Having a blog isn’t breaking news for banks and credit unions . Most financial institutions see the value in blogging and use blog content as a primary tool in their social media outreach efforts. However, the role of primary (often sole) blog writer typically falls to someone in the marketing department.
Central National Bank in Waco, Texas decided to take a different approach with their blog platform. Marketing Director Bryan Fonville went a little maverick during a senior management team meeting by suggesting fellow bank employees become regular contributors to the blog. While the idea may have been met with skepticism from some quarters, the bank CEO endorsed the idea and the rest is history.
“I’ve always felt that any social media platform, including blogs, should incorporate the personalities of that company and not be yet another typical boring voice,” said Fonville. “To be successful and connect with consumers, your blog must reflect the brand. This helps consumers feel like they are connecting with real people, not just a faceless corporate entity.”
The CNB blog solicits entries from a growing number of bank employees with diverse professional backgrounds. Blog entries are designed to be educational and, when appropriate, humorous. Fonville shares blog writers must follow two simple guidelines — blog entries cannot be blatant bank promotion messages and blog writers must incorporate their own personalities into entries.
“Initially, some writers felt a little uncomfortable producing content,” Fonville adds. “However, I work with them and encourage them to have fun, be informal and not be too uptight about the process. It’s a great feeling when someone contributes to the blog and later sees their name and story in print on the Internet. I’ve seen this really perk people up to be writers for the blog and some of even submitted additional entries without being asked.”
“In our executive team meetings I caution people not to toss out a story idea unless they are prepared to write about them,” Fonville said. “In our blog entries, we prefer the author be an expert on the topic for which they are writing, or at least have some sort of personal experience with it. In this way, more genuine stories to which readers can relate are produced.”
Fonville adds he has an active blog calendar and publishes a new entry every week. He also tracks page performance and how many incoming visitors to the blog originated from the social media posts they used to cross-promote it. He also includes some type of call to action option at the end of every story that readers can choose to follow. For example, in a recent entry about paying off credit card debt, the end of the story features a link for readers to learn more about personal lines of credit.
While Fonville’s approach to encouraging bank employees to become active blog contributors may be unusual, it’s an idea founded on a solid premise — that more financial institutions could accurately reflect their brand and corporate culture with unique and authentic voice