Lots of financial advisers that I talk to identify a common challenge to me. Usually they say something along the lines of; “I know that I need to keep my website updated with fresh content and I know that I can stand out from other advisers by sharing good content with my connections through my chosen social media platforms. The question is, what do I write about?”
Yes, the dreaded writer’s block! What can you do about it? Well the good news is, there’s a couple of straightforward steps you can take to overcome that seemingly frozen brain! I’m going to set out a couple of practical tips to help you get started and then give you a few ideas on actually coming up with the content.
Know your Audience
This first tip is really important. Know who your target audience is. Is it business owners, consumers, particular occupations? Who are you actually writing that new website page, blog or email newsletter for? It’s no good if it’s about a subject that you find riveting……but your audience doesn’t! So zone in on your target audience, try to identify a typical individual and ask yourself would they want to read your musings. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about what they will bother / want to read.
A Content Calendar
My second suggestion is to avoid relying on your brain kicking into action every month or whatever the frequency of your communication is to be. There’s nothing worse than that looming “to do” in your calendar when you’ve no idea what you’re going to write about! To avoid this, set up a “Content Calendar” for the year. As potential subject areas come to mind, drop them into the calendar with a few bullet points of what the article might cover. What will this achieve? First of all, it’ll ensure you don’t lose potential content ideas as you go along and it will also give you a starting point every time you sit down to write some content. You’ll actually find after a while that you’ve too much content and now can actually start being selective about what you write. Hard to believe, but it will happen!
Now in relation to the actual content, first of all there’s probably two main types to consider. Original content and curated content. Original content is content that you write yourself while curated content is written by others but which your audience will be grateful to you for sharing with them. Both have a role to play so here’s a few ideas on filling your content calendar with topics for each type.
First of all, don’t fall into the trap of always selling. It might be interesting to you to always talk about investment and protection products but not to your audience! Add value by writing about financial issues or challenges that affect them in their lives, in which you can exhibit your expertise.
To identify the issues, first of all ask the audience! Yes, that’s where this blog topic came from…… Your audience will often start talking about particular issues they’re facing in your knowledge space. Capture those issues. Ask them about financial challenges they’re struggling with that you potentially might help with and then write about them. Your wider audience will also be grateful. When they realise your expertise, they will want to talk to you about their wider financial affair…..and their product needs.
Secondly, have your aerial up at all times! When you go to a presentation, read the Sunday papers or surf the web, you’ll fall across loads of topics of potential interest to your audience. Now I’m not for one moment suggesting plagiarism! If you do use anyone else’s content, be sure to credit them as the source. What I’m suggesting is you use these sources as prompts for topics that you then add your own thoughts and flavour to. Put your own spin on them. You can’t beat original content and if your audience find it interesting, they will also appreciate your effort.
This type of shared content also has its place, however personally I think it can only sit alongside some original content. It’s great to share content that is of interest to your audience but sometimes / eventually they want to know what you think!
A few thoughts on sharing web links. First of all, ensure they’re of interest to your audience. Secondly, don’t barrage your audience with too many links or you risk being viewed as spam. Thirdly, don’t make them all product related. Some sales related messages are fine but certainly not all. Your audience want to learn and be informed. If you sell all the time you won’t achieve this.
In relation to identifying those great web links, you don’t even need to go looking for them each time if you’re organised! You can get them sent to you by using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds. These are those little orange buttons (similar to the “Subscribe” button at the top of this page). It is is very easy to set up a home (called a reader) to which useful articles can be sent to you by simply clicking on the orange button on useful websites you visit.
Another challenge in relation to curated content is to remember those great web pages you came across! How many times have you forgotten where you read “that great article about xyz?” A great tool is a website and App called Evernote. You can write notes to yourself, save audio recordings, save photos and all types of files. To suit our purpose here, you can also save website addresses and even clip web articles to it. You can separate them all into different categories and then it all syncs automatically on all your devices. Brilliant! You need never forget anything again!
Now where did I leave my pen…..