This year was the first year I attended FinCon – and I have to be honest, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. This is mostly because I had no idea what to expect. I learned a lot, but there was one session in particular that really stood out to me: Darren Rowse’s session (from ProBlogger).
Do you ever attend a session at a conference where your hand cramps because you’re writing too quickly and you still aren’t capturing the amazing info that the speaker is covering? Yeah, that was me.
I’ve been a long-time Darren Rowse fan. If you’ve never explored ProBlogger, you absolutely should. The man is a genius. So, I was already fully prepared to love his session at FinCon. And you know what? He went above and beyond my expectations. There was so much to take away from his session (how he managed to pack that much information into less than an hour, I’ll never know). But I wanted to touch on a few of the key things I learned that everyone should start applying to their content creation ASAP:
Who’s Your Audience?
I know, I know. We all are supposed to know who our ideal audience is. But do you? This session really hammered home the importance of knowing exactly who your audience is when they hit your website, social media channels, etc. As a financial planner, this is especially important for you. Who are you marketing to? You’re asking your audience to trust you with their money, their goals, their fears…you need to know who they are if you want to communicate with them in a respectful, effective way.
Who Do You Want Them To Be?
Mind = blown. For me, I want my audience to leave my content feeling better equipped to handle their marketing as a financial planner. I want them to feel empowered to tell their stories, ready to capture the attention of their ideal clients, and bold enough to create content that’s authentic. Who do you want your audience to be when they walk away from your website, blog, etc.?
Think Outside of The Box
Rowse moved through one of his methods of idea creation – mind mapping. I can wholeheartedly say that idea isn’t for me. It seemed chaotic and incredibly stressful. But the point isn’t that I can’t/won’t try mind mapping.
It’s that I had never even thought about mind mapping as a potential brainstorming tool before.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to creating content. Find something that works for you, even if it isn’t what your colleagues do.
Ask (And Listen) More
If you know me, you know I love a good survey. I recommend them to all of my outsourced marketing and coaching clients. When you don’t know what type of content to create, your best answer is always going to be simpler than you think it is – ask your audience! Email your list, ask your clients during annual review meetings, put together a survey with SurveyMonkey or Wufoo and go bananas sending it to every person you know (just kidding – kind of). You might be surprised to find that your audience is fascinated by a topic that you never would have thought about!
Use Evergreen Content
Writing about the most recent market correction is timely and helpful, but that content has a shelf life. You can’t reshare market updates, or another “trendy” piece one, five, or ten years from now. This isn’t to say that some timely pieces aren’t useful elements of your content strategy – they are! But use them sparingly. If the only content you create is based on current events, etc. you’re going to have to constantly be creating new content – and that’s exhausting. Evergreen content can be repurposed hundreds of different ways, and it’s always going to be relevant whether a reader stumbles across it now or a decade from now. You want that.
There are so many different ways you can create anticipation with your content! My personal favorite is to write blog posts in a series. However, you can also:
- Create an email marketing campaign that builds on itself
- Build a social media “countdown” to a podcast launch (or another type of launch)
- Film a multi-part video series that offers basic budgeting/finance instructions
Make Mistakes (Then Edit)
It was supposedly Hemingway who said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” (He didn’t actually say that – chalk it up to terrible misattribution and lazy writing that’s gone on for way too long on the internet).
Even if Hemingway wasn’t a fan of boozy writing, the message still stands: it’s okay to write messy drafts.
In fact, it’s often better to write messy drafts. If you’re too focused on making changes during round one, you’ll stop up the process. Words won’t flow naturally when you write, or you’ll stumble through a podcast recording and you’ll end up creating a big pile of jumbled garbage that sounds like it came from a robot. Be yourself, even if it’s messy. You can always go back and revise later.
You’re Not a Robot
Speaking of robots, you aren’t one! Stop pretending to be. Misspellings aren’t ideal, but they happen. People stutter sometimes when they’re filming a Facebook LIVE, and you will, occasionally, cough during a podcast recording. When we stop striving for perfection, we’re able to create content that’s relatable – and we’re able to create more of it.
Infographics, GIFs, branded images, pictures of your family on vacation – these are all good ways to build visual connection with your audience. Don’t just publish a wall of text and call it a day! Figure out a way to break it up, or communicate it in a visual way.
Take a Stance
This is tough if you’re a financial planner, but I still believe it can be done in a compliant way. It’s easy to qualify everything you say when you’re trying to be compliant, but it’s not very interesting for your audience. Pick simple financial topics that will resonate with your crowd, and share your opinion. A few ideas might be:
- Write a blog post about your favorite budgeting method
- Do a pros/cons list of the debt snowball v. debt avalanche repayment method
- Record a podcast about whether or not you think people should refinance or consolidate their student loans
You’ll still need to qualify your content with a statement indicating that not everyone’s financial situation is the same, but you’re allowed to have an opinion – even as a financial planner who’s trying to walk the compliance tightrope.
Lean In to CTAs
I already believed in this concept before going to FinCon, but Rowse’s session solidified it for me:
People don’t know what to do unless you tell them.
I know – it sounds crazy. But people don’t know that you want them to book a consultation call unless you ask. They won’t know to download your lead magnet unless you say “click here.” Use clear language that points people in the direction you want them to go – you’ll be surprised at the incredible results that happen by small changes that add a clear call to action to every piece of content you put out into the world.
This session was truly incredible, and I’m so glad I’m able to share a few of Rowse’s points with you in a way that applies to your advisor marketing!