In the pop culture phenomenon “Star Trek,” Captain Kirk recorded everything that happened to the crew aboard the starship Enterprise in his Captain’s log.
Today, we have something similar: a weblog, or what is now referred to as a blog. A blog is an online collection of individual text entries, or posts, often centered around a specific group or topic.
But unlike Captain Kirk, today’s bloggers are more interested in driving prospects to their websites, ranking higher in search engines like Google, and keeping their social media content fresh than boldly going where no man has gone before. In other words, blogging is helping businesses generate revenue simply by telling their stories in an online log.
Bottom line: You need to start blogging. Here’s why:
Blogging maximizes your SEO efforts. Want more people to see your content? Work on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Google boosts the rankings of websites that are actively being updated. If you’re posting a blog once a week to your website, Google search engines will recognize that your website is active, thus rewarding you with a higher ranking and making you more visible to prospects.
Also, blogs are a great opportunity for you to use keywords your audience is using to search for information, and if your website has strategically placed, relevant keywords, search engines will reward you.
WARNING: Before you pump your website and blogs so full of keywords it’s like they’re on steroids, remember this: Google PUNISHES websites that do this too much. Above everything else, the most important key to a successful blog is writing high-quality, relevant content that people want to read and share. Keywords are important, but the quality of the content is most important.
Blogging builds trust with clients and prospects. Today’s readers want authenticity and honesty, a straight shooter they can trust, someone they can have a conversation with. What better way to do that than with a blog?
Since blogs are more like journals than articles, which tend to be more robotic-sounding and academic, your blog builds relationships with prospects even before they meet you, 24/7. Use a conversational tone, and talk about what you know and what you’ve experienced. Let your personality shine.
Blogging drives prospects to your website. Let’s say a retiree in your area searches Google for information about annuities and retirement. Because you blog and actively update your website, your blog post — let’s call it “Everything You Must Know About Annuities Before You Retire” — pops up. Our retiree clicks the link to your blog.
Your reader is now finding answers to not only their original question but also to other questions they didn’t know to ask. They hear your voice and personality come through the writing. You share a funny story in your blog post, or maybe a heartwarming one. Your reader begins to connect with you and says, “Who is this person? I want to know more about them.”
They start clicking through your website to find out more. You can see where this is going.
Blogging can generate leads. A blog is a fantastic place to put a Call to Action (CTA) to generate a lead. Say you’re writing a blog about fixed index annuities. Somewhere in your blog, you can present an offer and what action your prospect needs to take to claim it: “Click here for a complimentary consultation, and let’s find out if fixed index annuities are right for you,” for example.
They click the link and are taken to either a separate landing page or the page on your website where prospective clients sign up for consultations. They can even opt in to receive more blogs, emails, or newsletters from you. And voila — a lead is born.
Blogging can position you as a thought leader. Your blog is the place to show the world that you’re an expert in your field. Do you know annuities backward and forward? Educate your audience through your blog. Got a story about how you saved a client from making a big mistake in the market? Tell it.
Feel free to post about how long you’ve been in the industry, but be careful not to boast or rattle on about how many certificates you have. Use your expertise to inform your audience about topics that are relevant to them. Let them determine that you’re an expert.
Blogging can lead to partnerships and exciting opportunities. If an influencer, someone who can influence a large audience in the digital space, reads your blog and connects with your message, they may want to partner with you on a future blog or other projects.
Many bloggers have even enjoyed seeing their posts picked up by national publications. And the more partnerships you make in the digital space, the more people visit your website and the more you’re perceived as an expert.
Blogging gives you quality content to post on social media. It’s not easy coming up with fresh content to keep your audience interested on social media. That’s where a blog can come in handy. Post a link to your blog on your social media page, which also makes it easy to share. And sharing = a bigger audience. Now your audience knows they can count on your social media pages to give them quality content relevant to them.
Blogging doesn’t take much time. Writing a blog post can be scary to those who haven’t tried it, and yes, writer’s block exists. But once you start writing, it’s hard to stop those ideas from flowing, especially if you’re writing about something you’re passionate and knowledgeable about, which is exactly what you should be writing about.
Start by practicing. Take thirty minutes to an hour and write the story of why you wanted to become a financial professional. Don’t think — just tell your story. You may end up with your first blog post. You’ll be flying through blog writing before you know it.
And blogs don’t have to be that long. The ideal length of a blog is a heavily debated issue in the blogging world. Some say to keep blogs between 700¬–1500 words, while others claim that 2,500 words get the best SEO results. We suggest aiming between 700–1000, but again, focus on writing quality content above everything else. If you can effectively write about a topic in 500 words, go for it!
There’s little to no cost. You write a blog entry, post it to your website, and share it on social media. None of that involves ad spend. Sure, you’re paying with time, but we’ve already established that it doesn’t have to take much of that. Of course, you can always pay money to boost a blog post, but if you write relevant, quality content that comes straight from the heart, your audience will take care of spreading your message around.
ANYONE can do it. You don’t have to be Captain Kirk to write a blog. Nor do you have to be a professional writer. If you can hold a conversation, you can write a blog. Remember how we said that people want authenticity? That’s the only prerequisite you need to start blogging.
You might help someone. If you find yourself clicking on a blog post, what makes you want to read it? Does it contain information that solves a problem? Does it help advance your career? Does it give you information about how to be a better parent? A better spouse?
Blogs are about benefitting the reader. Whatever information you’ve received via blogs, more than likely you clicked on them to better your life. Even ones meant solely for entertainment purposes.
And just think: what if a reader stumbles upon one of your blog posts looking for answers that could change their life? What if they are really struggling and something you say in a blog gives them answers or hope? You’re in the business of helping people achieve their goals and dreams and helping them sleep better at night.
It’s time to write about it.
And whether you’re thinking about starting your first blog, reworking your current blog, expanding your readership, or charting a new course altogether, Impact can help. Contact your marketing manager today and see what’s possible. Welcome to the world of blogging!