A blog can be a great way for financial advisors to leverage their inventory of compliance-approved articles. That’s according to my interview with Stuart Zimmerman, principal, and Jim Cornfeld, investment advisor, The Buckingham Family of Financial Services. However, it’s too early to tell if the blog will yield financial benefits.
Cornfeld started The Educated Investor blog in February, after the Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG) St. Louis offered to host blogs for its members on its website. “The group is a good demographic for us. It fits one of our niches: corporate executives,” he said.
The firm’s additional goals for the blog include:
- Serving as an easy place to refer clients and prospects for useful, educational articles
- Potentially attracting new business from web surfers who find it through online searches
Zimmerman said the blog is already handy for achieving goal number one. However, “We haven’t received any calls from prospects saying ‘We saw your blog.’ ” On the other hand, some of their articles, such as their interview with Harvard’s David Laibson and an article on geographic diversification of muni bond investing, have ranked highly in Google’s Blog Search.
Financial advisors who want to blog face two challenges: 1) compliance; 2) content generation. Buckingham may be better positioned than your typical investment advisor. Their business model includes generating a good many compliance-approved articles for use in their newsletter and for use by the 116 RIA firms that use their back office services for passive investing. “We already invested time writing these articles for other purposes,” said Cornfeld.
Another strategy that Buckingham uses to manage compliance issues: It doesn’t allow comments on its blog posts. If Buckingham wanted to reply to reader comments, it would have to run its responses through Compliance.
Talking with Cornfeld and Zimmerman got me thinking about “The Real ROI of Blogging,” an article on MarketingProfs’ Daily Fix blog. Blogger Lewis Green measures the ROI on his blog not just in terms of profits, revenue or new business leads and referrals. He also considers the blog’s impact in terms of getting his firm noticed and improving his customers’ experience and loyalty. Financial advisors should also consider these benefits.