Tag Archive for: blogging

Turn questions into blog posts

Tired of writing explanations for an audience of one?

Your clients, prospects, or even folks doing Google searches, may contact you with questions. Depending on your relationship and availability, you may respond at some length. This takes time.

Your blog makes it possible for you to get more mileage out of these inquiries. If the question fits your blog’s theme and has reasonably broad appeal, consider turning it into a blog post. You can write it as a simple Q&A, as I did in “Reader question: How can communicators manage difficult portfolio managers?” or a plain blog post.

Should you mention that your new blog post originated in a question from a client, prospect, or reader? Yes, if you want to seem approachable and interested in your blog’s audience.

Another alternative: Add to FAQ

If the question isn’t right for your blog, it may still be worth sharing. Consider adding the question and answer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of your website.

Image courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

POLL: What are your blog’s goals?

Why do you blog? I’d like to get a better sense of why my readers blog and the obstacles they face. That’s the focus of this month’s two-question survey.

Talking with students in my blogging class for financial advisors, I often hear that they’d like to attract more clients. In fact, some of them take the class because they’ve seen a drop in new business when they’ve stopped blogging regularly. Those folks seek a way to rediscover their energy for blogging.

Educating people also typically ranks high. Advisors would like to prevent their readers from making mistakes and put them on a path toward better financial futures.

When I recently asked on Facebook and Twitter about goals, some additional goals surfaced. I’ve included these as options in Question 1. Please check all the goals that apply for you.


I will report on the results of this survey in a future issue of my e-newsletter.

By the way, I’d like to thank blogger Chuck Rylant for inspiring this poll with a series of exchanges on the Investment Writing Facebook page.


Blog “out of season” for better value

Bicycling along the Cape Cod Rail Trail on a Veteran’s Day weekend reminded me of the
benefits of traveling in the off-season. Similarly, a blogger who posts about topics when they’re “out of season” can reap benefits.

Rail trails can be uncomfortably crowded during the summer. If I pass pedestrians, I must move quickly so I don’t run into cyclists or other folks coming from the opposite direction. The unpredictable behavior of little kids and dogs is a constant challenge. Contrast this with the serenity of riding off-season with my husband. The path was empty most of the time during our November outing

A blogger’s “out of season” ride

For a financial blogger, the equivalent of the tourist season is writing about taxes in April, college graduations in May, and holiday gifts in December. Sure, those topics are in the news then, but you’ve got lots of competition from other writers, just as I ran into lots of traffic on a popular rail trail on a summer Sunday afternoon.

It’s better to blog about seasonal topics well ahead of time. There are several benefits.

  1. Your readers need to plan ahead to implement your suggestions for April 15 and other important dates.
  2. Reporters seeking story ideas are more likely to use you if they find you early. Print publications have especially long lead times. A monthly magazine may plan its January edition three to six months ahead, with its writers working with a lag.
  3. You can recycle a seasonal blog post as the relevant event approaches. For example, if you publish a Thanksgiving-themed post in September, you can email it to clients in October and pump it out via social media in early November. By the time of Thanksgiving, your blog post will have permeated your target markets.

Have you tried this?

If you’ve tried this, please report on the results you’ve achieved. I’m also interested in your tips on this topic.

Focus your blog post or lose your readers

“I’m trying to frame the hawk,” said my husband pointing

My husband's best shot of the hawk

My husband’s best shot of the hawk

our camera at a spot high above the Cape Cod Rail Trail. He didn’t want a teeny-tiny bird image to get lost in a big landscape. His comment made me think about how bloggers need to do something similar.

A photo in which a hawk is a tiny speck won’t draw the viewer’s eye. Similarly, a blog post that deals in generalities, and fails to get specific, will lose readers.

Hawks and financial bloggers

What might this mean for a financial blogger?

For example, you can’t cover all of international investing—the entire “sky”—in a single blog post. Instead, focus on one “hawk,” such as the role of non-US stocks in a portfolio or how developed-market stocks differ from emerging-market stocks.

