How are your corporate communications like a courtship? For both, it’s crucial to proceed in the proper order, at the proper time. Otherwise, like proposing marriage to your blind date, what could be a smooth move could flop fast.
Project Planning: As Easy as One, Three, Two
As advisors plan for their communications, here are questions I sometimes field on initial queries:
- How do we get more traffic on our website?
- How can you help with our blog/social media/white paper/book?
- How much will it cost?
These are great questions … in time. But before you can properly address “How?” make sure you’ve nailed “What?”
- What are you trying to achieve – for yourself and for your firm?
- What do your ideal clients look like?
- What makes you uniquely positioned to help them?
Once you’ve clearly defined these business development basics, it becomes much easier to sort out your true marketing and communication priorities:
- How can you optimize your website to be accessible and useful to your target audiences?
- How can a blog, social media, white paper or book help you achieve your deeper goals?
- How can you best manage the costs of building effective, appropriately tailored communications for your unique needs?
Engaging in Expert Editing
Once you’ve got your overall communications plans in proper order, there’s also organizing the content itself. As I review first drafts, whether it’s forblog, book or brochure, I often find that each idea is crafted well enough … but somehow the whole is lesser than the parts. The various talking points aren’t quite talking to each other (or the reader).
Successful writing is like successful dating; timing counts for a lot. During introductions, don’t overwhelm your reader with too much, too soon. Set the stage. Help the reader get to know you before becoming too familiar. Once you’ve established common ground, then you can start exploring deeper meanings. If all has gone well, seal it with a confirming kiss … and leave them yearning for more.
First drafts often exhibit one or more of the following disorders:
- The Mind Dump – Spewing every point in whatever order it tumbles out of your head.
- Oh, and By the Way – Interrupting a strong, main theme with digressions.
- Fire-hosing – Covering too much too fast.
- Failure To Launch – Mistaking one’s warm-up sentences assuitable introduction. (The first few sentences in a first draft are rarely worth preserving. They usually read like the equivalent of checking your teeth in the mirror before you present yourself to the public.)
- Failure To Wrap – Delivering your point with a punch. Then going on and on and on and …
There’s nothing wrong with any of these approaches … in a first draft. In fact, many writers find these exercises essential to getting their initial ideas out of their heads and onto the drawing board. The problem is, especially if you’re a busy investment advisor who doesn’t want or need to win awards for your prose, it’s tempting to sigh a breath of relief after the first draft, slap a title on it, and call it done. That’s too bad, because your ideas deserve so much more.
The Happy Hand-Off
It’s at this moment that I love to take over where an advisor has left off. Call me Yenta. As the subject matter expert, you are the one seeking to build the strongest possible relationships with the objects of your affection. As a writer/editor specializing in the passively minded wealth advisor, I get to spruce up your communications, so your best attributes shine through in the right order, at the right time. Seems like a match made in heaven.