For financial advisors competing in a digitally wired world, thought leadership is essential for those who want to stand far above others in a crowded field. Financial advisors who are thought leaders are viewed as authorities in their field and recognized experts– traits that have become table stakes for advisors hoping to attract the attention of high-net-worth clients. An increasing number of financial advisors are finding that blogging is an affordable way to establish themselves as a high-profile authority and a credible source of financial information in a highly competitive arena.
Developing thought leadership requires creating content that goes a step beyond what every other advisor is publishing. Thought leaders write content that challenges conventional wisdom and provides different ways of approaching a concept or a problem. Thought leadership content is highly coveted by high-net-worth clients who yearn for new insights and a unique perspective.
You need a blog.
In today’s digitally wired world, if you want your content to reach your target audience, it needs to go out on the web. The American public now looks to the web as their primary source of information. When they want advice or solutions, they turn to blogs. Blogs have become a magnet for people looking for remedies for all life’s ailments, including their finances and investments.
A blog is a less formal communication tool that allows you to peel the layers of your persona as you speak directly to your target market. People still like to do business with real people, and prospective clients, especially, want to get to know the person who will be advising them. An influential blog with regular posts that reflect your thoughts and insights can do much more to create a bond with the reader than a static website by itself.
Spread your influence!
Blogs are social engagement mechanisms that make it exceedingly easy for people to share your posts with others. For example, when a client reads your post and then wants to share it with some friends, it’s only a matter of a couple of mouse clicks to have a link to your blog posted on his or her Facebook page. You can equip your blog with an automatic social media publisher that instantly sends your post link to all your social media sites. Once you publish your blog post, it will start the sharing process among your networks. You’ll see additional traffic to your blog as a result.
Aren’t blogs a compliance nightmare?
Generally, financial advisors have been slow to adapt to the blogosphere due mainly to industry regulations and compliance issues. This is rapidly changing as more compliance departments establish guidelines for blogging and introducing mechanisms for getting them approved more quickly. The good news is that a blog is one of the easiest forms of online content to manage for compliance purposes. Nevertheless, please do check with your compliance department before embarking on a blogging adventure for your financial advisor practice.
Ten tips to creating an influential blog
This is in no way an exhaustive list of tips to successfully run your professional blog. These ten tips however are a good start for you to dip your toes in the water and give it a try.
#1. Host your blog on your domain.
Some prefer to set up their blog as a sub-domain (e.g. blog.yourdomain.com) with an internal link to their main website, thinking that it makes it easier for search engines to find, and that it gets indexed separately and thus improves search results.
Others prefer to set up the blog as part of their main website (e.g. yourdomain.com/blog) in attempt to boost the rankings and increase the traffic to their main website.
Both set-ups are treated the same way by search engines, but if you’re using your blog to boost traffic to your financial advisor practice website, then the latter is probably the better way to do it. Consult with a marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) expert if you need a detailed analysis of your situation to make this decision.
#2. Use visual aids.
Use images, graphs, and charts to help convey your message and improve readability of your blog content.
#3. Encourage engagement with your readers.
Encourage comments on your blog posts and sharing across other channels like social media, email, forums, etc. The more external links you can create to your site through user interactions and recommendations, the higher it will rank in the search engines.
#4. Work on your onsite search engine optimization (SEO)
Optimize your blog title and content. Using some basic SEO techniques will significantly improve your blog’s visibility.
#5. Make sure your message is targeted.
Know your audience and write for them. If you are writing about what they want to know, they will find you.
#6. Promote your site wherever and whenever you can.
Make sure your URL is attached to your business card, your email signature, and all of your social media sites. Tell your friends and family about it. Mention your website and blog to prospects and clients in one of your phone calls or meetings – invite them to visit it.
#7. Update your blog frequently.
The more often you publish new blog posts, the more often the search engines will find and rank you. But don’t update your blog only for the sake of posting frequently. The quality of the content you publish is equally if not more important than its frequency. It’s recommended that you publish a new blog post at least once or twice a month.
#8. Integrate your blog efforts with your social media strategy.
The least you can do is share your new blog posts on your social media profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
#9. Become a guest blogger on high-traffic blogs.
If you can find an opportunity to post a guest post on another well-visited blog with a link back to your own blog, it can help you reach new audiences and raise both your notoriety and blog traffic.
#10. Engage outside your blog and be your own blog ambassador.
Follow popular blogs or forums. When someone seeks advice on an issue you are an expert in, post meaningful comments with helpful information (and links to your blog posts) to help that person. This can increase your visibility, and you will be creating more backlinks to your own site.
Is blogging right for you?
Truth be told, blogging is not for everyone. To do it right requires a commitment of time and discipline. Unless you are able to update your blog at least once or twice a month, it may not have the kind of impact that would make it worth your while. Although much of the work in setting up and maintaining a blog can be outsourced or delegated to a staff person, it is another important facet of your brand that needs to be managed.
If, however, you do like the idea of becoming a thought leader by differentiating yourself from the rest, and you have a few hours a month to devote to writing, blogging can be the most effective marketing activity you can perform. If it is important for you to increase your visibility in the industry and elevate your stature and credibility among your target market, then you should not overlook blogging as a way to grow your web presence.