As advisors scramble to make an impression on prospective clients, one valuable tool is becoming increasingly apparent – blogging.

“[A successful financial blog] helps advisors build trust with clients and prospective clients by providing an open means of communication,” said Brent Carduff, principal of Echelon Business Solutions. “It is also cheaper than traditional means of marketing and can increase traffic and leads.”

In a webinar moderated by Carduff on Wednesday, Actiance, a company that helps organizations maximize their presence and message in social media within regulatory boundaries, delivered a panel discussing key ingredients of a successful blogging strategy. 

“People tend to work with people they like and trust,” said panelist Marie Swift, principal at Impact Communications. “A blog lets you reach clients with a more personal tone, and it can give your business a casual feel, like going to a business cocktail event.”

On the blog “Good Financial Cents,” the top ranked financial services blog according to ratings of the three webinar panelists, content is produced continuously, and in a fresh voice. Yet a personal touch is also balanced with the professional side.

“It’s all about content. When I look at a blog, I always ask myself, ‘Is there something I can learn from you?’” said panelist April Rudin, principal of The Rudin Group. “A good blog creates value in the mind of the readers.”

But content can be a double-edged sword, and producing it on a consistent basis is often the most common pitfall for many first-time bloggers.

“Initially there’s that enthusiasm about adding content,” panelist Victor Gaxiola, social media expert for Actiance, told Financial Planning Magazine. “But they may not immediately get the attraction they want, and as a result they stop or don’t post as frequently.”

All the panelists agreed that while successful blogging is a long term play, it can easily be managed by setting up an editorial calendar. Perhaps not so easy for financial planners is jumping through the regulatory hoops set up by the SEC and FINRA regarding how financial information is presented on blogs.

“While resistance to the blogging platform is a valid concern, it should not be an impediment to progressing in that space,” Gaxiola said. “There is the need to go into social media because it’s becoming the preferred medium for clients.”

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