Clients and prospects want to hear from you. They are looking for financial planning and investment help, especially in this market environment. One way to get your message out there is writing. Content marketing is a growing area for financial advisers.
My Writing Journey
Full disclosure: I’m a financial writer who writes for several online publications, financial services firms and for financial advisers. I began my journey as a writer over 10 years ago as a means to get the word out to grow my financial advisory practice. Several years ago I shifted my business to focus heavily on writing while still working with a small number of long-time advisory clients.
One thing I can say to the advisers reading this: I recall many introductory phone conversations with prospective advisory clients during the years that I was still trying to grow my practice that went something like this, “… I feel like I already know you from reading your blog and everything else of yours I’ve seen online.” I think you will agree that a conversation like this is powerful.
Your Online Presence
For better or worse, most prospective clients seeking a financial adviser do some or all of their searching online. Whether this is via Google, LinkedIn or doing research after receiving a referral from someone else, prospects are checking you out. According to Brad Shepard, head of Advisor Innovation at Wisdom Tree, your online presence matters. He indicates that 50% of these prospects will eliminate a financial adviser from consideration based upon what they do or don’t see about the adviser online.
The first time that I saw that statistic, I was initially surprised, but after thinking about it, I really wasn’t. And I don’t think you are, either.
Getting Your Message Out
Whether you do a blog, perhaps as part of your firm’s website, write for a publication, or perhaps do a client email newsletter, writing is a way to get your viewpoint out there on topics that would be of interest to your clients and prospects. Writing can be a way to establish yourself as an expert or to just allow folks an insight into your thought process on various topics of interest to them.
Determine Your Objectives
As with anything you might do in your practice, determine your objectives in writing. These might include:
- Building an online presence including the SEO value associated with your online content.
- Building brand awareness
- Establish yourself as an expert with your target market. For example if your target market is medical professionals, write articles that highlight your expertise in financial issues of importance to this group.
- Stay in front of centers of influence and aligned professionals like CPAs and attorneys who might be good referral sources.
Overall, your goals will likely be around showcasing your expertise as part of your efforts to expand your business.
What's Right for Your Target Audience
It’s important to determine who your audience is. Personally, I like to think in terms of a discussion over a cup of coffee with my target reader on the topic. Everyone’s audience and approach to that audience will be a bit different, but the point is to make sure that what you write is written with their needs in mind. What’s important to them? What financial issues are critical to this audience?
Think about your own content consumption. Why do you read an article, what holds your interest? If you encounter something online and it's not relevant or of interest to you I’m guessing you probably stop reading it.
If your target audience is pre-retirees within 10 years of retirement and those who are in the early years of retirement for example, be sure your content is relevant to their needs. You might discuss the need for a withdrawal strategy from their various retirement accounts, tax issues they should consider due to their situation or perhaps something about covering healthcare costs in retirement. The point is to make the content relevant to an issue(s) the group that you are trying to reach.
Who, What, Why
These are perhaps the three most important words to keep in mind as you write.
As discussed above, who are you writing for?
What do you want them to do? The obvious answer is to call or email you right away, but even if your writing plants a seed and they follow you this can be the start of the process that leads to them potentially doing business with you.
Why are you writing? As discussed above go at this with a purpose. This might include informing your target readers, and disturbing/motivating them about the topic you are writing about to the point where they might take some action such as contacting you.W
Writing is a great way to market yourself on your terms and to establish yourself and your practice as a go-to resource to solve their financial planning issues.