If content is king on the Web, few advisors deserve royal treatment. Few advisors have produced a meaningful body of knowledge—original content—on the Web, and so they never get the royal treatment the Web can provide. Content creation is not for everyone. But advisors who create their own content are rewarded for their fealty.
If you create helpful content engaging your target readers, search engines will help prospects and partners find you. You’ll get leads and business will come to you. I’m proof of that.
My column in the October issue of Financial Advisor explains why advisors must create content and offers tips for doing it. One suggestion is to choose a medium: blogging, video, tweeting, slidecasting, or whatever other medium you enjoy working in— and then use the heck out of it. Communicating helpful ideas to a narrowly defined target market—doctors from India, Chinese-American business owners, or retirees who want to re-characterize a Roth IRA conversion— can bring you business.
When I told an audience of advisors last week that they were all now in the publishing business, one gentleman was seen shaking his head, dreading the thought. That’s why you must find a medium you enjoy. It can be fun, and it should not require much additional work by you.
If you’re spending an hour a day reading, you’ll probably need to spend another 30 minutes or an hour daily creating content about what you read—a blog post, video, or status updates.
Here below are some specific ideas for using different media on the Web to share your content.
Stream Status Updates. Also known as tweets, these are 140-character micro-blogs. If you spend an hour every morning reading about markets, the economy, and investments, then you must choose four articles you read and tweet about them. If you came across an idea Indian hoteliers can use, tell them about it. If you update your status on LinkedIn, you can set it up to automatically feed Twitter. You should be able to post an update on one social network and have it update all your others. Be sure to automate your update stream to be displayed on all of your social networks.
Make Your Company Website As A Hub. Though all of the content you create will originate from your company website, it should all be streamed on your website. Displaying your update stream on your home page is a good idea. It’s also wise to display your most recent slideshows or videos. That content might originate at Slideshare or YouTube, but you also want to embed it in your website. Not displaying all of your content on your website wastes an opportunity.
Slidecast. If you’re a good presenter, posting slideshows on the Web is the right medium for distributing your best ideas, and slidecasts are a powerful medium. Slideshare is the most popular social application for sharing slideshows. Slideshare essentially turns slideshows into videos but has the extra benefit of enabling you to embed links to related content. Creating a three-minute slidecast takes about an hour. Download a free MP3 recorder and record a narration of your slides. Then, upload the slides and audio file to Slideshare and sync the audio with your slides. (You can delegate the upload and syncing to support staff.) Since Slideshare and LinkedIn are integrated, you can embed slidecasts in your LinkedIn profile. Slideshare, which is a great tool for social marketing, is a freemium service. Before signing up for the $19, $49 or $249 a month service, use the free version to see how you like it.
Video. Maybe you prefer video. I’ve written about how to create a video studio inexpensively. If you can record a two minute market update once a week, it may ease their fears in these volatile times. On days when stocks are down or up a 3% or more, you may occasionally want to record a message letting clients know how you view the day’s events. Remaining silent while the markets are roiled by breaking news is unwise. Proactively communicating is better, even if you are saying the same thing in different ways. It’s human nature for clients to worry in times like these. Part of your job is to remind clients not to overreact to bad economic news or become too bullish in good times.
Whichever medium you use, you must be devoted to it to succeed. You must commit to writing a blog entry at least once a week. It’s helpful to make a recurring appointment with yourself every week at the same time to write or make a video, and block out two or three hours to get it done.
It’s probably going to take at least six months (26 posts) to generate enough content to start engaging your target audience using blogs or videos. But if the content is focused on a niche market—senior executives working in a local company or industry—401(k) sponsors interested in creating a plan using no-load funds or folios of separate account managers—you’ll eventually build a knowledge based and your audience will find you.
Let us know if you’ve had success with content marketing.