Category Archives for "Prospects"

Creating a Cohesive Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing to promote your financial services business or if you are looking for help to take your marketing efforts to the next level, The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing covered everything you need to know from start to finish.

By now you know content marketing is a powerful way to connect with potential clients for your financial advisory firm. Creating and sharing useful content raises awareness about your business and educates prospects about financial topics and smart money management practices. Because you’re a financial professional who helps your clients implement ways to make their money work for them, content marketing showcases your expertise. It lets prospects know you understand their financial concerns and challenges. At the same time, it also sets you apart as relatable and approachable, before you even meet the people who are considering hiring you. And finally, content marketing is the key to getting discovered online because it boosts your search-engine optimization (SEO), driving organic traffic to your website.

How to Create a Financial Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing doesn’t work without a strategy. Map out a plan for creating, publishing, managing, and monitoring the content itself. Plus, you’ll need to prioritize growing your audience and distributing your content to put it to work for you.

Be clear about your intended audience, ideal client, and what they would want or need from you to catch their attention and gain their trust.

Overall, your goal isn’t to impress your colleagues and competitors, but to turn strangers into readers, interested prospects, and ultimately referral partners or clients.

Having a content marketing strategy in place will make you more confident about your expertise and what you are doing to establish your authority and promote your financial services online.

Tying the Content Marketing Pieces Together

Now that you know exactly what content marketing entails, you have everything you need to get started. To access in-depth information on each element of an effective financial content marketing plan, you can reference the appropriate section of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing:

Your content marketing strategy should always start with your ideal client in mind. Begin by describing members of your target audience – who they are, what their concerns are, and what they want or need from you.

Equally important is to consider the purpose your content will fill. Are you looking to raise awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, nurture relationships, or all of the above? Ask yourself these questions throughout your strategic content planning.

Next, think about who your competitors are. This would include other financial professionals as well as anyone who teaches your potential clients that they can DIY their retirement planning. How can you fill gaps in the existing content that is vying for their attention and turn their eyes your way?

Then, consider what you specifically bring to the table. Are you especially equipped to help a certain segment of your target market? Has your background prepared you to help Gen-Xers who are juggling toddlers and aging parents? You don’t have to work exclusively with this type of client, but you might be able to create content that draws them in organically.

Think about what your existing clients are talking about already. What are the common questions you answer in your daily conversations? What challenges do you hear people discussing that you can address?

Work through your existing content and determine how it can be used in your ongoing content strategy. Do you have slides from workshops you’ve presented? Were you interviewed for a podcast? Have you written blog posts? Now go back and figure out how this content can be used in the future and how you can build upon it.

Once you have a good idea of what the content will be, who it will serve, and what you want it to accomplish, it’s time to begin planning out the logistics. You’ll need to determine who will produce and manage your content. And you’ll need to create a schedule for how often you will publish your content and on what platforms you will distribute it.

Finally, put some metrics in place for measuring results and a process for auditing and adapting your content marketing efforts as you go.

You don’t need to have everything figured out and set up perfectly before you begin, but recognize everything a successful content marketing plan requires. This way, you can get started right away and improve your efforts along the way.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

1 How Advisors Can Submit Custom Content to Gain New Readers

Now that I’ve covered how powerful content marketing can be when you share articles with your own audience via your website, social media, and email list, I want to discuss the mechanics and benefits of submitting custom content to relevant publications.

In part nine, How to Share Financial Content With Your Readers, of The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors, I went into detail about the logistics of effectively sharing your content with readers using the channels you control.

Now it is time to talk about how to submit custom content to publications to expand your reach and gain more readers.

When developing and executing a financial content marketing plan, submitting custom content to publications is an important opportunity that should not be left unexplored. To reach people who have never heard of you or your website, who aren’t connected with you on social media, and are not subscribed to your email list, you can work to get your name and content into publications your target audience is already reading.

Appearing in respected online media and publications will open doors to connect with potential clients and offer worthwhile networking opportunities. It will help build your authority and credibility as a go-to expert in your field and raise awareness about your firm.

Publishing on relevant high-authority sites will also give you the opportunity to link back to your company’s website, boosting your SEO and potentially generating valuable leads.

So now that you are thinking about getting published, what are your next steps?

Many financial advisors may not even know where to begin. The simplest answer is to consider what sources you use to get your information. Think about various online publications like LinkedIn Publisher, Investopedia Advisor Insights, and local outlets.

You will need to research and locate each outlet’s submission guidelines and follow them when sending your content. You’ll also need to try to find the name of the person responsible for receiving outside submissions. Locate their individual contact information if possible, or their title if a specific name isn’t available, and direct your submission there. Create a database of who and how to send your submissions and keep it for ongoing use.

Possible Media Outlets for Financial Content

When coming up with a list of publications to submit your content to, don’t be afraid to go big. Think outside the box and consider who your target market really is. You should be considering publications that the types of clients you want to do business with are subscribing to and already reading.

Submit a guest blog post to top business or lifestyle sites, such as:

  • Business Insider
  • Forbes
  • Huffington Post
  • Inc
  • Money.com
  • AARP
  • DailyWorth

Submit content to local media, such as:

  • Local news outlets
  • Local business journal
  • Professional associations
  • Trade magazines
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Business and social clubs
  • Hyperlocal publications targeted to affluent neighborhoods in your area

Keep in mind, submitting content is free and it also carries more weight than buying advertising in the same publications. While people often skip over ads, they are reading the publication for its content and already consider it a trusted resource. Publishing there will automatically elevate your reputation by brand association.

How to Pitch Financial Content Ideas

You don’t need a publicist or PR agency to get started with getting your content into publications. Before you reach out to media outlets, get clear on what you want to be known for first.

