Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Use a tip sheet to get PR for your financial business

"Tip Sheets: One of the Most Effective Publicity Tools You’ve Never Heard Of" tells you how to use this PR tool to get exposure for your business. A tip sheet is a list of tips on how to do something.

I like that the author quotes PR maven Sandy Beckwith, who taught me almost everything I know about tip sheets. You can go to Sandy's website to read more detailed instructions on how to write a tip sheet.


If you've got old tip sheets, you can update and reissue them. That's a tip I got from one of Roger C. Parker's Published & Profitable teleseminars.


____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five great writing tips: They're not just for ads

Even if you've never looked at Twitter and you'll never advertise, you should take the time to read "what can Twitter teach us about advertising?"

The IDTAGS blog's five tips include
  1. Be brief.
  2. Be impactful.
  3. Less is more.
  4. No one likes to read.
  5. Just give us the headlines.
That almost sums up what I spend 60-180 minutes discussing in my writing workshops.

If you visit theIDTAGS blog, you'll see the power of brevity combined with visual images.

Thank you, @MarkRaganCEO, for pointing me to this IDTAGS piece.

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thank you, Boston Women in Finance, for your feedback on my writing workshop

Boston Women in Finance gave me great feedback on my workshop "How to Write What People Will Read About Investments." Before I share some their feedback with you, I'd like to thank all of the participants. Your energetic participation made it a very enjoyable workshop for me, too.

Here are some participant comments.

  •  "A very practical workshop! You'll get tips you'll use as soon as you return to the office."

  • "I truly learned a lot from this presentation. It was refreshing to have someone break down how to best reach people and to say it's okay to write in simple short sentences."
  • "It's always good to hear these reminders to get you back to the basics of effective writing. This seminar was a great way to refocus."

  • "The mapping technique was helpful. I will use this for brainstorming and helping with project plans and meetings."

  • "Susan's 'how to' approach packed dozens of indispensable tips into 1 1/2 hours. Incredible!"

  • "I believe the mapping exercise will help me organize my thoughts and overcome writer's block and get past the first blank page or screen."

Some of you said that you would prefer "More time; more opportunity for individual exercises." I'm interested in creating longer, customized training sessions for corporate clients that would allow more interaction. I'm also for hire to present the one-and-one-half hour version I delivered to Boston Women in Finance.

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The best private equity opportunity in generations

"Our database tells us we're in a multigenerational opportunity to be a private equity investor," said Martin Grasso, CEO of Pearl Street Capital Group, a private equity fund-of-funds manager. He believes that investors with longer time horizons can get above-benchmark returns without significant volatility. Grasso made his comments as a panelist on "The State of Private Equity: Opportunity Through Crisis," presented to the Boston Security Analysts Society on November 5.

Data suggests that capital growth and buyout private equity get the highest returns in years with the lowest levels of EBITDA leverage, said Grasso. That's the situation we're in now.

It also pays to invest with the best, according to Grasso. Top quartile and top decile private equity fund managers show much higher levels of persistence than long-only public securities managers. In other words, top performers in private equity have a greater tendency to remain top performers. The difference in performance between top and bottom quartile managers is much greater in private equity than among public equity managers.

Implications for advisors:
* Access to top firms is still difficult, so go with a fund-of-funds to gain that access.
* Invest in 10 vintage years and consider some secondary offerings, which are available now that some investors can't meet their funding obligations as limited partners.
* Best private equity opportunities now are in small-medium companies where there's less competition and where private equity managers are more inclined to partner with management to "accrete value" and make minority investments.
* Diversify across geography and sectors.



The last two paragraphs of this post were revised on Dec. 7, thanks to some clarifications by Martin Grasso of Pearl Street Capital Group.

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Monday, November 16, 2009

Interesting example of fund company using YouTube

I  normally think of a fund company using YouTube--if it uses YouTube at all--to show off its talking heads. But times are changing.

U.S. Global Investors' "Shanghai City Lights" video, which you can view below, doesn't mention the fund firm's name or investments. It doesn't even show any people. I think this video has the potential to reach more viewers than the firm's more traditional videos. Heck, I already forwarded the video to my husband to remind him of our visit to Shanghai.  However, I wonder how many of this video's viewers will be potential fund buyers.





US Global Investors seems to have moved away from talking heads and toward more visually appealing pieces. Its initial YouTube video was "Frank Holmes Explains the Key Drivers for Gold and Mining Stock," followed by "What the Global Infrastructure Story Looks Like" and "A Firsthand Look at Mining Operations in Brazil." To view these videos, go to the USFunds YouTube channel. So far the Frank Holmes video has gained the most viewers on YouTube, with 218 views as of Nov. 16.

However, US Global Investors hasn't given up on more traditional communications. For example, "Five Reasons China is Not a Bubble" appears on its blog and the firm's Fall 2009 Shareholder Report leads with a letter titled "Just Back from Shanghai."

