Struggling to update your website? 6 tips to help you out

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It was way back in 1996 that Bill Gates said “content is king”; he was right then and he is now.

If you want your website to generate more new client enquiries, I’m convinced that high quality content, (blogs, articles, case studies, guides etc etc) is vitally important.

Why?

More relevant articles = more website visitors = more new client enquiries

It’s a little more complex than that:

  • Great content not only provides valuable information to your website visitors, but also sets you apart as the expert who provided that information
  • Useful content, made available for free, is often the start of an adviser / client relationship; by giving ‘value in advance’ you will help to prove your knowledge and experience, whilst starting to build trust
  • If you regularly update your content it provides visitors with a reason to return
  • Furthermore, the search engines, which of course predominantly means Google, love websites which are regularly updated with high quality, relevant, and above all, original content. Almost nothing will help where your website ranks more than good quality articles and blogs

So, if articles and blogs are so important, why do many of advisory firms find writing hard? In my experience there are probably three main reasons:

  1. Competing priorities and a lack of time
  2. Writer’s block
  3. A perceived lack of writing ability and expertise

Let’s see if I can help, here are six tips for publishing great blogs:

#1: Write yourself or outsource?

There are three key ways of generating content for your website:

  1. Write it yourself
  2. Pay someone else to write
  3. Buy in syndicated content

I’m a firm believer in the value of unique content;  which means it hasn’t, and will not, be published elsewhere.

Unique content has many benefits:

  • It can be tailored to the interests of your visitors and your target market
  • It naturally carries your tone and style
  • Google hates articles which have appeared elsewhere and can penalise frequent offenders by relegating their website in search result pages. You also run the risk that website visitors will see the same article in two or three places

If you really can’t produce or buy in unique content then syndicated articles, which you can buy from various sources, are better than nothing; but in my view are a clear second choice.

#2: Allocate time

Easier said than done, but in my experience you need to allocate dedicated writing time.

Turn off the mobile, close down Outlook and go somewhere free from distractions. Believe me when I say I know how hard that is, but remember, the time you are setting aside will have a direct impact on your turnover:

More relevant articles = more website visitors = more new client enquiries 

Find what works for you, I much prefer to write on a train or in a coffee shop, than I do at home or in the office where I’m more easily distracted.

Ernest Hemmingway is much misquoted when he said “write drunk and edit sober”, but if it worked for him, who’s to argue? (By the way, I’ve tried it and it works!)

#3: Subject matter is all around you

Overcoming writers block and getting started is perhaps the hardest hurdle to overcome, but it doesn’t have to be.

Start by identifying your target market, for example in my previous role at Investment Sense we wanted to attract more enquiries from people retiring imminently and those who were interested in self-invested pensions.

Next take inspiration from events, news stories and your own experiences. Everyday your inbox will be brimming with news which affects your target clients. Save these stories in your browser favourites or log them elsewhere, when you next sit down to write an article you will have a long list of subjects to choose from; the end to writer’s block!

When you start to write explain what the changes are, then how it affects them, along with the opportunities and pitfalls it will bring and finally give them a call to action i.e. get in touch with you!

#4: The power of case studies

Your existing clients can be the source of inspiration too, whilst providing reassurance to potential new clients.

Telling the stories of existing clients is an excellent way of demonstrating your knowledge, experience and problem solving abilities, whilst explaining to your target audience the possible options open to them if their circumstances are similar.

You will need to get your client’s permission if you plan to use their name. But even if you have to change their name to protect their identity, the case study will still be a powerful demonstration of how you have been able to solve a client’s financial worries.

As an aside, personal finance journalists love case studies. Having a bank of clients willing to take part in case studies can be an excellent way of generating some low cost press coverage for your business.

#5: No one is expecting Pulitzer Prize winning journalism

It’s clearly important to ensure that spelling and grammar are correct, basic errors look slapdash and readers might draw conclusions about the quality of your advisory work.

But readers will know that you are first and foremost an adviser, they won’t expect polished journalism to Pulitzer standards.

They do however want to know about the latest financial news and how it affects them, you are the expert, so tell them!

It will take time to identify your own style. In the meantime don’t be too self-critical, find someone who will read your pieces before they are published and remember it’s better to publish something which is ‘good’, than never to finish an article because you are striving for perfection.

#6: Make your articles easy to read

Publishing on the web has dramatically changed how we read; our attention spans are shorter and we tend to skim read articles, reducing the time we spend on each page.

This means you have to write in an appealing way.

Headlines must be engaging and the blog should be a suitable length, I’d suggest 600 – 800 words is ideal, although others will have their own thoughts.

Large blocks of text don’t work well on the web, they are simply not easy to read, break them up with sub-headings, lists and bullet points

Do your own research, take a look at some of the most popular financial blogs and see how they do it.

You have to start somewhere!

If you are seeking new clients and generating more enquiries through your website is part of your strategy, and for most advisory firms I would recommend it is, content writing is key.

Remember:

More relevant articles = more website visitors = more new client enquiries

So look out for inspiration, set aside writing time, cut out the distractions and make a start.

To put it more succinctly: Carpe Diem!

If you are inspired to write more yourself I’d be delighted to read and share your articles as well as helping further where I can; email me on phillip.bray@sense-network.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @philbray73

In  my next blog I’ll share with you some great tips to make sure your articles are read, after all, ‘content is king’ but only if people read and share it!

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