Blogging Q&A with David Merkel of Aleph Blog

I met investment manager David Merkel when he contacted me about speaking to Baltimore’s CFA Society. I’ve noticed that his Aleph Blog posts frequently get picked up in investment blogs’ roundups, including Tadas Viskanta’s Abnormal Returns. Having met many people who blog in the hope of attracting clients, I was intrigued by David’s statement on his blog that “…though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it.” This is a good reminder that advisors blog for many reasons.

By the way, David was a wonderful host for my presentation earlier this year. He has also reviewed my book on his blog.

This Q&A is part of a series that started with Michael Kitces.

Q. When did you start The Aleph Blog and why do you explicitly state that it’s separate from Aleph Investments?

A. I started Aleph Blog in February 2007 because I wanted to develop my own voice. I had written successfully at for four years, and wanted to broaden my writings.

Aleph Blog is purely for the public good. That has been the goal from day one. There are many people that want a trustworthy investment advisor with talent. They contact me of their own desire.

Q. Has your blog brought you new business or improved your existing client relationships?

A. Yes, my blog has brought new business. Many of my clients came from reading what I wrote over the long-term. But I don’t sell my readers on my abilities. To do so is tawdry. I don’t like being sold to, so I don’t sell to my readers.

Q. What blogging techniques or topics have most helped your business or boosted your readership?

A. Can’t say. Aleph Blog is varied in what it writes about. I know this is a challenge for some readers, but I write about what I feel more strongly. I have a broad set of interests, so I may not be the best as far as marketing goes.

I have not tried to boost readership artificially. I’m not out for fame. I just try to produce good content, and let the readers do what they will. I do know that I have respect from most of the top bloggers.

Q. What are three of your favorite—or most effective—blog posts?

A. I have written many effective blog posts. I wait a year before I declare them to be such. You can read them here:

Q. What’s your best tip for advisors who blog?

A. Define your period over which you generate articles. You can generate a lot of little articles every day, or you can generate one significant article once a month. Or you can do something in-between. But be regular, or people will forget about you.

Second, write about what you feel most strongly. And if you don’t have a strong feeling, don’t write.