How Your Blog Posts Can Help You Stay Top of Mind with Your Market

“Why didn’t you hire me? I live just over there!”

I looked up as a young man yelled at me from the window of his pickup truck, which had just screeched to a sideways stop at the end of my driveway. I recognized the driver as a neighbor who lived a block away with his father. I had been talking to the foreman of the the crew I’d hired to re-stucco my house.

“I started a new stucco business. I gave you a flyer and all,” he whined. I vaguely remembered receiving a primitive black and white flyer advertising his services, but that was months ago. Maybe even a year ago. When he gave me that flyer, I wasn’t even thinking about a new stucco job, so I tossed it out.

Then when I was collecting estimates for our stucco job, I had completely forgotten about that  xeroxed sheet of paper. And I didn’t have his contact information anymore. Now, with the chosen crew busily setting up, it was too late to even give him a chance. And his attitude wasn’t helping matters.

If he had made sure that everyone in our neighborhood knew about his business, I would have at least asked for an estimate. And I might have hired him.

If you don’t keep your name in front of prospects, then you risk making the same mistake this young man made. A mistake that may have cost him a nice paycheck.

Most advertising falls on deaf ears and blind eyes if the audience isn’t ready to buy. Or they’re not concerned about the problem this product or service is supposed to solve. Unless that bit of marketing catches your attention, you probably won’t remember the name of the company if you ever need their solution.

There are many ways an accounting firm can stay top of mind for prospects and clients, from attending networking events to speaking at local business meetings. But if you’re like many of the accountants I know, those activities are waaay outside your comfort zone. Some accountants are terrific at speaking — and I truly love hearing them at conferences or when I attend courses.

But for those who don’t like speaking, what are some good ways to stay top of mind for your prospects and clients? In this blog post, I’m going to suggest ways you can leverage your blog to get your message out to more people who need your services.

Writing a blog positions you as an expert

Sharing your knowledge with the world shows that you know your field. This isn’t giving away the keys to the kingdom — your best prospects will be wowed by what you give away for free. And they’ll be eager to learn what you’re not  sharing. They’re looking for someone who can guide them to fulfilling their dreams, and by sharing what you know, you’re showing them that you’re the one to help them.

Raise your search engine ranking without tricks

Google is continually revising its search algorithm with the goal of helping users find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. Adding content to your website on a regular basis tells Google that this is a website with useful and current information.

How do I know this works? I’ve done almost nothing to optimize my website in the search results, but I’ve been told by accountants looking for a writer that my site appears high in the rankings, sometimes as high as #1 or #2, depending on exactly what the search terms were. When I first launched, I couldn’t find myself on Google. Now I’m consistently on the first page.

This takes time and patience. Despite what some SEO experts say, there are no magical ways to significantly raise your search rankings. There are some things you can do that will enhance your profile over time, but don’t believe anyone who says they can get you on the first page with just a few tweaks to your website. If they’re using tricks to game the system, Google will eventually punish you for that.

Build the foundation for your newsletter

Reuse your blog posts in your newsletter. You can copy the whole post into your newsletter, or include a link that takes readers back to your website.

The wonderful thing about email newsletters is that they can be forwarded to others. A newsletter coming from your firm adds a personal connection that a canned newsletter from your software provider can’t.

Communicating with your clients on a regular basis is a great way to tell them about services your firm offers that they may not be aware of. If they don’t know you offer these other services, they may go elsewhere if they need them. And it can remind them of tax-saving ideas they need to talk to you about.

Spread to other social media channels

Where do your ideal customers hang out? Scope out the different social media channels and search for your clients. Where do they hang out? Where are they most engaged? If you work with young entrepreneurs, you’re more likely to find them on Twitter or FaceBook than on LinkedIn.

Every social media channel has some means of sharing content. LinkedIn has its own publishing platform where you can simply copy and paste your blog post. Add an image at the top and you’re done. Or you can just add a link back to your blog in a regular post.

