10 Tips for Writing An Effective Accounting Blog
Despite having the best intentions of starting a blog, many accountants find themselves frozen in front of a computer screen when faced with the challenge of creative writing. Sadly, several accounting firm blogs only have one or two posts. You may as well hang a sign reading “abandoned” on the firm’s virtual front door.
It takes a commitment to be an effective blogger. Even if writing does not come to you naturally, you can be successful if you’re determined and focused. If you’ve decided to jump into blogging, but aren’t sure where to start, I’d like to share 10 things that have helped me write an effective blog.
- Write down blog topic ideas quickly. I’ve found that inspiration doesn’t always come in front of a computer. I use the smartphone app Evernote to jot down my thoughts before they’re forgotten.
- Before creating a blog for your business, start a “practice blog” about a hobby to help you become proficient with the blogging software. When the time comes to start blogging professionally, you’ll know how to insert pictures, hyperlinks and perform some other basic- to mid-level functions, allowing you to focus on creating great content instead of obsessing on the technology.
- Good writers are typically good readers. Read other blogs regularly. Subscribe to your favorites using a reader app such as Flipboard or Feedly. Develop your blogging strategy from your observations of other effective bloggers. Don’t forget to check out your competitors’ blogs and find ways to make your blog unique.
- Carefully plan and stick to a posting frequency. Most blogs I read routinely have new content daily, twice a week, once a week or once a month. It’s a delicate balance. Blog often enough to keep your readers engaged, but don’t overwhelm them. Consider creating a “blogging calendar” to map out your blog post topics and schedule them to be posted at regular intervals.
- Don’t be boring! Though the level of technical language may vary depending on your target audience, your blog shouldn’t look like a replica of the Internal Revenue Code. Be conversational, talk about personal experiences and inject some fun into your blog posts when appropriate. Accounting may seem like a difficult subject to write about with an entertaining style, but there are many bloggers who do it successfully.
- Proofread before publishing. While you want your blog post to be free of misspellings and grammar mistakes, don’t write as if your 6th grade English teacher is looking over your shoulder. Preoccupation with perfect writing inhibits conversational blogging.
- Search engine optimization is important, but write for a human audience, not for the search engines. After you have written a draft friendly for a brain and sense of humor, go back and replace generic pronouns like “it” with keywords for the search engine robots to digest. Try to add adjectives that enhance both readability and searchability.
- Clearly identify the author and help potential customers feel comfortable initiating contact. For example, the posts on the Wallace Neumann & Verville LLP blog usually end with a sentence inviting the reader to contact the author for more information, along with a picture and short bio of the author. Another effective way to interact with readers is to close with a question and encourage comments.
- Seek the help of other bloggers if you need it. Michelle Golden, one of the profession’s thought leaders for social media, maintains an extensive accounting blog list and a LinkedIn group called CPAs Who Blog. Many experienced blogging accountants are members of that group and may be able to answer your questions.
- While blogging is an opportunity for you to showcase your expertise, don’t talk too much about yourself. Providing value to your readers should be your top priority. Useful information will keep them coming back for more.
If you’re still hesitant about starting a blog or dusting off the one you have, I say just do it. Even if you don’t think you’ve got a lot to say, chances are you do based on your knowledge and experience. Get started today!