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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?

A.

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

Technology tip: How to create a low-tech virtual class

“How can I create a for-profit virtual class without spending lots of money?” Science class at Kalvskindet school (ca. 1900)

Several people have asked me this question, so I figure it’s time for a blog post sharing my low-tech secrets.

I’m no techno-geek. If I can manage the technology discussed here, so can you. None of it is outrageously expensive. In fact, some of it is free.

My class technology challenges focused on five areas:

  1. Registration
  2. Live classes
  3. Pre-recorded classes
  4. Discussion forum
  5. Surveys

Registration

I need an automated way to collect student information and payments. I currently use Eventbrite.com, which I migrated to after a free trial of Constant Contact’s Events feature, which was brand-new back then. I like Eventbrite because it lets me

  • Create a simple web page to promote my class
  • Create a custom URL for my class
  • Customize the information I collect from registrants
  • Collect credit card payments via PayPal

After I created my first class web page on Eventbrite, I’ve simply tweaked the wording for subsequent classes. I don’t pay anything to create an event in Eventbrite. The firm makes money by charging me 2.9% of my students’ fees. PayPal also charges a fee.

If you use Constant Contact for your e-newsletter, check out its Events feature. I imagine it has improved since its debut when I tried it.

By the way, I’d like to thank Kristen Luke of Wealth Management Marketing for introducing me to Eventbrite in a Twitter exchange.

Live Classes

I’ve heard stories about webinar technology failing to perform as desired. Those stories, plus my concern about expenses, drove me to initially teach my live classes using a combination of telephone conference calls (FreeConferencing.com) and handouts for students to print out ahead of time so they could follow along as I spoke.

This low-tech approach had an unexpected benefit. Students told me they liked that they weren’t tied to their computers for class. I think some of them dialed in from out on the road.

As a teacher, I like FreeConferencing.com because it offers a free online console where I can see who is speaking. I have a terrible memory for faces and names. The console allows me to overcome this weakness and call students by their names.

FreeConferencing.com lets you record calls. It also hosts the recordings at a custom URL at no charge. This helps you to accommodate students who miss any live calls.

Pre-recorded classes

When I initially taught my blogging class, I essentially lectured the students on the call. I struggled to get class participation, so I decided to switch to pre-recorded lessons, plus live calls focused on discussion.

I used Audacity free audio recording software to record and edit my lessons. I’m so glad that my podcasting friend, diet coach Sandra Ahten, told me about Audacity. Without her tip, I would have tried to record an entire lesson non-stop into a digital audio recorder. That would have been a disaster.

However, Audacity is the one piece of technology that nearly drove me to tears after 20 hours of trying to produce my first 30-minute recording. Thank goodness for my techie husband’s patience, online research, and coaching.

Some of my problems stemmed from the fact that the then-current version of Audacity didn’t support Windows 7, but there was nothing on the Audacity website to make this clear. Once my husband discovered the beta version of a Windows 7-compatible Audacity, my problems became manageable.

For a quick overview of Audacity, you can probably find instructional videos on YouTube.

Pay attention to tracks on Audacity. If you don’t, you may unwittingly record one track simultaneous with another. That’s a great capability if you’re recording music, but your students won’t enjoy hearing two sections of your lecture at the same time. To avoid this problem, make sure you drag your cursor to the far right side of your Audacity screen before you start recording a new section.

Discussion Forum

I need a private website where I can post messages, handouts, and recordings. In addition, students need a place to have discussions and post their homework. For this purpose, I set up a Ning forum, which I’d learned about from tech-savvy financial advisor Russ Thornton of Wealthcare Capital Management. I use the most basic Ning plan, Ning Mini.

For me, the threaded conversations beat the heck out of free alternatives, such as Yahoo Groups or Google Groups.

Surveys

You may not realize this, but online surveys can help you boost student satisfaction and gain useful feedback. I use the free version of SurveyMonkey to survey students about their interests and needs after they’ve registered, but before the class starts. I also run a post-class evaluation survey.

What class or event are you planning?

I’d like to learn about the online classes you’re planning. Also, please share your tips for running low-cost virtual classes.

InvestmentWriting.com is one of “7 Financial Advisory Blogs that Rock”

What a delight! The Investment Writing blog has been named one of “7 Financial Advisory Blogs that Rock” on the ClientWise blog.

My blog was singled out for its “mission to bring clarity to the sometimes arcane and confusing world of financial writing, especially when done by financial advisors, investment advisors and wealth managers.”

More financial blogs that rock

I’m honored to be in the company of outstanding bloggers named by this ClientWise post. They include

What YOU can share with another winning blogger

One of the seven bloggers who rock has taken my blogging class tailored to financial advisors. You can, too. But you’d better act soon. The class starts May 16. I don’t plan to offer it again until 2013. Plus, I plan to raise the price significantly next time.

Register now for “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Lesson Writing Class for Financial Advisors.