Do you think US Global Investors' YouTube video about Shanghai represents the start of a trend? While their videos haven't attracted many viewers yet. the firm's YouTube presence is pretty new.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Friday, November 13, 2009

If you're marketing to RIAs...

...email should be your top method for communicating with them. That's the message I took away from "Marketing to Today's RIA: What Every Asset Manager Should Know," a webinar and report from Morningstar Advisor and Swandog Strategic Marketing. Their webinar and report are based on an online survey of 500 financial advisors that was supplemented by interviews.

Their research suggested some lessons that may apply to everyone marketing to registered investment advisors (RIAs), even though the Morningstar-Swandog report focused on RIAs' interactions with asset managers. 

Lesson 1: Stay in touch via email rather than heavy-handed personal contact or expecting RIAs to visit your website. The graph on p. 13 shows a strong preference for email communications over web access, wholesaler visits, and phone calls.

Lesson 2: Tailor your marketing materials to RIAs rather than using materials for registered reps. RIAs fall between registered reps and institutional investors in their sophistication. The Morningstar-Swandog webinar quoted one RIA saying, "Give me substance!" RIAs want meatier content than registered reps. Another telling quote: "Most info from investment managers is propaganda. Real objective analysis is rare and valuable" (p. 7).

Lesson 3: Get your company's thought leaders exposure in  arenas that confer apparent third-party endorsements. Print publications used to be the best method for this. But now, as moderator Leslie Banks pointed out, you can use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to push out your content AND get it endorsed by people whom RIAs respect.

Take the time to read the report and watch the webinar on "Marketing to Today's RIA: What Every Asset Manager Should Know." I've barely touched on their content and each covers slightly different content.

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Twitter to the rescue of my colleague with a RFP dilemma

Twitter can be mighty handy in a pinch. Especially when used in combination with other social media. That's what I learned from the response to my colleague's RFP dilemma.

My colleague asked me to post his dilemma on my blog, so I wrote it up as "RFP dilemma: What should my colleague do?" I figured that a blog post alone wouldn't draw helpful responses, so I tweeted--and emailed some colleagues on LinkedIn--for help. 

Within an hour, I received five constructive comments on my blog post plus some tweets.The exchange raised some issues that I'd never thought of before. For example, the fact that an RFP may be considered part of a contract.

This illustrates social media at its best. 

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the conversation!


Nov. 13 update: A reader recently asked "What's an RFP?" 

RFP is short for request for proposal. It's a questionnaire that businesses fill out to compete for a prospect's business. 

In the investment industry, institutional investors often use RFPs in their investment manager selection process. You can read more about this topic in "How to Create an Investment Management Request for Proposal."

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Friday, November 6, 2009

Private equity job hunting tips from four professionals

"Don't bring me a resume. Bring me a deal," said Daniel Meader, founder and managing partner, Trinity Advisory Group. Meader offered his advice during the Q&A following "The State of Private Equity: Opportunity through Crisis," a sold out presentation to the Boston Security Analysts Society on November 5.

Other advice from panelists:
  • In New England, the best job prospects are in venture. The corporate growth and buyout styles of private equity are stagnant locally, said Martin Grasso, CEO, Pearl Street Capital Group.
  • It's good to have consulting experience as well as investment expertise, according to Scott Stewart, MS in Investment Management Faculty Director, Boston University School of Management.
  • Get operating experience in turning around a distressed company, suggested Norman Rice, partner, ConsensusCapital Group.
Do you have more tips for private equity job hunters? Please add them in the comments.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poll: Which brings you the most new business--email or U.S. mail marketing?

Contact via email and U.S. mail can spur referrals and turn prospects into clients. Accordingly, this month's poll asks which brings you the most new business--email or U.S. mail marketing? Please answer the poll in the right-hand column of this blog. Thank you! 

Also, if you have time, leave your comments about why you prefer one form of communication to the other. In addition, I'd enjoy hearing about what kind of communications you send. Newsletters? Sales letters? White papers? Invitations to in-person or virtual gatherings? It would be great to get a conversation going.

My monthly e-newsletter has brought me new clients. Sometimes new clients have called me within 24 hours of publication. Other times, they've sent an email inquiry as a reply to my newsletter. Perhaps U.S. mail marketing would work for me, but I haven't done much with it because of the costs and additional steps required when compared to email.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

May vs. might: It may matter, but it might not

I thought I might have absorbed the difference between "may" and "might" after reading "I Wish I May, I Wish I Might" in Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips (a similar explanation is on the Grammar Girl blog). Grammar Girl, AKA Mignon Fogarty, wrote "If something is likely to happen, use may." Might is for cases when the thing is "a mighty stretch."

But the next day I read "Mighty Likely" by Jan Freeman in the Boston Globe. Freeman uncovered disagreement among usage mavens about which word is more optimistic. In her opinion, this distinction doesn't matter much. It may be much ado about nothing. 

However, cautioned Freeman, it is important to use "might" rather than "may" when discussing past events.

For another perspective on this dispute, read "May, Might, Muddle" on The New York Times' "Times Topics" blog. It may help. Then again, it might not.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved