By Maureen Renzi, vice president – communications
Sharing information with the public has never been easier with today’s multidimensional options of blogs, videos, podcasts, pictures, and presentations. The challenge is getting that information read, viewed, or heard. For the PICPA to effectively be the voice of the CPA profession, we need to have a presence in all those places and a digital strategy that helps consumers and small-business owners find our great information. Most of all, we need our members to help us get there.
Fortunately, we have active PICPA members who support our CPA Voice efforts as well as a communications strategy that garners a lot of traction. Here are a few stats of last year’s performance from our digital resources:
- 1.25 million impressions on Google
(An “impression” is an appearance in a Google search result, even if it is not clicked on.)
- 218,600 views of our consumer resources
- 220,000 video views via Facebook and YouTube
- 220 Ask a CPA questions posted, garnering more than 50,000 views
- 20,000 downloads of PICPA’s CPA Conversations podcast last year, and we’ve nearly reached that number again in the first half of this fiscal year.
Like the podcast numbers, we are trending higher in all these areas this year.
Being a part of our CPA Voice efforts has its benefits. Not only do you have an opportunity to demonstrate your professional knowledge, but you also have the resource of a professional communications staff that works to get you the best exposure. By combining your personal and business social media presence with the PICPA’s efforts, you can both raise the voice of the profession while also increasing your personal digital profile. Your content may be found by people looking for information online, and your name will be associated with good content. If you want to learn more about digital profiles and how they help with professional development, PICPA members can access this free On-Demand program.
While digital communication is an important part of PICPA’s overall strategy, we haven’t lost sight of the importance of building relations with traditional media. It’s exciting when a CPA Voice member is “on air” during a tax phone bank, such as the one hosted by WGAL-TV, or a camera crew shows up at a financial literacy program with children. Plus, we field requests from reporters on a regular basis to help provide background information or for quotes in articles. Reporters call from local dailies, business journals, national websites like Bloomberg BNA, as well as radio and TV news programs. Last year we fielded 80 calls. To get an idea of what CPAs comment on, check out the “Experts in the Field” section of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal.
To reward superior financial reporting, the PICPA initiated the Truth in Finances Award eight years ago. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association (PNA) Convention and meet with this year’s recipients of PICPA’s Truth in Finances Award. The award was developed at the request of the Forensic and Litigation Committee to recognize excellence and balanced reporting that clarifies misinterpretations of financial issues. This year, we received 48 entries. Members of the committee and past recipients of the award help judge the entries. Chuck Lunden chaired this project, and he presented the award winners with their plaques and checks at the event.
Traditional media plays an important role in helping local communities understand the impact of financial issues, and our role is to help them make sure they get the story right. As Eric Semmel, an award recipient from ABC-27, explained, “Thank you for recognizing our hard work. My work has won numerous awards, including Emmys, over the years. But I value the PICPA award as the most objective and worthwhile measure of actual journalistic work.” Our CPA Voice members and the members of our technical committees will always be a valuable resource for the press.
If you want to add your expertise to CPA Voice and elevate the financial understanding of consumers and small-business owners in Pennsylvania, join your colleagues by signing up today. You can select how you would like to be involved (writing blogs, answering Ask a CPA questions, speaking to groups or the media, etc.) and provide your areas of specialty so we know what questions you can field. An easy first step is offering to help answer our Ask a CPA questions. We do not expect answers to be highly researched, but rather to provide consumers with some general considerations on their issue so they can understand the scope and complexity of the situation in order to do further research or seek the advice of a professional.
If you are more interested in providing technical guidance to your CPA colleagues, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have members write blogs for CPA Now and serve as guests on our CPA Conversations podcast series.
I’m looking forward to working with you!