Use as a helpful followup after networking events

If you’re like most accountants, you’ve got a stash of business cards collected at various networking events, I’ve got scads of them myself. And if you’re like most networking event attendees, you’ll add your latest fistful to that growing pile.

Here’s a way that you’ll really stand out from the crowd: pick out your favorites — these are the people or businesses you’d like to work with most of all — and send them a short email. Thank them for meeting you and send them a link to a blog post you think might be helpful.

I hope this has given you some ideas for getting more mileage out of your blog posts. And if you’re not already blogging, you can see that the many ways you can re-use your blogs makes this activity a worthwhile investment! And if you need help getting your blog written in the first place, send me an email at liz@farrcommunications.com!

78 Ideas for Your Tax Blog

“I don’t know what to write about.”

This is a common excuse I’ve heard from tax practitioners for not keeping up a regular blog on their website. As tax practitioners, we deal with the tax code every day. It’s easy to forget that our clients and prospective clients don’t share our depth of knowledge. What seems obvious to us may be completely unknown to them.

A regular blog on a variety of topics will never take the place of your guidance as a trusted accountant who knows the intimate details of your clients’ financial matters. But it can enhance your practice by educating your clients about methods for reducing taxes and building long-term wealth. It can also save you time by providing you with posts you can simply point your clients to when they ask a question you’ve heard over and over.

Adding fresh content to your website on a regular basis is one of the criteria used by Google for search engine rankings. Google is continually revising its search ranking algorithm in an attempt to make the search experience a positive one for users. The emphasis is on quality and quantity, not on tricks designed to increase ranking at the expense of providing useful information to the searcher.

Here are 78 topic suggestions for your tax blog. These should keep you busy for a while — and serve as a starting point for additional topics to write about!

