At Lone Beacon, we’re always questioning our best practices to make them better, keeping up with innovations, and analyzing data to do so. We know “content is king,” so we decided to take a close look at what elements make content effective. We write regular blogs on various financial and retirement topics, and one is featured in our clients’ weekly eBlasts. Since on average, the weekly blog content garners 68% of the clicks on the email, we wanted to figure out how to optimize that content. In order to do this, we used our D.A.L.A process – Data, Analysis, Learn, Action.
First, we collected the data.
We went through a labor-intensive process to collect data on what number and percentage of clients and prospects clicked on blogs for each of our advisors. Our email marketing specialist held a meeting to present these findings to all team members involved in the blog writing and editing process. This included detailed looks at how each blog performed across all client eBlasts in Q3, as well as which blogs were most successful for each client.
Second, we analyzed the data.
We found that blogs about Social Security tended to do well, as did ones related to market volatility and current events like the trade war. Some particularly successful ones were entitled “A Social Security Claiming Strategy to Be Eliminated,” “Dealing with Market Volatility in Retirement,” “Taxes Can be a Burden,” and “Look Out for These Social Security Scams.”
Third, we learned from the data
We realized that blogs that did well conveyed a sense of urgency or warned of a potential pitfall, usually related to market volatility, tax burdens, and Social Security problems. And beyond specific topics, successful blogs tended to have headlines that presented concrete statements while less successful ones had general titles. For example, the content of a blog entitled “Are You Taking the Right Steps” which talked about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, might have interested clients and prospects, but its relaxed, unspecific title might have caused it to have the lowest percentage of clicks. Our email marketing specialist then paired each insight with a recommendation for how make improvements.
And last, we took action.
Since our data collection and analysis focused on clicks to the blogs, we focused on titles and topics rather than the details of the content. One challenge to this is writing a title that is an attention grabbing specific statement, and that is also a phrase that can be easily incorporated into a sentence in another blog for SEO purposes. Before the study, we focused mostly on the latter, since we link to at least one other blog by name as part of our premium SEO package. Now we balance this need with the need for short, skimmable titles that stand out enough to draw in readers.
We utilized the data to further develop our content calendar to overcome tight turn-around times and capitalize on important financial deadlines and topics related to holidays. Working ahead also allows us to spend more time researching trending topics.
Although tone is more of a qualitative than quantitative element, our data analysis gave us insight into what draws readers in and what the 50+ demographic is concerned with – avoiding pitfalls before and in retirement. We now know the importance of highlighting how an advisor can not only help someone take advantage of opportunities, but also avoid roadblocks and setbacks.
This study was both a good way for us to improve our content, and to also build out our process for how we go about making improvements across the board using the data available to us. To find out about more of our improvements and innovations, contact us or check out our blogs!