DA: What prompted you to start blogging?
MG: Our firm hired a marketing consultant who told us that we were doing very poorly social media-wise. To make a long story short, I volunteered to start a blog since I actually enjoy writing.
DA: Where you reluctant at first? Did you have any concerns?
MG: Initially, I was worried that no one would read it. But, I jumped right in, and once I started to blog I began paying more attention to other bloggers and interacting with them, leaving them comments and sharing information.
DA: Can you tell me about your process for initiating your blog?
MG: Coming up with The Blunt Bean Counter name was easy because I’m a blunt person and that’s my just my style. With figuring out what I would blog about and how often, I had to develop an inventory of tax and finance related topics. I started off writing two blog posts per week, and now I do it once a week and that’s enough. I try to plan my content inventory about two months in advance.
DA: How has your comfort level changed, and how did you develop such a following?
MG: As I kept up with blogging, I got to a point where I felt like I knew what I was doing and I could be more efficient and targeted. I emailed top financial bloggers and newspaper reporters to share my content, and after a while I started to build traction and get more visibility. Some of the well-known financial bloggers typically do a Friday roundup of the week’s top blog posts, and I when I started making the Friday roundup list, I started to get a lot more traffic to my blog and a lot more comments.
DA: So how else do you promote your blog?
MG: While I reached out to reporters and other bloggers by email, I also shared my posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s important to use a variety of channels to get yourself out there.
DA: What do you think makes your blog so popular?
MG: I inject my personality into my blog, so it’s in my own voice. When I write about my practice and financial and tax matters, I’m relaying my “on the spot” feelings. Sometimes I’m humorous, other times I’m sarcastic and punchy. I am known for being blunt and opinionated. My style attracts attention, and using eye-catching visuals and images to make it interesting helps too.
When people read my blog they’re entertained, and that’s what it’s about – keeping them engaged and coming back for more quirky insights. There are some good tax blogs out there, information-wise, but they’re boring as heck!
DA: How would you “sell” the reason to blog to a reluctant blogger?
MG: Using my blog as an example: The personal and firm credibility gain is huge! People are looking at me as a subject matter expert, and this has also gotten a lot of terrific publicity for our firm. I’m quoted in the newspaper and I’m interviewed on TV quite frequently. I’ve gained a few very good clients as a result of my blog as well. In fact, our firm saw a big increase in inquiries within the last year as more people are getting to know me and my blog.
DA: What’s your advice for someone who’s starting a blog? How can they develop traction?
MG: If you think you’re going to spend only an hour or two per week, think again. It takes a little more time and effort to collect your content and develop a schedule of topics. I think I spent 7 – 10 hours, creating content inventory and setting a schedule. After you start blogging and get into your groove, share it on social media and promote your blog to other bloggers and reporters with similar interests. Give other bloggers feedback on their blogs. Respond to any questions or comments that people leave on your blog. It’s not only about you; it’s also about what you give back. You have to make time for this.
It’s a No-Brainer
After talking with Mark about his widespread success, I feel even stronger about blogging as an incredible content marketing strategy to “pull” people toward you, your ideas and thought leadership. It all makes perfect sense to me.
Blogging won’t be easy in the beginning. Like anything, you have to develop a process. But with each blog post, you’ll get more comfortable – you’ll find your own personality and voice in sharing your opinions. Let your wit and sarcasm flow freely.
When you hear all this from a marketing person, it doesn’t have quite the same effect. Hearing this from someone in the professional services industry who has had tremendous success is much more powerful and inspiring. What’s your excuse? That’s what I thought … get out there and start blogging!