If the extent of an advisor’s digital presence is a decades-old headshot with poor lighting and a forced smile as its centerpiece…there’s a problem.
Thankfully, most advisors are far more digitally savvy than that. Yet regardless of an advisor’s tech chops, blogging is an effective and cost-effective way for virtually any advisor to attract clients. And if done right, the Google Gods will radiate their splendor by elevating an advisor’s website to SEO heaven.
"By posting frequent brief articles to my site, Google sees that I have a constantly refreshed site and often puts me up the near the top of page in advisor searches in my area," says David Sterman, CFP, and President of New Paltz, NY-based Huguenot Financial Planning.
Blogging about topics such as investing, taxes and savings is merely a start. Advisors can also forge connections with readers by weaving into their writing references to off-topic subjects, such as affiliations, passions and hobbies.
The more information shared and the greater the conviction the better. However, even a brief mention of a topic could spur a potential client to pick up the phone and become a client for life. Vinyl records? Vintage baseball cards? Craft beer? All are fair game.
But what if an advisor is big enough to admit to himself that he can’t write well and that his personality rivals that of a turnip? In such an instance, the soul scraping pain that a hard truth reveals is preferable to the dull narcotic-buzz of denial. In short, even an advisor who lacks editorial flair can blog successfully.
Such an advisor could begin by blogging about mundane things, such as where he were born, raised, went to college, started his career and currently lives. He could also discuss favorite foods, drinks and sports teams. The more data points the better the odds that one will resonate with potential (and existing) clients. That said, if an advisor’s hobby involves something universally recognized as repugnant or deviant, perhaps best to keep quiet.
Josh Brown, President of Ritholtz Asset Management, has written more than 12,000 posts in the past decade on his Reformed Broker blog. He argues that most advisors mistakenly ignore news and events in their area when blogging. Brown insists that the local angle is one of the greatest opportunities that advisors are missing out on.
“Your blog should have the name of the town or the county that you live in and come up first on Google,” says Brown. “Half your content should be general investing. The other half should be about local events, like, I went to the county fair the other day. Or a new restaurant opened up in town and here's what my wife and I thought of it.”
To the point of getting out in the community, while we live in the digital age, there’s no substitute for face to face relationships. Though Sterman attracts most of his clients online, he says the second most frequent way he gains clients is through referrals from other advisors near him.
“This shows me the great importance of reaching out and introducing yourself to other advisors in your area.”