The mere fact that you are reading this blog shows that social media can work to attract prospects, connect with clients and build a brand for you and your firm. When I discuss blogging and other forms of social media to most advisors, however, they usually struggle with how and what to write. Susan Weiner’s guest blog today outlines a number of tips that can help advisors who are just getting started or who are trying to build a bigger audience. This post is a must read and Susan is a must follow on social media for any advisor who is trying to grow their businesses. She is also hosting a webinar at the end of the month, “How to Write Investment Commentary People Will Read,” so please see her website for details.
It’s tough for financial advisors to stand out in a world of lookalike products and services. Blogging is a great way for you to display the personality and expertise that spur referrals and new clients. As John Anderson said in “Blogging Your Way to Success: 6 Steps for Advisors,” “…advisors can reach out to prospects to start a conversation, develop a brand, and differentiate their businesses in a very crowded world.”
Not only do advisors who blog regularly and effectively win more new clients, but they also attract clients who are good matches for them. Your prospects are screened by their responses to your blog content.
Tip 1. Identify your target audience.
The most effective financial blogs address a narrowly defined audience. For example, you might target young couples who are struggling with budgets, raising a family, and other professional and personal challenges.
Focus your entire blog, not just individual posts, on your targeted readers so they feel as if you’re speaking directly to them. You will stand out from your competitors who try to appeal to everybody.
Tip 2. Emphasize WIIFM (what’s in it for me).
Everybody’s busy. Like you, they suffer from information overload. Clients and prospects will only read your blog if you show them “What’s In It For Me?” The secret is to get them excited about how your topic will improve their financial and personal lives.
Tip 3. Use catchy, informative titles and headings.
Make your titles and headings convey the main points of your blog posts. Use strong words to get make them appealing.
For example, which article would you read? One entitled “IRA Records” or “Save Your IRA Records Now, or Pay More Taxes Later”? Injecting WIIFM into your title will attract the many people who only skim most written materials.
Tip 4. Give readers an incentive to share their contact information with you.
You blog to bring people into a relationship with you. So offer them a free financial report, seminar, newsletter, or consultation in return for their email address. Target their WIIFM with your freebie—and require little or no information beyond the reader’s email address—to yield the maximum number of leads for your company.
However, don’t use their email addresses to immediately bombard them with sales messages. Instead, continue to provide information that helps them. As you win their trust, they’ll open up to an occasional sales pitch mixed in with valuable content.
Tip 5. Identify and use key words to make your blog easy to find.
If you know your target audience and the services you’d like to market to them, then you can identify the keywords they’ll use to search for advisors like you. Sprinkle these words in your blog, especially in your titles and headings. You can research keywords using the free versions of tools such as https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner or http://www.keyword.io/.
Tip 6. Post regularly to develop an ongoing relationship.
You’ll lose readers if you go without posting for weeks at a time. If it’s hard to come up with ideas or to write at busy times of the year, there are plenty of techniques that can help. For example, develop an editorial calendar, stock up on “evergreen” posts that are good at any time, and use guest bloggers.
Tip 7. Write clearly and concisely.
When readers feel they’re slogging through a swamp of words, they’ll abandon you. Clear, short, direct prose is usually best. Hemingway (http://www.hemingwayapp.com/) is a free website that identifies long sentences and other potential weaknesses.
Tip 8. Avoid common punctuation and grammar errors.
You may think no one notices, but they do. They may even wonder if you’re as sloppy with your clients’ financial assets as you are with your words.
Hire a proofreader, ask a colleague to review your work, or use the technique I describe in “Why I love Adobe Acrobat Pro for proofreading.” Your word-processing software’s spelling and grammar checking software isn’t good enough. I’ve seen too many fancy presentations delivered by a portfolio “manger” instead of a portfolio “manager.”
Susan Weiner, CFA, is the author of Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients and teaches a class that helps financial advisors to apply the book’s step-by-step process for brainstorming ideas, organizing your thoughts before you write, writing your first draft, and editing. Follow her on the Investment Writing blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
This post originally appeared on investmentwriting.com.
The opinions and views expressed herein are those of Susan Weiner. SEI bears no responsibility for their accuracy. Susan Weiner and The Investment Writing Blog are not affiliated with SEI or its subsidiaries.