Note: Today’s article is the second in a two-part series on accounting blogs. To view part one, click here.
The growing interest in accounting blogs isn’t only happening abroad.
For domestic evidence of accounting blog success, skeptics should look no further than From Greg’s Head, a blog started in early 2006 by Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas, P.C. Since its launch, From Greg’s Head has become a success story: an accounting-based blog that has helped change the face of the accounting world, bringing PKF Texas into the 21st century with style.
“The Practice Growth team [at PKF Texas] needed a way to stand out among the top 25 accounting firms in the fourth largest city [in the country], and sought to gain market presence for our Consulting Solutions niche practice. [This] begs the question, ‘What vehicle does one use to do this?’” says Karen Love, director of Practice Growth for PKF Texas. “We had heard about blogs in the marketplace here and there, though the corporate application of the blog was unclear.”
After conducting their preliminary research, PKF Texas realized that the blogosphere was a market worth entering.
“Accountants are pretty amazed when I drop the numbers on them,” says Michelle Golden, president of Golden Marketing Inc. who runs the blog Golden Practices. “Today, there are only 23 practice-specific blogs by accountants…that’s it! Four are industry niche blogs and 19 are service-oriented blogs. There are a few others written by CPAs or CAs for their peers. In contrast, there are well over 1,000 blogs by lawyers.”
The market seemed fresh, and PKF Texas knew their objectives; the next stage was finding out who could help achieve them.
“The turning point came when we participated in a webinar [wikipedia] presented by Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog and Larry Bodine, a professional services marketer who has his own blog,” Love says. “The webinar was a valuable tool, as it described the power of this form of communication, made the corporate use clear and showed how versatile a blog can be.”
Their goals were ambitious: not only did they want to market their firm in the ever-growing blogosphere, where Love claims 30,000 new blogs develop every day, but they also wanted to revamp the “old, stodgy accounting industry image” by attaching a face to their ideas.
That face was Greg Price, director of Consulting Solutions for the firm. Already an established figure both within PKF Texas and the Houston technology community, Greg was well connected in the area (giving the firm a significant base readership from the beginning).
PKF Texas knew the look they were going for – something visually appealing but simple, professional yet modern.
“Because LexBlog had an established name in the professional services blogging community and is the premier law blog hosting site, we signed with them to design the framework, host content and provide support software,” Love says.
Taking PKF Texas’ requests to heart, LexBlog’s designers responded with the template that would ultimately make up From Greg’s Head. A stylized portrait of Greg coupled with a clean blend of blue, black and orange – colors that “work within our firm’s corporate identity package,” Love says – greet readers when they visit the site.
Word of mouth, coupled with the aggressive promotion of the blog taken by PKF Texas just before its launch, has kept those readers coming. Love claims that there are over 1,000 visitors a month.
“The blog has been the topic of discussion everywhere representatives from our firm go,” she says, noting that it has had unintended positive effects on their demographics by creating awareness among youth. “At a Texas A&M recruiting fair, blog [postcards] and promotions created quite a stir with the recruits, and was met so favorably that although 15 firms were originally invited, only four were invited back. Texas A&M stated that including us as one of the four was a ‘no brainer.’”
The media exposure hasn’t been bad, either. Greg has been a featured guest on Talkradio 950AM KPRC’s BusinessMakers Radio Show. The blog has received coverage in more than 13 major publications. And at the 2007 Houston American Marketing Association Crystal Awards held in May, PKF’s Practice Growth Team won awards for the blog in the Best Integrated Public Relations and Maverick Marketing categories.
More recently, From Greg’s Head was bestowed five Excalibur awards from the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) at the 2007 Excalibur for Excellence Awards. To top it off, the blog came away from the June 21 ceremony with the Grand Excalibur award, indicating its status as “Best in Show.”
“The blog, in its first year, has already won several awards and has become an integral part of our company culture,” says Love. “Media coverage has exceeded our expectations.”