The global 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer ranks financial services at the bottom again (even worse than banks). In this environment, how do you know if your financial advisor is looking out for your best interests?
The same study shows that social media has had a dramatic 75% increase as a source of trusted information. Granted, the base was small but that’s a major increase.
Blogging is an excellent way for advisors to continually show they're on your side. Does your advisor have a blog? If not, why not?
QuestionsHere are some questions to ponder.
- When did your advisor’s blog start? [Why not earlier?]
- How many posts are there? [Why not more?]
- How often are new posts added? [If less than weekly, why?]
- When was the last post published? [If more than a week ago, why?]
- Does the content educate you or sell to you?
- Who writes the content? [If not the advisor, why?]
- Is the content worth reading? [If not, why?]
Excuses?I've been telling advisors to blog since mid-2007. They have many excuses for doing nothing. Three of the most common are: not allowed, no time and not able to write.
Not allowedLarge organizations rarely permit advisors to express opinions in public without pre-approval ... and maybe not even then. Policies can prevent online activity like posting links to articles, expressing opinions in groups or leaving comments on blog posts. Internal restrictions might even ban testimonials to outsiders on LinkedIn.
Since bland doesn’t bring ka-ching, the organizations leave a loophole. Advisors are allowed to make questionable claims in seminars and meetings. Why? There's no proof of what took place. It's easy to claim that what you inferred, they did not imply.
Advisors who want to express themselves and show they put clients first could leave and start their own businesses. If that's too drastic, they could go through the process of getting their content pre-approved. While the results may look boring and generic, they can still do something.
No TimeAdvisors make time for what matters to them. Shouldn't that include clients?
An advisor who doesn't have time might be unproductive. That's where Pick Four or other programs help. Perhaps the advisor's business has grown and requires more staff. That's a good situation unless the problem is retaining staff.
Can’t WriteNot everyone can write but they can learn. It's not as if we were born walking, talking or cycling. Written communication skills are essential and well worth mastering. Nothing bad could happen from improving. Help is available.
Excuse BustersHow do you explain amateur financial bloggers? They could use the same excuses as advisors but found solutions instead. They have the additional handicap of being outsiders. They need to spend time learning before they know enough to tell you. An insider has a huge edge.
AnniversaryThis month marks my fifth anniversary of blogging. That's over 500 posts and 250,000 words. I had no training and “talent” is a myth-conception. We learn by doing.
I’ve been encouraging advisors to blog since 2007. I thought that advisors with the courage to share valuable free content on a regular basis would learn how and stand out. In return, they’d attract more clients, retain more clients and raise standards for laggards.
- Blogging milestone: 5 years | 500 posts | 250,000 words
- The 100th post
- Building trust with blogging (Word11)
- The word advisors imply but dare not say
- Can an advisor serve two masters?
- How to spot biased referrals
- The talent myth-conception
- Your digital tapestry is your legacy
- Social media and trust (Edelman, Feb 1, 2012)
- 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer: Executive Summary
- image courtesy of dinostock
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PS What do you think about advisors blogging, podcasting or creating video?