The benefits of blogging for retail mortgage lenders and business-facing companies in the mortgage industry are undeniable. Blogging is an essential part of your marketing plan in the mortgage industry which allows you to take control of your online brand, connect with your audience in a substantial way, position yourself as a topic expert, enhance your positioning in topical searches on Google, Bing and other search engines, build a network of followers and much more.
But at some point, many bloggers start to feel like they’re running low on content and struggle to come up with their next post. You’re not alone! This happens to all of us…coming up with content is the hardest part, writing on a topic is comparatively easy.
If you’re truly devoted to the quality of your blog as a key part of your mortgage marketing plan, you want to write about topics your audience truly cares about reading and will even redistribute to their social networks. These topics should somehow relate back to your product and service offerings to drive the right kind of traffic. For example, even though a post about how to build a sandbox might be of interest to a homeowner with young children, someone seeking to build a sandbox probably isn’t looking to connect with a mortgage company when they conduct that search. A better post might be on the subject of home improvements that increase home value as this topic would be more in line with a cash out refinance candidate.
Either write posts yourself or hire a good writer that understands the industry. Stay away from “content mills” (also called content farms) that can crank out a lot of content to drive traffic for pennies on the dollar, but not necessarily the traffic you want.
Your clients and prospects will be watching and forming opinions about you and your brand…so be sure you leave a positive impression. With all this pressure, it’s no wonder why the process becomes daunting as you struggle to keep the content great. This happens to the greatest of bloggers, so I encourage you to work through it so you can enjoy the benefits of expert positioning and ultimately more inquiries and business. The more you write, the easier it gets.
Let’s talk about your content.
If you’re a retail lender, consider the demographic makeup of your target audience and what’s important to them that relates back to your product and service offerings. If you specialize in reverse mortgages, for example, your overall mortgage marketing plan and blog content will be much different than if your primary target is the first time home buyer. So, think about how people search for and learn about your products or services and then develop topics that would drive them to learn more about how you can help them. For example, it might make sense to turn frequently asked questions into blog posts!
Think creatively, look at what your competitors are writing about, watch what types of posts gain traction, answer your prospects and customers most frequently asked questions about your business, talk about product updates and how they benefit your audience, new regulations…all of these are good ways to develop plenty of content ideas for your blog.
Here are 4 Steps to Reinvigorate Your Blog and Online Brand
1) Jump right into action! No need to explain why you’ve been absent…nobody cares. What people care about is good, informative content. Commit to a regular flow so you can set your audiences expectations, even if it’s just once a week. Like with anything, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. Just make sure that every post has good, important information and passes the “who cares” test so it has a shot at gaining some traction.
2) Write your content with the proper focus. If you’re writing for search engines and “keyword stuffing,” your content is bound to fall on deaf ears. Write with your readers’ interests in mind. Sure, keywords are important, but they should be used naturally. “Keyword stuffing,” an old practice of SEO strategists, is annoying to readers. If you write with your audience in mind and focus your post on one keyword, you’ll build a following of people that care about what you write and will be more likely to interact with it and share it. This ultimately increases your search engine rankings.
3) Embrace the high value of content distribution. Many write blog posts and never take the time to promote them anywhere. So they sit in the “blog” section of your website like a secret.
Make your content easily discoverable by distributing it across social networks with links and “teaser copy” that draw people in to read it. Teaser copy is simply a couple of sentences from the blog post itself, or even a very brief description that gives the reader insight on what the post is about.
There are many avenues to distribute your content…your social networks like Google +, Facebook, Twitter, forums, targeted emails to your segmented audience groups. You get the idea. You may see opportunities to appropriately share your content when commenting in discussion forums as well. On this last point, be sure to do this respectfully and appropriately as you don’t want to come across as someone trying to hijack the conversation or you could get yourself flagged.
4) Consider a fresh, updated look. The bloggers that are actually doing well are the ones that know how to format their posts for humans. What I mean is simply that humans, as opposed to search engines, like a readable font style and size, like pictures and graphics related to the subject matter and “white space.” If your posts look and read like War and Peace, the reader may just move on.