"How to Craft a Blog Post" by Darren Rowse

Starting to blog without thinking about your process can be a big mistake.

Read Problogger Darren Rowse’s “How to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to Pause” for helpful tips. 

If you follow his advice, it may take you longer to write your blog posts, but your return on investment will increase exponentially.

Do NOT hire me to ghostwrite your blog posts

I’m a professional writer who spends much of her time ghostwriting for financial professionals.  But today I’m advising you against hiring me to ghostwrite your blog posts.

Top Blog Mistake #4 is “ghostwriting blog posts,” according to “GM Blog Manager Shares Top 10 Blog Mistakes and How to Avoid Them,” a MarketingSherpa interview with the manager of General Motors’ Fast Lane blog.

Using ghostwriters makes a blog “lose its transparency – one of those trust-building, relationship-building elements,” according to the interview with Christopher Barger, Director, Global Communications Technology, General Motors.

However, I’ll bet that GM’s communications team edits–and provides other guidance for–the blog posts written by GM execs.

The other top blog mistakes are:
Mistake #1. Treating the blog like a channel for corporate messaging
Mistake #2. Rushing to respond to negative feedback
Mistake #3. Fearing the critics
Mistake #5. Giving blog writers the impression that once a post is written, it’s done
Mistake #6. Relying on writers who are too corporate
Mistake #7. Not establishing blog rules
Mistake #8. Posting infrequently
Mistake #9. Going against your comment policy
Mistake #10. Editing, hiding, or taking a post down when you make a mistake 

Susan B. Weiner, CFA

Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.

Copyright 2008 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Add Bloomberg video to your blog

Financial advisors, here’s a cool new widget that may appeal to your video-oriented clients.

Click on the “Get Widget” box to get the code for adding this to your blog or website. I discovered this widget on the Investment Postcards from Capetown blog.

Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Investment Writing

Writing that’s an investment in your success

Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.

Copyright 2008 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Do financial blogs make a difference?

Financial blogs have multiplied like crazy. But are they worth reading?

When I researched “Investment Strategy Blogs Slow to Influence Advisors,” I found that financial advisors aren’t paying much attention to blogs. However, in some cases, investment strategy blogs affect advisors’ buy and sell decisions or help them refine their thinking or their client communications.

You’ll find a list of financial and economic blogs visited by my interviewees in the box on page two of my article.

Meanwhile, an upcoming BlogWorld panel will tackle “How Financial Blogs Influence the Markets,” according to a post on Content Matters. Panelists include Paul Kedrosky, whose Infectious Greed blog appeared in my article’s blog list.

As Content Matters blogger Barry Graubart sees it, “Financial blogging is one of the more interesting segments of the blogging space. Despite the huge financial news presence of companies like Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Reuters and various newspapers, blogs frequently are ahead of the mainstream media in grasping the significance of key trends.”

Thanks to Bob Leonard of Bolen Communications for pointing me to Graubart’s post. 

Another reason for financial advisors to start a blog

“I’ve been able to prove how much more I can accomplish by answering a question, and posting it on a blog, for example, than I can by answering the same question over and over.” 

This quote by Luis Suarez in his New York Times article, “I Freed Myself from E-mail’s Grip,” got me thinking. Financial advisors may find it helpful to answer their clients’ frequently asked questions on a blog. Just write up the answer once, then share it with everyone after running it by Compliance, if necessary. It’s easy to direct clients to the blog post. Some may even find it on their own.

Sure, you could add the question to a FAQ (frequently asked question) section on your website. But that probably means going through a technology person who’ll delay the posting of your content. The beauty of blogs is that anyone who can type can update them.

If this blog post interests you, you may also enjoy “A great way for financial advisors to leverage existing content.

By the way, I found Suarez’ article through Lifehacker

A great way for financial advisors to leverage existing content

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:

  1. Serving as an easy place to refer clients and prospects for useful, educational articles
  2. 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.

P&I picks best financial blogs

According to the staff at Pensions & Investments magazine, the top three financial blogs are:

  1. The Big Picture
  2. DealBreaker
  3. Infectious Greed

That’s according to to “Pensions & Investments’ Best Blogs and how they got that way,” which also lists some other top blogs.

But blogs get mixed reviews from P&I’s audience. “Turns out some tout the virtues of having fresh and sometimes entertaining voices and unique perspectives not found in typical Wall Street research, while others eschew blogs as unnecessary,” reported Drew Carter in “Ranking the blogs.”

What do you think? Are blogs useful to you?

My new blog is coming soon!

When I launched my blog under the SusanCFA name, I wasn’t sure if blogging was more than a flash in the pan. Now that it’s here to stay, I’m re-launching my blog under a name that ties in with my website at InvestmentWriting.com.

What do you think of my new blog’s look? Do you have suggestions for what I should write about? Let me know by leaving a comment or e-mailing me. I look forward to hearing from you.