Verity CU <veritycu.com>, a large Seattle-based credit union with a field of membership spanning the entire state, has been operating a public blog using Google's Blogger since December 2004 (click on inset for closeup), making it perhaps the oldest-running financial institution blog (let me know if you have one that started prior to Dec. 13, 2004).
Fourteen contributers are listed, more than 10% of the 105-person employee base. Each author has a profile posted online, making it a great way for members to get a better understanding of the behind-the-scenes activity.
Posting activity varies. In recent months, we've seen four or five lengthy entries. This month, there are 17 articles so far. Subject matter varies from the personal ("My trip to the dentist") to more salesy stuff about the credit union.
Comments are open, but little used. There were only two non-employee comments left in August.
The website counter shows 6,613 visitors.
Offering a blog is an excellent way to show that you care about customers/members and that you are Web-savvy. We applaud Verity for their pioneering efforts over the past 18 months. But it's time for the CU to upgrade its blog.
- Improve the design with a masthead, better archive options, and graphic images that link back to the CU. Users expect more than the basic free blogger template from their credit union.
- Shorten the entries and add graphics and pictures.
- Keep the postings relevant. It's OK to have the occasional rant about Seattle traffic, but stick to things that matter to the reader. Most come to your financial institution to learn more about your company or your products. Let them go to a million other blogs for entertainment.
- Highlight the author of each entry. Currently, the Verity author is listed in small, faint type near the bottom of each posting. You want readers to get a sense of the people doing the writing, so it's important they see the name at the top of the posting.
- Improve the author profile info. Some author-profiles are quite skimpy. If you want credibility, the authors need to fully disclose their role at the credit union.
- Close the comments. Blog-comment areas are fine if they are used; however, a big ZERO down there just makes it look like you're visiting a ghost blog. If you do use them, make sure they are fully moderated, i.e., no comment goes live until approved by the blog administrator.
Blog address: veritycu.blogspot.com