  1. Are you on track with your retirement saving?
  2. Roth vs. Traditional IRA — how to choose
  3. Rules for taking distributions from Roth and Traditional IRAs
  4. What happens when the IRA owner dies — why your beneficiary choice is critical
  5. Rules for borrowing from your IRA
  6. Qualified charitable distributions from IRAs — how to do this and what are the tax benefits
  7. Rules for rolling over a retirement account into another account
  8. Time value of money — how a little invested early can beat large sums invested later
  9. Retirement plans for self-employed and small business
  10. Defined benefit plans — why this may be a great choice for some small businesses
  11. What the new repair regulations mean for your business
  12. Taking advantage of the safe harbor de minimis election for purchases of small items
  13. Repair regulations — when is it a repair that you can expense and when do you have to capitalize it
  14. Business use of vehicles — when is your drive a commute, personal or business use?
  15. What kinds of vehicles are eligible for a 100% write-off in the year you buy them
  16. Documentation requirements for business use of vehicles and how to make it easy
  17. Estimated payments and how to calculate safe harbor amounts
  18. Nexus for income tax — what are the rules overall and what are the rules for your state and those nearby
  19. Nexus for sales tax — how is ecommerce changing this, and how can you monitor this
  20. Domestic Production Activities Deduction: What businesses are eligible and how to calculate it
  21. Research & Development credit — what are the potential tax savings and what businesses are eligible
  22. When does it make sense to do a cost-segregation study for the building you use for your business
  23. Qualified leasehold improvement rules — what improvements qualify for 15-year depreciation
  24. Vacation home rental rules
  25. Selling your personal home — Timelines for excluding gain for personal use
  26. Depreciation recapture from business use of your personal home
  27. Converting your home to or from a rental property
  28. Step-up in basis of your home at death of spouse — how this works in a community property state vs. a separate property state
  29. Choice of entity — Advantages and disadvantages of each type
  30. Agreements and contracts for your business — why you need a formal agreement and why your CPA needs to see it
  31. S-corporations — overview of this entity type and how this can save on self-employment tax
  32. Reasonable compensation for an S-corporation owner
  33. Formation and dissolution of a business
  34. Late election relief for an S-corporation
  35. Distribution issues for S-corporations — must be proportionate and when they can become taxable
  36. Shareholder loans — what you need to do to avoid reclassifying these as capital contributions or distributions
  37. Basis issues for S-corporations
  38. Accumulated Adjustments Account (AAA) — what this is and how transactions affect it
  39. Partnerships — overview of this entity type and benefits of complete flexibility in agreements
  40. What partnership income is subject to self-employment tax — recent IRS cases
  41. Partner loans, partnership debt, and basis issues
  42. Section 704(b) allocations in partnerships
  43. C-corporations — overview of this entity type and when this is an appropriate choice
  44. Best ways to get cash out of a C-corp and avoid double-taxation
  45. Like-kind exchanges — how to structure and execute these for maximum tax savings
  46. Mortgage interest deduction rules — how to calculate allowable amount when your mortgage is over $1.1 million
  47. How a recent IRS decision on mortgage interest is a bonus for unmarried couples
  48. Estate tax — how the portability rules can affect you and your spouse
  49. Charitable deductions of non-cash items — when do you need an appraisal
  50. How to document donations to charities
  51. Household employees — reporting and tax issues
  52. Taxability of barter transactions
  53. Stock options — how to decide when to exercise and when to sell
  54. How investing in muni bonds can save you taxes
  55. Harvesting losses in your portfolio to save capital gains tax
  56. Passive activity loss rules — what you need to know before investing in a passive activity
  57. Rules for qualified real estate professionals — how to meet them and the tax benefits this classification accords
  58. How to structure gifts to maximize the benefits for all parties
  59. Section 1202 stock — gains on sale are tax exempt
  60. Setting up an accountable plan to reimburse an S-corporation shareholder for expenses
  61. Section 179 limits explained
  62. Gambling income and losses — what you can deduct and what records you need to keep
  63. Hobby loss rules and your small business — how to protect yourself in case of an IRS audit
  64. What to do in case of tax identity theft
  65. Tax breaks for higher education expenses
  66. What expenses qualify for the childcare tax credit and what documents you need from your provider
  67. Rules for claiming someone as a dependent on your tax return
  68. Avoid underpayment penalties by increasing tax withholding from salaries
  69. Cash vs. accrual basis on tax returns
  70. Dependency exemptions for children of divorced parents
  71. Lease accounting rules — how the GAAP rules differ from tax rules
  72. When does it pay to outsource your bookkeeping
  73. How hiring a remote CFO can help you grow your business
  74. Changing from cash-basis accounting to accrual (or vice versa)
  75. How to correct mistakes in depreciation
  76. What to do when you receive a letter from the IRS or your state tax authority
  77. Ways to structure the sale of a business to save on taxes
  78. What is AMT and how to reduce your exposure

I hope this list give you plenty of ideas for your tax blog. Your client base, your practice and your team are all unique. Your blog will be most successful if it reflects that uniqueness.

Connect with your Clients to Keep Them Coming Back for More

“These Americans don’t know anything about saunas. This isn’t nearly warm enough to be a sauna in Switzerland.”

I opened my eyes and recognized Kurt Wüthrich, who had just entered the sauna with his wife and daughter. Dr. Wüthrich had been the keynote speaker for the symposium we were both attending at Keystone Resort in Colorado. The topic was nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) of proteins. The symposium was conveniently scheduled in mid February, with ample time between sessions to hit the slopes, which was why I was warming my bones in the sauna.

The three continued to chat in Swiss German, and I could get the gist of what they were saying but not the details. Feeling it was rude to eavesdrop without alerting them that I spoke German, I introduced myself.

“Hello, my name is Liz Farr, and I work in John Markley’s lab at the University of Wisconsin,” I began in German. “I’ve been writing you letters about your research articles, asking for information we need for our database of protein NMR data.” Surprised to hear a German speaker in the US, Dr. Wüthrich swiveled his head and stared at me. He scrutinized me carefully, then broke into a friendly smile.

