Becoming a Blogger
I have been writing a blog since February of 2012 and am frequently asked why I do so and how they can get started writing their own. Here is the scoop.
I write the blogs because I like to, they represent a creative expression for me, I use them to help clients and colleagues, get business, get quoted, to share some of what I know to hopefully assist others or to offer my opinions on various matters that interest me.
Whether or not it is for you depends on your ability and desire to share what you know, your dedication to writing it on a regular basis and your follow-through to use it to promote yourself or your practice.
Here are some specific benefits and ways to use your blogs.
- Writing a blog builds credibility, but not the way you might imagine. Do not expect to post something that will be read by thousands of people who will then call you to use your services. When I write a blog, I have a few specific clients in mind (unless it is a post that just makes me feel good) and then send it to them. This establishes my expertise and also answers questions they might have and for which they can act on. Many clients I consult with come to me to make sure they are on target, or for some tweaking. These blogs provide them with clear methods to follow. There is never an obligation or need to engage me since I provide the responses. However, many times it leads to paid consultations.
- I copy and paste particular blogs in emails and send them to reporters and journalists requesting that they consider using me as a source for a future article. It is a long shot for them to search the web and find my blog, but a guaranteed hit when I email it to them this way. I paste it and do not rely on them clicking my link because many won’t do that in case it is spam. I do not click links, so do not expect others will either.
- I now have a body of knowledge mixed into my blog site. As the situation arises, I email links to specific blogs based on clients’ interests, or reprint and mail them.
- I believe it is better to have a blog on a single topic. My partner, Frank Boutillette, has one on hedge funds, broker-dealers, SEC and FINRA topics; Ray Russolillo on charitable giving; and Kimberlee Phelan on International Taxation. They are focused and reach the people interested in those areas, and readers seek them out. Mine is more general – actually, it seems that way and that might make it less sought out. However, there is a direct focus and that is the issues my clients are concerned about – financial planning, investing, estate planning, business valuation, leadership and running a business. It doesn’t seem too focused, but my clients read the blogs and call me with questions. After I was doing the blogs for a while, someone asked me if I cover income taxes and I was surprised when I realized that I haven’t blogged anything about taxes at that time. If you would have asked me when I started, I would have said that I would cover taxes a lot. See, surprises do occur. My partner, Tony Nitti, blogs for Forbes about taxes in a very thorough and humorous way, so I don’t think I need to cover what he does. Also, my clients seem more interested in other areas. And the calls about taxes all go to Peter now, who I also go to for any answers. For links to all of the blogs our partners do, go to www.withum.com and click on the blogs button for a list and description.
- I am disappointed that my blogs do not generate many comments, and when I get a comment I try to respond to it and hopefully encourage the writer to continue reading and commenting.
- Blogging does help set you apart and distinguish you. It is a brand builder. Clients recognize this and the intangible about you goes up a notch.
- Staff become aware of the regularity and offer suggestions for blogs. They can even “guest write” a post to get the experience of being “published.” I have found that staff mention the blogs to clients. And it is an easy way for staff to learn some new things.
- I Tweet my blogs. I also Tweet others in the hope they will repay the favor by Tweeting mine. Also, if someone Tweets me, I definitely will Tweet them the next chance I get. That is “payback.” I also post my blogs on LinkedIn and Facebook. This takes work – about a half-hour a day each time I post a blog.
- Writing a blog teaches you to be precise and succinct. When you edit to shorten and tighten it up, you remove excess words, phrases and redundancy. You become a better writer. Francis Bacon said that “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”
- Why do anything? Every time I write something, I seem to learn something. That is a personal benefit for me.
You can get started by going to www.wordpress.com and follow their instructions to get a free site. I also suggest you buy and read one of the many books on blogging and social media. Two books that have helped me are The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Second Edition by David Meerman Scott and Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms by Michelle Golden. You are also welcome to call me to “pick my brains.” You can also watch the movie Julie & Julia which shows step by step how to run a blog. When that movie’s director Nora Ephron died recently, among her great accomplishments was the credit that she was a blogger. Being a blogger must mean something!
How Can We Help?