How Blogs Can be an Essential Reverse Mortgage Marketing Tool

For reverse mortgage professionals looking to promote their services in an increasingly digital world, blogging is a natural step. While publishing content online about HECMs can be useful in a multitude of ways—from building credibility to refuting misinformation—experienced reverse bloggers say a successful blog requires a good deal of thought and a sharp eye on compliance.

Dan Hultquist, director of learning and development at ReverseVision, launched his blog, understandingreverse.com, three years ago. What first began as a means to promote his book of the same title turned into a forum where he can expand upon topics not covered in the book and publish info for LOs in training.

Hultquist says having a place to publish reverse-related content has been useful in his work. “It’s a way for me to address guidelines, compliance issues or questions that are coming in. And if somebody says, ‘Hey, Dan, can you tell me a little bit about the nonrecourse feature?’ Well, I wrote a blog on it, so I’ll send them the link. It’s easier to do that than to sit down and train someone.”

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George Downey, founder of Boston-based Harbor Mortgage Solutions, started blogging just six months ago to enhance his marketing efforts.

“We always had a website, but I would describe it as a billboard—we didn’t do anything with it and it didn’t do anything for us.”

Downey says his blog is a way to make his site more dynamic and engage visitors.

“You can’t just put up a website and expect people to contact you. You have to draw them in, and to draw them in you have to stay abreast of what’s going on. You’ve got to be reading and looking for timely topics, and writing and presenting the information in a thoughtful manner,” he says. “It’s inbound lead generation. That’s the key. Getting people to come to you instead of going out and interrupting their lives to push your message on them.”

Beth Paterson, a reverse mortgage specialist with Reverse Mortgage SIDAC, launched her blog in 2009 to take a stand against legislation in her state of Minnesota that was anti-HECM and had garnered the support of AARP.

“My first blog was titled, ‘AARP Has It Wrong About Reverse Mortgages,’” she says. “And that led to trying to get the facts out there and sharing stories of people who have done a reverse mortgage, because it’s a way of combatting the media.”

Hultquist says he also posts content combatting misinformation in the press.

“Recently, an article came out stating that you should use the loan as a last resort. You still see that from time to time, and I thought, let’s compare that with what happens when you wait—there’s a lot of risk associated with waiting to get a reverse mortgage—so I wrote about it on the blog,” he says. “I have a passion for getting correct information out there about reverse mortgages.”

For aspiring reverse mortgage bloggers, Downey says focusing on education instead of sales is key.

“Think like a thought leader and write like a journalist,” he says. “It’s not a salesy type of thing. To be effective, you want to become known and respected as a valuable provider of information.”

Paterson says this is her approach. “When you provide the information, they look at you as the expert, and then they will call you,” she says. “It’s visibility plus credibility.”

She suggests writing about real-life success stories. “If you’re struggling with what to write about, share a story of a borrower—this is a borrower I just worked with, this is their situation, and this is how a reverse mortgage helped them. Or take one myth and address that.”

Downey says it’s important to know the basics of search engine optimization. “You need to have an understanding of key words and include these in your writings, so search engines can pick up on that.”

He also says bloggers should market their posts. “You’ve got to be plugged into social media so the word gets distributed. What you’re looking to do is to get the messaging out to great numbers of people, so LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites are all venues to distribute your messaging.”

Hultquist says that in order to blog about this product, you’ve got to know your stuff.

“I don’t encourage a lot of people to write a blog unless they have extensive experience in the industry. The vast majority of loan officers who want to blog don’t understand some of the finer compliance issues. So now it becomes a risk to their employer or to themselves, and the CFPB reads this stuff, so we need to be very careful.”

Hultquist suggests HECM bloggers read up on advertising regulations. “If you decide to blog about reverse mortgages, the first thing you need to do is read the CFPB’s comments on advertising that came out in 2015. I would read that from front to back and memorize it.”

“When it comes to blogging, there is a risk, and you’ve got to make sure that your employer feels comfortable and that you feel comfortable with what you’re putting out there.”

Written by Jessica Guerin

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  • I have had my blog for years, so long that I can’t recall when I started it but probably about 10 years ago.

    I try to keep it informative and lately I have been posting stories about some of my clients I have had over the years and why they applied for a reverse mortgage.

    if all you share is nothing but technical and regulatory stories, your audience will be quickly bored and it’s important to make it not only informative but interesting as well.

    Sometimes i ask others who are in different industries but related to the senior community to provide me with an article that I can post on my site ( Saving me the time to write something new), that not only gives me pertinent information but provides a Back Link to its author and benefits their business, too.

    If you want your blog to be effective, it’s important to not only know your material, but to post at the least two times a week, which I myself find challenging with my schedule.

    But it’s important that one do so and to be sure that you have relevant “key words” to have the Search Engines find you when someone does a “search” for reverse loans.

    Recently I have returned to posting videos once again and also to YouTube.

    But whether its an actual written post or a video, keep it short. No one is going to listen to a 5 minute video or read much beyond 500 words in a post.

    Although I am guilty of writing some long ones myself. But what you can do, is to break up a particularly long post, into several shorter ones and schedule them to post throughout a week.

    Lorraine Jones
    NMLS ID 229025
    http://reverseloanconsultant.com

      • Gee, I just saw this question. Well, about 10 transactions a year, quite a few inquiries, but too often they lack equity.

        Blogging isn’t necessarily going to result in more business, plus you have to be consistent in posting regularly ( that I myself fail at doing), however I feel the value is to build your reputation, but “boots on the ground ” meeting other professionals remains the best method for new business.

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