Then, brainstorm specific financial content that you can best cover and identify the subjects you’re most passionate about discussing. Next, consider whether or not there is widespread interest in the topic and think about the special perspective, insights, or angle you can offer. If a topic comes up in the news that’s relevant, consider how you can put your spin on it or what value you can add.

Get creative, keep an open mind, and work to build relationships with editors by becoming a helpful resource for them. Engaging with editors ahead of time on Twitter or LinkedIn can help you stand out when you show up in their inbox with an idea.

Here are some good points of contact when you’re looking to submit content for publication:

  • Local or regional financial publications: editor
  • Daily community newspaper: contact the city editor or the editor in charge of the section, which is likely the business editor
  • Weekly newspaper: editor
  • Magazine: editor or managing editor

There are several options when it comes to submitting content. I will try to cover the most important points of the two most popular options – online and email.

Submitting Content Online

Sometimes you have the ability to upload the article directly to a website over a secure submission platform. If this is an option, use it! Submitting your content directly to a platform simplifies the process and it is already set up to reach the right people.

Some online publishing platforms require registration along with a username and password every time you publish. I recommend using the same username and password with each publication. This makes things a little easier. I would also create a template in Word or Google Docs so when you’re ready to publish everything will be in one place.

One word of caution: avoid bulk article submission sites. While these sites were once a trusted method of getting your content distributed online, they were overused and now your content may be marked as “spam” by the search engines if it’s found there.

Submitting Content via Email

If the outlet doesn’t specify a method or gives you options, I suggest emailing your content. You need to address it to the appropriate editor or department to save the editorial staff valuable time and to make sure it doesn’t get discarded while trying to reach the right person. Again, I would also create a template in Word or Google Docs so when you’re ready to publish everything will be in one place.

There are a few guidelines when writing and sending your email.

  • Subject Line
    The subject line should read: “Article Submission: Post Title” This will grab the editor’s attention but also make it clear what the email is.
  • Body
    The body of an emailed article submission should have the content pasted into the email and/or you can also link to your article in a service like Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. If you attached the file, they may delete it because it takes too much time to download and could contain a virus. You can use much of the same email text for each submission, but be sure to send each one separately and personalize it enough to let the editor know you’ve taken the time to understand their publication. Do not mass mail one email to several outlets!
  • Media Files
    Again, do not attach files. Instead, send your contact person a link to your media through a service.
  • Timing
    Submit the article in the morning on a Monday or Tuesday. Choose an atypical time to keep from getting lost at the top of the hour, such as 9:17 a.m.

Resources

  • HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – This tool will help you connect with journalists who are actively looking for financial experts to quote, interview, and even author articles. You can sign up to be notified of relevant source requests throughout the day.
  • LinkedIn – This tool will help you identify and connect with journalists and editors of specific publications and online media outlets.
  • The Business Journals – This resource lists the top business journal publications in major metropolitan areas around the country. Here, you can get ideas for content that is directed at your target audience and find information to connect with business journalists and editors.

Conclusion

Submitting content to online publications will provide ongoing opportunities to expand your reach to new audiences and potential clients. Don’t discount small local publications or niche publications if they are what your target audience is reading. But don’t count out more popular media outlets because your content can create opportunities to reach a wider audience. Always aim to be a resource for editors by respecting their guidelines and time and you will set yourself apart from the competition.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

How to Share Financial Content with Your Readers

You know how to write great content of all types, but what do you do with it? In the not-so-distant past, financial professionals needed to rely on printed materials, such as brochures and booklets sent through the U.S. mail, to get information in the hands of potential clients. Now you can deliver your best tips, advice, and insights with a few simple clicks.

In part eight, Why Your Financial Advisor Content Strategy Needs a Schedule & How to Create One, of The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors, I went into detail about how to optimize your content for search engines so people can find your website organically online.

Now it is time to learn about the importance and logistics of sharing your content with your readers in the most effective ways.

To promote your financial services using content marketing, start by harnessing the power of your own website, social media, and email marketing tools.

Financial Advisor Website Content

First, publish content on your own website. Every article you write and create should be posted on your blog.

Your website is the hub for all your online marketing. Think of it as a destination where readers can find the best content for topics relevant to financial planning. The trick is to create a value-packed resource that becomes magnetic, pulling potential clients to your company whenever they need help from a financial professional.

Posting content on your website builds your authority, boosts your site’s ranking in the search engines, generates traffic, and drives leads. You have control of the content on your website, so it can become a powerful marketing tool for you, especially as you gather data and insight about your readers.

Google Analytics will tell you which blog post topics are most popular and how people are using your site, which provides guidance on what your potential clients want from you and how to improve your content marketing.

How Often to Update Website Content

Post new content on your website once a month at the very least, but ideally once a week. As a small financial services firm, posting new content on your website more than once per week is probably overkill. You’re better off maintaining a consistent schedule than burning out with an overly aggressive publishing schedule.

Although posting original content up to once per week may be difficult, you can always repurpose existing content or utilize outside resources. Hire a marketing firm or ghostwriter to create high-quality content for you if you prefer not to spend your time writing. 

Time Saving Tip

You can always batch content and schedule it ahead of time. If you think writing and posting a weekly blog post will bog you down, set aside one day per month to write a series of posts. Then load them to WordPress or your content management system as drafts and set them to publish automatically on a particular date and time.

Financial Advisor Social Media Content

Every time you publish an article, it should be shared with your social media accounts. You worked hard to pull this information together, so let the content work for you to gain visibility and grow your credibility and audience online. Once content has been posted to your website, you can easily share links to it on your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

Social media is a great place for financial advisers to draw attention and generate buzz. When your friends, followers, connections, and clients engage with your content by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it, even more people will see it. The more people engage with your content on social media, the more the various social network algorithms will serve the content up to a wider audience.

