3 reasons why professional practices are failing to use blogging to win clients

Heather Townsend
Director
The Excedia Group
Columnist
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Many practices have a blog, because someone, somewhere has told them that they need to have a blog. However, very often these blogs are pretty dusty and new posts have been sporadic at best, and many of the posts are thinly veiled press releases. To illustrate what I mean have a look at PWC’s UK Blogs,

Or worse still, these large professional practices don’t even have a blog mentioned on their home page – just corporate articles and press releases:
 

So, why hasn’t the UK’s large professional practices woken up to the power of a blog? These are my thoughts…

1. They don’t realise they need one

From the amount of news, views, insights peppered all over these websites, it’s fair to say that each of the firm’s knows about the power of a content marketing strategy and thought leadership. However, the ability to engage with and personalise their content seems to be missing. People want to see the human side of a firm, and engage with them before they start working with them. Yes, long technical articles, press releases and white papers are good, but these need to be mixed up with lighter, shorter (cup of tea length) articles and musings from their fee earners. It’s these ‘personalised’ and humanised pieces which will get potential clients returning time and time again to read the blog.

For six reasons why a professional practice needs a blog, read my previous blog article.

2. No one knows whose responsibility it is to write the firm’s blogs

Is it marketing job? Or is it the fee earner’s role? A well tended blog needs to be written by the fee earners – after all, your clients don’t want to work with your marketing department. But this is where most firms fall down, how are you incentivising, helping and supporting your fee earners to write these blogs – particularly when the work load is high? And whose role is it to co-ordinate the blog and decide on a content management plan? Ideally, this should be the partner (with support from the marketing department) whose department the blog is for.

3. There is a lack of support for contributors to the blog

Let’s be honest writing blogs (as well as articles & white papers) is a non-chargeable activity – and often there is no acknowledgement or credit for the writer. Someone in the firm needs to have the ultimate responsibility and accountability for the blog. This person needs to be able to have a content management plan for the blog & share around the burden of writing for the blog. Let’s remember, the fee earners don’t need to do everything. For example, they only need to come up with the idea and outline for a post, and then all of this can be delegated to the marketing department or outsourced to an agency:
 

  • Writing the actual article & headline
     
  • Posting and scheduling it
     
  • Keyword research

About Heather Townsend

Heather Townsend is a brand ambassador for the Practice Excellence Programme, and the Founder of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 4 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).

Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.

Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms. 

In 2016 her and her team of coaches have coached:

1) 7 people successfully to partner

2) Professionals from all of the Big 4, from every major continent in the world

 

As well as helping accountants make partner, she still spends 40% of her time helping small firms, typically under £1m GRF:

1) Create profitable revenue streams from advisory services and reduce their reliance on revenue from compliance services

2) Radically increase their profitability, even if they are a cloud based practice, often helping them achieve a net profit margin of 40%+

3) Double or even triple the size of their practice within 3 years

4) Win bigger and better clients

5) Grow the right team around them so they stop working stupidly high hours and spend quality time with the people they care about

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Her articles appear regularly in the UK national and trade press, including The Financial Times, Accountancy Age, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Heather is also in-demand for her speaking and has recently returned from the South African Accountancy Academy conference.

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