By Mark Rowland Career Become an accountancy thought leader 28 Jan 2016 Type ‘business blogging’ into your search engine and countless articles will pop up about how blogging can help you attract new clients, build better business relationships, and stand out to employers. Indeed, blog well enough and you may eventually earn the coveted title of ‘thought leader’. So where to begin when becoming an accountancy blogger? We asked accountancy careers blogger and AAT Annual Conference speaker Mark Lee, about the best way to build an audience. Should you be blogging? The first question you should ask yourself is this: is a blog or social media account going to attract the audience you want? Blogging isn’t for everyone, says Lee. “There are far too many people out there saying one of two things,” he notes. “One, that all accountants should be blogging or all accountants should be on Twitter. Two, you get a lot of generic advice telling people how successful you can be if you get on Twitter or if you write blogs. It’s largely ill-informed, misguided nonsense.” Setting a strategy This is the most important step. You need to determine what you are ultimately hoping to achieve with your blog. Do you want to attract new clients? Do you want to build your brand? Or do you want to make yourself more attractive to employers? Once you know what you want to do, the next question you need to ask is: what tactics might help me achieve that? “What will determine the appropriate strategy is where the target audience is for what you want to write about,” says Lee. “That was one of the things I learned quite early on and why so much of what I write is for accountants – I know the media through which to reach them.” Find your niche There are lots of people who are trying to be thought leaders in big, general topics. If you try to operate in that sphere, the chances are your blog will get lost. “If you can become a thought leader in a niche area or specialist topic, rather than a thought leader as an accountant, you will stand out from the crowd more,” says Lee. Proofread your work “It’s worth proofreading your work a few hours after you’ve written it, or preferably the next day, before you publish,” says Lee. “You’ll spot a lot more of your mistakes than you will immediately after you’ve finished. If you want to establish credibility, you want to make as few mistakes as possible.” It’s not a numbers game Lee has thousands of readers in Canada, but he isn’t really writing for them: “I’d rather have thousands in the UK.” It’s easy to get caught up in increasing the number of clicks and visitors to your blog, but the reality is that a lot of readers might not be the audience you want to reach. “It’s about quality over quantity. Wouldn’t you rather have 100 people in your area than 10,000 elsewhere in the world?” says Lee. Mark Rowland is a journalist and former editor of Accounting Technician and 20 magazine.