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Top Blog Posts of 2016

Last year, 2016, was a record-breaking year in the number of visitors and views for the Financial Planning Association’s Practice Management Blog powered by the Journal of Financial Planning.

Here are the top 10 most-viewed blog posts of 2016:

No. 10: “Becoming an Authority: Establishing Your Financial Planning Career.” Emily Fisher, marketing copywriter for Advantage Media, gave planners tips on how to put themselves out there and attract new clients.

No 9: “Top Ten Tips to Implement CRM.” Jennifer Goldman, founder of My Virtual COO, gave planners insight into the best practices in order to maximize their CRM.

No. 8: “Fiduciary Rule for the Modern World.” This post covered the key elements from the press conference that announced the Department of Labor’s Final Rule (fiduciary rule and discussed FPA’s resources for its members.

No. 7: “7 Do’s and Don’ts of Collaborating with Estate Planning Attorneys.” Attorney Gary Altman gave planners insight on what you should look for when it comes to partnering with estate planning attorneys. This post was derived from an answer to a member question on FPA Connect.

No. 6: “9 Things Clients Need to Know about an Adviser.” Regular blog and Journal contributor Kirk Loury gave readers an overview of the things you should be communicating to your clients about yourselves.

No 5: “Advising Clients During Turbulent Times.” Professors Kent Baker (0f American University) and Victor Ricciardi (of Goucher College) gave insight into how to best handle clients who may be distressed during market downturns.

No. 4: “You Cannot Do this Alone.” In this post, Daniel Crosby, behavioral finance expert, published an excerpt of his book, The Laws of WealthThis post discussed the value financial planners bring to clients

No. 3: “8 Components of Social Media Policy.” Claudio Pannunzio, president of i-Impact Group Inc., offered planners the elements that should be included in a successful social media policy, including having a purpose, identifying authorized contributors and having an employee code of conduct.

1216JFP_BestOf2016_Cvr.inddNo. 2: “Framing the Conversation: What to Say in the First 60 Seconds.” Regular blog contributor Daniel Finley, president of Advisor Solutions, gave planners an outline for what to say to potential clients in the first minute.

No. 1: “How to Create Your Ideal Client Profile.” This year’s most-viewed blog post, another by Claudio Pannunzio, discussed how to successfully create an ideal client persona to better attract the clients you want to serve.
If you want to know what we determined as being the best of the Journal of Financial Planning, check out our Best of 2016 issue (picture, right) featuring a “2016 Personal Finance Year in Review,”  by the Journal‘s Academic Editor Barbara O’Neill.

Are you interested in contributing to the FPA Practice Management Blog? Email us with story ideas or content.

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Ana Trujillo
Associate Editor
Journal of Financial Planning
Denver, Colo.


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Are Your Blog Posts Engaging Your Audience?

Our financial adviser clients often pose this question: how do we attract readers to our blog and keep them engaged?

The sad truth is that not everyone who comes across a blog post is going to read it. Consequently, our suggestion is not to worry whether users read the whole article. The key goal is not to attract the masses, rather ensure maximum satisfaction for those who come to read your blog.

The advice we consistently give to our clients is to first and foremost attain an in-depth understanding of the audience they seek to connect with. Creating the right persona is key to running a successful blog and understanding who your readers are and what matters to them—their worries, needs and pains. Consequently, the focus must be on creating content that offers them tips, guidelines and actionable ideas that can be implemented to address their needs. However, the overall aim is to appeal not only to your aficionados but also to those who may never contact you but enjoy reading and sharing your expert advice.

An Emotional Investment

Our recommendation is to focus every blog post on how to reduce and perhaps even help stop your readers’ pains. When your content does that you have got your audience engaged. Ultimately, your audience’s engagement is a direct function of the emotional investment they make in reading your posts. You can foster their commitment by rewarding them with actionable ideas and suggestions they can put to good use over time.

Because the goal of having a blog is also to build a large audience, how then can an adviser attract and engage new readers? The fundamental idea that must be grasped here is that getting readers to read your entire blog post is not your first priority.

Experiencing Tactical Support

Every blog post ought to contain a central, compelling point. What matters is to give readers an experience of having come to a blog that consistently offers them the “tactical support” they need to address their issues. This in turn will compel them to share your insights with their family and friends and, ultimately, become your brand evangelists.

Your blog posts should be written in your own voice. It helps to create your specific style to which readers will grow accustomed and easily recognize—even if they do not read your post in its entirety.

Here are some tips and ideas that may help with your blogging activities:

  • Grab Their Attention: The headline of your blog is the most powerful tool to get your readers’ attention. A significant number of people are attracted by headlines and are more likely to read them rather than your actual post. Seek to write headlines that are clear and easy to understand and avoid technical language
  • Use the Inverted Pyramid Style: This style, also called front-loading, enables you to incorporate into the opening paragraph the vital details addressed in your post. It is a very effective blog writing technique, as web audiences tend to peter out after skimming the first paragraph.
  • Easy Does It: Make it easy for your readers to understand and consume your messages. Use headings to help them decide if they want to read or scroll on to the next paragraph. Write in a crisp clear language and avoid dense paragraphs, as well as industry jargon. Well-formatted posts prevent readers from missing your key insights and ideas.
  • Use Examples: Include in your blog real life examples. Use personal stories and anecdotes to facilitate understanding of complex concepts, ideas and strategies. Make sure to catch your readers’ attention by clearly stating what your product, idea or strategy does and give examples of how it has helped others.
  • A Strong Conclusion: Failing to appropriately conclude your article will offer your readers very little incentive for engagement. The last paragraph of your post should feature a recap of the key takeaways and a call to action to solicit comments and/or inquiries.
  • Be Social—as in Social Media: Make sure your blog features social media buttons that will enable your audience to share the posts they like. Also, make it easy for them to leave comments and/or pose questions by embedding in your blog a commenting capability, such as Disqus or IntenseDebate

Whether or not you are a blogger comments and questions are always welcome.

Claudio PannunzioClaudio O. Pannunzio
President and Founder
i-Impact Group
Greenwich, Conn.

 

Editor’s Note: Other Financial Planning Association content that may be of interest to you include:

A non-FPA resource that is always helpful when it comes to writing tips is Susan B. Weiner’s Investment Writing site