Even though your posts probably won’t go viral, you can still take advantage of the viral nature of social media as clicks, shares, and likes gain you more exposure.

Something you might not realize is you can share the same content on your social media many times without overwhelming or annoying followers. Most people are not paying close enough attention to notice when you’re sharing it more than once; the majority of your audience will miss it the first time. Plus, you probably have different followers on different networks.

If you have a new article, don’t shy away from sharing that content repeatedly throughout the week on each platform. If it is an evergreen topic (one that is always relevant), you can put it in the rotation to share in the future. You can also switch up your images, overlaying different quotes pulled from the article.

How Often to Update Social Media Content

Post to social media platforms daily. Each social network has a different rhythm. You can share on Twitter multiple times throughout the day, whereas you will annoy LinkedIn connections if you post more than once a day. Become familiar with best practices by observing and you will get into the right flow with when to share your content.

Content can be varied. You can choose to curate relevant content from industry publications and share it two-three times per week, mixed in with your own original content. You should also continuously circulate your older evergreen content along with more timely fresh content.

Time Saving Tip

You can use free or low-cost social media tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, to plan, schedule, and automate your content sharing in advance. 

Once you’ve shared new evergreen content, also add it to a social media automation tool such as Edgar to automatically recirculate it and share it repeatedly in the future. For example, if you share new wealth building tips every Wednesday, you can add your new wealth-building article to the queue and it will be automatically shared on Wednesdays several more times throughout the year.

Financial Advisor Email Marketing

The next step in delivering your content to your readers is to share it via email in a newsletter or update.  Obtain permission from each of your subscribers before emailing them, otherwise, your email could be reported as spam. Email programs like Constant Contact and MailChimp make it easy for even the least technically inclined users to create professional looking newsletters and mailings.

Share links to your blog articles in a newsletter. This is a huge value add to your audience. It gives you the avenue to get your content in their hands without having to wait for them to find it on their own through your website or social media. It also helps keep you “top of mind” when they start thinking about financial services and has the potential to establish you as their go-to expert.

As a financial advisor, you have to comply with regulatory rules.  Not only are you required to keep your message above board, but you must archive all posts in case problems or issues arise with a client. All such activity and associated content must be kept on hand for three years.

How Often to Send Email Marketing Content

I recommend sending an email newsletter with your blog content once a week, twice a month, or at least once per month. You might think sending a weekly newsletter is too much but if the information you’re sharing is truly helpful or timely, your readers will welcome it.

A quarterly mailing works well for mailed print newsletters, but that is not frequent enough for an email newsletter. When people have forgotten who you are, they’re less likely to open an email from you and more likely to mark it as spam.

Regardless of how often you publish, establish a regular email marketing schedule and stick to it.

Time Saving Tip

An email newsletter does not have to be a big production with a wide variety of content. Simply share a blog article with a short personal note introducing it. You also don’t have to share your most timely or recent content. Some firms load and schedule up to a year’s worth of email newsletters at a time.

Conclusion

Marketing is about creating and sharing content. Take advantage of the technology and free to low-cost tools available for sharing content with your readers. From turning your website into a magnetic content hub that generates traffic and leads to sharing with your social media audience to sending email newsletters, put your content to work for you.  

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

Tips for Creating a Financial Advisor Content Calendar

Consistency is one of the biggest keys to financial advisor content marketing success. Unfortunately, most financial professionals fail to maintain a regular content publishing schedule. It’s common to set out with the best intentions only to find yourself neglecting or abandoning your efforts along the way.

This is why it’s important to establish a schedule and stick to it.

In part seven, How to Optimize Your Financial Advisor Website Content, of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing I covered details about the steps you can take to boost the likelihood your content will rank higher in search engines.

Now it is time to dive into why you need a content marketing schedule and how to create one.

Why do you need a content marketing schedule?

When establishing your credibility and building trust, it’s important to show up consistently and regularly with helpful, relevant, and compelling content. The idea is for your audience to be able to rely on getting your tips and insights on a regular basis so they know where to turn when it’s time to hire a financial advisor.

However, if you blog for a few months, skip a few, send out a sporadic newsletter, and only pop up on social media occasionally, it makes you seem undependable or too busy, and there’s a good chance prospects will forget about you.

The same is true for search engines. Google favors websites that get regular updates with high-quality, fresh content. Because the job of the algorithms is to create the best user experience, search engines aim to serve up results from the most relevant and up-to-date websites—not stale sites that haven’t been touched in months.

I mention all of this to help you understand the importance of creating and sticking to a content marketing schedule. However, publishing content regularly doesn’t have to be a burden. Creating a schedule removes uncertainty about how to promote your financial services. You and your team will know what to do and when to do it, making your marketing efforts run like clockwork.

Develop a Financial Content Marketing Calendar

Start by developing an editorial calendar. Think of this as a tool for planning and executing your marketing strategy over a set period of time, such as quarterly or annually. It can include information such as what topics you will be covering, draft due dates, and publishing dates, as well as who is responsible for each task.

An editorial calendar establishes order and sets expectations among your followers. They will return and anticipate new content based on your publishing schedule.

Tips for mapping out your content schedule in advance:

  • Start with your existing content. Determine how and when it can be repurposed to share again. You can always update old blog posts or e-books, break them down into micro-content such as tweets or quote graphics you can share over time. You can also compile existing articles into longer form content such as an e-book you can launch on a set date.

     

  • Identify gaps in your content. What are some frequently asked questions or important topics you haven’t covered yet? Figure out when you want to share that subject matter and plug it into your calendar.