Need help finding the hawk in your blog post?

If you have a hard time finding the focus of your blog posts, you’ll benefit from my blogging class for financial advisors, investment and wealth managers, and the professionals who support them. Check out “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Lesson Class for Financial Advisors.”



3 posts that can improve your blogging in 2013

Looking over my 2012 posts about blogging, I see three tips that could change the way you blog in 2013.

1. Stay on the right side of the law!

The experts who write about compliance have overlooked a vulnerable spot for bloggers. That’s fair use of other people’s copyrighted words. You can do the right thing with the helpful resources I identify in “Legal danger for financial bloggers: Two misconceptions, three resources, one suggestion.”

2. Think creatively

Are you at a loss for topics to blog about? Pick a photo and use it to brainstorm ideas using the method I describe in “Photo + Mind Map = Blog Inspiration.”

3. Add personality

Your personality can be a powerful marketing tool. Use it to your advantage with the tips in “How to add personality and warmth to your financial writing—Part one” and “Part two.”

What about YOU?

How do you plan to improve your blogging in 2013? Are there blog posts from other bloggers that inspire your 2013 plans? Please share. Also, if you’d like to boost the effectiveness of your writing, consider taking “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Lesson Class for Financial Advisors.”

 Image courtesy of  Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blog like a Sasanian

You want to distinguish yourself from other advisors. One way you can achieve this in your blog posts is to learn a

Sasanian coin 1

Sasanian coin 2–if my photos were better, you could contrast this crown with the other

lesson from the Sasanian kings of ancient Iran, as I did when I visited “Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran” at the Sackler Museum in Washington, D.C.

Sasanian kings put their images on coins. To ensure that one coin didn’t look like another, each king adopted a distinctly shaped crown.

You can put on a metaphorical crown by showing some personality in your blog posts. This will ensure that no one confuses your blog posts – your metaphorical coins – with anyone else.

If you don’t know how to inject personality into your posts, check out my two posts on the topic, “How to add personality and warmth to your financial writing: Part one” and “How to add personality and warmth to your financial writing: Part two.”

Guest post: “Peter Lynch Went Grocery Shopping With Me At Whole Foods The Other Day”

I chuckled, and then I thought, I must ask this author to guest-blog for me, after I heard some of the blog post titlesfor example, “How A Threesome Can Improve Your Retirement created by Ted Jenkin, co-CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial. I’m glad his co-CEO Kile Lewis introduced us at an FPA Experience cocktail party so Ted can share with you his ideas about how to come up with catchy titles.

Peter Lynch Went Grocery Shopping With Me

At Whole Foods The Other Day

By Ted Jenkin

For the past three years, I have been an avid personal finance blogger discussing everything from managing your wealth to mitigating your tax liability. No matter how substantive the topics I wrote about in the personal finance sector, the big question was whether someone would actually read my content. As bloggers, we often believe that our most recent post will change the lives of millions, but in reality only a handful of people may click through your e-mailed link to read your weekly blog post. The art of creating effective titles is incredibly important because if your title and opening paragraph are catchy and interesting, your readers are more inclined to check out the rest of the article.

Take the title I opened up with in this article. Did it make you at least a little bit curious about what happened when Peter Lynch went grocery shopping with me at Whole Foods the other day? Or did you think that it couldn’t possibly be true that he actually went grocery shopping with me? Perhaps I won some sort of investment contest to get the great Peter Lynch to go grocery shopping with me. In all seriousness, what I would have written about in an article like this where I threw a catchy title like that at you is how picking stocks in companies you know is better than choosing ones that you don’t know. The article would have gone on to discuss the importance of believing in the brands you buy, and said that perhaps some of your next best stock buys are the very items that you put in your grocery cart when you go to the market. It worked 30 years ago for Peter Lynch in his prime and that philosophy probably wouldn’t be a bad one to apply in today’s rocky stock market environment.

