In the digital age, advisors who want to organically attract more clients and prospects need to raise their voices over the din of the crowd.
Not literally of course, but online, said Matuya Brand, Head of Content and B2B marketing for TIFIN Clout, an AI-driven growth marketing platform for financial advisors. One of the best ways available for advisors to make their voice heard online is with a blog.
“It’s a way of staying top-of-mind with clients and prospects,” she said. “Advisors should consider this powerful tactic to help so their clients feel like they’re informed on things that are important to them and educated on what’s going on in the market.”
Blogging is a type of journaling published for people online to see. Unlike the constant stream of content pouring into prospects’ inboxes and across their web searches, a blog doesn’t just contain information, it ideally also contains a bit of the creator’s personality, too. Much like a podcast, a good blog can garner a following around a distinctive personality.
For advisors, that means an additional touch point with clients and prospects that can help build goodwill and trust.
Where To Blog
There are several options available to advisors for blogging. Many firms already host blogs on their own websites, which allows current clients to easily navigate to their blogs and prospects to navigate from blogs to pages to learn more about the advisor and firm. Platforms like WordPress make this easy to accomplish.
Some social networks like LinkedIn and Tumblr also have built-in blogging capabilities. Google also provides blogging functionality via its acquisition of blogging platform Blogspot nearly a decade ago. Other outlets include Medium, Wix.com and WordPress.
Promoting a Blog
It can be tricky convincing people to read a blog. It’s not just about creating the blog, promoting the content is key. Advisors can promote their blog via a custom newsletter mailed to client inboxes or through social media. Clout offers such a service across its platform and can even create custom content for the advisor.
Promotion is not just about getting eyes on one blog post, but building an audience of readers who repeatedly come to interact with content on the blog, said Brand. That can be accomplished, in part, by writing in a natural, comfortable voice that allows personality to come through in each post. Posts should be scannable and digestible, too, with bullets and lists where they are appropriate. Creating compelling, clever headlines also helps drive readers to content.
After that, advisors should look to standard web audience building techniques, like search engine optimization (SEO), implementing multimedia and writing relevant, keyword-laden headings.
Building an Audience
Creating a blog audience starts with defining a target audience, and for a financial advisor, that should coincide with their target clientele or the niche they are operating in.
Advisors should then consider what type of tone their desired audience will want.
“Advisors should consider if they want their sense of humor to shine through, or if they would rather write something more technical,” she said. “Storytelling and the use of anecdotes is a powerful tool in having a point come to life.”
Creating Readable Content
Further, advisors should consider length. Blog posts shouldn’t be too short for SEO purposes, generally over 300 words, but not so long you lose your audience. “They should be just long enough to get to say what you’re hoping to communicate while substantiating your points with sufficient examples and facts,” said Brand.
“One tip to get started is to come up with a list of topics,” she said. “Once you know who you are speaking to and what their tone is and have a sense of the format, you’ll have to fill the blog with content. It helps to create a content calendar that can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet where you can look at what subjects are going to help you create a cadence as you build your audience. A steady flow of content is key to staying top-of-mind.”
In other words, there’s no set rule that says an advisor needs to write a blog post every day, or even once a week. Chances are good that the frequency of posts will vary depending on context. During market volatility, advisors might post more often to help interpret what is happening for clients.
Creating Interesting Content
Certain times of year might also make sense for increased blogging activity, like end-of-year or just after New Year’s Day when many people are making financial plans or significant changes in their lives. Tax season and graduation season may also inspire more frequent posts.
“During slower times of year, they might want to do something related to the season,” said Brand. “Offer people some tips on how to manage their personal finances when it’s slow during the summer, when people have more time to plan and look under the hood of what they’re doing.”
Other timely opportunities may arise when legislation is proposed, passed or signed into law that could impact people’s financial situations.
While financial topics offer advisors a chance to show their value and expertise, a blog doesn’t need to be limited to finance. Blogs are a chance for personalities to come through—so advisors should write about things that they are interested in and can help them connect with prospects and clients, whether it be sports, games, movies or gardening.
Three Final Notes
Bloggers are typically not considered objective professional journalists. They’re allowed to spout opinions and speak their mind, but advisors should do so carefully lest they accidentally alienate potential prospects unnecessarily.
While there’s no professional obligation to do so, bloggers are generally expected to operate with a certain level of journalistic integrity. If information from another writer or publication is referenced, it should be sourced properly with hyperlinks and/or footnotes to allow readers to see the source material for themselves.
Finally, bloggers should also be cognizant of their firm’s compliance requirements, said Brand.
“If something isn’t an absolute, be sure to hedge it with an ‘I believe’ or an ‘I think,’” she said. “Always remember there are different ways to interpret things and that you can’t guarantee any outcome. Everything needs to be properly compliant and should contain all the disclosures required by their respective regulatory body. And if you’d rather not go through the hassle of doing it yourself, learn about our bespoke content offering at TIFIN Clout.”