Creating a blog people want to read: 5 tips for credit unions
So your credit union has a blog. Great! But . . . is anybody reading it?
We all know blogs are supposed to be good for business — when you continually create industry-specific content, your site will appear higher in search results and more external websites will link to yours, which means more prospective members find your website.
That said, blogging is time consuming. Even bad blog posts take time to compose and publish. To maximize your ROI, why not create a blog that people actually want to read? Don’t waste your time on dull company updates, overzealous self-promotion, or generic financial advice that anyone can find on Google.
Here are five tips to help you craft a unique, useful, relevant blog that will get your readers talking:
Tip #1: Provide a unique angle on a subject that everyone is already talking about
Pay attention to stories trending in the news and see if there’s a way you can incorporate your own unique perspective. Commonly known as “newsjacking,” this practice keeps your blog relevant and draws readers in simply because you’re addressing what’s already on their minds.
To be clear, this is not about exploiting tragedies to get more traffic to your blog or to push a thinly veiled promotion. It’s about offering an angle on a topic that might help ease your members’ top-of-mind frustrations or concerns. See Ellevest’s Managing Your Financial Health During Coronavirus post for a timely example.
Tip #2: Offer useful, specialized information
Everyone would like to take more control over their finances, but finances can be scary. They are full of cryptic percentages, obscure acronyms, and dense jargon that sometimes only vaguely resembles English.
How can your blog help put your members in the driver’s seat?
Here’s a great example from Simple Bank that not only provides helpful tips for getting out debt, but does so in a way that’s both personal and specific. It tells a story from one its clients and walks the reader through the steps he took—using Simple’s online tools—to eventually conquer $24,000 of debt.
Tip #3: Make ‘em laugh. (Or cry. Or say, WOW.)
People respond to content that spurs an emotional reaction. Do your blog posts read like press releases? Do they lack flair? Most company blogs succeed only in putting their readers to sleep. How can you not only wake your readers up, but also give them something to chuckle about?
Tapping into human emotion isn’t as daunting as it might seem. Tap into your own community for inspiration. What are the top five most bizarre questions your tellers have been asked? The three most interesting projects funded by your loans? 10 questions your CEO would ask if s/he were stuck in an elevator with the CEO of Goldman Sachs?
Or, you can follow the CDC’s lead and prepare your readers for the zombie apocalypse. Alas, if the CDC had prepared us as thoroughly for the coronavirus, we might have more to laugh about now.
Tip #4: Give your members a peek under the hood
Everyone appreciates a behind-the-scenes look at the companies with which they interact. It helps your clients feel connected to the real people who are handling their finances.
Sure, you can post occasional staff profiles, but why not get a little creative and capture the quirks and idiosyncrasies of your office culture and team? Photos and video are great media for personalizing your business. Linn Area Credit Union’s video, “Pie Meets Face,” is a great example.
Tip #5: Connect your members to their credit union community
Your blog is an opportunity to personalize both your business and your broader community. Storytelling is a popular buzzword these days, but that doesn’t mean all stories are interesting; at its core, a story requires a narrative arc that includes a seemingly insurmountable challenge and a journey that leads to its resolution.
How do you find the best stories from your community? Ask for them! Give your members a forum, whether via email, social media, or an online form, to share the financial hurdles they’ve faced and the steps they took to overcome them.
Montana-based Clearwater Credit Union demonstrates impact by sharing member stories, often including videos, like this one about a business member with a goal of a zero-waste Missoula by 2050.
You’re not competing with Forbes. Use your company blog to own your little corner of the internet. Shelve the PR talk and the marketing lingo. Inspire your readers to share your posts and keep them coming back, simply by being authentic, useful, personal, and maybe even funny.
The best way to generate leads and promote your products through your blog? Stop thinking about your blog as a mechanism for generating leads or promoting your products. Start thinking about zombies instead.