So here are three tips from one blogger to another about my thoughts on how to write catchy titles:

  1. THINK THE ENQUIRER– As the saying goes, “Enquiring minds want to know.” But it’s more like people want the dirty laundry gossip about what is going on in the lives of others. What the National Enquirer does in a most brilliant fashion is to deliver hard-hitting titles that make you want to pick up a copy at the store while checking out your groceries. Top stories during the week that I wrote this post included LATIFAH WILL DROP LESBIAN CONFESSION ON LIVE-TV, MILEY CRUSHING FOR PORN STAR!, and IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT DIANE SAWYER, BOOZY or BEAT? If you saw Diane Sawyer after the election, you surely might read the Boozy or Beat article. I know I would pay a $1.00 just to check that one out. The first point of writing good lead-ins to your blog posts is to make sure you hit your audience hard with something that may get them engaged in the first paragraph.
  2. LATE NIGHT GOOGLING– The second idea behind writing smart headlines for your blogs is to think about how people may go about searching for your content. One of the interesting things about human beings when they begin to Google is often they aren’t 100% certain what they are really looking for when they begin searching on Google. So, using intros in your headlines with phrases like “How To,” “Top 10,” and “Big Mistakes” are all beginnings to how a person may search for content. Remember that Google likes to index popular searches so try typing in a few different phrases around the content of the article you are writing to grab some ideas. This may also allow your article to rise to page one more quickly within a Google search.
  3. SEX SELLS- Whether or not you like to admit it, everyone quickly perks up when they see something hot and steamy. This is why public sex scandals and extracurricular activities become so viral in the news we read every day. How many of you quickly homed in on the recent story of David Petraeus, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, getting busted for having an extramarital affair? Would you open an article with the headline that read, “CIA Director Wants More Than Just A Google Hangout?” I recently incorporated a great “sex sells” headline in an article I wrote about pensions: “How A Threesome Can Improve Your Retirement. The title raised some eyebrows but got my emails more than a 50% open rate.

If you are a frequent blogger, writing ongoing content can be a challenging process especially when you’ve written more than 500 to 1,000 posts. Sometimes, if you can create yourself a juicy headline it can actually spur on the creative writing process to produce a really high quality piece of content your readers will enjoy. You don’t have to draw people in by telling them you were abducted by space aliens, but it doesn’t hurt to drop a little Kim Kardashian or Britney Spears . . . As long as you aren’t exposing any body parts 🙂


oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.

TED JENKIN IS SECURITIES LICENSED THROUGH INVESTACORP, INC. A REGISTERED BROKER/DEALER MEMBER FINRA, SIPC. ADVISORY SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH INVESTACORP ADVISORY SERVICES, INC. A SEC REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISORY FIRM. Linked sites are strictly provided as a courtesy. Investacorp, Inc., and its affiliates, do not guarantee, approve nor endorse the information or products available at these sites nor do links indicate any association with or endorsement of the linked sites by Investacorp, Inc. and its affiliates.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for…

Dear readers, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday.

I’m thankful for you, my readers. You’ve inspired my writing with your ideas, your responses to my “Reader Challenges” and polls, and your questions. You’ve supported me from the very beginning, signing up to receive my e-newsletter that eventually grew into my blog and social media presence. Some of you have taken my blogging class, attended my presentations, hired me as a writer or editor, recommended me to colleagues or on LinkedIn, or shared my work online.

I’m also grateful for social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have made it easier for me to reach and chat with you. An introvert like me couldn’t have touched as many people in the days before social media.

I appreciate your support. Thank you!

How I work with financial advisors

Q.  How do you work with financial advisors?

A. I work with financial advisors as well as larger companies in investment management, wealth management, financial planning, and vendors to those industries. My work with all of these companies shares a common theme: helping people to write more efficiently and effectively for their target audiences.

