In Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on local media exposure, we explained how advisors can become industry newsmakers and leverage relationships with local media. The next step is to understand how and why it’s important for an advisor to build a personal brand as a financial thought leader.
What is a financial thought leader?
A thought leader is a person or brand that is an authority on certain issues, trends or topics of interest to their target audiences. For advisors, becoming a financial thought leader means building credibility on subjects that are top of mind for high-net-worth clients. Sharing your ideas and views will help position you as a go-to source for wealth (or ‘well-th’) management information among members of the media, industry influencers, clients and potential clients.
To be impactful, thought leadership content must be original, informative, specific and thought-provoking, without being an overt advertisement for your business.
Here are two essential steps to establish yourself as a financial thought leader:
#1 – Start a blog
Creating a financial management blog is an important first step to promoting your financial thought leadership ideas. A regular publishing schedule can help boost your website’s search engine optimization, making it easier for people to discover your practice through a quick Google search. As a financial advisor, your blog should cover topics that prospective clients are interested in and will be inclined to share with others. Some subjects to consider include:
|● Estate planning
● Tax planning
● College tuition planning
● Charitable giving
● Impact investing
● Asset-class specific investing
● Business succession planning
● Helping your heirs manage their inheritances
● How to establish a trust fund
● Helping your children become financially literate
● The basics of investing
● Protecting your finances in a divorce
To help you get the most bang for your blogging buck, keep your corporate blog between 600 and 800 words, set up a content calendar that maps out a regular content schedule (once a week is a good place to start), and make sure to promote everything you publish on social media and in client email newsletters. If you’re worried about having the time to write regular content on your own, create incentives for your employees to contribute to the blog. The more people you have producing blogs, the more diverse content you will have to publish on a regular basis.
#2 – Write articles and op-eds for notable publications
Guest articles and opinion-editorials (op-eds) are examples of content that you write and submit to media outlets such as newspapers, magazines or blogs, to be published on their sites. Publishing in a reputable outlet gives you credibility, as potential clients can see your name tied to topics that concern them, in an outlet they read regularly.
For guest article submissions, start by researching publications or blogs where you’d like your feature-style writing to appear. Check to see if they accept guest articles. You can consider national, regional and local publications, though some outlets, such as local newspapers, view thought leadership-style articles as advertorial because it is essentially free advertising for your practice. If you don’t mind writing content that’s labeled as branded, you can pay for advertorial space.
Tips for writing bylined article content:
- Review the guidelines on the publication’s website, including topics of interest to the audience, word count, and style (some are more advice-driven while others are news-focused).
- Develop a catchy headline and organize the article with relevant subheads.
- Do not use jargon-heavy language. Share examples and keep the publication’s audience in mind.
- Tie in messaging that relates to your business but is not overly promotional. Anything that feels like a sales pitch reduces the likelihood of the piece getting published.
- Use timely data points where relevant to support your argument / thesis and attribute to reputable, well-known sources.
Once written, submit a proposal to the publication to see whether they are interested in publishing; this could be through an online form or pitching a contributed content editor. Don’t forget to promote the article on your social channels and through your email marketing. Do not submit the article to another publication once it’s accepted to publish, as most outlets only accept original content.
Op-eds – opinion pieces that follow a strict style and word count – are different from guest article submissions, which follow a more feature-style. If you have a strong opinion on a current news development, look at newspapers and magazines where you’d like to be published. Follow the publication’s op-ed guidelines and craft an incisive narrative that showcases your knowledge and credibility on the matter. You can look at past op-eds for guidance on style.
To learn more about how HighTower can help advisors leverage the local media, download our guidebook for gaining local PR exposure or contact our marketing support consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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