Always proofread your blog posts and e-newsletters, and preview a test version before you really hit “send.”
That’s what I advise others. It’s also what I always do myself.
Well, almost always. Herein lies a lesson re-learned a few weeks ago.
I’d just added some new material to the Content-Sharing Library, coincidentally about how to avoid identity theft and financial fraud. Announcing availability on a Friday, I watched the downloads rolling in over the weekend from interested subscribers. Yay.
Then … remember the WannaCry ransomware scare? That very weekend, reports broke of this new, seemingly major threat. I certainly hadn’t planned my release to coincide with the breach, but had I been psychic, I couldn’t have timed it any better.
So, carpe diem, I decided it would be a great time to release a quick follow-up e-blast and post, with an additional cover letter advisors could use to share the newly released and incredibly timely materials.
Pirates may be jolly when they’re Johnny Depp in a costume, but the real renditions aren’t amusing at all … as the world is being reminded of recently in the form of a global Microsoft ransomware outbreak. If you’ve not yet seen the news, all you have to do is Google “ransomware attack 2017” and you’ll get caught up pretty quickly. You might want to have a paper bag handy, to breathe into.
Bottom line, to help shore up the security of your virtual ship, there’s one important step you and your clients should be taking if you’ve not yet done so: Make sure all updates and patches to your Windows operating system have been completed – like, yesterday. (As in, stop whatever else you’re doing, and do that now.)
By the way, I’ve just added a short email to the Content-Sharing Library, which you can use to reach out to your clients about this simple but important step. And, as incredibly excellent timing would have it, just last Friday, I also happened to load a quick-reference guide and a longer report on the subject of protecting against financial fraud and identity theft (U.S. and Canadian versions of the same).
If my timing were always this impeccable, I’d become an active investor! It’s not, and I won’t.
As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, let’s be careful out there.
Read on for a nifty Content-Sharing Library discount offer.
Back when I was director of communications at an energetic young financial firm, I was privileged to work alongside one of its co-founders, Stuart Zimmerman. Others at this relatively small start-up firm may have had it over Stuart on nitty-gritty number-crunching skills, but nobody could beat him on cheerleading optimism. His “the best is yet to come!” enthusiasm was a virulent contagion; few were immune.
Stuart started our “Good News Friday,” for example, where we swapped tales of good deeds that had happened that week, whether it was launching a major new service or helping a family finally get its portfolio on the right track.
One of my favorite “Stuart-isms” is: “Hey, every [number] counts!” At first, the number would be modest. By the time I left The BAM ALLIANCE toward the end of 2008, that number had increased exponentially. But it wasn’t about size. Every client and every dollar entrusted to us did indeed count. This is a lesson I learned from Stuart and the rest of my BAM compatriots – and brought to my own little business.
While the Department of Labor’s fiduciary ruling is not any sort of death knell (unless, perhaps, you’ve been peddling some seriously toxic investment products), you might think it was, given last week’s glut of headlines in the financial press. I’ve seen all five of Kübler-Ross’ famed stages of grief on exhibit: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, ultimately, acceptance.
I have experienced these myself. For some time, I doubted that the DOL would ever achieve a ruling. When they actually did, I was angered by some of the last-minute holes that were blown into what could otherwise have been a more solid fiduciary stronghold. While I am in no position to bargain with the DOL, I debated with myself, mulling over shifting moods on whether the ruling was a good or bad thing for investors.
In the end, I have accepted that we should think of the ruling as a modest victory for investors and that, by and large, you should communicate it as such to your community.
The New Year’s market volatility gives me an excellent opportunity to explore a question I am frequently asked by evidence-based advisors:
When the markets are having a bad day (or few), should I reach out to my clients right away, or hold off until the results are more clear?
I get that there are a number of reasons it may seem logical to pause and reflect before sending out client communications in the midst of a market crisis:
You might inadvertently generate anxiety where none existed. If you’ve done your job, they should already be remaining calm.
If your clients haven’t noticed the crisis or they don’t care about it, they already are best positioned to adhere to their long-term, evidence-based plan. Why mess it up?
Either making too light of breaking news or analyzing it too deeply could backfire on you if the markets render your comments obsolete or just plain wrong.
Reacting to breaking news may feel contrary to your evidence-based philosophy. Are you sending the wrong message by implying the news matters?
Go Ahead, Hit the Hero Key
So, yes, I can understand why you may be reluctant to be in touch with your clients during market crises. But here is why I believe that none of these bullet points should prevent you from doing so anyway.
For years, advisers like you and service providers like me have been defending evidence-based investing against the opposite of it: Active vs. passive. Alpha vs. beta. Rational vs. emotional. Scientific vs. speculative. Market timing and stock picking vs. risk factors and diversification.
Call it what you will, ours has long been a relatively black and white conversation about “us” vs. “them.” It’s a conversation we’ve gotten good at too, as we state the case for keeping market efficiencies high, unnecessary expenses low and human emotions in check. By keeping our message loud and clear through the years, we’ve been winning over an increasing numbers of investors, fellow advisers, fund providers and even the financial press.
So, congratulations, we’re winning! That’s good news. But I believe it’s also the fuel that’s igniting a new communications challenge. Our black-and-white messages may no longer suffice. These days, expect a finer shade of gray in your conversations, with more nuanced variations on the theme of active vs. passive investing. Continue reading “Evidence-Based Investing and Adviser Gray Matters”→
We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to share some exciting news. The Wendy J. Cook Communications (WJCC) Content-Sharing Library has now moved to a new platform and is open for business, sporting a number of improvements on the previous version.
In a testament to the fact that it is possible to teach older dogs a few new tricks, I’ve created a short video — my first ever! — to offer a guided tour of what to expect in the new Library. This should come in handy for current members as well as those of you who would like to preview what you can expect when you join. Plus, I am having a good hair day; for that alone it’s worth viewing.
For those who prefer to read, here’s more information about the WJCC Content-Sharing Library, including an overview and a summary of its newest features.
Today’s post is a re-post, reprinted with permission from author Sam Lewis of the U.K.-based Ember Television. Sam and his colleague Robin Powell are like the peanut butter to my chocolate in the world of financial communication service providers. While I focus on the words, Ember Television’s Regis Media team helps evidence-based advisers create high-quality videos and illustrations. words and pictures work best together in helping you reach out to your ideal audiences. I encourage you to reach out to either of us for more information. Thanks, Sam and Robin, for letting me share our conversation here!
PS: “Bespoke” is a British term for custom-crafted, so “bespoke content” means it is custom-written. Even I, a word-nut, learn something new every day by looking beyond my usual borders!
It’s well-known that for content marketing to be effective, content has to be posted regularly. A Hubspot study found that businesses that posted 15 times or more per month saw their web traffic increase by 500%. When faced with statistics like this, content marketing can seem like a beast that constantly needs feeding.
The problem is that we’re now expected to produce more content but with the same budgets. For some organisations, like financial services firms, this can seem like an impossible task.
How is your advisor website like a toothbrush? Both are basic essentials, and come in a huge range of sizes and options to reflect your individual tastes. Most important, just as you should regularly replace your toothbrush well before it’s snapped in two, you should treat your website to a regular refresh to keep it relevant in the face of ever-advancing technology. Continue reading “How Is Your Advisor Website Like a Toothbrush?”→