The blog has been a staple of the internet ecosphere for 20 years, and during that time, it has evolved and matured – just like our practices. In your social marketing activities to position yourself as a subject matter expert, and find and secure new staff, are you blogging?
Show Your Expertise
A blog is just one of the tools available in the social media arena that can be used to gain visibility in the profession. From another perspective, it has attributes that make it unique in the social media space. It is self-published, so you have full control over the content, and because you control the length and style, you can write a blog post for your purpose. How about providing more detail if you choose to demonstrate your expertise, or lightly touching on a subject if you want the reader to follow you to another blog post? A blog post is more than a sound bite or a “thumbs up” because it can provide deeper insight into you and your firm.
After the blog post is written, it can be packaged and repackaged for various purposes. For example, the full-length version can be an anchor to your website’s page, demonstrating expertise in an area. A shorter version, or short introductory paragraph to the topic, may sit nicely on another topic/page of your website. If the topic of your post happens to be the “topic of the day” on a Twitter, Facebook or other social media platform, you can chime into the discussion and link to your full-length post. Many times, a topic will have solid content, but becomes dated. The blog post can be updated in less time and with less energy than the original, which now gives you staying power with the topic. You may become the recognized expert for multiple years by updating solid topics.
Blogging is a key to recruiting entry-level professionals, such as recent college graduates, middle managers and those with partner-level potential. With your website and blog, are you able to support statements made in your recruiting materials? This is the key to uniform and consistent messaging.
In the typical recruiting scenario, there will be a callout to the profile of the candidate being sought, with a reference at some stage of the recruitment to the firm. This will lead to the firm’s website. Content on the website, and more specifically in the blog, will provide validation for the recruitment. For example, if your firm is seeking a candidate to work in the tax credits area, the website and the blog should be able to provide validation. If there is no blogging about tax credits, then the firm is not demonstrating its expertise in this niche.
Keeping Your Staff
There are some key differences between recruitment and retention. While recruitment is a one-time activity for a candidate, retention is the ongoing process. What will it take to keep your best people? How about asking them to blog! Blogging can provide a team project for the firm, leading to long-term bonding among employees. Every blog post can be credited to the primary author. This instills pride and recognition to the employee, as well as the firm.
As a new hire, there will be a period of time to gain some level of expertise in the specific field. After that initial threshold has been reached, the new hire can be asked to participate in gathering data for a blog post and offer topics for future posts. This will make the new hire vested in the firm and a part of the team.
As a middle manager, responsibilities can extend to writing blog posts on selected topics. The firm looks stronger because a “second tier” of personnel is demonstrating industry expertise. A great deal of pride comes with this. Within the firm, some healthy rivalry can develop with the exposure that comes from authoring.
A partner-level person should strive to have areas of expertise to blog about. In a firm with specialties, at least one partner should be able to blog about each specialty. Depending on firm size, more than one partner may be blogging, too. This is very impressive to see.
Take some time away from “thumbs up” engaging on other people’s comments and posts. Start, or restart, blogging so people get to know you better. Let your expertise shine!
Editor’s note: Find more on this topic in the ProConnect Tax Pro Center article “Lessons from Millennials: How to Use Content to Grow Your Practice.”