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The Web Has Made It Much More Difficult To Discern Copycat Content From The Real Thing edit
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 11:59

Tags: client communication | content marketing | marketing | SEO

Do a search on Google on any given day for “financial advisors” and read the “news” results that are returned.  It’s a simple way of seeing content being produced by and about financial advisors. Do that search today and you’ll notice an unfortunate trend in content marketing for advisors.

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Two posts near the top of the result  are uncannily similar to each other but feature information about two different advisors.

 

A post by financial advisor Charles P. Boinske, CFA, is more in-depth and was published December 2 on ABCnews.com, while a very similar article posted on FOX News on December 3 under the byline of a reporter is published on Fox Business News.

 

The post is about five questions a consumer should ask an advisor before hiring him. The posts mention the same tips for consumers. 

 

The Fox News story does not mention Boinske. In fact, it quotes an entirely different advisor.

 

Maybe it is a coincidence. Maybe the Fox News reporter just happened to come up with the same five questions to ask advisors and tips for consumers. I guess it’s possible. What do you think?

 

Rewriting an article written by someone else has been a practice in journalism for many decades and it’s okay to do as long as you give credit to the original author or add significant new information that the original article missed and that changes the article materially. It’s unethical to rip off someone else’s ideas without giving him credit. I say this because it also pertains to advisors, who are increasingly creating their own content.

 

Advisors who rip off other people’s content could open themselves up to professional sanctions as well as a legal judgment. You just cannot claim to have written something you did not write. You need to disclose if you are not responsible for the ideas in an article on your blog or you need to have supervised the writer who did actually write it.Putting your name on someone else's work is not a good idea for an IA rep who is required to fully disclose such matters.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an open letter to the SEC Chair saying the RIA testimonial rule should be revised because it has become antiquated by the growing use of LinkedIn recommendations and Facebook "likes," and it is actually hurting consumers' ability to find the best advisors. A day later, a blogger at a financial advisor trade magazine said essentially the same thing I did without referencing my earlier article. It happens all the time, this kind of thing. 

 

For advisors, the trend toward copycat content presents a moral  challenge. With the explosion of content online, ripping off someone else’s good ideas is obviously much easier than writing about your own original ideas, and no one knows when a copycat ripped off your good ideas and is taking credit for them  So if you blog about how anesthesiologists can write off equipment against in a clever and unusual way, for example, someone  can rip off your idea and no one who reads a copycat's post will know.

 

For ethical advisors, it is a difficult situation. However, if you are truly focused on a niche market and continue to pound away at it with your own original ideas about how to help those target clients, I believe you will ultimately win. Ultimately, providing valuable information will differentiate you. A4A's booming membership and my history of producing content here in my home alone fopr people to discover using search and social tools has taught me that  eventually good work gets recognized. But it is frustrating to see copycats borrow research and original idas in the meantime.   

 

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Here’s A Mistake Many Advisors Make: They Connect Mostly With Other Advisors On Social Media edit
Monday, November 11, 2013 11:08

Tags: client communications | facebook | LinkedIn | Social Media; twitter

Advisors say and do the darndest things. One of the dumbest is not cultivating prospects as followers, friends, and connections on social media and only using social media to communicate with other practitioners.

 
If you’re an advisor and the majority of your LinkedIn connections are other practitioners and people you buy stuff from, then you’re doing this all wrong.

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In fact, you may want to segregate advisors in a group on LinkedIn so that you’re not tweeting and blogging all your best ideas to a cross-town rival. 
 
I’m not saying you should not connect with other advisors. It’s good to share ideas with colleagues and even competitors. But you don’t need to show a cross-town rival every tweet you send out. That’s competitive intelligence. It’s an overshare.
 
Instead, focus your social marketing effort on content that will be of interest to your ideal clients. This will allow you to engage in a long-term conversation with a large group of prospects using social media. Cultivate connections who could become a client one day. That’s probably not other advisors.

 

If you think what I am saying is totally obvious and have been doing this from the start, then forgive me. But I come across advisors pretty often who are just starting out with using social media and who have only connected other advisors so far. I know it's crazy, but it's true.

 

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Samsung Fined $340,000 By FTC For Fake Comments On The Web; Fine Should Be $340 Million edit
Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:47

After being caught paying for false praise and negative comments about competitors, Samsung has been fined just over $340,000. That's not nearly enough!

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When a huge company like Samsung does something so unethical and dishonest, it should pay heavily and criminal charges should be pursued. Otherwise the governmenr isn't helping keep the Internet honest.

 

Crowdsourcing, user reviews, and comments is the new fourth estate and it's every bit as important as freedom of the  press. Perverting thgat freedom by using such underhanded tactics is something that should not be tolerated by the go9vernment and Samsung's violation should have been used as an opportunity to tell companies and consumers that fakery of this kind harms the public interest and won't be tolerated by the government.

