Last week I delved deeply into my miserable failings at marketing my writing, and how I’ve mostly been okay with that. If I write something that people read it, great! If not, well, I wouldn’t say it’s great, but I really didn’t care that much.

Like the title says, I threw it at the wall to see what stuck. If it fell on the floor, well, that was for the dog anyway.
If we’re sticking with the analogy, that means I’m the dog. Not sure how I feel about that.
Recently, I started reading How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn. Although the book has very little information I haven’t picked up from various shady websites over the past few years, it gotten me thinking that maybe I should try to give this a proper go. Or, as my kids’ favorite YouTube persona likes to say, let’s give it a Test To Go, which in his British accent sounds way too much like “Testicle” for a kid’s show.

To keep myself on the straight and narrow, I’m posting my musing here. Think of it as a “behind the scenes” look at my tax blog.

(1) Stay on Target

It a direct shot at a ridiculous design flaw to blow up The Death Star. Had the Rebels just randomly fired at Darth Vader’s Jacuzzi room, they might as well have bowed down to the Emperor from day one. Sure, several extras were killed in the attack, but at least it was on the way to their end goal.

Part of the problem with my main blog is that it started as a writing blog that morphed into a tax blog. I took steps to make it into a proper tax blog, including creating this diversion blog to catch errant thoughts, but I could focus it a bit better.

Here’s my problem: the tax world is surprisingly big. So do I (a) make it a tax blog for the layperson trying to figure out their own taxes, (b) make it a tax blog for tax professionals, or (c) make it a tax blog with commentary about taxes? Although (c) might be the most fun, getting the kind of notice I’d like would require me being bombastic and partisan, which really doesn’t fit my style.

Of the other two options, I prefer (a). I enjoy teaching, and this follows along my personality better. I don’t think that means I can’t throw some tax commentary in the mix, but it needs to be kept in the framework of normal people trying to do their individual and small business taxes.

(2) Change the Name

Ug. I knew this one was coming, I just hadn’t figured out how to make it work. isn’t the worst name in the world, but it’s a bit long, not the most memorable thing in the world (Person: “So your website is Creative Accounting?” Me: “No, CreativeLY Accounting.”), and, most importantly, it doesn’t say ANYTHING about taxes.

When I came up with my first book title, I really liked Back Alley Taxes. So much so that I bought the domain. I was planning on spinning my site off into a second site at some point in the future, but that sounded like way too much work right now. Then, this weekend, I realized I could just ditch the CreativelyAccounting site for BackAlleyTaxes without losing much of my built up search traffic.

Unfortunately, changing it over is a bit of a technical headache, plus I’m having some run-ins with my hosting plan. I’m currently researching what I can do about that.

(3) Mailing List

I’ve heard time and again that every serious blogger should do a mailing list. I haven’t done one because I haven’t had any clue what to put in it other than my typical posts.

Then, last night, epiphany! A weekly (or biweekly, or monthly–that part isn’t figured out) e-mail with a simple tax tip, along with a couple updates from around the web about the rumblings in the tax world. My inspiration comes from Jonah Goldberg’s G-File, which has the first part dedicated to a single topic, then the last bit his “Various” section.

(4) Videos and Podcasts

This is probably and either/or type situation. I’ve considered adding video to my site, but haven’t thought of a good idea how to implement it. Then I realized that if I’m focusing on helping people do their taxes, what if I created videos to help people do their taxes!

Wow. It was like a revelation.

Like I mentioned before, I enjoy teaching and have given plenty of trainings about specific tax items. Why not just transfer that concept to a YouTube video? Walk through a form in the least boring way possible, that kind of thing. I’ve watched some pretty boring DIY videos, so why not add one more to the mix?

Podcasts are a bit more difficult. I doubt anyone would subscribe to a podcast just to hear my sweet voice describing line after line of a return while the folks at home followed along with their own copy.

I’ve had a vague idea of doing interviews with various experts so they can tackle specific problems, e.g. IRAs, home purchases, foreign income, transfer pricing, etc. I’m mulling that one over. If I can get the readership ticked up, I bet I could easily tap into the vast sea of tax professionals looking to get their name out in the world. Plus I actually know people who could do it.

Alternatively, I could do interviews about what various types of tax jobs do, like State and Local, International, Professors, etc. However, depending on how it was presented, it’d most likely be moving off target and hitting the (b) area (a.k.a. Darth Vader’s Jacuzzi). It might be interesting for me, but less interesting for the market.

Now What?

I have some ideas, and a general plan. I’ll be working on implementing it over the next couple weeks. I’ll report back to keep an update on how things are going.