Why the Heck are we Blogging?

I’ve been involved with credit unions for a very long time, and during my tenure one of the most suprising things I think that I’ve seen is the attention that our blog is receiving.

CU industry people that I’ve known for years-have popped up within the last two months and said, I read your blog, I like your blog, yadda, yadda, yadda. But the question that I seem to get most is why the heck are we blogging? What’s in it for our members?

Well, I’ll tell you my theory. Blogging is a very inexpensive way to promote two-way communication with our members.  We always say, we’re delivering personalized banking solutions to everyone in Licking County. But in my opinion you have to do MORE than just say it, you have to walk the talk.

We want to have open communication with our members, whether it’s reaching out to the community, sharing information about an upcoming event or just those burning or even  simple, financial questions that you would like to find answers to-this is just another avenue where you can reach out and talk with myself or any members on our staff. The good, the great and yes, even the ugly. Can you do that with your current financial institution? Will they really take the time to talk with you one on one? Of course, we can’t get too personal, this is the internet. And before long, you end up on YouTube. Ah-the joy of fast-paced mediums.

Getting back to my point, we’re really not trying to be hip, we don’t have a myspace or facebook page, or any kind of avatar, but what we do have is the willingness to have a conversation with you about your financial future, thoughts, you name it. It’s what we do, deliver personalized banking solutions.

And by the way, blogging does have power! We have received more than 60 cell phones so far, but we still have a week to go-so dig deep people. Check your drawers and closets for those old cell phones and help out a great cause. We really appreciate the support and so will the local victims of domestic violence in Licking County.

Just some of my thoughts-

Al 

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6 Responses

  1. IMO, blogging is still one of those mediums that hasn’t quite been accepted by everyone. Some see it as a fad, others as a unique, growing marketing tool. The simple fact is, just like you said, blogging is about communicating and engaging with your audience.

    I think blogging fits into the CU industry perfectly because the mindset of the CUs is that they are more personable and in touch with their members. CUs will spend the time to talk to you and answer questions you have instead of just directing you to the 24-hour 800-line.

    So, for all of the members of Hopewell FCU out there reading Al’s posts everyday, feel free to chime in and offer your comments. That’s what this thing is all about!

  2. Blogging is a loaded term, and is used (unfairly) to label a whole category of new media. The word ‘blog’ seems to trigger controversy and skepticism in many business situations. Those who fight the idea of blogging probably do so because they associate ‘blogs’ with “highly-opinionated rants” published by less-than-credible sources.

    Perhaps it’s better to view tools like WordPress as “Content Publishing Systems” rather than blogs. If you have something you’d like to share or publish, a tool like WordPress is perfect — whether that’s news, press releases, poetry, opinions, etc.

    We’re toying with using one as an internal source of news and information for our employees. I suppose you could call it a blog, since it would be published using blog software. But it isn’t really a blog. It’s “an interactive online employee newsletter.”

  3. Al – I love your take on this! I commend you for opening yourself up to open dialogue with your members and community.

    I think a lot of credit unions that contemplate starting a blog focus too much on what they’ll have to say … it’s really about what your members have to say.

  4. Does your credit union have a live online chat feature? If so, how does it compare to a blog? What benefits does a blog offer that a member can’t get through live chats and the credit union’s website?

  5. Hi Sherry,

    Thank you for your question. Live chats are great, they’re a wonderful way to extend the conversation on topics that we talk about. At this point, I’m fairly skeptical about adding them to our blog. I’m not sure that it would benefit our conversations on the blog, as we are not actively promoting products weekly, we may talk about promotions from time to time, but the information is still available on our website.

    Our blog is still fairly new, and as in the case of most blogs, while we’ve had great activity or hits, we’ve not had nearly enough traffic to necessitate a live chat. Most live chats at this point aren’t stored either, so it’s hard to find a permanent record of the conversation or topic in the search results as well. As opposed to a blog, where posts are done automatically, can be viewed chronologically and readers can post their comments or track back what’s been said, just as you have done with your question.

    I think live chats make more sense on a website where a member needs help to bridge the customer service gap that exists between online “shopping” questions about rates or product and service questions between the member and their financial institution. We offer that capability with our e-mail address info@hopewellfcu.org and respond quickly to each question we receive during business hours and immediately the next business day, when we receive questions overnight.

    We also completely overhauled our website in July and have received wonderful feedback about it being more user-friendly. We’d love to make the addition of Live Chats available to our site and have looked to implement them in the future.

    As for the benefits that our blog offers members, that they can’t get through live chats and the credit union’s website, that’s easy. Our blog was created to be a resource to turn to for financial advice. Sure, I can offer my advice, or opinion, I don’t claim to have all the answers. But after interacting with many members and non-members at events in the community, we realized that when it comes to money, it’s a tough subject to tackle.

    Some folks may be too embarrassed to ask questions. Sometimes they don’t know how to structure them, sometimes their work day is just too busy, and more often, they need general advice about how to get out of debt or dealing with mortgages or credit crunches. We so often hear from our members about how to consolidate debt, where do they start? Or some folks at other financial institutions, won’t talk to them at all. Through the blog, you don’t have to be a member to ask a question, and hopefully myself, or one of our dedicated team members can help point you in the right direction with their advice. When people don’t know where to turn to for financial advice, I think it’s comforting to know that there is a resource that folks can turn to.

    I hope that helps answer your questions.
    -Al

  6. Al –
    Thanks for your response. I was not implying that you add a live chat to your blog. 🙂

    We have a link for Live Chat within our website that members and non-members alike can use at anytime. When we are not here, we receive an email which we resond to immediately on the next business day.

    We currently do not have a blog. I was wondering how a blog would benefit us, when we already have Live Chat, e-mail, FAQs (via our website), and the website itself.

    After reading your response, I do see where people other than our staff can communicate with eachother through our site using a blog. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it is different.
    Thanks again!

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