May 19, 2016 by Leave a comment

This article is part of a series put together by the Total Mortgage marketing team that provides loan officers and other sales professionals with a crash course in marketing and self-promotion. To read other articles in this series, click here.              

 

Launching a website with strong content is important to initial success. However, to maintain a high amount of traffic you’ll need to regularly update your site with fresh content. Whatever your medium (e.g. blogs, videos), without new content your site will inevitably get pushed into the back corner of the web. That’s because the algorithm that search engines use to determine what results show up first gives more weight to sites that are fresh and dynamic, as opposed to stale and static.

The following guide will teach you how to go about finding the best topics and optimal post times to help keep your website at the forefront of the web.

Choosing Topics

Killer content starts with a killer topic. You can write a mind-bending blog on adjustable mortgage rates in Amarillo, Texas, but if no one cares about that, it’s not going to perform well. You’ve got to tap into the minds of homebuyers and figure out what information would be most valuable to them. Remember, the best topics are based on questions that lots of people have, but that haven’t been answered before—or haven’t been answered well before. Here are a few tips to keep the ideas flowing.

Check out sites like Quora and Reddit

These two sites get lots of traffic and lots of curious users. Questions are posted periodically and typically have a high amount of engagement. It’s an easy way to check in and see what prospective homebuyers are thinking. You can search for whatever mortgage/home-buying topic you want at Quora, and Reddit has a subreddit dedicated to mortgages.

Google Autocomplete

Google likes to try and figure out what you’re going to type. As a user, it can be both helpful and annoying. As a marketer, it provides a glimpse into the inner-workings of potential clients. If a phrase is popping up in autocorrect, that means a lot of people want to know about it. That provides a great opportunity for you to answer a question or provide information for a large audience. You can type anything into google, but starting your phrase with who/what/when/where/why/how often yields the best results.

google autocorrect marketing

Google Keyword Tool       

Google AdWords has a keyword planner tool that can be useful when trying to choose a topic. You can get search volume data and trends, new keywords using a phrase, website, or category, and enter keyword lists to get new keywords. Search volume data is helpful when you’re unsure if there is enough interest in a given topic to warrant a post about it.

Think about your interactions with borrowers or referral partners

Keeping your ears open and paying attention to what borrowers want is another way to come up with topics. If you are consistently getting asked the same question, there’s a good chance a post about it will perform well.

On the other end of the spectrum, remember the quirky questions that you’ve only gotten asked once or twice. They might not have high search volume, but they’re interesting enough to capture the attention of a borrower and show that you can handle anything.

Read the comments

If you carefully read the comments sections on other mortgage/home related websites, you might stumble across some ideas for your own post. You may not find a gem of a topic every time you do it, but if you make a habit of checking, eventually it will pay off.

Add to a conversation

Sometimes, you don’t have to have the original spark—you just have to make something better. For instance, maybe there’s a question that someone has written a blog about, but you feel you have something to add to the conversation. As long as you aren’t just rehashing the other post, there’s no shame in piggybacking off of someone else’s high-performing content.

Work with your expertise

Another way to start brainstorming ideas is to work with your expertise. Writing about things that you have an extensive knowledge on a) cuts down on time because you don’t have to do as much research—if any, and b) makes it easier to dig deeper into a topic and fully answer questions. Naturally, your success with this approach is greatly influenced by the demand for your given topic.

Sometimes, you get lucky and a topic will jump out at you and other times it takes some serious digging before you strike gold. Either way, the type of content will fall into one of two categories.

Evergreen Topics

“’Cause, honey, your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen.”

Ed Sheeran might not have been thinking about awe-inspiring website content when he wrote those lyrics, but he sure could have been. When we say something is evergreen , we mean it’s going to stand the test of time. With website content, that means that the information in your post will always be useful to whoever is viewing it. It’s not some flash-in-the-pan post that will be irrelevant in a month. There are times where short-lived content is acceptable, or even preferable, but those situations depend heavily on perfect timing.

In a world where 2,000,000 blog posts are written every day, the idea of creating evergreen content might sound like a pipe-dream, but rest assured—evergreen content does indeed exist in reality. Naturally, some serious elbow grease will almost definitely have to be applied in order to make it happen, but that just makes the end product that much more rewarding.

When you look at what kind of content has done well over a long stretch of time, a few things should pop out at you.

  1. Details reign supreme                      

There is a lot of fluff out there on the internet, so unless you happen to land on a gold-mine of a topic, you’re virtually guaranteed to have to get down to the nitty-gritty in your post. That means data. Hard numbers are always welcome and can do a lot to bolster the impact on your readers. It’s one thing to throw some words around, but if you can back them up with concrete facts, you’re more likely to win the reader over.

