I’m always on the lookout for new accounting regulations, codes, standards or news.
Lest you brand me as a dullard or someone with all too much time on their hands – which I assure you that I’m not and I don’t – my curiosity is that of a marketer who’s a big fan of content marketing. What I’m looking for is something that could be used as the nucleus for thought leadership, which in turn, can lead to new business opportunities.
So, when I ran across a news piece about the “America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014” my immediate thought was, “what could possibly be a greater subject for a blog post by a CPA or law firm than one that deals with lower taxes for small business?”
Wow... home run!
Yes, I know that it’s not yet law and that there’s a long row to hoe ‘twixt intent and tax code. But what an interesting topic to write about and what a great opportunity for a tax subject matter expert to weigh in on what it is, implications and opportunities for small businesses, their personal take on the issue, etc.,etc.
I did a search on the Act looking to see is any CPA firm had done anything in the way of publishing their thought leadership on the Act. Nothing on the first page of search results. Hmmmm... nothing on the second page, but finally, there on the third page of search results was one CPA firm that published a blog post about the Act.
Write a Blog Post – Get a Lead: Here’s How
What Dazkal Boton did was to use a blog post to seize upon an opportunity to be one of the first firms in the market, let alone the nation, to deliver thought leadership about the Act. They dedicated time and resources, and in effect, set a foundation for future content marketing initiatives about the Act that will ultimately lead to higher search engine rankings, leads and new business opportunities,
Your CPA firm can do the same. Here’s six “musts” when it comes to blogging for lead generation:
1. Write About an Issue or Pain
One of the key values of blogging is that it serves as a vehicle to present thought leadership about pains, issues or opportunities faced by your clients and prospects. You don’t want to be blogging about your firm or merely regurgitating dry and boring standards, regs or code ... you want to be delivering your take on what the issue is about, why it’s important to your client or prospect, how to resolve the issue and what could happen – especially the positives – from compliance.
2. You Must Have the Right Infrastructure in Place
You can’t blog is you don’t have the right infrastructure and technology in place. You’ll need a blogging platform, social media accounts, and processes for publishing and promoting your post. One of the reasons why we are a strong supporter of HubSpot is because it has a powerful blogging platform that not only shows you how to optimize a blog post for search, but also has a hands free way to promote your post on a number of different social media platforms.
3. Be the First Thought Leader and Sustain the Momentum
When it comes to thought leadership, you don’t want to be the last one to the table - you want to be the “firstest with the mostest”, and if appropriate, you want to blog about an issue not once, but a series of times in order to establish and maintain your expertise on a given issue. You’ll firm will not only get lovin’ from the search engines for being first, the author will
accelerate the move toward building their personal brand in a way that catches your competitors asleep at the wheel.
4. You Must Have a Corps of Professionals Willing to be Authors
If you can’t find subject matter experts willing to write a 600 word blog post a few times a year, then you’re blogging efforts are dead even before you start. Sure, you can hire a ghost writer, but even 3rdparties need access and time from SMEs in order to prepare relevant and technically accurate insights on accounting issues or pain points. Blogging is a great opportunity to get your firm’s reluctant rainmakers involved in marketing, as well as a means for helping the rising stars in your firm to build their personal brand,
5.You Must Promote the Post Once it’s Been Published
It’s not enough just to publish a blog post on your website – it also needs to be promoted in order to reach and encourage as many eyeballs as necessary to dive into your thought leadership. That’s why your post needs to be promoted on site, for example, as a link from an author’s bio page; as well as offsite using tactics ranging from email and enewsletters like BizActions to social media, like LinkedIn corporate pages and groups.
6. Convert the Eyeball to a Lead with an Offer
Now for the payoff:
A blog post is not complete unless it includes an offer – especially a “gated” offer – that converts that blog reader to a lead. This is an opportunity to leverage thought leadership and move the reader of the post into a deeper relationship by offering a consultation or filling out a form for a white paper or offering a seat at an online webinar. Every post should conclude with at least one clear and precise call to action,
Here’s the good news for your firm and the firm’s marketers: in accounting, there’s a never ending supply of opportunities to blog about. I picked on the Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 because it’s really low hanging fruit that popped up on the radar this last week, but wait, there’s more. (Gosh, don’t you love marketing??!!??)
For example, take a look at the last week or so of stories you can find on Accounting Today for the Web, Here’s a sample of issues that your firm could have – or should be – blogging about:
- FASB Revises Accounting Standards for Repo Agreements
- Top Regulatory Changes for Businesses in 2014
- IRS Adopts Taxpayer Bill of Rights
- PCAOB Adopts Standard on Auditing Related Party Transactions
- Research Tax Credit Just Became Simpler
So, with a little bit of infrastructure and process, a willing author looking to build their personal brand, and 600 words later, you’ve got a piece of thought leadership working 24/7/365 that will help your CPA firm get more visibility, leads and new business.
Blogging for CPA firms is a lot like surfing: issues may be forming offshore, but when one is sighted, you should be thinking about grabbing your surf board, paddling out to the wave, and hoping on for a ride into shore. You might just find that you’re the only one on the water, but that’s where you want to be ... alone and ahead of the crowd instead of surfing in a pack of others all competing for the same space.