Blogging can be good for business.
Since the advent of the internet, many businesses have boosted sales, conversions and brand awareness through well-written blog posts that are relevant to their target market and clients.
Equally, many businesses have wasted lots of money and time on poorly-written blog posts with little relevance to their existing or potential client base, and which have done more harm than good.
For your blog marketing to succeed, you must be writing blogs that are valuable and helpful to your clients and prospects. It’s not enough just to have a blog – it has to serve a purpose.
And it’s not enough simply to have good blog content – you also have to plan it, structure it, distribute it, and manage responses.
But, how do you do all that properly?
Well, you can start with The ProFundCom Guide To Effective Blog Marketing. Read on to find out more about this valuable – but often misunderstood and poorly implemented – form of marketing.
Write Blog Posts That People Want To Read
This is the first rule of successful blog marketing and – while it may sound obvious – it is all too often ignored. Sadly, a lot of time, effort and money is spent on creating blog content that doesn’t do its job properly.
This usually happens when a marketing team launches a blog campaign without any thinking behind it. The aim is to get the firm’s name out there, with the idea being that this will raise awareness – and with that awareness will come added interest and, ultimately, new clients and more AuM.
But this headlong rush into blog marketing often means that little emphasis is put on the quality of the content. Instead, thinly veiled sales material is churned out that purely focuses on products.
But this is not proper blogging and will do little to create or nurture an audience, as people will quickly turn away if they realise you are just flinging sales messages at them.
Instead, your blogs should concentrate on helping people – both those who already invest with you and those who you hope to attract as investors. Because, when you write something that’s genuinely helpful, two things happen:
- People start to trust you – and trust is the bedrock of the selling process, especially in finance
- People start to look out for your content because they know they are going to get value from it
So, every single blog you write has to offer something helpful and valuable to the reader. You can still promote your products occasionally, but make sure you do that in a way that is helpful – by outlining recent performance, for example, to illustrate a point on growth.
Build An Investor Profile
We’ve established that your blog marketing needs to centre on helping your readers.
So, the obvious question to ask is this:
What do your readers need help with?
But when you answer that, you still don’t quite have the makings of a successful blog marketing campaign.
That’s because many people who read your blogs will have absolutely no intention of investing with you.
In terms of raising AuM, the only people you really need to worry about are your potential and existing investors – those who can be persuaded to give you money and those who can be persuaded to give you more money.
And to answer the question of what they find helpful, you must work on building a client profile of the person who is most likely to invest with you.
This will take some interaction between your marketing and sales teams to establish the type of leads who go on to invest with you, as well as the type of existing investor who is most likely to increase their investment. This will provide you with enough information to build a profile.
And when you’ve got a client profile you can start to create content that is focused on the interests and worries of that person. So, ask yourself questions about your ideal investor – what worries them? What motivates them? What interest them? etc etc.
Answers to those questions will provide you with a solid basis for your content.
You can also look at data you have derived from email marketing campaigns. A platform like ProFundCom can be used to dive deep into this treasure trove of information to find out what sort of content people on your list have engaged with in the past – which emails have been opened most, and which links and attachments have got the most interaction. This information is gold dust, as you can narrow down the content you have sent out in the past to what has resonated most with those that matter. These themes can then be replicated in your blogs.
Have A Blog Marketing Strategy
All too often blogging is an afterthought – something that’s done on an ad-hoc basis by whoever is available at the time, with little cohesion or overall plan.
That’s a mistake, as repetition sneaks in, and when multiple people are writing blogs it’s difficult to get a cohesive tone of voice.
To avoid this, you need a strategy in place.
In brief, your blog marketing strategy should follow a four-step process:
First and foremost, you must properly plan your blog marketing strategy. Sit down with your marketing team and work out how often you are going to blog, where your blog posts are going to be read, and who is going to write them.
If you are going to do the work in-house, try and keep blog writing to just one or two people, so they know what has gone before. And when someone new takes over blogging duties, ensure they familiarise themselves with all the content that’s already out there. And if you plan to outsource your blog writing, then it’s best to stick with one copywriter or agency
When you jump around between different writers then tone and style will often change, which can be jarring for your regular readers.
Too many companies make the mistake of having a static blog – just a page on their site where each new post is plonked then forgotten about. It will be read for a while, but then left to languish as new blogs supersede it.
But this is a mistake, as – providing it is good content – you are throwing money away by letting blogs die in this way.
Instead, try presenting your blogs in a more structured way, so they are appealing and easily accessible. Collect them into a sort of blog library, with graphics and descriptions of each article, so readers can pop on and choose one they like. And make sure you have an easy to use search facility, so people can find articles on subjects that interest them.
You shouldn’t just confine your blog posts to a section of your website – that’s not a great use of this valuable content.
Only your most committed prospects are likely to look at your blog page as a matter of course. And although you absolutely want those people to read them, as they are obviously interested in your fund, you also need to encourage a wider readership by cross-promoting your content. So, when you’ve just posted a new blog, tell people about it and link to it via social media and your marketing list.
You can also expand the reach of your posts by reusing them elsewhere. Recycle your blog content as emails to your list, for example, or rewrite them slightly and use them elsewhere on the web – such as on LinkedIn or as a guest blog on an investment information site. You can even strip them down and use brief versions on Facebook, Twitter etc.
And remember that people like to share content they have found helpful – so you must ask for shares and forwards. This reduces the effort you have to put into distribution and ensures your blog content reaches a wider audience.
If you’re doing it properly, people will want to engage with your blog content – through liking and commenting. And you must encourage this by engaging properly with what people say and answering any questions they ask.
Beware The Spectre At The Feast – Compliance
As with any promotional content, your blog posts must adhere to FCA compliance rules.
With posts that offer general advice on investing, or are talking about the wider sector, you will not fall foul of compliance. But posts that mention your own funds – and could be seen as having the intention to raise assets – must follow certain rules.
Specific ProFundCom guides on this subject are available, but – in brief – here’s what you should consider in regards to compliance:
If a blog post is in any way promotional, then you must outline the risks of investing in a way that is clear, fair and not misleading. Each risk warning must be legible and easy to find. And if you boil down a promotional post into a tweet – for example – then you must still provide a warning. Brevity is no excuse.
The FCA says that a senior staff member who is of ‘appropriate competence and seniority’ must sign off promotional communications – whatever they are. So, any promotional blog posts must go through this person before they go public.
You also need to store any promotional blog posts – along with notes that show when it was created, who reviewed and approved it, and if and how it was commented on or changed at any time. These records must be kept securely off-line and be handed over for inspection on request.
Blog marketing is one of those things that every firm feels they should be doing, and that most attempt in some form or another.
But these attempts are normally pretty haphazard and patchy – with low quality content that is not properly targeted or distributed.
But that is all the more reason to put some proper time and energy into your blog marketing – as there is very little good blogging around in the fund sector.
Do it well and you will stand out and add a valuable weapon to your inbound marketing arsenal by providing your target audience with worthwhile and high-quality content. In turn, this will help to position your firm into a thought-leader and trusted expert within the fund sector, which can be a massive boost in your quest to raise AuM.