Writing a strong blog post for a financial services firm is not always straightforward. Not only do you have your audience and also your compliance department to consider. You also need to make sure that your content speaks to Google powerfully, helping your website climb the search engine rankings.
Here at CreativeAdviser, we specialise in copywriting for financial services – so we have a few ideas to assist you with your content marketing efforts. We offer our thoughts below to inspire and give you food for thought. Please get in touch if you require assistance with your content marketing project.
It would be easy to tell you to “just start writing” – but you need to focus these efforts on a topic. Here, your choice will likely be as important as the content itself. After all, you could write the most compelling article in the world, but it will likely land poorly if you choose a boring or unappealing topic.
There are many ways to generate ideas for your topic. Here are just a few to get you started:
- Newspapers. Check out the “Money” sections of some of the main UK papers. What are they talking about? Remember, they have immense internal resources and data to draw upon, which helps them narrow on the topics which their readers are most likely to engage with. Don’t copy their headline or copy, but use this as inspiration to help guide your content calendar!
- Google Trends. Use this service to research different topics pertinent to your financial services area, and see how they’ve been trending over time. For instance, we just used it to search for “coronavirus pensions” and saw a spike around March 2020. Fancy that!
- Page engagement metrics. Take a look at the behaviour of your website visitors over the past 6-12 months. Are there any blog posts which have been particularly popular? If so, could that suggest that your readers want to hear more from you on this subject?
- Personal factors. Are there any topics which you are highly interested in and can speak authoritatively on? Do you have a unique perspective to offer on a previously-covered subject?
Of course, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the search engines if you’re looking to use your blog post to help your SEO (search engine optimisation). Here, it can help to use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to find promising search terms used by your audience, and then target those with your content. If you can produce something high-quality and better than the competition, then you might have a good chance of getting your post in the prominent spots in Google Search in the future.
Briefly Outline. Then Start Writing
Once you’ve identified your topic and headline, you’ll need to sketch out the progression of your blog post. For instance, if you’re writing a 1,000-word blog post (like this one) then it can help to divide your planned content into different sections. This helps to break up the text, join up your thinking and enable a better flow throughout the copy.
For instance, suppose you are thinking about writing a 1,00-word blog post on whether 2021 will see a big rise in UK inflation. Your outline could look something like this:
- Brief compliance disclosure at the top.
- Introduction (150 words).
- Point 1 (200 words): an overview of inflation in 2020.
- Point 2 (200 words): prospects for higher inflation in 2021.
- Point 3 (200 words): implications for a financial plan.
One of the neat aspects of this approach is that you could even target each of your sub-headings at different questions you’ve seen your audience ask in Google (see the “People Also Ask” section)! Who knows, maybe your answer will be picked up by Google and placed in the “Featured Snippet” – putting your blog post at the very top of the search results!
Once you’ve got your outline, it’s time to start writing. Don’t agonise over the first line – you can always come back and change it. Try not to concern yourself too much with spelling, grammar and technical accuracy on the first round of writing, either. The important thing is to get your thoughts down on the page. You can return to the copy later with a fresh mind to refine it.
Add SEO Features
Congratulations! You’ve finished your copy for the blog post and even reviewed it a few times. Now, it’s time to add some of the final touches which will help the content hit as hard as possible in the search engines. Here are some ideas:
- Mark up any images in the blog post with appropriate alt text. This helps Google to identify what is contained in your pictures when it “reads” your post following publication. It also allows visually-impaired people to identify the content of the image.
- Include any relevant internal links to other content on your website which will add value to the reader.
- Include external links to authoritative sources that reinforce your points. Tip: consider keeping the link text small, as this shows to Google that you’re linking out (which they like) but it also makes it less likely that the reader will click and leave your website.
- Check the keyword density in your article. Have you used the target search phrase appropriately? Perhaps you have not referred to the central topic enough – or maybe you’ve stuffed it in, unnaturally? Be careful to use the right balance here.
- Check the copy to make sure it’s on point, high-quality and useful. Remember, it’s better for SEO to write 1,000 of excellent copy than 2,000 words of content which does not answer the reader’s question.