Should you start a business blog?

Business blogging: decide upfront who your content is trying to reach and where they are.

Business blogging can be a great way to showcase your expertise, reach out to potential clients and build stronger relationships with existing ones. You don’t need to be an IT expert, but be ready to invest time and energy in keeping the clicks coming.

Megan Dalla-Camina is strategist, business coach and prolific blogger. She says creating unique content can be a cost-effective way to showcase your expertise and build your firm’s profile.

“As a business owner, positioning your company in the marketplace, explaining where you fit, your areas of specialisation, why people should come to you as opposed to your nearest competitor … a blog is a really sound and positive business asset,” she says.

Dalla-Camina has been blogging since 2010. She says blogging has become much easier now, with tools such as WordPress making it easy for novices to set up a blog with minimal technical expertise, and platforms such as LinkedIn providing another ready-made publishing platform. As the blogosphere is open to almost anyone with internet access, that means more voices are competing for readers’ attention.

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How to get readers to your blog

To be heard, Dalla-Camina recommends starting with a clear idea of your target audience and what you want to say to them.

“If you write for everyone, you write for no-one, so decide upfront who your content is trying to reach and where they are,” she says. 

“You also need to know why you’re communicating – such as building your personal brand or business profile – and you need to set aside a regular time to do it.”

Dalla-Camina reserves one to three hours a week for blogging, publishing new posts on her website at least weekly. She also promotes her posts on social media, using LinkedIn and Twitter for business content, and Instagram for creative work.

To help you produce new content when inspiration fails, Dalla-Camina suggests maintaining a go-to list of potential subjects, including topical issues from your industry, answers to common questions, and real-life client stories. For those who find writing difficult, the answer could be as close as your smartphone.

“I don't believe that ‘I can't write’ is an excuse for not sharing your messages with your marketplace,” she says. “You can start dictating into the voice app on your phone and get that transcribed, or hire someone to come into your business and work once or twice a month.”

Reaching niche audiences with your blog

David Harland CPA is a director of FINH, an advisory firm specialising in family businesses. Harland began blogging in 2007 to promote the firm’s expertise in a new practice area, succession planning. He says blogging can be an effective way to engage a niche that may otherwise be hard to reach. He also says that, while traffic matters, it is not the only measure of success.

“Having traffic is good, but in this area it’s the stickiness of that traffic that’s important,” he says. “That’s how you measure that you’re providing value to the reader.”

To help gauge the effectiveness of his posts, Harland uses analytics tools built into his firm’s website. He also publishes on LinkedIn, which allows him to see directly who is reading and responding to his work.

Another CPA who uses his blog to reach a niche audience is Ian Raspin, a director of BNR Partners, specialising in the taxation of estates and trusts. Raspin publishes content on LinkedIn as part of a larger strategy to cement his reputation as an expert in “death and taxes”.

“Social media is a simple, cost-effective way to get followers and build credibility quickly,” Raspin says.

He uses Google Alerts to stay informed on topics he can share with his readers, and only posts when he has something specific to say, choosing posting times carefully.

“I’ll often post on a Saturday morning when people have time to read,” he says. “I also avoid oversaturating my audience with content.”

However, he is always careful to run his posts by his team. “My audience is specific, so I need to be technically correct – if I make a mistake some QC or barrister will pick it up. So I can’t do a Trump and simply fire something off.”

5 steps to starting a blog

  1. Set up a blog using a free tool such as WordPress, or ask your web developer to add a blog to your website.
  2. Create a list of potential topics and use Google Alerts to stay on top of breaking news.
  3. Begin posting regularly. Search online for royalty-free images you can use to add interest and attract readers. If writing isn’t your forte, get help from someone else in your business, or hire a content specialist.
  4. Promote your posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, with links back to your website.
  5. Use Google Analytics to see which posts resonate most, and use that data to improve your blog’s effectiveness.
Listen to Megan Dalla-Camina speak about building grit and resilience and the new rules of leadership at CPA Australia Congress 2017 in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

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