Most financial advisors probably don’t consider themselves writers, but maintaining a blog is probably one of the best online marketing moves they can make. In addition to building up website traffic, writing blog posts on a regular schedule can bolster an advisor’s social media presence and establish them as a thought leader.

The problem is that building a blog is no longer as easy as setting up an account at Blogger and pressing the publish button.

Here are some of the benefits of blogging and how financial advisors can launch their blog to maximize the number of inbound leads they receive. (For related reading, see: 5 Must-Read Blogs for Financial Advisors.

Blogging Benefits

The most obvious benefit of blogging is that it increases website traffic as blog posts are indexed by search engines. For example, a blog post titled “Do I owe taxes on an inherited IRA?” may rank well for search queries like “taxes on inherited IRAs” or different variations of these terms. Only a handful of people may click through each month, but this traffic can quickly add up over time as more blog posts are published.

Blogging can also help enhance an advisor’s social media presence. Re-posting other people’s content is a great way to engage an existing audience, but people re-sharing their content really helps attract new followers and drive potential leads. The benefits of a strong social media presence compound over time, since there’s more exposure for each new piece of content, which increases the chances of it being shared with greater numbers of individuals.

Finally, blogging can help establish an advisor as an authority or thought leader. A potential client that comes across a blog several times when searching for advice over time will eventually associate the advisor with being quite knowledgeable. Maintaining a popular blog also provides leverage for securing speaking engagements, provides content that can be used in a published book, and helps set the stage for other high-value activities. (For related reading, see: How Financial Advisors Are Leveraging Social Media.)

How to Do It Right

Financial advisors can maintain the most popular blog in their niche, but that doesn’t mean that the traffic is converting into valuable leads.

The first step is focusing on the right topic. Many people might be searching for “how to open an IRA,” but the sheer number of people already talking about the topic means that an advisor probably won’t rank very highly. A better approach is to blog about lesser-known topics that focus on their personal areas of strength, such as “what happens to a spouse’s IRA when they pass away?” and then ranking highly on a less-trafficked search term.

The second step is optimizing a blog to become a lead generation tool. Often this means hiring a web developer to create a custom blog rather than using or Blogger. These custom designs can include lead generation tools like hated but effective pop-overs or forms at the bottom of each blog post to subscribe or learn more. Advisors may also want to create compelling offers to give away in exchange for an e-mail address.

The final step is to expand distribution as wide as possible. In today’s world, this means guest blogging on popular blogs (and linking back to one’s own blog), sharing content across multiple social media channels, and mentioning a blog in physical venues like conferences. More people sharing an advisor’s content will help drive near-term traffic and increase the odds of Google assigning a higher rank to each blog post. (For related reading, see: How Advisors Can Carve Out a Social Media Niche.)

The Bottom Line

Some financial advisors may not be the best writers, but sharing information through blogging is a highly effective form of marketing. The key to success is writing the right kind of content, posting it on a lead generation-focused blog, and then syndicating the content to as many people as possible. Doing so can help advisors increase traffic to their website, gain more traction on social media, and ultimately become perceived as a thought leader. (For related reading, see: Social Media 'Don'ts' for Financial Advisors.)