You’ve heard by now the financial sector is the least trusted sector according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. So we must look to build trust – and prove that we earn it. A way to build trust with your clients is through consistent communication. With today’s technology and social media, the platforms and channels exist. People are more in touch with each other than before. But client communication should be more than just posting a photo on social media or chatting with clients via the phone. While those are great ways to “keep in touch” with clients, they aren’t effective in establishing a deeper, more trusting relationship. However, blogging is an effective tool that advisors can use to build trust. Blogs allow you to become an expert on a topic while expressing vulnerability. Advisors might shy away from the latter, but coming across as more human is a good thing when it comes to building trust. And writing as an “expert” is like a soft sell for your business. Not only will you be seen in a good light, you can add in calls to action to promote your services. Now you just need to figure out what you’re going to say.
Blogging in its official name started in the 1990s. “Blog” is a combination of the word web and log. This makes it seem as though a blog is a rambling of someone’s thoughts or a personal diary. A financial blog should feature tighter writing, though. Blogs can take a more personal or professional approach. A more professional exhibiting knowledge or expertise on an industry topic. Whatever the topic, blogs have a more relaxed, conversational feel to reading them and therefore writing them – much like this blog. Blogging gives your clients a glimpse into your life and an opportunity for potential clients to know you before they meet you. Blogs prove to be a useful recruiting tool and vetting service for prospective clients and employees. They learn more about you and your firm and can make an informed decision on whether they want to pursue you as an advisor or employer. When leads do come to you, they’re more serious as they’re likely aware and knowledgeable about your business. In addition, blogs draw readers to your website through search engine optimization (SEO). By writing about topics that people are searching for online, you can pull new traffic to your website and begin building your brand with a wider audience. It also helps Google recognize your firm as more of an expert, thus moving up its rankings and bringing in more organic traffic. For example, if you write a blog titled “How to Decide Between a Traditional vs. Roth IRA,” you can attract people looking for that exact question. That also means they could be looking for a firm with which to open an IRA, and you may have just become a possibility. As your SEO improves with each blog you write, soon you may find yourself accepting leads without directly pursuing them. In order to bring in that web traffic, you first must prove your expertise.
Become the Expert
If you’re a smaller firm or a one-person show, the thought of adding blogging to your routine might overwhelm you. After all, it’s yet another service you feel like you need to provide your clients. And if you have more employees, you can delegate blogging duties. If you’re struggling with topics, offer your opinion on the latest industry trends or news. For a more personal blog topic, make sure your blog ties into your business or finance. If you write about your vacation, subtly hint at how re-energized you feel, and how this has renewed your love for/vision for your work as an advisor. Even if you take a more personal blog approach, it still lives on your professional firm’s website and should always reflect that. Write content that attracts clients or potential clients and positions you as an expert on a topic. Then make the point your firm is available to help them with the topic. If you have a niche client type, don’t be afraid to tailor your blog to fit that client. For example, if you work with a lot of business executives, you may want to blog about executive benefit programs, tax efficiency, and other high-net-worth financial situations.
Create a Strategy
If you have the time and manpower, create a content strategy and calendar. While this might take time and effort up front, this will help your blogging in the long run. You shouldn’t post a blog just to post a blog. Your blog should establish expertise and accurately reflect your firm and brand. Setting guidelines like how often you will post and what topics you will cover beforehand is key to establishing a consistent communication line with clients. They will come to expect blogs and they should never be left guessing or looking at old information.
How Often Is Too Often?
There’s no hard rule for how often is too often to post. Or not often enough for that matter. At the beginning, aim for posting one to two blogs a month. You don’t want blogging to take away your time and effort from your clients, this should enhance your client experience, not hinder it. As you write more blogs and develop a bank of old blogs, you can always reshare content if it’s still relevant. This will beef up your content calendar and allow you to post more often. If you’re not comfortable writing or aren’t sure of your abilities, ghostwriting is an option for you to still blog. You can delegate the initial drafts to a junior employee who writes in your voice and under your byline. Generation-wise, millennials (think ages 20-30) grew up with the internet and are often comfortable writing on this platform. Again, the more employees you have, the more you can delegate. And more employees means more specialization, allowing for more “experts” in your firm. Not everyone will be comfortable writing, so find those in your firm who are willing to ghostwrite.
SEO, Ya Know?
If you question a blog’s ROI, look no further than Google. SEO tactics like including certain keywords, writing meta descriptions and linking internally to other blogs all help your website rank higher in Google. This will help potential clients find your business online. You can’t really go wrong by blogging. And if you do it right, you can significantly improve your business and your client experience. People want someone they trust in their financial advisor and one modern avenue to help improve trust is through communication.