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Vikram Rajan
 

What Should You Blog About?

Play twenty questions.

November 15, 2010
by Vikram Rajan

You should realize by now that, sooner or later, blogging is going to be part of your marketing. The question remains, “Why would anybody want to read your blog?” Of course, prospective clients may check you out before calling. Your blog also encourages referrals and brands you an expert. You’re convinced, yet still wondering “What will I write from week to week?”

The simplest approach is to treat your blog posts (short articles) as a series of interview questions. You’re going to be discussing various aspects of accounting, finance, etc. Truly, your blog articles will mirror the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) you answer everyday. To help you get started, and to keep you blogging, I put together a list of twenty blog article questions. Each question can prompt numerous ideas for you:

  1. Tell us about your latest or upcoming speaking engagement (or media reference).
  2. Tell us about your target market and their need for your services.
  3. What are the top two or three concerns of your clients?
  4. Name three things your client should do or prepare before seeing you.
  5. Are there a few tasks or a checklist most clients should do?
  6. What are two or three misconceptions about your field or practice?
  7. What should a new or prospective client ask you (or a peer professional)?
  8. Can you explain a popular acronym, jargon, or credential in your field?
  9. Are you doing anything with a charity or another organization?
  10. Have you hired anyone new, or about to?
  11. Can you applaud your partner, staff, client or colleague?
  12. Any new regulation, ruling, legislation or obligation in your field?
  13. Tell us about what you're reading, relevant to your market/profession.
  14. Have you learned anything new at a conference?
  15. Tell us about a recent report or survey (link to it).
  16. Any important dates or new trends to address?
  17. What makes you distinctive, different or better than your peers (or competitors)?
  18. Tell us a client success story, others can learn from.
  19. Can you share with us of when someone recommended you? A colleague, a client?
  20. Any relevant examples or metaphors from pop culture (movies, sports, celebrities)?

Top number lists, checklists, diagrams, reviews and name dropping help to summarize your expansive knowledge into blog nuggets. Now, it’s up to you to attach catchy titles and keyword tags to your topical answers. Blog posts become more interactive when you include bullet points, images and questions prompting comments.

It’s not necessary to blog every day. Often, less is more: A weekly blog article is great; bi-weekly is fine. Consistency and relevance is more important than sheer quantity. Blog posts shouldn’t be longer than 500 words; 300’s ideal. Remember, you can link to longer articles, e-book downloads and slide presentations in your blog posts. While your writing should reflect your personality, blog posts should conform to standard conventions of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Remember, your blog writing reflects your accounting excellence.

Your e-mail signature is a great space to mention your blog. Readers will keep coming back as you remind them. Savvy blog readers will subscribe by RSS (Google it); they get notified automatically. Most still prefer e-mail; Feedburner by Google turns RSS feeds into automatic e-mail pings. Still, you should publish a newsletter which highlights excerpts of your blog posts. Likewise, publish links back to specific articles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

As your contacts realize that you answer informative questions (and don’t just self-promote), they will tell others about your resource. Thus, you have increased your word-of-mouth marketing. It all begins with playing those twenty questions. Surely you know the answers already. It just takes discipline to sit down and write.

CPAs are among my busiest clients. They prefer to spend time attending to client matters, staff or family, rather than writing blog posts. Traditional ghost writing or subscribing to pre-written content seems like worthwhile alternatives. Unfortunately, such substitutes often create generic or drab results. Blogs should convey your personality, along with your expertise. Your clients and referral sources don’t want you sounding like every other accountant. Your blog writing should bring out what’s special about you.

By playing twenty questions above, your blog will remain relevant and timely. You will never run out of ideas or topics to write about. Your blog will be informative, while branding you. If you’re having any trouble with blogging, please ask me your questions.

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Vikram Rajan is a Practice Marketing Advisor™ for CPAs and other practicing professionals. His PracticeMarketingBLOG.com receives over 100 hits every day. This November in New York, Rajan will be serving on a Social Networking for Your Practice panel, moderated by the AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy.

© 2010