     

  • Consider the timeliness of topics. Think about the relevance of holidays and seasons when planning when you will release content. Seasonal content for financial advisors might include topics related to New Year’s resolutions, tax-paying tips, spring cleaning, summer vacations, back-to-school shopping, or holiday savings.

     

  • Take your schedule into account. Will you be hosting a seminar or speaking at a conference? Do you have a book coming out? Are you participating in any upcoming community events? All of this and more can be incorporated into your content schedule.

There’s always room to be flexible and you don’t have to feel boxed in by your editorial calendar. If an important topic comes up in the news that you want to cover, you can always come back to the pre-scheduled topic at a later date. Also, feel free to mix up your social media feeds with spontaneous posts about your day to add a personal touch.

For more on the timeliness of certain content, see part two of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing.

Create a Weekly Editorial Routine

Once you’ve mapped out the content you plan to share, plug it into an actual calendar or spreadsheet that you can view at a glance. Next, break down the tasks that need to be accomplished into a checklist and assign each task to a team member with a due date and time.

For example, routine tasks might include any of the following:

  1. Research a topic.
  2. Write the outline.
  3. Write the draft.
  4. Select keyword phrases.
  5. Write social sharing copy.
  6. Select a featured image.
  7. Create graphics for social media.
  8. Submit the draft for review.
  9. Review draft.
  10. Request revisions.
  11. Revise the draft.
  12. Proofread draft.
  13. Add blog post draft to the website.
  14. Complete SEO checklist.
  15. Publish post.
  16. Format and test newsletter.
  17. Submit newsletter for review.
  18. Review newsletter.
  19. Schedule newsletter.
  20. Share blog post on social media.

Although this list can seem daunting, you can batch tasks and spread the work out as needed. Knowing exactly what needs to be done and setting deadlines for each step will provide peace of mind knowing your content schedule is on track.

Perform Mindful Maintenance

Your financial advisor website content is not set in stone. It requires continuous maintenance to stay fresh and search engine friendly. This should be baked into your schedule as part of your ongoing routine.

Update Existing Content

Your existing content will continue to drive traffic to your website if you keep it updated. Find the time to touch up old articles and seed them with details that are up to date and relevant. You don’t always have to come up with new topics. You can always rewrite what you have from a different angle or perspective drawing from your existing articles.

Give Your Content a Check Up

Inspect your blog and social media postings for broken links. A broken link tarnishes the impression of your site and brand, as well as users’ perceptions of your expertise.

Monitor Your Performance
Google Analytics is a great tool to keep track of how your blog is performing and where the traffic is coming from. It can be easy for these metrics to be forgotten, so set up monthly or even weekly reports from Google Analytics to be delivered directly to your inbox.

Tools for Creating a Content Marketing Schedule

You can find a variety of tools available to organize and streamline your editorial calendar and schedule. When working with a team, you will need to use tools that allow for collaboration and tracking progress. Some favorite tools for organizing and managing content publishing schedules include:

Conclusion

Your financial advisor website content will not be successful if it is not updated regularly. By creating a content calendar and sticking to a schedule, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as a reliable and trusted source for both your ideal clients and the search engines. Setting a schedule also removes the guesswork when it comes to when and how to promote your financial services. You and your team will know exactly what to do at a glance.  

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

1 Tips to Select Featured Images for Your Financial Content

My series The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing helps financial advisors understand how content marketing all works so they can establish themselves as a financial expert by properly utilizing financial content marketing strategies.

In part five, Keyword Phrase, I went into detail about one of the essential elements in creating content…

Now it’s time to go beyond text and look closely at why you should always add a featured image.

Why Adding a Featured Image Matters

You might be wondering if you need to include images with your content or if text alone will be sufficient. The answer is you should always include at least one featured image with every article for both visual appeal and functional purposes.

Images not only bring your words to life by illustrating meaning, but they also optimize your content for search engines and help it stand out on social media platforms where you share it.

Search engine algorithms – the criteria used to reward or penalize content based on specific characteristics – are constantly changing. But in recent years, it has become clear that Google and other top search engines increasingly favor images, reportedly because they enhance the user experience.

In other words, people like pictures and search engines aim to return the results that people want. As the importance of visual search continues to expand, image inclusion and SEO has become more essential than ever.

What is a Featured Image

A featured image is a photo or graphic that will show up in the preview of your post on social media sites such as Facebook and often as a thumbnail on your blog list. It represents the content of the post at a glance and serves as a preview, providing the audience with a sneak peek to determine whether or not they want to read the content.

The featured image adds visual interest to your article and sets expectations for both content and tone by piquing a reader’s interest. Even more than an article’s subject matter or headline, the featured image persuades or dissuades readers from opening and reading your content.

How to Choose the Best Featured Image for Your Financial Content

Your featured image should always be relevant and never be an image that is irrelevant yet eye-catching just to grab your reader’s attention. If a reader opens an article because of an interesting photo only to find content that has nothing to do with it, they will click away quickly, which will hurt your SEO and your reputation.

Use original images whenever possible. You can certainly take your own photos. Most phones today have a quality camera, and you can easily capture a picture yourself of something associated with your article to use.

If taking your own photos is not a good option for you, use stock photos. Most stock images require a license, and if you use images without a license you are violating copyright laws and could be fined.

Use a stock photo service. For a nominal fee, you will have the rights to a wide variety of images for social media posts and much more. Make sure you understand the terms and restrictions of your license. There are many stock photo options that I have used and would recommend.

Stock Photo Resources for Financial Advisor Website Content:

Because your featured image will show up when you share your content on social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn,  superimpose or overlay the title and add your logo or brand colors. Putting the title of the post itself on the image is a great strategy because it increases the “clickability” of the image. This can easily be done with a free tool like Canva.