“Ah, yes of course. Now I remember your name. I will answer those letters immediately on my return to Zürich.” Dr. Wüthrich was a pioneer and perhaps the most revered and respected researcher in the field of protein NMR. A decade after our meeting in the sauna, he won the Nobel prize in chemistry.

Seizing the opportunity for a personal connection with a leader in the field was the beginning of a dramatic shift in his cooperation with the project. After that, he answered my queries for missing information promptly. Winning support from the great Kurt Wüthrich for the project was huge.

Client relationships = job security

For accountants, the need for connection with clients and prospects is crucial. As technology evolves, many of our services are becoming automated. This automation removes the tedium of data entry from our work, but it also can turn our work product into a commodity, if that’s all we offer our clients. But as Blake Oliver noted, contrary to the fears of many that this increasing automation will bring Uberization to accounting, it’s our connections to our clients that prevent this from happening.

Here are some ways to develop and deepen the relationships you have with your clients.

Start with your website

Your website is the first filter a prospect will typically apply when seeking a new accountant. Does your personality shine through? Or is your website like that of most accountants — inoffensive, bland and focused on your team’s experience and qualifications?  Does your Home page or your About Us page extol your firm’s values of professionalism, quality and responsiveness? As Hitendra Patil noted in August 2015, so do the websites of  over 462,000 other CPA firms .

If you’re not much different from your competitors, then your prospects may judge you solely on cost — which may be the only variable they’re aware of. Most non-accountants have only a vague notion of what it takes to become a CPA, CA, CGMA, CVA, or any of the other alphabet soup certifications you’ve earned. And they may have only a vague idea of the additional services that accountants can provide.

The most successful marketing focuses on the needs and desires of your prospects. Your prospects don’t really care about the letters behind your names, the awards you’ve won, or how many years of experience you have unless those attributes have a tangible benefit to them. Too many websites for accounting firms just focus on the accomplishments of the owners and ignore the needs of their potential clients.

Instead of focusing on your years of experience, describe how those years of working with a variety of industries and situations have given you insights to help your clients navigate through challenges. Case studies and testimonials from happy clients are golden here.

Who is your ideal client?

Remember that you don’t need to be attractive to everyone seeking a new accountant. You  only need to get the attention of the prospects that you want to work with. Do you prefer working with startups and entrepreneurs? Or with high-net worth real estate investors? What services does your firm provide? What do your ideal prospects need from their accountant? What keeps them up at night?

Can you save a business owner on taxes? Do you have the expertise to guide a company from kitchen table start-up to millions in sales? Can you help them find and plug the leaks in their cash flow? Can you help with succession planning and estate planning? Do you know how to get the IRS off their back? Can you bring a business owner peace of mind that their taxes are done right? These are the types of questions a prospect wants answers to.

If you can articulate answers to those questions, those answers should be the first thing a prospect sees on your website. Use those answers as the starting point for the text on your website. You want that text to resonate with the people you want to work with.

Website visitors generally land on your website because they’re seeking answers to questions, and they won’t stick around if those questions aren’t addressed quickly. They’re less impressed with how much an accountant says they know than with how much an accountant is willing to share with them.

What sets your firm apart from your competitors?

Every accounting firm has something that makes them unique. Maybe it’s a unique expertise. Maybe you’ve found ways to leverage technology to get the work done faster. Maybe you only do tax returns. Maybe you don’t do tax returns at all.

But most likely what keeps clients coming back year after year, and what gets them to rave about your firm is the experience they have with you. If you don’t (yet) have any raving fans, then consider how you interact with your clients.

Communicate with your clients and prospects

The power of the internet means we now have the information of the world at our fingertips. We’re used to getting loads of information for free. Keeping top of mind is crucial. Customer loyalty goes to those who provide the most and best information in easily digestible bits. Every firm should have a blog where they post helpful ideas and answers to the questions they’re asked most frequently.

That blog can be repurposed as a newsletter. Or assembled as an ebook of tax and accounting tips offered as a free download in exchange for their email address.

Do you ask the questions that can change their lives?

