Are quarterly newsletters still useful?

Are quarterly newsletters still useful?

This blog post was inspired by “Has the quarterly client newsletter become old news?” (free registration required) in InvestmentNews. Advisors’ opinions are mixed, says the article. So are mine. Quarterly newsletters are good for some people, but not for others.

Drawbacks of quarterly newsletters

  1. Quarterly newsletters can feel like a burden on the firm. If the employee writing it isn’t a professional writer, and has many other quarterly responsibilities, it’s hard for that person to make time to write a newsletter. The newsletter will feel like a drain. Also, if the writer isn’t enthusiastic or isn’t a good writer, the quality of the newsletter will suffer. Bad writing does not help to attract or retain clients. And overloading your financial professionals by adding writing duties may hurt your business.
  2. Canned or poorly written newsletters aren’t compelling. As the InvestmentNews article explained, in an opinion attributed to Josh Brown of Ritholz Investment Management, “newsletters often amount to more noise in a world where investors are already trying to navigate information overload.” This is especially likely for newsletters that are “canned,” meaning purchased from third-party providers and used as is. It’s also true of poorly written content, which is more likely to be written internally.

Pluses of quarterly newsletters

  1. It’s another way to “touch” your audience. Marketers say that it takes many “touches”—meetings, phone calls, and written and other communications—to make a sale. A newsletter is an easy way to touch many people at once. If your list consists of individuals who have opted in to your list, they’ve self-selected as prospects or users of your services.
  2. It allows you to express your personality and opinions. Your newsletter can stand out from the crowd when it shows off your personality or—at a larger firm—the culture of your firm. I’ve written about this in a two-part article called “How to add personality and warmth to your financial writing” and in an infographic.

Your opinions also matter. Your clients want to know how you think as you help them with financial decisions. You can also express opinions by reacting and commenting on the opinions of others. Lisa Kirschenbauer says in the InvestmentNews article, “there’s a lot of information out there, but [clients] don’t even know where to start, so we help them understand what information they should trust.” I’ve described how to do this in “Financial blogging tip: opinion + summary.”

  1. You can offload some of the work without sacrificing your originality or quality. Instead of buying generic third-party content, or sharing inexpertly content written in-house, you can get the best of both worlds. The least expensive way is to draft your newsletter yourself, and then have a professional editor clean it up. Another option is to have a professional writer interview you and then create your newsletter.

What’s YOUR approach?

Please answer my two-question survey about whether you send a quarterly newsletter. I’ll report back later.

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