Create a content machine with this easy 3-step template:
To continually generate a stream of warm leads, you need to consistently create content aimed at your target audience. Compelling targeted content is critical to boosting your placement in Google search results, which will keep your financial advisory practice top of mind with the prospects you want to cultivate.
The major barrier that advisors run into when it comes to creating content – especially written content – is time and organization. If you’re like most advisors, you’re plenty busy running your business and don’t have much extra time to create the content you need to feed Google’s hungry algorithm. If you do end up with a bit of time, it’s hard to know where to start.
In previous articles in this series, I’ve outlined a solution to the problem of a organization, which can help you solve the problem of time. When you’re organized to take advantage of pockets of time in your schedule, it’s easier to create the content you need.
The first article in this series showed you how to brainstorm ideas related to your target audience, which should always be an area of your practice that you want to grow, which was the focus of the second article.
Once you know your audience and have ideas, you can then build out your ideas into related topics that you can link back to, much like the series I’m writing for you currently. Google is happy when you do this. Finally, you learned how to use your ideas to create a content calendar.
Now that the organizational stage is set, you’ll master the art of using a template to write blogs and articles, which will speed the writing process. When you work with an article/blog template, you know exactly how to set up and organize your article, which will make it much easier for you to regularly churn out the content you need to tame Google.
Step 1: Write the Introduction
An introduction to a blog or article should always begin with a hook. What is a hook? It’s a way to hook your readers into your article or blog post. Some ideas for generating a hook include:
- Narrate a personal experience
- Deliver a paradoxical statement
- Introduce a conflict
- Offer a relevant anecdote
- Draw a compelling description
- Share a shocking statistic
- Startle with a relevant insight
- Appeal to common experience
- Start at a pivotal moment
- Ask a question
Here are two examples of how you might use a hook to start an article about retirement income planning:
Example #1: Share a shocking statistic: “Affluent men and women will live 12 to 15 years longer than their poorer counterparts, potentially stretching life expectancy into the early and mid-90s for those retiring today.”
Example #2: Narrate a personal experience: “My step-father had a plan after taking a buy-out from his state job. He would consult for the next decade to bring in enough income to bridge the gap before beginning required minimum distributions at age 72. However, he fell victim to a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body at age 66, disrupting his well-laid out plans. During his subsequent rehab, it became evident that it would be impossible for him to continue consulting, meaning his retirement income plan had to be completely revamped.”
Once you’ve got your hook, fill out the rest of your introductory paragraph, which should be five to six paragraphs long, by stating your thesis, previewing the chapter and transitioning to the first section of the article.
If you’ve followed my methods in this series of articles, you already know your thesis, which is the headline you created when you refined your ideas and grouped them together. Previewing the chapter involves taking two to three paragraphs to sum up the major points you plan to make in the article so that readers know what to expect. Finally, you transition to the first section.
Step 2: Write the body of the article or blog
Each article or blog should have between three and five major points, which you will introduce in the introduction through the preview paragraphs. In each section, you use three or four supporting points to support your main point.
The best way to support your subtopics is through clear step-by-step explanations, stories, examples, analogies, credible evidence and personal experience. You don’t have to go overboard, but it’s critical to be as clear as possible since your readers don’t have the experience of these complex topics that you do.
If you’re fleshing out a point about how expensive colleges is for an article on saving for college, you could grab the latest statistics and research from The College Board about college costs and inflation, support that with a story from a client with the names changed and then wrap up with an example about what that means for the parents of a young child today.
Your examples should be very concrete. In this case, you could use the College Board College Cost calculator to produce some numbers about how much in tuition, room and board the parents of a two-year old today will pay in 16 or 17 years when that child is ready to go to college.
When you’re finished with one section, the last paragraph of that section should transition to the next section. For an article about paying for college that transitions from how expensive college will be in the future to how to pay for it, your transition might look like this:
“While considering how expensive it will be to put your now two-year old through college might make you want to give up on saving, fortunately there are many options for saving for college that won’t break your budget. Read on to learn how Section 529 accounts, life insurance, Uniform Gift to Minors accounts and Roth IRAs offer strategic ways to save.”
Step 3: Wrapping up with a conclusion
There is no one-size-fits-all conclusion. Effective conclusion techniques include:
- Commenting on the larger implications of your topic
- Offering an explanation of the overall importance of your topic to your readers
- Forecasting negative outcomes if a particular course of action isn’t followed
- Providing a brief anecdote or story that sums up the article’s purpose
- Circling back to a point you made in the introduction and drawing that to a satisfying conclusion
Your conclusion is an important opportunity to convince your reader that you are the expert they’ve been seeking to help them with their financial, investment and retirement challenges. This doesn’t mean a hard sell – it could mean inviting them to follow you on social media or read some of your other content or download a give-away like a white paper or ebook. This is your call to action.
A final word
In the next, and final, article in this series, I’ll cover how to enhance your content with pictures, graphics or illustrations.