Tag Archive for: financial blog

Financial blogging tip: opinion + summary

If you’re a financial advisor who feels too busy to blog, you’ve got lots of company. It takes hours—maybe even days—to craft a finely tuned, completely original, 1,000-word article. RELAX. I’m not suggesting you write a literary masterpiece. I have a financial blogging tip that will save you time.

Short blog posts are fine. Especially when they also express an opinion and give a sense of who you are, two things that are key to attracting readers. You can do both in only 250 to 400 words. That’s as little as one double-spaced page. In fact, this is the length that I recommend to the beginning writers in my writing class, “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Class for Financial Advisors.”

One quick way to achieve this goal is to summarize and express a personal opinion about an article, blog post, or other brief communication.

Here’s a five-step process to write an opinion-plus-summary blog post.

financial blogging tips being typedStep 1: Find an article (or other short piece) about which you have strong feelings

At least for me, it has to be a piece to which I have a gut reaction. Like “This is nuts!” or “I love how this writer made the case for deflation.” Here’s a bonus financial blogging tip: It’s a lot easier to blog when you feel passionately about your topic.

Step 2: Identify the points that you want to make about the article

For example, “This is nuts because of reasons #1, #2, and #3.”

Step 3: Write an introduction that summarizes your topic

It should say the following in a few sentences:

  • The author says X in his article “NAME of ARTICLE with LINK TO IT ONLINE.”
  • The author makes some good points, but I disagree—or strongly agree—with a certain part of his argument.

Step 4: Summarize the parts of the author’s piece that are relevant to your argument

You don’t have to discuss the whole thing. Be selective. The nice thing about summaries is they’re relatively easy to write. After all, an author has already tried to organize thoughts logically for you. It’s fine to quote the author, but don’t copy too much or you’ll bore your reader and be vulnerable to accusations of copyright violation. For tips about “fair use” of other people’s content, see “Legal danger for financial bloggers: Two misconceptions, three resources, one suggestion.”

Step 5: Inject more of your opinion into the piece

You hinted at your opinion in your introduction. At some point, you’ve got to explain why you feel that way. Where you place your opinions depends on the flow of the blog post. For example, in “‘CFA credential implies a standard of care not always upheld,’ says Forbes opinion piece,” I spent three paragraphs summarizing the article before elaborating on the opinion I’d briefly expressed in my introduction.

Follow the five steps in this financial blogging tip, and you can write compelling blog posts more quickly than your colleagues who begin by staring at a blank monitor.

If you’re interested in learning how to write better financial blog posts, register now for “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Class for Financial Advisors.”

 

This article was originally posted as a guest post on the Wired Advisor blog, which no longer exists in its original form.

Image courtesy of Goldy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Work smarter, not harder, on your blog

You’re a busy professional. You don’t have unlimited time to devote to your investment or financial planning blog. However, if you’re blogging without a strategy or plan, you’re wasting time. Advance preparation, as I explain below, will allow you to work smarter, not harder, on your blog.

Step 1. Know your goals.

Do as I say, not as I do, when it comes to blogging. I wasted time on two earlier blogs until I found my focus in helping financial marketing professionals learn to write better.

You’ll achieve better results if you start by identifying your target audience and your topic areas. Both should align with your business focus. For example, if you offer financial planning to divorced women in their fifties or older, don’t write blog posts for millennials about how to start saving in a Roth IRA account.

Step 2. Pick the right blogging frequency

Consistency counts when you blog. Your clients won’t be impressed if you blog twice a day for one month, quarterly for a year, and then sporadically thereafter. They’ll worry that you bring the same lack of commitment to your main business, as I discussed in “Woody Allen’s wisdom for successful financial bloggers.”

Pick a posting frequency that you can stick with. Not sure how often you can post? Create a cache of posts that aren’t time-sensitive before you go public with your blog.

Step 3. Develop a process

When you develop a repeatable process for your blog, you’ll invest less energy in creating each post. This is why my book, Financial Blogging: How To Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients gives you step-by-step instructions for the following topics:

  1. Brainstorming ideas
  2. Organizing your thoughts before you write
  3. Writing your first draft
  4. Making “big picture” edits
  5. Making smaller edits

The book also discusses compliance, marketing, and time management.

After you develop a process that works for you, your blog posts will take shape more quickly and easily.

Step 4. Learn your blogging personality

Different approaches to blogging work best for different people. Pay attention to what works best for you, so you can do more of those things.

For example, some people enjoy writing to a detailed editorial calendar, as I described in “How to manage a group blog: Financial advisor edition.” But that approach would be like torture for me. I need some inspiration to write.

I’ve identified some techniques that work well for me. For example

Don’t force yourself to use techniques you don’t enjoy—especially when better alternatives exist.

