I continue to blog to provide a source of updated federal and state tax information for my 1040 clients, to attempt to market my various special reports and newsletters (to be honest, without much success), to provide easily accessible samples of my writing for potential publishers, and, quite frankly, because I just enjoy it. Now that I am no longer looking for new clients I frequently receive emails from individuals who have visited THE WANDERING TAX PRO inquiring about my services.
I recently wrote an article, with the NATP quarterly TAX JOURNAL in mind, on writing a tax blog. I asked some of my fellow tax bloggers for their observations and comments on why they blog and how it has helped their business.
Gina L Gwozdz of Texas, a CPA who writes GINA'S TAX ARTICLES, told me-
“I started and continue to blog for the following reasons:
* To gain new clients.
* So my current and prospective clients know that I'm capable of having a conversation with them that they will understand.
* So my current and prospective clients know that I do keep up with the current tax law changes.
* I want to make the Internet a better place. As a parent I constantly hear about all the dangers of the Internet and how I need to protect my daughter. Well, the Internet isn't all bad – I'm trying to grow the good part.
* It keeps me in touch with what my prospective clients want to know – what their most pressing concerns are – as far as taxes anyway.”
When I asked her if the blog has helped her tax practice she replied, “An unbelievable YES! In one year of blogging I increased my client base by over 300%.”
Trish McIntire, an Enrolled Agent from Kansas who writes the blog OUR TAXING TIMES, started her blog in 2004. “Besides my tax practice I was doing a little bit of web design and took a class in blogging for that. I found that I liked blogging. It gave me a way to express my opinions on taxes, the tax business and owning a business. I have always seen my audience as small business owners and taxpayers like myself.
OUR TAXING TIMES has evolved since I started. I am more interested in writing about the business of preparing taxes and my take on laws and the tax business. I don't see OTT as a mission to educate or build a business. It is my chance to express my opinion.”
Has it helped build or expand her practice? “I don't know. No one has come in saying that reading my blog was the reason they brought me their business. However, more people are using the internet to check out services and people. OUR TAXING TIMES, and my website, give potential clients the chance to learn about me and my business.”
Joe Kristan is a CPA with Roth and Company, PC of Des Moines, Iowa. He writes the firm’s TAX UPDATE BLOG. According to Joe - “I blog because I enjoy it, and because I think it is good for me professionally. I have long started my day reading the tax news, so it wasn't a big leap to start commenting about it. I think it helps keep me sharp, and it helps me stay current on the ideas and issues out there. And, of course, there's the glamour, fan adulation and women. Well, ok, none of those things, but there should be..”
Amen to that, Joe!
The TAX INFO BLOG of Enrolled Agent Ryan Ellis of Virginia, the blogger formerly known as Tax Playa, was started “largely because I wanted to create a central repository of plain-English tax topics on the internet. I spent the first year or so of blogging building that database, and now spend most of my blogging answering more specific questions.”
Ryan feels that his blog has certainly helped his part-time tax practice. “Many people find me from my blog.”
Kelly Phillips Erb, the TAX GIRL, is a lawyer who deals with tax planning and compliance issues. She started her blog “because I am that much of a tax geek. I just wanted to write about tax. I also wanted to make it accessible to people who think tax is boring - that's simply not true. Tax is fascinating and it touches everything.”
Right on, Kelly!
I found two comments from by colleagues particularly interesting. TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb told me that her blog has “increased my profile among other tax professionals, which I've found invaluable”. And Trish McIntire commented, “I have a one person office in a small Kansas town, but through the blog I can be heard across the country.”
My experience echoes that of the girls. As a result of my exposure on the internet via THE WANDERING TAX PRO and THE NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG I have received posting comments and email questions and requests for help or consultation from CPAs, of all people, and other tax pros both in the US and abroad, and from the leaders in specific areas of tax specialization. I have also received offers of speaking engagements as an “expert” on federal or New Jersey taxes!
You cannot begin to understand the thrill I get from having CPAs come to me for advice!
In most cases I am happy to help, though, as I am a better writer than speaker, I have turned down the speaking engagements.
So, unlike poor Rodney Dangerfield, I am finally getting some respect.