There’s a buzz around content marketing – and blogging, in particular – these days. It seems as though everyone knows how important it is, and there’s a kind of desperation that business owners feel to launch a successful blog, grow a following, and become some kind of internet-influencer-superhero. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the drive to do that (she thinks unironically as she posts this to her blog). But what’s the point of a business blog, anyways? What is the true motivating factor that should push you forward to continually publish?
Start a Conversation
I like to say that if a tweet is waving at someone crossing the street, a blog post is stopping to have a conversation. Your blog is your space where prospects and clients get to come and talk to you. All work is interactive, and once you publish a blog post – it’s out there for people to respond to in any way they want! This can be daunting, especially because personal finance tends to be a polarizing topic. Nobody wants to be told they’re handling their money the wrong way.
But the beauty of a blog post is that you get to steer where the conversation goes. Take your time and decide ahead of time what kind of reaction you want to elicit in your readers. If you want to evoke emotion, that’s fine. If you want to be encouraging, go for it! You’re calling the shots.
Educate Your Audience
This is one of my favorite ways that financial planners can use their blog. Writing content that’s educational is an excellent way to showcase your expertise, engage your audience, and do what you do best – add value. Many advisors I speak with shy away from overly educational content because they don’t want to give away free advice. Let’s clear something up: what you do is amazing. You are a financial planning rockstar, and no client will ever be able to do what you do by just reading a blog post.
Having educational blog posts shows your readers that you care. These pieces of content prove in a tangible way that you know your stuff, and that you want to pass on that knowledge to your readers as best you can in a 500-1000 word blog post. They know that these don’t materialize out of thin air. You’ve put time and effort into each piece you publish, and that will resonate in a positive way with your following.
So, pick topics you think are important. Whether it’s because you think they’re timely, or because you think they convey basic financial planning information everyone should have in their toolbox, those are the kinds of topics people will want to read.
How many of you have fielded financial planning or investment management questions at your kid’s soccer game? Raise your hand if you hear the same question over and over again from clients – and it’s killing you that they didn’t know that ahead of time. Start viewing your blog as a platform for you to grab the microphone and answer these questions to anyone who will listen.
Write posts that answer a round-up of questions. Write posts that slow down and answer one question a client had in depth. Give the answers you wish you could give if you had a half hour at your kid’s soccer game to educate your fellow soccer parents on the art of risk assessment, or on whether to prioritize debt repayment or savings. People will appreciate that you already know what questions they have for you, and they’ll love that you’ve taken the time to bring valuable answers to the table.
Find Your Why
You might already have a niche. If so – fantastic! I am a strong believer that niche content performs best. But do you have a “why” that’s fueling your blog? Your content may be educational, and you may be answering questions. These are two key elements that will keep readers coming back for more. But the most important thing that gives a “point” to your blog is your why.
It’s not always fun to dig deeper and get introspective – especially when you’re trying to churn out a top-notch post with enough time to make it to your next client meeting. However, knowing why you do what you do is so important – both in your career and in your blog. Your “why” is probably different from the “why” that motivates your colleagues. It’s unique to you and incredibly specific. So, ask yourself: Why am I writing this? Why do I want my clients and prospects to have access to financial planning? Why do I do what I do?
Write it down on a sticky note and keep it nearby when you embark on your blogging journey. Return back to your “why” when you’re struggling through the last paragraph of your post. Staying genuine will always be the most important piece of your blogging puzzle, and letting your blog flow from your “why” will let your true, awesome self shine through with every word.
What’s The Point?
Blogging has a lot of benefits. It helps with your site’s SEO, frames you as an expert, gives you space to educate, and gives you content to use when marketing and growing a pipeline of prospects. Those things are all important. But the truth is that you get to decide what the point of blogging is for your business. Stay focused on your why, and let excellent content fall into place.