Step 5. Get help

You don’t have to do it all yourself. For example, Sheri Iannetta Cupo of Sage Advisory Group, LLC uses the help of Wendy Vissar to create customized images for her blog, as explained in “Boost your blog with original photos: The SAGE Advisory example.” Rick Kahler of Kahler Financial uses an editor. You can use my Financial Blogging book as a source of ideas for how to overcome common challenges for bloggers.

I’m not a big fan of hiring a ghost blogger. You’ll do better by letting your personality shine through in something you’ve written. You can adapt your posts to suit your skills and preferences. For example, you can write very short, opinionated pieces. Or you can create podcasts or videos.

If you’re determined to use content written by others, check out the resources in “Ready-to-use content for financial advisors.”

It’s rare for me to take on ghost-blogging outside of ongoing relationships with larger companies. However, you can hire me to critique one of your blog posts so you can learn to improve future posts.

What are YOUR best tips?

I’d like to see your best tips for working smarter, not harder, on your blog.

How to guest-blog on personal finance or investments, Part II: Blogs that accept guest posts from financial advisors

Guest posts can launch investment and wealth managers into the blogosphere. This follow-up to “How to guest-blog on personal finance or investments, Part I” gives you names of blogs to target for guest posts.

It has been 10 years since I originally posted this list, so I recently reviewed it to update links and to comment on blogs that no longer accept guest posts.

Investment blogs that accept guest posts

The granddaddy of investing blogs is Seeking Alpha, which you can join as a contributor. It says your writing may be considered if you seek “to share investment insights and ideas with our community.”

Advisor Perspectives isn’t a blog. But it publishes similar content. Its submission guidelines say it publishes

…market commentaries submitted to us by participating fund companies, independent research firms and advisors. Selected commentaries are promoted to subscribers of our daily Research Perspectives newsletter.…We offer three levels of service: our free Basic Commentaries, and our paid Commentaries Plus and Premium Services, which offer greater content flexibility and promotional benefits.

Disclosure: I have occasionally written for Advisor Perspectives.

Enterprising Investor, the blog of the CFA Institute, accepts guest posts from non-members, as well as from CFA charterholders, according to its Contributor FAQs.  Posts should run 600 to 1200 words and be aimed at investment professionals.

Personal finance blogs that accept guest posts

Wise Bread, which reports receiving 1.8 million page Clarifinancial tweetviews monthly, discusses why and how to apply to be a guest blogger on its “Write for ­­­Wise Bread” page. Thanks to Aaron Pinkston of Clarifinancial for bringing this site to my attention.

Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents likes Wise Bread, too. He also shared the names of Jeff Rose TWEETadditional blogs where he has been a guest. However, as of April 2020, Get Rich Slowly, Consumerism Commentary, and Cash Money Life no longer accept unsolicited guest posts.

Here’s a personal finance blog that still accepts guest posts:

Other blogs worth targeting

Your business niche may also have blogs that will accept your posts and help you educate your target audience.

Through my work with fiduciary advisors, I’ve become familiar with the fi360 blog. The firm told me in April 2010 that guest posts may be possible. However, “I should say that we’d want exclusive content from a guest blogger. We’d rather just link if it’s on their blog as well.” When I followed up in 2016, @fi360 tweeted “We are always interested in guest bloggers. Please feel free to send any posts to fi360@fi360.com.” Here’s a sample guest post, “Good Insurance Decisions Require Appropriate Information.”

FI360 tweets

Interested in getting read by your colleagues? Michael Kitces’ Nerds Eye View has a knack for attracting attention among practitioners. In a June 2011 email, he told me, “My guest blogging posts are not by invitation only. I am open to people contacting me with ideas. However, as you’ve probably noticed, I do have a certain edge and focus to the types of posts I put up, so I am looking for content that is consistent.” Since we originally spoke, Michael has published guest post guidelines.

The Slott Report is open to guest posts. “We already have over 500 articles on IRA, tax and retirement distribution planning on our site. We also accept posts on Social Security and Medicare planning. We don’t post investment related posts, but more on the planning and distribution side,” said The Slott Report’s Jason Trexler when we traded emails in 2016. “All guest posts are allowed a 50-word brief professional/company bio and URL hyperlink at the bottom of the article..” Here’s a sample guest post: “Avoid This Trap When Using a Roth IRA to Pay For College.” Read “Become a guest contributor.”

Another potential target: your local newspaper’s blog. Its reach may be small, but it could yield some great prospects close to your office.

What else?

Have I missed any great tips for guesting between this post and my earlier post on this topic? Please chime in. I’d like to learn from you.

 

Post updated on June 3, 2013; Feb., 8, 2016; and April 24, 2020.