by Kirsten Hodgson
To my mind, there's no right or wrong answer to the question 'should professional services firms blog?' If an individual, a group, or the firm commits to blogging on a pre-determined basis then it's a great tool, but if it's something that will fall off the radar when things get busy, it's probably best not to start.
Why consider blogging?
- Demonstrate your capabilities, knowledge and expertise - blogging is a great way to share information, ideas, opinions etc with those you wish to engage. Because it has a long shelf-life (i.e. posts remain up until you remove them) it is a great library of your content. I seem to use this scenario a lot but if you are recommended to a prospective client along with two or three of your competitors, and the person then looks each of you up online, what will they find? A blog is a great way to differentiate yourself before the person has met you. If they are interested they can look through your posts and determine if they like what they find.
- Engage others - one of the real benefits I've found with blogging is the interactions with others. You get to engage with people, some of whom you may not otherwise have come across and, often, you get another perspective on something you've posted which is great for your own professional development.
- Promote your clients and/or other products/services you think would be of value to your target audience - blogging about a client's achievement is a great way to publicly recognise your client and pointing those who read your blog in the direction of a product or service that you think could help them can be really valuable. The key thing is to disclose if you have any affiliations with that product/service up front.
- SEO – I am NOT an SEO expert (I know next to nothing about it) but I do know Google loves fresh content and so regularly blogging on topics relevant to your target audience means you are more likely to get found. One law firm I spoke to recently said that they were surprised how prospective clients found them and that it was often very specific search terms that led the prospect to their blog, which then resulted in them making contact.
Tips for professionals who want to blog
- Agree to a blog frequency you can stick to - while there's a temptation to think you will be able to blog 2-3 times per week before you start you need to think what's realistic for you. It's far better to decide to blog once a week and to stick to it than to start off with 3 or 4 posts per week only for them to fall by the wayside when you get busy.
- Share the load - once you've determined how frequently you will blog, agree as a team who will write which post. This means you personally may only need to write a post once every month, whereas you as a team/firm are still able to commit to weekly/twice weekly posts.
- Brainstorm topics - create a list of possible topics and keep adding to this.
- Stick to one topic per post – if there is a lot of info or the post leads into another thought, save it for a later post.
- Write several posts at once so that you have content ready to go during busy times.
- Consider audio or video posts as well as/instead of written posts – it's fine to mix it up or to stick to what you're comfortable with.
- Include a question at the end of each post to encourage comments and to engage others.
What other reasons are there for professionals/professional services firms to blog?
What other tips would you share?
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