You probably know someone (or are someone) in the financial services industry, who got their start with a phone book, empty desk, and an old-school rotary phone.
“Start at ‘A’. Start calling,” you’d be barked at.
And off you’d go.
Call after call. Day after day. Pitching insurance or investments to people who didn’t know you from a bar of soap.
It was time-consuming, soul-sucking and the rejection was brutal.
And at its core were three things:
- Focus on the short-term – “get leads now”
- Working one-to-one meant no leverage – “there are only so many hours in a day”
- Cold contact and the absence of trust – “who are these people?”
So while it was effective to an extent, the strategy was also quite limiting.
Oh how things have changed
One of the most popular methods of marketing in the digital era – blogging – is virtually the reverse of the old days.
It’s a strategy that builds trust, authority, has scale, and creates value over the long-term.
Sounds pretty good, right?
What is this blogging caper?
A blog is a series of updates or “posts” that are part of a website.
What you’re reading right here – is a blog.
A blog can be about all kinds of topics – from sleeping kittens, to basket weaving, to cricket statistics, to travel destinations. The list is virtually endless.
But a business blog, is something that is a little more focused and refined. And it’s a common component of a permission marketing strategy.
Effective business blogs typically have a:
- Target audience
- Path to become a customer or client
Blogs are often distributed through an email newsletter and social media channels as a way to reach people that may be interested and that you can help.
Blogs can be words, video, audio, images or any combination. They can be short or long, funny or serious, kind or harsh, helpful or opinionated.
In the financial services industry, some common types of blog posts are:
- Client stories
- How to / DIY instructions
- Simple or in-depth explanations of concept videos can be great for this
- Case studies
- Opinions and thought pieces
- Statistics and key points (graphics can be handy for this)
- Questions – asked and answered
- Idea sharing
- Interviews (podcasts are a quick way of doing this)
Phew! You’ll soon find any fear of running out of ideas, gets thrown out the window as you start to imagine all the possibilities of blogging.
The business benefits of blogging
But blogging for business can sound a bit vague and fluffy. So let’s take a look at the key reasons for considering using it in your financial planning business.
Establish authority and build your professional image
By sharing your knowledge, your practical experiences and your thoughts and opinions, you can demonstrate to your audience that you really know your stuff.
Add some of your personality, a unique viewpoint or way of presenting things, and you start to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be afraid of giving away information. In fact, a willingness to do so, can have serious payback. People get to ‘sample’ you before making a commitment. This can win you many brownie points.
Each time you create and share a blog you are adding a credit to your “authority” bank account and you’re also helping keep you and your business top of mind – for clients, future clients and your professional network. So when those people are ready to make a move, or know someone that needs your help, who are they going to think of?
Attract and build an audience (at scale)
Of course as part of establishing authority, you will also start to attract and build an audience that likes and is interested in what you have to say. And if they don’t like what you have to say, they’ll simply stop reading or engaging.
That’s a much more enjoyable experience than a slammed phone rejection on a cold call.
And the more you help people with the content you produce, the more they’ll come back for more. Over time, you’ll attract more readers and build deeper levels of trust, before needing to pick up the phone.
That means that by the time you speak there’s already a connection and a relationship. This alone can make the getting to know you’ process a lot less threatening and more comfortable for everyone.
Build a long-term, compounding asset
One of the most powerful parts of blogging, is that the time invested to create blog posts and share them with your target audience, is something that gathers steam over time. It’s an investment in the growth of your business
But here’s the best bit.
Your blog posts continue to work their magic, month after month, year after year. Because once they are published, they are available for visitors to read at any time. And if you keep adding to the collection, it’s like a glorious little snowball on a downhill run.
Of course you’ll have some posts that may have a limited lifespan, like a Budget update, or something specific for a time of year. But if most of them are evergreen (i.e. they stay relevant over the long term), your asset will keep compounding.
And all that extra high quality content is something that Google loves, and can help increase your chances of being found organically online.
Take the next step
Getting started blogging for your business can be a bit scary. It’s common to feel nervous about what people might think.
Just remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to start.
Here’s to happy blogging! Kim