Does your accounting business need a blog? Yes, web content like blogs helps your business rise in the search engine rankings. So, if your business website doesn’t have a blog, it’s time to create one. If you already have a blog, are you keeping it current? When potential clients see a website with an outdated blog, it immediately gives them cause for concern.
But, you may be thinking, you’re so busy running your accounting business, you don’t have the time to create and maintain a blog. Why not hire a ghostwriter to write some—or most—of your posts? By choosing the right ghostwriter to outsource your accounting blog to, you can multiply its effectiveness while saving yourself time.
Getting Started With Your New Blog
Professional services businesses, like your accounting company, have a specific set of challenges when it comes to marketing and content creation for your website. Unlike retailers selling a product, your accounting business is a knowledge-based service and burdened with selling the intangible, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Attracting clients to your accounting business requires close communication and engagement, plus there are multitudes of competitors offering comparable services. So how can you make your website content stand out?
Before you can look for the perfect ghostwriter (or ghostwriters), you need to decide what you want your blog posts to be like, such as frequency, length, and some possible topics. Content expert and author Jonathan Kranz advises professionals to focus on the people and processes in your business and not the “what” of your expertise.
To show clients how your team can help them, it’s important to display your content in a variety of ways. Include case studies from real clients, as well as client testimonials. You can also create videos, podcasts, and how-to blog posts featuring your in-house experts.
The tone of your content is important because it conveys your personality and the way your firm treats clients. If you want to be the down-to-earth, neighborly accountant, make sure you highlight that aspect of your personality in your posts (especially videos and podcasts). If you want to portray more of a professional and business-like personality, you should take a more formal tone.
Here are five essentials of quality website content:
- Current. The best way to attract eyes to your content is to make your subject timely. Try tying your content to something recent in the news.
- Relevant. Not every topic is relevant to all clients. To make sure you offer something for everyone, cover a wide range of topics. Regularly check your website’s analytics to see what topics get the most traffic, and write more on the same subjects.
- Interesting. This is where a great ghostwriter can really make your content shine. It’s not always easy to make accounting topics interesting, so you’ll need a talented writer with a conversational touch.
- Educational. Readers should always learn something from your content, whether it’s 10 mistakes not to make when filing taxes, or that you’ve hired a new associate with small-business expertise.
- Call to action. Content exists in order to get a response from your reader. To help your content generate leads, offer them something of value in return for clicking on a link, or link to more information on your website.
Even if you hire a ghostwriter to handle the actual writing, you need to keep up-to-date on what’s working and what’s not in the world content marketing. Use these resources to keep an eye on content trends:
- Content Marketing Institute – On CMI you’ll find newsletters, articles, events and consulting. Download the annual report Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.
- Contently – The Contently website is a great resource for information and educational webinars. Subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss crucial advice.
Once you have your blog style and content planned out, you’ll need to explain your goals for the blog to your potential ghostwriters. Yes, SEO is important for lead generation, but you also want to portray your thought leadership and problem-solving skills.
Finally, make sure the ghostwriter understands your target audience. If your accounting business specializes in a certain industry or client demographic, for example, make sure you have background materials or buyer personas to share with your writer.
Choosing a Ghostwriter for Your Accounting Blog
Now it’s time to find a ghostwriter. Don’t try to rush this process. After all, this person (or people) will be writing under your name and/or the names of your staff. It’s essential to make sure the person’s writing fits with your company culture and your blog style.
There are thousands and thousands of freelance writers looking for opportunities to write for your blog. To find some, ask other business owners for recommendations, or take a look at freelancer marketplace websites, such as Upwork and Freelancer.
You can also reach out to bloggers you enjoy reading who have the tone and style you seek. Find out their rates and see if they’re interested in writing for your blog. Most blogs have contact information for their bloggers, or you can reach out to them on social media.
While financial or accounting knowledge is a plus, it’s not necessarily essential. Plenty of people who understand accounting can’t write about it—but a good writer can learn about, and write about, any topic.
Tip #1: Ask for Writing Samples
Once you have some possible bloggers in mind, ask for writing samples or places you can find their work online. Ask your candidates to write a sample blog post for you, either on spec or for a low rate, as a test.
Give the blogger all the information you can on what you want to see, such as:
- Word count
- Links to include
- Important points to make
- Keywords to use
- Other style guidelines such as subheads, meta descriptions and more
A test run is important to find out if the freelancer can write—and if they can follow direction and meet deadlines. You never know if the samples you were given were heavily edited until you assign an original topic. You don’t want to have to edit every piece before it gets posted, so look for someone with strong self-editing skills.
Tip #2: Establish a Budget
Set a budget for your blog before you start looking for a ghostwriter. Content costs range from the very cheap (usually poor-quality content from “content farms”) to $1 to $2 per word for more experienced writers.
If you like a writer but their price is too high, perhaps they can do fewer, but better quality blogs for you. If the price you’re willing to pay is below their usual rate, some bloggers will reduce their prices in exchange for steady work.
Tip #3: Set Clear Expectations
Once you find the right person (or people), set up a schedule for turning in posts. Will you give them access to your blog CMS? Or will someone internally manage, edit and post the blogs? Will the writer provide photos, or will you do it? (Either way, make sure you are licensed to use any photos that run on your site and that you credit the photographers properly.) Before working with a ghostwriter, always create a contract specifying that you own the content they write. Don’t forget to keep a keen eye on everything content related. Your content represents you and your business.
Over time you’ll likely develop a relationship with your ghostwriter/s. As they become more familiar with you and your business, they’ll become more like a partner, and be able to suggest topics, as well.
Expanding Your Reach
Finding partners is key to your accounting firm’s success. One of the reasons outsourcing your content makes good fiscal sense is that it frees you up to do what you do best—taking care of your client. Teaming up with CorpNet, which offers incorporation services (and more) in all 50 states, enables you to take better care of your clients—offering them more services.
For instance, if you become a CorpNet Reseller you get wholesale discounted pricing on CorpNet’s extensive lineup of services, such as:
- Creation and Filing of Articles
- Tax ID Obtainment (Form SS-4)
- Tax Elections (Form 2553/8832)
- Registered Agent Services
- Customized Record Book/Kit
- Bylaws, Minutes & Resolutions -Business Licenses & Permits
- Annual Filings & Compliance—once you sign up for the program, CorpNet manages (securely, of course) your clients’ compliance documents, alerts you to important compliance deadlines and makes filing an annual report or renewing a registered agent so much easier and less time-consuming
You can offer some or all of these to your clients, serving them and making more money, all at the same time.
If you prefer, you can become a CorpNet Referral partner and refer clients to CorpNet, and get up to a 30% referral fee on each sale.
As you grow your accounting firm, don’t be afraid to turn some of your responsibilities over to others. It’ll give you more time—and accountants of all people know that time is indeed money.