This sort of linking to other people’s stuff is a welcome practice. You’re sending traffic to them—always appreciated—and putting yourself on their radar screens as someone they possibly share common interests with. They just might start reading you and linking back to you.
My book Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms (available on Amazon and other online booksellers) has chapters dedicated to blog best practices and writing for the web with a whole section on content inspiration. But here are four quick blog-fodder ideas:
- Search Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Slideshare, and YouTube for articles and news in your topic areas using keywords and phrases. Experiment with searches, tweaking search terms to refine results if you get too much junk. Save your searches as feeds in Google Reader so you don’t have to recreate them, new results will feed to you automatically for you to periodically review.
- Comb through "sent items" in your email to see what questions you’ve already answered. Find emails sent to clients, prospects, and even coworkers. Sanitize the answer, reframe the original question providing more context, add “…in this particular situation…” (your CYA) and poof: instant blog post! This is my favorite way to find good, relevant content. You’ve already done the work!
- Feature clients, prospects, and referral sources. Highlight neat stuff they are doing, particularly on ways they make a difference to others. When you feature clients, talk about successes they’ve had. Don’t overtly mention your role in those successes, your involvement is implied. Featuring referral sources is a great way to “repay” referrals you aren’t otherwise able to reciprocate.
- Seek guest blog authors—experts in your featured industry—inviting them to write once or periodically. Most are happy to have the platform and your association with them elevates your credibility. A big bonus is when they distribute links to their posts across their social networks; it increases your reach.
Blogs are free or inexpensive to set up. I recommend an open-source program called WordPress. If you’re a little tech-savvy, you can set it up yourself or if you need help, WordPress programmers are inexpensive. In fact, using WordPress for your entire website is a great idea. It permits you to have easy access for text changes and gives the added benefit of increased search-engine optimization (SEO) over static websites.
Curious what constitutes a great blog? They run the gamut in style. Three main types are blogs that you’ll see are:
1) 100% Original: where all the content is authored by the blogger
2) Aggregated Info: where the blogger curates content from other sources (websites, blogs, or even print) and shares links to the attributed sources, usually with excerpts from the linked posts and at least a sentence or two of contextual commentary from the blogger
3) Hybrid: a mix of aggregated and original content
Accountingbloglist.com houses a comprehensive list of CPA blogs. Some excellent blogs started by solos or small firms are:
- FarmCPAToday www.farmcpatoday.com
- Homeschool CPA http://homeschoolcpa.com/blog
- Catalyst Center for Nonprofit Management