Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My best posts for financial advisors who blog

If you're a financial blogger who cares about well-written blog posts, you'll find something useful in these posts.

By the way, if you're struggling to crank out a steady stream of blog posts, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," my 5-week teleclass for financial advisors, starts tomorrow, Feb. 25.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guest post: "The Lost Art of the Thank You Card"

I'm a big fan of saying "Thank you." So I'm delighted to feature this guest post by Suzanne Muusers of Prosperity Coaching. Suzanne is a consultant to financial advisors. I met her through Twitter.

The Lost Art of the Thank You Card
By Suzanne Muusers

What would happen to your referrals if you wrote five thank you cards per week? Would your client relationships deepen? Would you spread goodwill and kindness?

I've been sending out a lot of hand-written thank you cards lately. I find really nicely designed thank you cards at Trader Joe's and AJ's and I just get the urge to send them. You wouldn't believe the response I get when the recipient receives the card. I usually get a phone call from them gushing about "taking the time to send a hand-written card" and "thank you so much for thinking of me."

We have become such a digital world we forget about the impact such a simple action can have.  We now have email, ezines, newsletters, evite.com, and the like.  While it's nice to save paper on such niceties and be "green," getting a card in the mail is like getting a present.  When you send someone a card through the mail, I am betting that it stays on their desk for quite some time.

As I glance over my desk, I see a hand-written card I received from a financial advisor I met last month at the Financial Planning Association meeting. He asked me for advice on where he should get coach training. I gave him a few choice pointers and several days later received a beautiful zen-like card from him thanking me for the tips. You can bet that I'll keep that card for a long time.

So how can you use thank you cards in your business? What occasions would be suitable for a thank you card?

How about:

  • Birthday cards
  • Nice to meet you cards
  • Thank you for the referral cards (as part of a written referral program)
  • Congratulations for your achievement
  • Sympathy cards
  • Wedding cards

Maybe thank you cards should be part of your Marketing Plan and part of your week!


Suzanne Muusers is a business coach, marketing expert, and a sales and marketing speaker based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her coaching program for financial advisors, The Prosperous Advisor™ , focuses on revenue-building activities.

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Can you over-use "you" in your marketing materials?

You may be surprised by my suggestion that you can overuse "you" in your written communications. I've said many times that investment and wealth managers speak too much about "we," the firm, and too little about "you," the client or prospect.

Writing reader-focused text is important. However, dropping "you" and "your" multiple times in every sentence is overkill.

Here are some usage suggestions that emerged from my conversation with designer Margaret Patterson, author of the popular pitch book posts on this blog.
  • Don't use "you" when it isn't clear who "you" is. Make it clear whether "you" refers to the client, financial advisor, consultant, or some other individual or group.
  • Don't use "you" prematurely. Writing "We help you reach your financial goals" isn't appropriate when you're addressing a prospect who may never become a client. "We can help you reach your financial goals" would be okay. Better yet, "We help clients reach their financial goals."
  • Simply using "you" won't convince your clients that you care about them. You must back up your words with actions.
  • Don't write "you" in fancy fonts that are hard to read. If used too much in any font, "you" makes a document tedious.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Financial writers clinic: Getting rid of "mitigate"

Words with Latin roots, such as "mitigate," drain life out of  your writing. Let's spruce up a sentence by deleting "mitigate."

Here's a sentence from New York Times' reporter Gretchen Morgenson's "Credit Cards and Reluctant Regulators":
Alliance is not the only company working to mitigate the effects of new credit card restrictions.
I'd rewrite it as
Alliance is not the only company trying to work around new credit card restrictions.
What do you think? Better or worse?Clearer or more muddled?

Related post
* Can you make a case for "mitigate"?
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some ammo for job-hunting -- and client-seeking -- CFA charterholders

Employers--and potential investment management clients--don't understand why they should hire a CFA charterholder instead of a non-charterholder. That's the lament of some job-hunting and client-seeking colleagues of mine in the Boston Security Analysts Society.

"Fund managers with CFAs take fewer risks than those with MBAs, study says," an article by Ian McGugan in Canada's The National Post, provides one reason for choosing a CFA charterholder. Charterholders are going to take fewer risks in portfolios compared to MBAs.

"This result is surprising and may have something to do with the ethics instruction that is part of the CFA course but not most MBA programs," writes McGugan.

This newspaper article is based on research by Oguzhan C. Dincer of Illinois State University, Russell B. Gregory of Allen Massey University - Department of Commerce, and Hany A. Shawky of SUNY at Albany - School of Business and Center for Institutional Investment Management.

You can download "Are You Smarter than a CFA'er?"  from the SSRN website, where registration may be required. 

Thank you, Matthew Andrade, member of the Calgary CFA Society, for bringing the National Post article to my attention!
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Use movement and description in your writing: A tip from Francis Flaherty

Good nonfiction needs both movement and description, says Francis Flaherty, author of The Elements of Story.

One technique he suggests for incorporating both is writing
..."right-branching" sentences which offer up a big dose of action in the beginning so that the writer can branch out into static descriptions in the later, righthand clauses. ("The boat smashed into the pier, both because San Francisco's famous fog blinded the captain, and because the two night watchmen had decided to warm up with some run below decks.") --p. 78
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Monday, February 8, 2010

"You" can help your job hunting "thank you"

Which "thank you" are you more likely to read? The note that opens with 1) "Thank you for meeting with me" or 2) "Your company's disciplined approach to..."?

Number 1 makes me yawn. "Another lame thank you note," I say to myself, although I'm impressed the writer bothered to write when so many people don't.

