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Practice Management

The employees of your firm should be the suppliers of your blog's content.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).

More than ever before, it's important for brands to build a strong online voice through social media channels and content creation. Yet firms often stumble when it comes to blogging simply because they lack the material. Little do they know, they already possess a team of qualified resources to help power an editorial calendar.

Look around at the people within your organization—the marketers, product managers and management team. Why did you choose to hire them? Because they are the best of the best. The employees helping with your firm's success on a daily basis are some of the biggest assets within your organization.

Perhaps you've heard the expression that "we are all marketers," and when it comes to forming a company blog, this is absolutely true. The employees in various departments of your firm should be the suppliers of your blog's content. After all, they know your products, services and customers and are closest to industry trends.

Consider challenging your employees by inviting them to step out of their comfort zone and try their hand at blogging. But remember, no one becomes a blogger overnight.

Before anyone represents your firm online, they need to understand why a blog is important to your organization, what the goals are that you wish to achieve, and the do's and don'ts for contributing. Here are the three steps needed to make sure your bloggers succeed:

1. Establish the Support System
It"s important to lay out the plan and expectations ahead of time because new writers are often nervous about expressing their expertise and opinions on a company blog.

When reaching out for bloggers, start by explaining the details—how often they are to contribute articles, what topics should they cover and what the best practices are for developing ideas. Provide a template that outlines the blogging process and helps your new writers understand the basics to forming an effective blog post.

More importantly, content creators, especially newbies, will need the support system of your marketing team. When building your team of bloggers, it is crucial that an open dialogue be established immediately. Once that open relationship is made, it's easy (and not as intimidating) to bounce ideas off one another, edit each other's work and make suggestions for improvement that come across as positive rather than threatening.

2. Listen to Connect with Company Culture
Though the people within your organization are the experts when it comes to your products and services, they need to become experts in what's happening online. Before anyone contributes articles to your blog—even those with years of experience—it is crucial that they take the time to listen to what is being said online.

Whether its questions customers are asking, what your firm is sharing on its social media channels or remarks from peers and thought leaders, taking the time to research the conversations already taking place will strengthen the quality of your in-house bloggers. Becoming acquainted with the practice's online voice, the audience being engaged and the current priorities your clients are facing will ultimately make those individuals even greater assets because they will be fully briefed before they write that first post.

3. Encourage and Appreciate Your Bloggers
With the creation of a blogging network comes a constant flow of new, insightful content through which your organization can establish thought leadership and strengthen its online voice.

In order to keep the ball rolling, remember to share in the successes. Career development should be a top priority for every firm and encouraging employees to share their ideas and enabling them to become thought leaders is a true triumph. Whether it's a handwritten note, recognition at the quarterly staff meeting or their favorite drink from Starbucks, take the time to say thanks. After all, these bloggers are not only assets, but also the people who are humanizing your brand in the digital space.

4. Engage a Professional Writer/Editor
Finally, ensuring your new blogging team knows they have the support and encouragement of an experienced editor and/or writer, will allow them to focus on contributing their expertise, not stressing over form and structure.

Caitlin Zucal is a marketing coordinator for RegEd.


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