As accountants, we’re more comfortable with questions with quantifiable answers. But those questions don’t always lead to the insights that can help a business owner transform their life and their business. It’s in asking those kinds of questions that we can help a client the most.

If you’re not quite sure how to come up with those questions, Paul Shrimpling has a brief report  you can download to help you formulate powerful questions for your clients.

Seize the opportunity for a connection

These ideas should serve as a starting point to help you find ways to connect more deeply with your clients. Without that connection, your firm’s services run the risk of becoming a commodity, and you’ll be competing solely on price. There’s always someone else willing to go broke faster, so nurture those relationships!

Become a Trusted Advisor by Out Teaching Your Competition

We’re told that we as accountants need to become trusted advisors, but how do we do that? Jason Fried and David Heinemeyer Hansson’s book Rework puts it most simply: Out teach your competition.

Your best marketing tool is in your head. You don’t need to spend tons of money on flashy ads or fancy graphics for your website. You just need to share what you know with the world.

Most accountants don’t do this. They worry that they’ll give away all their secrets and thus lose business.

The reality is that the clients you want to work with — the ones who value your expertise and are willing to pay for that expertise — will respect you more and see you as an expert if you’re willing to share your knowledge.

By sharing your knowledge freely, your audience will view you as someone they can rely on to do the hard, complex work of figuring out how the tax laws and the financial rules apply to their situation. Being a fount of useful information will increase the loyalty that prospects and clients feel for you.

It’s true that some readers will take what you put out there and use it themselves. But those aren’t the ones you should be pursuing. The do-it-yourselfers are rarely a profitable bunch. However, they may refer you to their friends and family. Research from Hinge Marketing shows that up to 81.5% of referrals can come from people who have never worked directly with your firm.

That 81.5% comes from people who know enough about you to send their friends and colleagues to you. How do they find out about you to inspire that kind of trust? Put enough information out there for free, and those referrers will find you with Google.

Google loves websites that are constantly updated with fresh information. Your search engine rankings will rise as you add new information.

Google is constantly updating its algorithm to punish those who try SEO tricks to increase ranking and to reward those who provide the most useful information. This can best be accomplished by providing quality content that provides readers with valuable information they can use — by teaching them.

Think of yourself as a conduit for ideas. Your prospects and clients know their businesses, but they aren’t experts in tax and accounting.

That’s where you can shine.

By translating opaque IRS regulations and accounting standards into simple ideas that non-accountants can understand, you’re providing value to your audience.

If you explain complex concepts simply and clearly enough, many of your delighted readers may even be fellow accountants who willingly refer you to friends or clients who need help in that area of your expertise. Or they may invite you to collaborate on some interesting (and profitable!) projects.

Sharing your expertise is a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Most accountants keep their knowledge a secret, and just state that they’re experts.

My late brother Geoff was fond of saying, “If you don’t believe me, just ask me!” This is the approach many accountants take on their website. They simply state that they’re experts in tax or GAAP without demonstrating it.

Showing is more powerful than telling. By demonstrating your unique skills and knowledge you can attract your target market. You can reassure skittish prospects. And your clearly demonstrated expertise justifies higher fees for your services.

Providing information builds reciprocity. When you provide useful information to others, they feel obliged to return the favor. We’re wired that way. We can’t help it.

Master marketer Dan Kennedy uses this technique to justify his stratospheric fees for personal consultations (starting at about $20,000 for a day with him). He intentionally delays the sale by providing loads of useful information to prospects.

This stream of information builds trust that he’s an expert in marketing. As more and more useful information is provided, his prospects become insensitive to his high fees. And they want to work with him more as they learn more.

Sharing information is a way to show your personality. It’s true that this may turn some prospects off. But if they don’t like what you share with the world, then it’s likely you won’t like them in person.

Wouldn’t you rather work with clients who like you, who already have formed a favorable relationship with you through your teaching? As Dan Kennedy wrote in his book, No B.S. Trust Based Marketing, the higher up the income ladder you climb, the more you’ll find that people get higher fees for their services because of who they are, not for what they do.