For financial advisors, the lesson also should be clear. Don't even think about writing fake nagative reviews about your competitors or positive reviews for yourself because the consequences of getting caught are so serious that they're not worth the risk. Instead, the slap on the wrist suggests it's no big deal.  

 

 

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Financial Advisor Bob Klein Has Taken The Long Road To Search Engine Optimization And Content Marketing And Now It's Starting To Pay Off edit
Monday, October 07, 2013 09:47

Tags: content marketing | marketing | SEO

Bob Klein is a CPA and financial planner and really smart guy. So it is not susprising that he has cracked the code to online marketing and will start benefiting from search engine optimization and content marketing.

 

Today, MarektWatch.com, which is owned by The Wall Street Journal, published an

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article he wrote about retirement plans.  

 

 

Klein has been working on a content marketing campaign for his firm for at least two or three years.

 

He's taken a long road to get where he is, but he knows what it takes now for an RIA to succeeed at content marketing.

 

To understand what he has accomplished, take a look at this search result for the title of the article he wrote. These search result show how search engine optimization for financial advisors can bring an RIA leads from prospective clients.

 

The search results show that a couple of sites in addition to MarketWatch published the article or linked to it, including Huffington Post and Topix. With Klein's article, comes a bio of Klein that links back to his website and to a couple of other sites he owns, including one for a book he wrote. Getting backlinks to your website(s) from a credible and popular site like MarketWatch raises Klein's ranking in search engines.

 

Klein, along with a numbner of other advisors, has become a "Retirementor" on MarketWatch. These kinds of content marketing arrangements are becoming more common across the Web and can be very helpful in SEO. Writing for MarketWatch boosts an advisor's  search engine ranking for retirement planning terms advisors want to own. Suchj arrangements with hubs for your target market is an important component in any financial  advisor's content marketing strategy. 

 

Keep in mind, doing what Klein has done is not easy. Most advisors don't have the discipline to pull it off. Writing content that is good enough for MarketWatch is a lot of work, and doing it regularly is time-consuming. 

 

Nice going, Bob!

 

 

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Congratulations To Heidi Clute, CFP, For Getting Her Post About How To Choose A Financial Advisor Published In Her Local Newspaper In Vermont; A Lesson On Guest-Blogging And Getting Your Content Published In Local Newspapers edit
Thursday, September 19, 2013 16:37

Tags: marketing

The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, is a tiny Vermont newspaper with a circulation of just 8,500, but it reportedly claims that "80% of all adults in the Barre/Montpelier area read the Times Argus."
 
So financial planner Heidi Clute, CFP, owner of Clute Wealth Management in South Burlington, VT and Plattsburgh, NY, yesterday scored a public-relations victory by getting a bylined story about choosing a financial planner published in The Times Argus. Congratulations, Heidi! There’s a lesson for advisors in this.

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I don’t know Heidi Clute and have no involvement with her firm. But she did something clever and obvious that most advisors do not do. She contacted the local paper and provided it with content. It’s a really simple story and can be put together quickly by almost any advisory firm. But Clute took the time to actually do it.
 
Providing content about financial issues to your local paper is one of the best ways you can get the word out about your firm. But few advisors ever actually execute on it. Advisors are so caught up in day to day business and personal issues that it’s hard to take some time and cover the basics of marketing. They're always working "in" their business instead of "on" their business.   
 
Truth be told, Clute’s article is well written but lacks sophistication, news value, orginality, and wisdom. The article could have been written by Clute's  broker/dealer,  the FPA, or some other ghostwriter that knows little about financial planning. To get published  on a regular basis in local papers, advisors need more valuable content and news-oriented articles. A story about how to choose an advisor is too generic to get picked up in most daily newspapers or even get published by your local weekly.
 
If you provide uncommon financial wisdom or find a local angle on personal finance stories, which is much harder to do, it can be especially beneficial to you for marketing purposes.
 
Getting articles published in local websites, like a newspaper or business journal, or guest-blogging on a site if your community, is usually far more valuable than posting an article to your own website. While advisors are getting sold on blog writing right now, it is better to have your content posted to a local hub with established credibility. Local papers abd community sites are starving for content.

 

I recently created a content marketing strategy for a financial advisor in Florida and provided him with 10 topics to blog about that would be valuable to his target market locally. The ideas were good, so I suggested he contact the local newspaper to see if they were interested in publishing any of his articles. He did and the paper, which has a Sunday circulation of more than 300,000, wants to publish his posts and will link to his website.

 

If you are creating good content for your target markets, think about where other than your website you can publish it to have more marketing success.

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