Lenders Guide to Content Marketing

Kim Collinsworth | June 3, 2021

In any industry, attracting new customers can be difficult. For example, did you know that 97% of potential loan applicants fail to complete their online forms? This could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe the application process was too time-consuming. Perhaps they realized what you’re offering wasn’t the right match. Or, more likely, they had questions but didn’t have the resources (live chat, FAQ page, blogs) they needed available to them, so they didn’t feel confident enough to hit submit.

According to a recent study, 41% of people prefer live chat over 32% of people who like phone support. With all the information readily available on the internet, if people have questions about your product or service, they’ll scan your website and check reviews to see if you can help them. If you don’t have answers to their questions, they’ll use your online chat, send you an email, or maybe, if you’re lucky, give you a call. But most of the time, if you don’t have the answer on your website, they’ll continue searching online for someone who does have the answer. Which means they leave your site and head over to your competitors. If they find the answers on your competitor’s website, their business may stay there.

A lot of individuals within companies can be hesitant when it comes to writing content. They may lack the writing and grammar skills, or maybe they lack the knowledge, or they might just not have the time. One way to overcome that is for ownership/management to set an example by leading the charge, and then set clear expectations for everyone to contribute. Another way is to simplify the writing process.

 

This guide is going to cover:

So, let’s jump into it.

What Should You Be Writing About?

  1. Take a second and brainstorm a list of questions you and your team get asked the most. The answers to those questions are the topics that you should be writing on. If a potential customer searches a question, you want your website and blog to be the thing that answers it, even if it’s a general industry question. 
  2. Your second-best bet is to write about ways to make your current and potential customer's business better and life easier. Any tips, tricks, and resources you can offer them are things that you should write about.

How to Make Writing Easier

Blogging Briefs

One of the easiest ways to simplify writing is to create a blogging brief/best practices. This way, there are clear expectations before you begin to write. Of course, blogging briefs will be different for everyone, but here’s a pretty adaptable example:

  • Title: SEO-based. Think... if someone googled a question, would your title match their question?
  • Objective: The goal is to answer the topic question in detail. What is it? Why is it important? How does it work? How do you implement it?
  • Length: 1000 words or more
  • Target Audience: Lenders
  • Controlled Vocabulary: Please refrain from using acronyms. Instead, use well-known industry terms. 

Title Examples:

Creating a Standard Outline

Creating a standard outline allows you to gather your information efficiently and effectively. In my outlines, I try to answer three questions: what is it, how it works, and why do customers choose to use it? After all those questions are answered, they can be turned into a blog, webpage, or email quickly.

Another great way to gather information is to have a product specialist create and record a training video. From there, you can make a blog or a video script. This way is fantastic because you're gathering information for marketing content (website pages, blogs, etc.) while simultaneously building up your training videos.

It's important to remember that your outline/rough draft will be rough. This first draft is about gathering accurate information. Your second draft is where you'll start to clarify your message and organize your content, so it flows.

How to Clarify Your Message

When it comes to clarifying your message, I like to abide by these four rules with any piece of content.

  1. Make it as clear and concise as possible. Eliminate any jargon, unnecessary stories/sentences. If they don't add to the main message, delete them.
  2. A good rule of thumb is, if your reader can't tell what the main message is after the first paragraph, try to rewrite or rearrange things. This is also important because Google pulls a lot from the first paragraph.
  3. Read it out loud. This will help with clarifying your message.
  4. Run the "beverage test." If a sentence is confusing or uses abstract language, ask yourself how you would explain the same idea to a friend over a beverage.

First Paragraph Example:

How to Make Your Content Easier to Read

When content is easy to read, the chances of a potential customer sticking around to read more are a lot higher. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of people can become hesitant about publishing content. They might think that their writing “skills” aren’t good enough or don’t know the best way to put their knowledge to paper. The key is, once you’ve written your outline, to apply these simple concepts. 

  • Your writing style should be similar to how you talk. It makes your content feel more personal and less robotic. It also helps make the information easier to digest and remember.
  • Keep sentences short, and stick to one topic per sentence.
  • Keep paragraphs between 1-4 sentences.
  • Utilize white space and bullet points. It will help people be able to skim the content. And, it's easier on the eyes.
  • If your blog is titled "5 Ways to Increase Loans," list those five things at the start of the blog. It will give readers a clear idea of what they're getting into and help you get the snippet on Google. Example.
  • If you can, add a video after your first paragraph. 

Resources

Once you have your topic, writing style, and information nailed down, using the Story Brand brand script or Brain Dean's How to Write a Blog Post: A Definitive Guide can be excellent tools to formulate the entire blog. 

My favorite resources to help improve your writing:

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, there are three parts to writing great content:

  1. Having a clear message 
  2. Organizing your content in a way that’s optimized for SEO 
  3. Make it easy for people to skim through your content

You don’t need to be Ernest Hemmingway to write great content. You just need to have a clear message, keep things simple, and let people know there’s a human behind the words they’re reading. I hope you find these tips helpful! 

Tags: Content Marketing

Kim Collinsworth | May 27, 2021

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