One of the easiest methods for teaching your audience is by adding blog posts or articles to your website. If you find yourself answering the same question over and over, write down the answer and post it on your website. Then you can point all queries to that article whenever the question comes up.

You’ll get the most benefit from your blog posts if you don’t just put them on your website and forget about them. They can be the foundation of your newsletter (as this one is). You can post them to social media. You can compile a group into a short ebook or special report that you can post on your website. You can even read them aloud and use the recording as a podcast. They can be the basis of a video posted on your website.

If you want to do this yourself, there are excellent resources to help you improve your business writing. My colleague Helen Wilkie has a book and a new video course geared for accountants to help with their writing.

But many accountants have neither the time nor the desire to improve their writing. A freelance writer (like me!) can help you by writing blog posts, articles, ebooks, white papers or special reports for you.

However you decide to teach your audience, keep it up consistently. And get started today!

Need help figuring out the best teaching strategy for your firm? Call me at 505-440-3317 or email me at liz@farrcommunications.com and I’ll help you find a way that works for you!

3 Blogging Tips I Learned from Gardening

“In late spring, when your jasmine vine is done blooming, prune it back one-third.” 

I felt like I was destroying this plant that I had coaxed and nurtured from a single cutting. It was lanky, with long leafless vines that produced only a few flowers in early spring. But after the drastic pruning, new growth sprang out and grew all summer. Next spring, I was wowed by the results – instead of a few blooms, a profusion of fragrant white blooms exploded. Now I eagerly wait for the last flowers to drop so I can hack off another third of the plant.

This same principle applies to businesses. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he slashed the product line drastically, and the once-struggling company became the one that produced the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and the iWatch. According to Steve McKee’s book When Growth Stalls, one reason the growth of many companies plateaus or plummets is lack of focus. Narrowing a company’s focus to a small profitable niche can overcome market forces and keep a company growing.

This same principal applies to your blog. Too many ideas and too many words can dilute the one message your readers will grasp from this piece. They’ll be confused, or they may not even finish reading your post.

Here are some ideas to help you keep the unruly vine of your great ideas in check and flourishing:

  1. Choose one idea as the focus of each blog. Before you start to write, pick just one concept to write about. You may have to break that one idea into several pieces if you find your writing branching in too many directions. This can give you several blog posts instead of just one.
  2. Keep it simple. Keep your sentences short and use simple words. Word has built-in review tools that will give you readability statistics, including the grade level. You may need to turn these on under Options. Paying attention to these stats will make your writing easier to understand. Here’s an article that demonstrates that simple writing doesn’t mean the ideas are simple – just easier to read.
  3. Keep your posts short. Your object is not to teach your readers everything you know, but to educate them enough to let them see your expertise. To alert them to issues they may not be aware of. To encourage them to call your office for advice, which is the main reason an accounting firm should have a blog.

Following these ideas will help your blog grow its followers and produce the intended fruit of more and better clients.

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6 Reasons Why Every Accounting Firm Needs a Blog

We CPAs and accountants are in the relationship business. Yes, we have technical skills and knowledge that tells us which line on a tax return or financial statement a number should go on. And we know how to fight the IRS and state tax authorities (and win!). And we do our job well. But what keeps a client coming back year after year isn’t the typeface we use, or the binding on a set of financials, or the folder we put the client copy of a tax return in.

Today’s changes in technology make it easy for businesses to do for themselves what used to be our bread and butter. The plethora of accounting software packages from QuickBooks to Xero to FreshBooks makes it easy for many small businesses to keep their own books. And there are so many free or low-cost tax preparation options that many people now have the confidence to do their own taxes for significantly less than our fees.

So what do your clients still need you for? Why do so many of your clients who could do their own tax returns keep coming back and paying your fees?

It’s the relationship.

It’s the trust you’ve built up over time, the intimate knowledge you have of their financial and business lives. The relationship a client has with their CPA has always been among the most trusted of relationships. You know details about their lives and their finances they don’t share with anyone else.

