There is a difference between writing blog posts, and writing blogs that get results.
According to WordPress, there were about 87.6 million new blog posts published in March 2017 – that’s the highest month since they started in 2006 and it’s steadily climbing. These figures are only for blogs published through WordPress, which hosts about 60% of all blogs on the internet.
Astounding, right? There’s just no place for mediocre blogs on the internet anymore.
If you would like to keep a blog for your accounting firm, but you have no idea where to start, or if you’ve been blogging for a while with less-than-satisfactory results and you don’t know how to fix it, here are a few tips to help take your blogging up a notch:
1. Understand Your Audience
Your audience is your clients and those people that you would like to become clients. If you write for anyone other than that, you’ll attract the wrong crowd. The easiest way to get this right is to visualise one of your clients sitting in front of you and write as if you are having a conversation with this person. The person you choose should be representative of your customer base. For instance, if you mainly work with construction companies, imagine one of the builders that you often give advice to.
2. Be Specific to Your Niche
General topics help no-one. There are enough articles of a general nature on the internet – some covered by large publications – which mean that yours will just disappear in a pile. If you understand your audience, being specific is easy. For instance, if you mainly work with startups, write about the challenges they face and give specific tips on how they can overcome their struggles.
3. Always Focus on Adding Value
How can you help your clients to save time, increase their income, or make better business decisions? Let that be your focus. If you write articles just to boost your traffic from search engines or to onboard new clients – not because you want to help – your readers will smell it like a bear smells food from miles away.
4. Ditch Jargon and Formalities
Nothing gets people’s heads nodding (and not in the “yes, I agree” way) than jargon-filled formal speak. You want your readers to understand what you’re saying, and you want to keep them engaged throughout the article. Write in a conversational and straightforward manner.
5. Structure Your Blogs for Easy Reading
Many people will first scan an article before they decide whether they want to delve in or not. Some people will only read certain sections that look interesting. If readers can’t get the gist of the blog with a quick scan, they will probably move on. Additionally, if you give your readers a wall of text, you will bore them to death, and they’ll quickly get distracted by something else. Keep your readers engaged with short paragraphs, interesting headings and subheadings, bullets and lists, images, videos, infographics, and quotes.
6. Spend Some Time with Your Headlines
If the heading of your blog is not enticing enough, no-one will bother to read further. Some writers spend as much time perfecting the headline as they do on the rest of the article. Don’t try to be too witty, though; readers need to know immediately what they can expect to get out of the blog – they don’t want to analyse what you’re trying to say. Keep it simple, but give it some oomph.
7. Keep at It Regularly
A discarded blog will inevitably bring up the question: are these guys still in business? If it looks like you have closed up shop, they’re not going to spend too much time on your blog and may not even attempt to contact you about your services. It is better not to have a blog at all than to blog only once or twice a year. The more blog posts you can do, the better. If you’re a small firm, aim for one blog post a week. As a minimum, make sure you write at least one post a month.
8. Don’t Give up Too Soon
It takes months, even years for some, to really see results from blogging and content marketing. If you give up too soon, you will always stay behind with no chance to reap the benefits later. Remember, even though you don’t necessarily grow your client base from the start, you will still help your existing customers and keep their loyalty.
9. Keep an Editorial Calendar
It’s easier to keep to your blogging schedule if you have an editorial calendar. The schedule will also help you not to run out of topics. Brainstorm a few ideas beforehand, and add to it whenever a new idea comes to you.
10. Get Your Staff Involved
Including your employees in the process can help you for two reasons. Firstly, you won’t need to come up with all the ideas yourself, and you can share the writing workload if needed. Secondly, it gets your staff excited about your firm and they will feel that you value their input, which makes for happier employees.
11. Do What Feels Natural
If you know something about SEO, you’ll know that using the right keywords and keeping the length of the blog post above a certain amount of words are beneficial. But if you force your blog posts into ticking all the right boxes, the end product may not be an interesting read. Best practices are good to follow, but always keep your reader in mind and do what feels natural. If you do that, you’ll probably use the words your readers will use when searching in Google anyway. If you can get to the point within 200 words, don’t force your readers into reading 1,000+ words.
12. Promote Your Content
If you don’t promote your blog posts, how will readers find you? An excellent way to share your new blogs is in your weekly or monthly newsletters. Also, share your posts on social media, and make sure you have social sharing buttons on your blog page so that it’s easy for readers to spread the word on your behalf.
Ready to Get Blogging?
If you keep to these simple guidelines, you’ll see an increase in the time people spend on your content, and over time, you’ll start to gain more leads – and happy clients!
If you only take one thing from this post, remember this: always focus on adding value to your readers. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.