end publishing and promoting activities.

That means, all in, a typical blog can require three to four hours of time, spread over a number of different levels of responsibility and accountability.

 On the Road to Being a Bigger, Better, Bolder Blogger

Only a few short years ago, CPA and other professional services firms had the luxury of doing “set it and forget it” marketing where their website was really nothing more than a static online brochure. Sadly for many firms—even quite a few Top 200 firms—this mindset still rules the roost. I can’t possibly fathom that seeing a competitor’s great blogging effort (and hearing a Doppler-like sound as your competition’s thought leadership train moves away from your standstill position) is pleasant in any shape or form.

There are quite a few strategic and tactical moving pieces to a successful blogging effort. But considering that what differentiates one professional services firm from another is their thought leadership, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that publishing this thought leadership in a consistent and persistent matter should be a fundamental part of the firm’s marketing efforts.

Just like my attempts at plumbing, getting your blogging efforts to a point of productivity and demonstrable ROI will take cursing, bloodletting, and water on the floor in terms of a few horrible posts. But at some point you’ll discover your own unique righty-tighty/lefty-loosey epiphany that will get you to persistent and consistent quality blogging efforts.

And if that doesn’t work, we have a 24/7 blogging service you can call. Even better: We have a no snide remark policy! 

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Topics: inbound marketing, blogging best practices, CPA Firm Marketing


LeadG2’s Professional Services Team specializes in online marketing for CPA, consulting, recruiting, staffing, and other professional services firms. Contact us here or call Dean Moothart at (407) 913-7091 to talk about how you can get more visibility, leads, and new business for your firm or niche practice.

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