And how do you keep that relationship going?

You can do it the traditional way by meeting with them once a year to collect their tax information. And maybe take them to lunch a few times. Invite them to a community event you have tickets for. Or play a round of golf.

But let’s face it – you don’t always have time for the extras beyond the once a year tax meeting. And neither do today’s energetic young entrepreneurs. And what about those clients who’ve moved out of the state or country, but still send you their tax documents every year? How do you stay on top of their radar? How do you keep the low-cost alternatives from poaching your clients? How do you let them know you’re still the best choice for them? How do you keep them informed about tax strategies they should implement?

A blog can do all that, and more.

  1. Help prospects find you online

A blog is a powerful marketing tool. Not just for your current clients, to keep them coming back, but for the new clients you don’t even know about. Adding fresh information to a website enhances its profile in search engines. It gets the word out to a broader market than you can reach from membership in community organizations.

  1. Share ideas and information

You can share new and timely information with clients (and prospects).  You can share tax strategies or business ideas on a regular basis. If your clients are unaware of the latest changes of the IRS or the latest FASB pronouncements, they won’t be able to take advantage of them.

Today’s entrepreneurs have grown up with the internet. They’re used to getting loads of free information, and they use that to decide on a course of action. If the most useful free information comes from your website, who do you think they’ll call when they need help?

You can demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of specialized areas. From developing a reputation as an expert, it’s a short leap to becoming a trusted advisor to that client.

  1. Stand out from the competition

A blog will also make you and your website stand out among the competition. Very few accountants go to the trouble of keeping up a regular blog. Those that do will write different things. Your blog is a way to show what the leaders of your firm think.

A blog gives you the opportunity to show your personality, to show that you’re not just dull bean counters. That you care about more than just the tax return or financials. Without a strong relationship, your clients may jump ship when a cheaper alternative comes along. And the personality of your firm can also be a powerful tool for turning prospects into clients. This can help you eliminate the prospects who aren’t a good fit, and attract the ones who will thrive in a partnership with you.

  1. Let clients know what else you can do for them

A great blog informs your clients about the other services your firm provides. Yes, that information is in your website. But how many of your clients visit your website on a regular basis? How will they find out that in addition to tax work, you also do business valuations? Or that you perform audits? Or that you can help them set up their accounting system? Do you want a client to go elsewhere to get those simply because they didn’t know your firm also provides those services?

  1. Spread your name far and wide

A blog can also be repurposed and have a life beyond your website. It can be used in your newsletter. You can share it in social media. You can repackage a series of blog posts as a special report available on your website as a lead-generation tool. Or as a book for sale on Amazon.com.

  1. Get clients and prospects to call you

Most important of all, a blog gives your clients and prospects a reason to call your office. Who has the time to call every client every time the IRS does something?  And even if you do, the timing might not be right. But if your blog draws clients and prospects back to your website, they might find that blog post from six months ago that speaks to their needs now. And they’ll call your office, thanking you for putting that information out there.

The power of the written word

A regular blog announces to the world that you’re willing to share your expertise and that you have something to say. This is one of the simplest and least expensive of tools that an accounting firm can put in its marketing arsenal. A way to show your firm’s unique personality and a way to stay in front of your clients. It requires patience to reap the results, and persistence to keep it going. But with so few of your competitors putting out regular blog posts, it’s sure to get your firm attention as a knowledgeable expert.

OK, now you agree that a blog is vital. But accountants aren’t generally known for their writing skills. No one in your firm can write. No one has time to sit down once a week or once a month to write a post, and especially not during busy season.  How can you possibly implement this?

Did you know that blog posts and newsletters can be ghostwritten by an outside copywriter? I’m a CPA and a copywriter, and I can do the writing for you. Your name shows up as the byline, but your contribution is a 15-minute phone call to me to discuss the topic, and a simple review before it gets published. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes once a week or month?  Email me at liz@farrcommunications.com so we can get started today!

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