Your featured image could also be a graphic or illustration rather than a photograph. You can hire a designer to create unique and original branded graphics, or for a DIY option, use a tool such as Canva or PicMonkey to create your own designs.

Tips for Optimizing Your Featured Image for Search Engines

Use the right file name

Google should be able to tell what your image is by what you name it, so don’t use the default string of characters or untitled.jpg. Also, include a keyword phrase in your file name. For example, a good file name would be common-credit-score-mistakes.jpg.

Use alt tags

Alt tags are the words that are associated with the image. If the image cannot be displayed, the alt tag provides alternative information for the image when a user cannot view it. It also helps significantly with SEO, so be sure to include at least one of your keywords in the alt tags as well. There are YouTube videos and articles that show you how to do this.

Use the correct resolution and size

Lower-resolution images at 72 DPI (dots per inch) are appropriate for digital mediums such as websites and are usually the cheaper option as well.

Conclusion

Adding a featured image is an essential part of creating an effective financial advisor website content. The right featured image will attract your intended audience’s attention, enhance their reading experience, and boost your SEO. Select an eye-catching image and optimize it for search engines.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

2 How to Choose the Right Keyword Phrase for Your Financial Content

Choosing a keyword phrase for your financial content is one of the most important steps in your content marketing strategy. But it is not as easy as just picking a word. Using the right keyword strategy will not only help you with your search engine optimization (SEO); it will also ensure that the right people are finding your content.

In part four, How to Write Engaging Titles & Headlines for Your Financial Advisory Blog of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing I went into detail about selecting titles and headlines that compel readers to click and boost your SEO.

Now it’s time to break out another one of these elements and go into greater detail – keywords.

Selecting a strong keyword phrase is essential to getting your content recognized by search engines. When writing content, it’s critical to remember that not only should it provide useful information that positions you as an expert in the eyes of readers, but it should position your website as a valuable resource in the eyes of Google.

What is a Keyword Phrase?

A keyword phrase is a short set of words people type into search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.) in order to find an answer to a question, explore an interest, or meet a particular need.

How to Select Keyword Phrases

Before consulting keyword tools, the trick to selecting the right keyword phrase for your financial advisor website content is to anticipate what people might enter into a search engine when seeking expertise like yours.
Take a step back for a moment and consider exactly what your potential clients are searching for online. As a financial advisor, you want to attract an audience that’s curious about financial planning or financial literacy and searching for a financial professional to hire. So, to increase the likelihood that your website will show up high in search engine results, the content you share on your website should provide the information they want in language that closely matches theirs.

Tips for Brainstorming Keyword Phrases

A good way to figure out your keyword phase is to think about what your ideal clients’ questions would be. For example, if you were writing an article about helping millennials with their credit score and you wanted to make sure your article shows up when people search for this topic, you should start by considering what questions they might have about credit scores.

For example, here are some possible questions:

  • How can I improve my credit score?
  • How is my credit score determined?
  • What makes up my credit score?

As you can see, “credit score” is the common term so this would need to be one of your main keyword phrases. However, you don’t want to stop there because you will face stiff competition if trying to rank high in the results for a popular phrase like “credit score” alone. Now, you’ll want to consider more long tail keywords.

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keyword phrases contain three or more words. They are more specific than shorter keyword phrases so there is less competition and they convert better. So rather than “credit score” you might search for “common credit score mistakes.”

Think about your own search engine behavior. If you wanted to know something about your credit score, would you simply type that two-word phrase into Google? Probably not, because the results would be too broad to meet your needs. That’s why long tail keyword phrases are so effective; there are more opportunities to select a phrase with less competition when you drill down into more exact searches.

Brainstorm more specific challenges someone might be facing when researching about credit scores. What might they type into Google to find the information they want?

  • What credit score do I need to buy a house?
  • Credit score needed to get a mortgage
  • Mortgages for less than perfect credit
  • How to get an 800 credit score
  • Mistakes that can lower my credit score
  • Will student loans ruin my credit score?
  • Will getting a credit card improve my credit score?

Thinking through real-world scenarios will help you generate long tail keyword phrases that will organically optimize your content for search engines. For example, you can use the phrase, “how to get an 800 credit score” several times throughout a single article about credit scores.

So, while you will want to have one main keyword phrase that you use in the title and throughout the article, you’ll also benefit from incorporating relevant long tail keyword phrases.

Tools for Keyword Research

Once you have a good idea of the keyword phrases you might want to use, now it’s time to consult tools to determine how popular and competitive the phrases are.

  • Google Keyword Planner – This free tool will help you find keywords that get a fair volume of searches each month but are not highly competitive.
  • Keywords Everywhere – This convenient browser extension is a free keyword research tool that shows search volume and cost per click data to help you assess the competitiveness of keyword phrases for multiple websites at a glance.
  • Google Trends – This tool will help you identify hot topics related to your keywords that you can incorporate into your keyword phrases.
  • Google’s “searches related to…” – Type your keyword into the Google search engine. Then scroll all the way down to see the “searches related to” section for a list of phrases that will make strong long tail keyword. (Tip: Repeat the process by searching for the longer phrase and scrolling down to “searches related to” again).
  • WonderSearch – This free tool allows you to find terms semantically related to your root keyword.
  • AnswerThePublic – This visual tool has a free version that helps you find the kinds of questions your potential clients might be asking, which as we’ve covered here, can be a great start for selecting keyword phrases for your financial content marketing.

Keyword research tools range from free to pricey professional SEO options. As you are just getting started, the available free tools will provide you with plenty of insight into selecting effective keyword phrases to boost your website traffic.

