The Blog: H&R Block’s Block Talk
Editor: Kristin Shaw
Contact Info: Email Kristin at email@example.com or reach out on LinkedIn. SHIFT Communications works with Kristin and team as managing editor, securing contributors for guest posts. You can reach the SHIFT team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topic: Taxes and financial planning
Target audience: The audience for Block Talk is a bit more specific than H&R Block’s audience as a whole.
“We talk about “secure upstarts” — folks who are in college or have recently graduated, with income (even if it may be small!), who are looking to get a solid start to their financial lives. We also speak to “family-focused” clients — those who are a little more established, maybe married with kids, who have already made some financial choices but are looking to learn more, maximize their income and excel at planning for the future,” says Kristin.
Compensation: “We do compensate writers. Payment varies based on word count, complexity of the assignment, production of multimedia and other factors,” explains Kristin.
Other perks: “For H&R Block, Block Talk is our social home base,” says Kristin. “We feel it is the core property to showcase our expertise, and most of our publishing on other social channels drives back to it.” With nearly 400,000 Facebook page likes, more than 20,000 Twitter followers, 3,000+ Google+ followers and a burgeoning presence on Pinterest, Instagram and Vine, Block Talk has the potential to reach a lot of readers.
Additionally, Block Talk posts are fed into hrblock.com and community.hrblock.com and frequently shared in the Newsroom Twitter feed — creating a fairly wide distribution and audience.
What kind of posts they like: Block Talk looks for posts that capture useful, actionable financial knowledge, that their readers can put into practice in their everyday lives. “We talk about the subject matter being “one degree” from tax,” explains Kristin.
For example, things like moving, paying for college, saving for retirement and more may seem outside the scope of a “tax” company, but all of those things actually do have an impact on the credits and deductions you can claim.
Examples of four posts that have done well:
- 5 Ways Buying Your First Home Affects Your Taxes
- 4 Tax Deductions for Using Your Vehicle
- The Life Expectancy of 7 Major Appliances
- 10 Ways to Minimize Student Loan Debt
What you can do to help the editor say YES: Block Talk strives to incorporate more multimedia and alternative post formats. So if you have ideas for videos, slideshows, interactive elements, listicles, graphics and so forth, the editors are always excited to hear about them. You don’t even have to be able to execute it all yourself.
“Additionally, posts that come from a place of personal experience and expertise, or posts that feature individuals and their stories, are highly interesting to us,” explains Kristin.
Lead time: “We try to plan our calendars two months at a time, about a month in advance,” says Kristin. So, from the time you pitch to the time the post appears, it could be anywhere from six weeks to three months. (Three months is somewhat rare, but not unheard of, particularly in tax season where we try to plan more aggressively).
Google Page Rank: 5
What’s Google Page rank? In basic terms, it’s Google’s assessment of your site, from 1-10, with 10 being best. You want to guest post for sites with high page ranks because when that site links back to your blog, it boosts your SEO.
Have you contributed to Block Talk, or is it on your pitch list? Tell us about your experience!