The work I do with advisors tends to differ from that I do for larger companies. For advisors, I focus on teaching them how to write better. I’ve been doing this for years on my blog. In 2006, I started teaching CFA charterholders to write better investment commentary. A few years ago I added a virtual class, “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Lesson Class for Financial Advisors.” The class includes a private forum and homework. Students receive personalized feedback from me.

Advisors will soon be able to learn blogging with a new e-book, Simply Irresistible: Writing Financial Blog Posts People Will Read. The book will help them boost their blogging results with a step-by-step process and worksheets.

I created the class and developed the book for price-sensitive advisors who want the benefit of my expertise but are on a tight budget or have one-time needs. As a writer-editor, I work mainly with companies with larger budgets and ongoing needs.  Those companies are also welcome to take advantage of my training and book.

FAQ: “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Lesson Writing Class for Financial Advisors”

Are you a financial professional, writer, or marketer with questions about whether “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Lesson Writing Class for Financial Advisors” will work for you?

You’ll find answers to common questions below. Do you have questions I haven’t answered below? Leave them as a comment or call me at 617-969-4509.

Q. Is this a webinar?

A. No, it’s a relatively low-tech approach. Students told me they enjoyed not being tied to their computer during the lecture part of the class. This reinforced my instinct to keep the technology simple.

Q. How are classes taught?

You will download audio files to listen to when it’s convenient for you.

A. Each of the classes consists of a recorded audio file (.mp3 format) and a handout (.pdf or Word file) for you to print or view on-screen, complemented by homework assignments, discussion posted to a private website, and a weekly telephone conference call. You’ll download the files from the private website, and then review the lesson at your convenience. You will post your homework assignment and any questions to the private website. You will receive my feedback through the website.

You’ll use a private discussion forum to access materials and share your homework.


Register for How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors in Once-a-week telephone conference call for 5 weeks, April 22-May 20 on Eventbrite

Q. What if I don’t see myself as a “financial advisor”? Can I still take your class?

A. I use the term “financial advisor” as shorthand for my target audience, which includes employees of investment, wealth management, and financial planning firms as well as the vendors who support them. You could be a marketer or writer, not just a financial professional.

Register for How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors in Once-a-week telephone conference call for 5 weeks, April 22-May 20 on Eventbrite

Q. I can’t commit to a class that meets at a specific time. Will you work around my schedule?

A. I’ve tweaked the class format so you can listen to the class on YOUR schedule, not mine.

  1. Lessons are prerecorded. This way, you can listen when it’s convenient for you.
  2. You can post your homework–and receive my individualized feedback–any time between the posting of the lesson and two weeks following the end of the five-lesson series. Students who did their homework and then revised it following my feedback told me that doing the homework–and getting my feedback–was incredibly valuable.
  3. Class discussion sessions will be recorded and may be downloaded. Listening to a recording isn’t the same as participating “live” but at least you’ll hear your classmates’ questions and comments.

You can save all the audio and handout files to give yourself a refresher course months or even years after your formal training ends.

Register for How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors in Once-a-week telephone conference call for 5 weeks, April 22-May 20 on Eventbrite

Q. Why is the class limited to 16 students?

A. You’ll learn more when you get the personal attention that comes with a small class. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions during our group telephone calls. Plus, you’ll get written feedback on your homework assignments.

Register for How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors in Once-a-week telephone conference call for 5 weeks, April 22-May 20 on Eventbrite

Q. Do we get any live interaction with you and other students?

A.  Yes, there will be five live conference calls on at least five dates. These calls will focus on your comments and questions. They will be recorded in case you can’t attend “live.”

Register for How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors in Once-a-week telephone conference call for 5 weeks, April 22-May 20 on Eventbrite

Q. What do students say about your class?


You’ll find more recommendations if you scroll down the registration form for the class.

Register TODAY to learn a step-by-step process to

  • Generate and refine ideas for blog posts that will engage your readers
  • Organize your thoughts before you write, so you can write more quickly and effectively
  • Edit your writing, so it’s reader-friendly and appealing