Conclusion

When optimizing your financial advisor website content for search engines, always start by writing for your audience first. Think of the actual people who will be surfing the web looking for the information you’re sharing. Consider what phrases your potential clients might be typing into search engines. Then use keyword research tools to verify your assumptions and assess the popularity and competitiveness of each phrase.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

2 How to Write Engaging Titles for Your Financial Advisory Blog

Your blog’s title is the first thing readers see and will be the deciding factor as to whether they continue reading. Your post’s title and headlines help your website get found in search engines. They are a critical part of your copy and shouldn’t be an afterthought.

In part three, How Financial Advisors Can Create Quality Content, of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing I went into detail about how to format your content and discussed the key elements that you need to include.

Now it’s time to break out one of those elements and go into greater detail – titles and subheaders.

There is a strategy for creating titles. Used properly, it cuts through the noise and gets your content noticed. Once someone reads your content, strategically chosen subheaders within the body of your post can keep them reading, so I will talk about both here.

Use “the Four U’s” to Write Titles

American Writers & Artists teach the four U’s approach to write titles, and it has become an industry standard. Your titles should be:

  • Urgent: Provide a sense of urgency so they want to read on.
  • Unique: State benefits in a way that shows how the content is unique to the reader.
  • Useful: Be useful to your reader and seek to add value.
  • Ultra-Specific: When you’re specific, your content is seen as more compelling.


Cover each of these. Use at least three of the U’s – in many cases, it’s unlikely you’ll hit all four, so don’t stress too much about it.

Include Your Post’s Keyword Phrase in Your Title & Subheaders

Search engines like Google use the words in your titles and subheaders to figure out what your article is about and to determine when to show your article in a user’s search results. Include your keyword phrase in your title and in a few of your subheaders so that when prospects go searching for information contained in your article, the search engine will include your article in the search results.

More Tips to Boost Your Subheaders’s Appeal

There are other ways you can ensure that your titles are grabbing the reader’s attention and will help increase your chances of having them actually open and read your content.

Stay Focused

Create your title and/or subheaders to focus on one single benefit that the text provides to the reader.  This will help keep their interest and get them to keep reading because they know what to expect and can understand what you are talking about.  

Speak TO Your Audience

Write as though you are having a conversation with your specific reader. Use “you” and “your” to make a connection with your reader and draw them into what you have to say.

Use Numbers in Your Title

Studies show that using numbers in your titles is a highly effective way to create specificity.  Numbers imply a value and therefore it is thought that higher numbers are likely to capture more interest. Also, odd numbers are more likely to gain attention than even numbers.

Ask a Question

You want your reader to have a reaction to what you have to say.  If you ask them a question they are more likely to keep reading to learn more and find out the answer.

Use “Why” and “How” Titles and Subheaders

Both of these words are very powerful words that make your reader feel they are gaining something by reading your content. When you use the word “how” it implies that you are going to teach them something.  “Why” is also a very persuasive word for similar reasons.

The Creative Process

Think of writing your titles and subheaders as part of your creative process.  Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Don’t be afraid to change it up and use a thesaurus to get some new ideas.
  • When you’re writing subheaders don’t get tripped up by trying to follow all the rules. Treat them as guidelines instead.
  • When you’re writing a subheaders, write for your readers first, Google second.
  • Pay attention to what works best for you. Some writers prefer writing the headers first to help shape the content. Others wait after the base content is written and then develop the subheaders.
  • You can always write out three or four options and narrow them down as you develop your content.

Things to Remember When Writing Titles& Subheaders for Your Financial Blog

There are some good rules to follow when creating your titles and subheaders, not only for proper structure and grammar but also to get them noticed.

  • Capitalize Each Word of Your Title and Subheaders.
  • Short title are more effective than long titles.
    • Aim for 65 characters and use between five and nine words.
    • For longer titles and subheaders, break them up with dashes or a semicolon
  • Use subheads to break up longer body text.
  • Don’t use a period at the end of subheaders.
  • Use a bold, dark font.

Putting time and effort into creating attention-grabbing subheaders and titles is time well spent.  Good titles and subheaders draw in your reader, help the search engines find your content, and make your posts easier to read.

 

Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisers. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

1 How Financial Advisors Can Create Quality Content

Whether you’re a big company or an independent financial advisor working to grow your personal brand, creating useful and engaging blog posts on your financial planning website is a crucial part of your content marketing strategy. Such posts increase your brand visibility and transform loyal readers into loyal clients.

In part two, Four Types of Financial Content Marketing and Why They Matter, of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing, I went into detail about different types of content and gave a few examples of each type.

Now it’s time to talk about the specifics of creating your content and what elements you need to include.

If you stick to these basic elements when creating your content, you’re covered.

 

Choose Your Post’s Keyword Phrase

For SEO purposes, you need to put in the research to come up with an effective keyword phrase for your post. This is the phrase that you want to use to help your post get found in the search engines. Use it throughout your article to increase the likelihood that the search engines will match your article to searchers looking for information on that topic. One caveat: You don’t want to overuse your keyword phrase because search engines will penalize you for “keyword stuffing.” Use it no more than once or maybe twice per paragraph and sprinkle it in your subheadings where appropriate.

Remember:

  • Use terms and/or phrases your audience will use when searching.
  • Use throughout the article.
  • Include in the title.
  • Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere.
  • Don’t overuse your keyword phrase.

To learn more, read my posts on optimizing your content and keywords.

 

Title/Headline

The title is what grabs your reader’s attention and gets them to click on your article. You need to make sure that it is clear and concise, conveys your message, and is enticing enough to get them to actually open it. You want to include your keyword phrase in the title, as this is a big signal to search engines that THIS is what your blog post is about.