  1. They are optimized with strong keywords                         

Keywords are what search engines use to bring up results. Think about what you type into Google. The more something gets searched for, the more likely it is that those pages that come up in the search will get traffic. While evergreen content doesn’t necessarily get massive traffic (although it definitely could), it always gets consistent traffic. All you have to do is set the ball in motion and the traffic train will chug along indefinitely.

There are many different ways to optimize your content with strong keywords—including optimizing the title tags, meta descriptions, and body copy. All these methods can be time-consuming and exhausting. Our marketing team has done this for years, and lends our expertise to all our loan officers so they don’t have to sweat the small stuff.

Trending Topics

Trending topics can be a good way to supplement the evergreen content on your site. Think of them like shooting starts—they burn brightly but fizzle out fairly quickly. It’s fine to take advantage of their trendy nature here and there, but it’s definitely not the best strategy to have them as your main source of content.

Trending topics are easier to spot because they’re in the news and everyone is talking about them, but for those who want to make sure they don’t miss out on anything, there are a few places to check out.

Google Trends

  • Google Trends allows you to see what topics have the most search volume at any given time period. The homepage displays trending topics in the past 24 hours. Mortgage industry news isn’t usually trending on the front page, but it’s worth checking out every now and then to see if there’s an angle you can take on a seemingly non-related trending topic.

Reddit

  • As mentioned previously, Reddit isn’t just that place on the internet where memes are created and destroyed. It’s a treasure trove of information, with subreddits for nearly every topic imaginable, including mortgages. With its upvote system, it’s also a great place to check watch for trending topics.

Social Media Hashtags and Trending Topics

  • Twitter and Facebook both make it easy to observe trending topics. With Twitter, the top trending hashtags are always on the left-hand side of the platform. With Facebook, the top trends are on the right-hand side of the page. They are constantly being updated are a great way to check the pulse of the online world.

They key with trending topics is to jump on the bandwagon early so you take advantage of as much time in the spotlight as possible. You’ll also be competing with everyone else who’s trying to use the topic to their advantage, so having a creative angle will help you stand out.

Once you’ve picked out juicy topics and created fresh new content out of them, you’ll want to figure out when the best time to post them will be.

Posting Schedule

You might think that if your content is amazing enough, it will gain traction no matter when you post it. That might be true, but it’s not just about gaining traction—it’s about getting the most traction out of your content. After all, you put a lot of hard work into the creative process, so there’s no point in losing out on pageviews, comments, and conversions all because you posted at the wrong time. So when you’re thinking about when to post, consider the following:

Pasted image at 2016_05_19 01_30 PM

Posts that are published on Monday at 11am get the most traffic

It’s the new week and for some reason, everyone wants to surf the web. Maybe they’re trying to tackle their to-do list, maybe they’re trying to put it off—whatever the case is, they’re searching out content on the internet.

Posts published on non-popular hours get the most social engagement and shares

If your main goal is to get a lot of comments and shares on your social media platforms, then don’t post when everyone else is. It’s simple; posting during peak hours means that you’re competing against a massive amount of content. The result is that fewer people will see your stuff, and even fewer will engage with it.

The morning is best for most pageviews

Looking to straight up increase your pageviews? Post in the morning. Morning people are awake and highly caffeinated, meaning they’re ready to click and read and click and read until the central nervous stimulant wears off.

In the end, the only way to discover what is true for your website is to experiment with several different posting schedules. Case studies can point you in the right direction, and their advice might hold true for your site and content, but you’ll never know for sure if you don’t mix it up.

Be consistent

Consistency is important. No matter what your posting schedule looks like, you have to stick to it. It might seem challenging at first, but posting in a consistent manner is one of the top ways to increase traffic in the long-term. That means it’s important to set realistic goals. There’s no point in trying to commit to producing a blog or video three times a week if you’re going to run out of ideas in a month. Also, making the work manageable will keep your motivation up and make it easier to post in a consistent manner.

The bottom line

There’s a reason the phrase “Content is King” has been repeated millions of times across the internet. With the right topics and the proper posting schedule, your website should be able to avoid slipping into the darkness of the forgotten web.

Want more? You can learn more about what the Total Mortgage marketing team does for our loan officers by checking out other articles in this series, or by visiting our career portal.

Carter Wessman is originally from the charming town of Norfolk, Massachusetts. When he isn’t busy writing about mortgage related topics, you can find him playing table tennis, or jamming on his bass guitar.


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