This was originally published for Twenty Over Ten.
It’s not a secret that, in the world of modern marketing, quality content is the difference between converting clients and – well – not. Unfortunately, blogging is tough for a lot of people!
Many advisors struggle to know what, exactly, they should be writing about in the first place. Some don’t have a blog at all because they’d rather file a mountain of client paperwork then have to painstakingly write something interesting semi-regularly and publish it out for the world to see. Even if they’re willing to set aside the anxiety writing causes them, advisors still worry that their blog will get lost in a sea of other financial articles – how in the world can they stand out? Is it even worth the effort?
The short answer is – yes! In fact, one of the biggest marketing mistakes an advisor can make is not having a blog (or some form of content) available for prospects and clients to explore.
Blog writing doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Having a list of creative topics to get the ball rolling is an excellent place to start. Here’s how I recommend financial advisors start the topic-brainstorming process, and how they can write something meaningful without getting drowned out by the blogosphere-noise.
Break Topics Down By Category
Start brainstorming blog topics by brainstorming categories. A few popular ones I like to see people start with are:
- Estate Planning
- Finance Basics (like budgeting, etc.)
- Student Loans
Focus on topics that you’re interested in. The more passionate you are about what you write about, the more your personality will shine through in each blog post! The point of your blog is to be educational, but also to introduce people to you.
Know Your Niche
Once you have a list of categories you’re excited about, it’s time to expand on them by thinking of topics that appeal to your ideal client. I’m a big believer in niche marketing. Whether that means you’re targeting a specific industry or clients who match a unique psychographic. Here are a few niche ideas I like. You’ll notice that not all of them fall into a traditional “niche” category:
- Newly attending physicians
- Attorneys in a specific region or city
- Tech professionals
- Families focused on education planning
- Young professionals wanting to launch their own business in the next few years
- Pre-retirees who want to create financial plans that support their love of travel and charitable giving
Your niche doesn’t have to be a “typical” group of people – and it can be as specific as you want it to be! In fact, the more specific you can get about your ideal client, the easier it is to create blog topics they’ll love because you know exactly who you’re writing to.
Once you have your niche honed, you can break your blog topic categories out into more specific sub-categories. Let’s say you’re interested in working with tech professionals. Your sub-categories might be:
- Retirement → Planning for an encore career or business launch in lieu of retirement
- Estate planning → What you need to know about intellectual property and estate planning
- Finance Basics → Budgeting with fluctuating income before, during, and after an IPO
- Taxes → Mitigating the impact of capital gains taxes
- Debt → Avoiding debt when launching a startup
Suddenly your topics have become infinitely more specific and interesting – all because they’re being written with a specific client in mind.
Stay Evergreen When You Can
Let’s face it – advisors are busy! You want to create content that has a long shelf life to save you time, and so that you can recycle or repurpose it in the future. This is why I love evergreen content – or content that’s going to stay consistently relevant over the next several months or years. Some topics in the world of financial planning are notoriously “timely” – which can be tough because it means they’ll need to be updated at least every year (if not more often). These topics are:
- Market updates or opinion pieces
- Tax-focused pieces
- Anything about a specific company’s pension plan, recent layoff, etc.
- News-related pieces (or blog posts about timely events)
While there are times where non-evergreen pieces can’t be avoided, try to steer clear of these topics when you’re brainstorming your editorial calendar.
Stay True to You
As you continue to brainstorm blog topics, I believe that one rule should always be followed if everything else fails: stay true to yourself.
If you’ve noticed that a lot of your colleagues are writing about pension plans, but that idea bores you to tears – skip it. Don’t write about a topic just because you think it’s relevant, or you feel like “everyone else is covering it.” In the same vein, don’t write about an opinion, or a “hot take” that doesn’t align with your values or how you would talk about financial planning with your clients.
You want your content to be a reflection of you. Blog posts are a way for prospects and clients to get to know you better on a one-to-many scale. So, let your personality and opinions shine through! Don’t be afraid to voice what you think, even if it’s unpopular. Share of yourself to start building a foundation of trust – and to ultimately gain more clients through your content marketing. Blog post writing can feel intimidating when you’re first getting started. But when you focus on being yourself and breaking down topics into niche-specific categories – you can’t go wrong!
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