Remember:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Google displays around 65 characters.
  • Be as efficient and relevant as possible.
  • Make it compelling.
  • Include the keyword phrase in the title.

Learn more about creating successful titles in my article about titles and headlines.

 

Introduction

Getting a reader to open your article is half of the battle, but you want them to read it – in its entirety. A well written and well thought out introduction will encourage more of your visitors to keep reading. Ideally, you should work your keyword phrase into the first sentence of your introduction, but if that’s not possible, at least include it somewhere in that first paragraph.

Remember:

  • In the first one or two sentences introduce the problem that you’re going to solve.
  • The next sentence should state what you’re going to cover.
  • These sentences can also be used in your title.
  • Be sure to include your keyword phrase in this section as well.

 

Body

This is where the main point and the details of your article will be conveyed. Try to stay on topic and make it interesting and easy to read. One way to make this process easier is to create a simple outline first. This can help you stay on track and help keep your article to a reasonable length. Include your keyword phrase at various points throughout the body of your blog post without overdoing it.

Remember:

  • Break the body of text into sections separated by headlines.
  • Avoid “industry speak”, use terms your readers will understand.
  • It is a good idea to link to other articles you have written.
  • Link to outside sources that are relevant and help you convey your message.

 

Conclusion

Your conclusion ties the post together. The old rule of “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them again, and then tell them what you told them,” is not just true for writing papers for school, it applies in all types of informational writing. It helps to bring closure to your article rather than just stopping after your last point.

Remember:

  • Review/recap/highlight what was said.
  • Make suggestions on the next steps your readers should take.
  • Invite them to look for upcoming articles.
  • Include your keyword phrase.

 

Call to Action

A call to action is just what it sounds like — a prompt to the reader to do something specific. You want your readers to engage and interact with you and your content as much as possible. Take this opportunity to get these now highly engaged prospects into your marketing funnel, but just be sure to avoid sounding too “salesy.” Depending on your business goals, your call to action might ask readers to sign up for your newsletter, request more information on a topic, or even set up an appointment with you.

Examples:

  • Questions? Contact us to set up a free consultation call/free discovery meeting.
  • Click here to read another article on this subject.
  • Sign-up for our monthly newsletter here.
  • Check out this link to our website to see what we have been up to.
  • Download this free resource/checklist/etc.

 

Biography

The biography is where you provide background information about you, your firm, an “about me” section of sorts. It should include your current position, company, email address, and may include previous experience, publications, designations, college and postgraduate degrees, and location. This will help prove your experience and expertise – why you are a qualified person to be writing about this topic. Remember to hyperlink to your business homepage to drive traffic and provide more information.

Remember:

  • It should be short and to the point – around 50 words.
  • Include it at the bottom of every article after the final paragraph.
  • The language used here can be duplicated, so be sure to save it for future use.
  • Good keywords to use here if applicable are terms like fiduciary, fee-only, etc.

 

Tips for Overall Format

There are always things that people don’t think about when they are creating content that can make or break a good article. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you write and format:

  • Always check for grammatical errors, misspellings, and typos, and then check again.
  • Use nontechnical language — keep it simple.
  • Limit your use of industry-specific jargon.
  • Proofread for tone — communicating over the Internet requires extra care.
  • Have someone to review or edit the article for you.
  • Use images.

 

Closing

Creating content for your website is a great way to establish yourself as an expert, drive traffic to your website, and attract new clients to your financial advisory firm. Although it may seem like a daunting task, using these guidelines and steps will help you simplify the process. Give it a try and you’ll soon be well on your way to producing quality content for your business.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

2 Four Types of Financial Content Marketing & Why They Matter

Creating and sharing quality content is an essential element in successfully marketing your financial advisory business. My series The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing helps financial advisors understand how it all works so they can establish themselves as a financial expert by properly utilizing financial content marketing strategies.

Now it is time to dig deep into the various aspects of content and figure out why it is essential.

Personalize Your Financial Planning Business Brand

Financial advisors take pride in building, cultivating, and nurturing the relationships they have with clients. But, how do you form this type of connection with a person who is more than likely just researching you or your services online?

Creating content is a great way to put a face and name to your business and a personal touch to who you are and what you do. If you think strategically about the type of financial advisor website content you are producing, you will show people not only what services you can provide, but also a bit about your personality, expertise, and values.

Establish Yourself as an Expert Financial Advisor

This is such an important point that I have written an entire article about it, How to Brand Yourself as an Expert. By creating and sharing valuable and credible content on topics you know, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. When you write original content on a difficult subject that helps someone solve a problem, it builds the know, like, and trust factor.

People are looking to you to manage one of their most valuable assets – their money. They need to trust that you know what you are talking about, stay current on industry issues, and have dealt with situations similar to theirs. What better way to do this than to write about it?

Engage Your Customers and Prospects

Creating content is a way to engage an audience that may not be otherwise engaged. By speaking to your clients and prospects in a way that is less formal, you may make a connection with them to a greater degree than you can do from your website alone.

Ninety-five percent of website visitors are just researching and are not ready to be contacted. Good content lets them learn and engage in a low-pressure way. They don’t need to request a meeting or buy anything right away, but reading your content adds value to their relationship with you. If you do it correctly, prospects will be motivated to provide you with their contact information so you can keep engaging with them in the future.

Stay In Front of Clients

Content is the foundation that online marketing is based upon. It drives readers to your website and connects them to the information they need in order to make informed decisions about the financial advisory products and services you offer.

Adding content to your blog on a regular basis creates the opportunity for it to be shared on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which in turn, drives more readers to your website. By blogging you keep your social media presence active without having to create a lot of other new content on a regular basis.

