We’ve talked before about how using a blog on your firm’s website helps position you as an accounting authority. With each new post you’re able to add more tips, hints, and advice that can help readers get over financial speedbumps. The more speedbumps you help them get over, the more likely they’re going to start looking at you as the go-to firm for financial advice, and that’s how baby paying clients are born.
There’s a flipside to this situation that can also help your bottom line. Keeping up a blog means you’re going to need new topics to write about. Here’s where that added blog benefit kicks in – the more topics you have to find, the more you’re going to understand what it is your (potential) clients want from an accounting firm.
In other words, not only do you shape your blog, your blog shapes your firm into the accounting powerhouse desired by your clients.
Take a look at your competition’s blogs, or perhaps the LinkedIn posts made by their employees. They’re going to be hitting topics brought up the most by their clients. That means you get to encroach on their territory by hitting those same topics, and hopefully topping their posts with more valuable content.
Also, take a look at the conversations that arise from their posts, as well as on their social media accounts. As you read the conversations look out for client complaints or suggestions. These conversations can help you identify areas where the competition is maybe not as strong as they could be, giving you the opportunity to be the firm that does X better than the other guy or gal.
Not only will these posts give you ideas for posts of your own, they might even result in you being able to create a value-add that puts you above and beyond your competition. You’ll be using your competition’s negatives to add to the positives of your own firm.
We preach involvement with your social media and blogs – you’re not just creating posts, you’re creating opportunities for interactions. The more you interact, the more follow-up questions readers are going to ask. These questions, especially the most commonly asked ones, become the topics for further posts.
The bonus to these questions is that it helps you narrow your firm’s focus to what matters most to your clients. It might help you identify, for example, the areas of most common concern for people opening their own small business. The blogs you use to address these concerns can in turn become the basis for service packages that you put together that include services specifically meant to help those neophyte business owners. Thanks to your blog your firm has become known for offering a package that helps boost a new business owner’s chances of success.
Case studies can either be a web page of content unto themselves or a blog topic. Either way, the studies highlight how you helped a client solve specific problems. Readers can then read these case studies, recognise the problems as being similar to their own, and voila, you’re the go-to firm to help them deal with their specific financial woes.
(Hint: the word “specific” is highlighted because generic case studies are pointless. Generic “we helped them get a better return” stories can be told by any accounting firm and thus they don’t make your firm stand out. The rule of thumb is: if anybody can say it, it’s not worth saying.)
The bonus flipside to case studies is that they help you identify problems specific to client niches. For example, let’s say you wrote a blog detailing how you helped an interior design firm rearrange their pricing structure so that they could charge more and increase their revenue despite a loss of volume in the number of clients serviced.
You see that this blog gets a lot of action (comments, reposts, etc.). Now you know that there are a lot of business owners out there that would love for somebody to come in, take a look at their numbers, and show them how they might do less work for the same or greater amount of revenue, just like you did for the client in the case study.
Your firm now has the leaping-off point for another suite of services specifically designed to help clients achieve this goal.
There’s no law that says you have to come up with all of the topics yourself. Get your team together for a session once every couple of weeks where they spitball ideas based on questions they frequently come across when dealing with clients.
The sessions don’t even have to be about blogging in order to provide solid ideas for blog topics. If you put together sessions designed to come up with ideas to help a particular client, write down the best ideas at the end of the session.
What eye-opening bits of business did your team come up with?
Are clients generally aware of how much they’re actually making per hour in their business once their rate is adjusted to include all significant numbers?
What are seven quick tips you could offer to Business Type X that would boost their bottom line almost immediately?
What are the five most common mistakes new business owners make?
How much does it actually cost to open a restaurant in [your city]?
And so on. All of these ideas generated in a brainstorming session will add to your blog. And by adding to your blog you’ll be given insight into just what a potential client wants from your firm.