How to write stuff worth reading
and do something worth writing about
In this second in a series of Insights on writing (for financial advisers and product providers), I’ll explore how you can achieve both of Franklin’s goals by writing just one series of articles.
Also, for anyone happy to forego the ‘fame’ opportunity, I’ll look at the minimum goals you’ll want to set for your client-facing content: your blogs, guides and video explainers.
What was in the first Insight?
In the first Insight, you’ll find seven questions to help you assess your blog today – and a challenge about whether you need a blog at all.
Writing requires an investment of time and/or money, without which, you’ll be left with poor quality or out of date content on your site and that can do your business more harm than having no blog at all.
I also showed how evergreen content boosts the value of your blog to your readers… and minimises your ongoing costs for maintaining that content.
What’s the minimum your blog should do?
If you’re allocating time and money to create more valuable content for your website, you want to be clear about the potential value of that investment.
In direct, revenue-generating, terms, getting your content right could benefit your business in three ways:
First by reinforcing your existing client relationships.
Good content reminds your clients of your expertise and commitment to their wellbeing. Which should lead your existing clients to either request incremental advice or refer their family and friends to you for new work.
Second by attracting new clients to your business.
Valuable ideas make the value of your services clear to any reader – not just those who your existing clients or connections refer to you.
Third, by attracting new (and existing) clients to new services you offer.
Clear and engaging communications are the best way to kick start sales of any new services you offer to your target audience.
Your business could, of course, benefit in all three ways I’ve listed – provided that you develop a powerful mix of messages in the right formats, and those messages reach your target audiences.
How do you measure the value of blogs and guides?
Well, as a minimum I’d suggest you ask all clients, who approach you for help, what prompted them to do so.
You’ll want to record:
- The reason they reached out to you.
- The name, where applicable, of your article or guide – or even Tweet* – that prompted them to do so and
- The potential (and later, the actual) value of advice/business you transact from that enquiry.
* Yes, I have landed valuable educational / coaching business simply because people recognised the intellectual value behind a Tweeted comment or image.
Reviewing these records every quarter, or half-year, will tell you if your new valuable content – is actually adding value to your business.😊
For more immediate data on your results vs your marketing goals, you should get some help from a ‘digitally smart’ marketer. If neither you or anyone you employ knows how to set up Google Analytics and Social Media Marketing, talk to a solid digital marketing person like Phil Bray or Martin Bamford, they are both ‘well clued-up’ on those fronts.
Google and other analytics can require a bit of specialist knowledge to get set up, but the results dashboards are relatively easy to navigate after that.
That techy stuff is not what I do, by the way. I focus on writing the words: for blogs, guides and video scripts (and for Tweets or Facebook Ads too – if you need those) I just don’t set up systems.
Now what about Franklin’s twin goals
Well, if you want to write AND be written about (for the helpfulness of your writing) I may have the perfect idea for you.
The only condition is that you must want to expand your brand. You must want to introduce yourself to (and help) a much wider group of people than your current list of introducers and clients.
If you do, then consistently great articles (shared via social media) are a perfect way to build yourself a great reputation.
You can even share your best articles with your local newspapers… if they don’t approach you first!
The trick is to focus your messages on the benefits (to your audience) of whatever service you provide.
It doesn’t matter whether your articles offer guidance on holistic financial planning, or you delve into the details of personal budgeting, basic savings vehicles, pensions, investment, protection, mortgages, or tax.
We both know there are hundreds of ideas with enormous benefits to talk about – under all of those headings.
You just have to focus your writing on ‘what’s in it for them?’: your clients or prospective clients… and avoid talking about what your business is up to, who you’ve just recruited or the awards you might have won.
Sorry if that sounds obvious but if you scan the websites of some financial service providers, you’ll see a lot of self-congratulatory updates being posted.
Please don’t make the same mistake. This is not what your potential customers are searching for.
If an article doesn’t contain useful content, it won’t be read for long and what’s more, you’ll put the reader off coming back to your site again.
Yes, awards and your business are important, but that stuff goes on your ‘About Page’, not in your blog.
The thing is, as a professional, you know people face all kinds of financial challenges in their lives and they actually want to know how you can help them solve those problems.
So, go ahead and explain how you can do that; or, how they can do some of that for themselves.
There are millions of ‘middle Britons’ out there who need the solid financial planning ideas that you have in your head.
Yes, I know most might not (yet) be able to afford your services, but you can still help many – and that’s a great story about your good work for your local paper – or even a national one.
After all, if you add truly valuable educational content to your site, you’re differentiating your business as one committed to making a serious contribution to the world.
See items 3 and 4 in this list. The fundamental lessons around money can help anyone – the world over.
Do you need to add this content anyway?
Middle Britons, those with modest levels of wealth, have always posed a challenge to good financial planners. And despite, or in some areas, because of various regulatory changes, the problem is getting worse.
In 2014 about half of all Financial Advisers said they would be happy to take on clients with less than £100,000 to invest.
5 years later, in 2019, that number had fallen by two thirds – to just one in six advisers. This Canada Life report contains the evidence.
In short, the availability of good quality, face to face, financial advice, for ordinary people with good levels of savings is collapsing here in the UK.
So, a key question is: what do you do with enquiries for advice from middle Britons today?
Perhaps you point them towards:
- The Money Advice Service for guides, tools and calculators or
- The Pensions Advisory Service for guidance on pensions.
Which is fine, up to a point, but I suspect that most people who seek out advice and are turned away by advisers, because they can’t afford the fees, don’t return (or refer their wealthier family members or friends to that adviser) in the future.
It makes sense, therefore, to engage your website visitors with enough valuable (educational) content that they’d welcome further contact… if only by newsletter updates.
The truth is, you never know when they, or one of their friends, will have a genuine need for your services – and be in a good position to pay for it.
How much valuable content is enough?
Well, that’s up to you.
You could offer your own, bespoke core set of financial lessons to help people understand what really matters when planning your money, for the short and long terms.
Or, you could just focus on lessons covering shorter-term issues and refer those who want advice on longer-term investing to you, or your advisers.
Solid education like that could certainly engage your visitors – and minimise the numbers who drift away, never to return.
This sort of material also gives you some, albeit generic, guidance to those, less wealthy, friends and family connections of your prime clients.
This content shift is already happening
Progressive financial advice firms ‘get this’ and are increasingly offering financial education content that aims to help ‘middle Britons’.
Some financial planning firms even offer personal financial coaching alongside.
High quality, financial educational content is becoming a ‘must offer’ element for any financial services business.
The best are growing their businesses fast too, in large part because of the financial education they offer.
They’re developing deep relationships by showing that they can help people solve their financial planning challenges.
Want more educational offerings in your business?
If you want more, bespoke, educational materials, (articles, guides, videos) for your business, let’s talk.
This is what I do.
I can help you develop unique ideas, and write/restructure/edit the content, to give you a suite of high impact, engaging (and factually correct) materials.
Articles, guides or videos that genuinely help people understand the key issues around money – and equip them to make better decisions about it.
And, yes, that does include strong messages for taking good quality financial advice around pensions, investments and tax planning.
If you’d like to explore creating such materials – largely fundamental and evergreen lessons to minimise your ongoing costs – just contact me here, or via LinkedIn where you’ll find testimonials for my writing and other marketing/sales work.
In the next two Insights (in this series) we’ll look at:
- Insights into: writing style, format, article length, frequency and titles to help you cut through the noise of the competition.
- What you’ll need from (and how much to pay for) a copywriter – if you decide to get help with all of this.
Thanks for dropping in
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