Improve Search Engine Optimization for Your Financial Advisor Website

Have you ever wondered how the pages that show up at the top of your online searches are selected? It boils down to search engine optimization (SEO). By making sure that each page you add to your website has the right keywords, you improve your chances of having your business show up at that top of that search list and increase the traffic to your website.

There is a direct correlation between blog posts and web traffic with abrupt growth at 300 to 500 pages, and a huge jump at 1,000 pages per month. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which is one more opportunity for you to show up in a search engine and drive traffic to your site.

Content posted to your blog a month, a year, or three years ago, it is not out of date. Quite often website traffic is driven by people finding older posts in their search engine request. The content you post today will continue to work for you long after you have forgotten about it.

Make Your Firm More Visible

You are not the only financial advisory firm in your area. So how do you make yourself stand out from the competition and make important connections? In person, the answer is easy – you network and get involved in your community. But, how do you accomplish this online? Utilizing social media networks and social media content for financial advisors, you can share high-quality content as part of your strategy for staying visible.

When you post links to your original content or are share links to other relevant articles you are getting in front of people and letting them know about you. As long as you keep the quality high and the topics relevant you are continuously adding value to the people that see your posts. Hopefully, they will see this value and share it with their friends and family too.

Closing

Regularly publishing relevant and helpful content to your financial planner website and social media pages should be an essential component of your marketing plan. Good content establishes you as an expert in your field, engages and encourages your prospects to opt-in to receive future communication from you, and helps new prospects find you by keeping your website front and center on social media and in search engines.

To find out how to leverage your content and how to build the know, like, and trust factor you can read my series on Marketing Funnels for Financial Advisors.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here. Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

Six Reasons Why Financial Content Marketing Matters

If you are looking for help to take your marketing efforts to the next level, I have created a series that aims to serve as a one-stop guide to content marketing for financial advisors, The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing.

In this series, I will answer questions such as:

  • What is content?
  • Why use content marketing?
  • What types of content should advisors create?
  • What strategy should be using?
  • How do I optimize my content so I know the right people are finding it?
  • Do images matter?
  • Do I need to follow a schedule?
  • How do I reach my readers?
  • How do I reach prospects?

Over the next 10 weeks, you will find the answers to those questions and more to ensure you are getting the most out of all the content you are creating for your prospects and clients.

Now, let’s begin by diving into what The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing is all about.

What is content?

Content is a term that’s challenging to define because we engage with it every day in various forms without necessarily thinking about what it is or how it’s affecting us. Put simply, content is information that’s directed towards an audience. Because that audience chooses to read, watch, or listen to it, content is valuable – it captures and holds attention and delivers messages when people are most open to receiving them.

The jokes in a television sitcom, the lessons delivered in a live workshop, or a chapter in a book are all considered content.

But when it comes to content marketing, the definition of content is more specific.

Content, in a marketing context, refers to blog posts, articles, social media posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, e-books, white papers, special reports, books, and other forms of valuable information that a professional or company uses to showcase what they want to be known for and to promote their brand.

Content differs from advertising in that people want to consume it rather than avoid it.

Think about searching for how to do something on YouTube. You find a video claiming to show you “How to Promote Financial Services” and when you click to open the video, you have to watch the latest Lincoln Navigator automobile commercial first. The content is the “How to Promote Financial Services” video, and the person sharing it is a content marketer who provides a product or service that will help you promote your financial services firm.

Now that you know what I mean by content, let’s talk more about content marketing.

What is content marketing?

As you can see from the above example, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach based on creating and distributing content that a target audience would find valuable and relevant.

For content marketing to be effective, it needs to have a strategy and a clearly defined audience.

As a financial advisor, it isn’t enough to say you want to be known as a financial advisor and simply start blogging about financial planning topics. That would work to a certain extent, but it would be more effective if you’re strategic. Think about exactly who you want to consume your content — the people who will hire you or refer you to others – and consider how to serve them what they want.

Your content marketing strategy also needs to be consistent, because it is a long-term strategy that works by showing up on a regular basis again and again and building trust over time.

Ultimately, your goal is to move the prospective client through your sales funnel from the awareness stage (that they need some help with their finances), to the attract stage (researching possible solutions for financial guidance), to the build stage (considering hiring you as their financial advisor), and finally to the convert stage (signing on the dotted line as a client). Each stage requires a different content marketing approach, but it all begins with top-level content that gains their initial interest and attention.

Why use content marketing to promote financial services?

Content marketing is a powerful way to tap into the first stage of the prospect’s journey. It raises awareness and educates potential clients about things they may not have considered.

When you use content to market your financial services, you’re letting prospective clients know you understand their financial challenges and you’re an expert financial professional who can guide them in areas such as retirement planning and wealth building.

Content marketing showcases your personality and firm’s brand. It illustrates to people who have never met you that not only are you knowledgeable, but you’re also relatable and approachable.

Plus, when you show up consistently, sharing valuable content, it gives prospects a chance to get to know you and see that you are a reliable, dependable, and trustworthy source who is committed to your profession and your clients for the long haul.

Content also boosts your search engine optimization (SEO). Publishing high-quality relevant content to your website consistently and distributing it through social media and other channels is the best way to attract organic (i.e., free) traffic and grow your brand online.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve had a peek into The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing, you know what to expect in this series. I will be taking a deep dive into each topic I noted at the beginning of this article. By the end of the series, you will have everything you need to get started or take your financial advisor content marketing to the next level. At the end of the series, I will provide a recap of exactly what to do, how to streamline your efforts, and how to get the best possible results from your financial content marketing strategy.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here. Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.