Number 2 makes me think, "Hey, this person listened to me! They're writing about one of my company's key messages."

Recruiters and career counselors tell job hunters their communications should focus on the company that they're pitching instead of on themselves. One way to achieve this is to start your "thank you" note with the words "you" or "your," and then convey your appreciation later.

A friend tried a variation on this when requesting an informational interview from a senior executive. He opened by citing an article that had quoted the exec. "You said '...' in this article, which interested me because...' " He got the interview.

The power of "you" isn't just for job hunters. It boosts the power of most communications--blogs, brochures, articles, websites, white papers, and more. Try it and see!


Related posts
Which topic should you discuss in your client email's first paragraph?
Your mail has three seconds to grab your reader's attention
* To "dear" or not to "dear" in your email

____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Moldy websites hurt your SEO, but blogging can help

Your website needs regular infusions of fresh content to help potential clients find you.

That's one of the lessons I took away from "Things that can hurt your website's ranking" in The Boston Globe on Jan. 24. The author advised against "Building your website but letting it molder for months without updates," if you'd like your website to show up in searches.  

If you blog regularly on your website, that counts as an update. The same thing applies if you add your regular newsletters to your site. If you blog somewhere other than your website, consider feeding your blog to your website, as I've done on my Investment Writing website. I also regularly add my monthly newsletter and occasionally update my portfolio of writing samples and other website pages.

By the way, while I couldn't find a link to the website ranking article that I quote above, I believe it appeared as a sidebar to Scott Kirsner's "In Web world, a successful marketing effort means gaining inside track on searches."

What about YOU? Have you found that updating your website regularly has improved your online search rankings?
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Friday, February 5, 2010

Five-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors: "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read"

Blogging has become a "must" for many independent and fee-only financial advisors. It's a great way to connect with current and potential clients. Blogging also helps drive traffic to your website and cement your reputation as a leader in your field. But many advisors struggle to crank out a steady flow of compelling blog posts. That's why you need to enroll in "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," my NEW five-week teleclass for financial advisors.

You will learn how 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
                    
The inaugural class will be offered exclusively to my newsletter subscribers and to clients. Participants in the initial class will receive a 50% discount in return for participating fully and providing detailed feedback.

When you participate fully in this class, you'll end up with one polished blog post--and a process you can follow to generate many more.
 

How you'll get there
o Small class--limited to 12 advisors--so you can participate, not just listen passively. Research shows that people learn best when they act on new information.
o Classes will meet on five successive Thursdays--Feb. 25, March 4, March 11, March 18 and March 25-- on a teleconference call from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time
o Convenience because you can dial into the weekly phone calls from anywhere--and classes are recorded, in case you can't attend "live"
o Guidance through a step-by-step process of writing blog posts, including
      o  Generating blog post topics
      o  Organizing your thoughts before you write
      o  Positioning your blog post to appeal to readers
      o  Editing your posts to boost their reader-friendliness      

"Hands on" practice through completing your weekly homework assignments
Resources for the future because you can download
      o  Class recordings
      o  Class handouts
      o  E-booklet

o Feedback from a seasoned financial writer-editor whose clients range from the country's largest asset managers to solo professionals to trade and retail publications

Register Now!


TESTIMONIALS
What advisors say about other workshops by Susan Weiner, CFA

o "I found this presentation very helpful because it focused on key elements to being an influential but understandable advisor."
o  "Susan's presentation brought to life the benefits of better writing."
o  "Great tips for jump starting my client communications"
o  "Susan's presentation made me want to go back to my office and juice up my emails and letters."
 

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS?
Contact Susan at learn@investmentwriting.com or 617-969-4509.


Register Now!
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Stiglitz: U.S. Economy Will Falter without More Stimulus" in Advisor Perspectives

The U.S. government has botched its handling of the economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. He explained how the U.S. created the global recession – and how we can get out of it – in a public presentation on his new book, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., on January 25. 

Continue reading my article on Joseph Stiglitz on AdvisorPerspectives.com.


By the way, a reader asked "What about the contribution to the financial crisis of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the activities of politicians who encouraged reckless lending?" Stiglitz agrees that they also contributed. In fact, as a member of the Clinton administration, he fought Glass-Steagall's repeal.
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To GIPS or not to GIPS in your presentations

Must every presentation you give include the seemingly endless GIPS disclosures if your investment management firm claims GIPS compliance? For answers, I turned to Dave Spaulding,  president of The Spaulding Group and author of the Investment Performance Guy blog.

The short answer is "It depends." When you hand someone a document containing performance data, you should either include the relevant GIPS disclosures or make sure that you've provided the disclosures during the past 12 months. There's no exception to this rule. 


However, you've got more leeway when you make a live, in-person presentation to prospects or clients. You can't mislead your audience. But you don't need to include all of your GIPS data and disclosures in your live presentation. The keys are to
•    Provide enough information that your viewers understand what they're seeing
•    Label as "supplementary" any performance information that is neither required  nor recommended
•    Hand your audience members a hard copy of your GIPS presentation
 

If you follow these rules, your presentations can focus on what you and your audience care most about. By the way, Dave's presentation to the Boston Security Analysts Society on fixed income attribution was one of the top-drawing posts on my blog in 2009, so I thank him for helping to grow my audience.


Related posts
•   What does GIPS verification mean?
•   A quant's guide to detecting a future Madoff
•   Top five tips for investment performance advertising
•  SEC update to CFA Institute's GIPS conference
 
____________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
If you're struggling to pump out a steady flow of good blog posts, check out my five-week teleclass for financial advisors, "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read," and sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved