Question: What do the likes of Barry Ritholtz, Josh Brown, Carl Richards and Michael Kitces have in common, apart from the fact they’ve all built successful businesses on the back of engaging content?
Answer: In the early days, they all wondered whether enough people were taking notice and whether all the effort was worth it. All of them, no doubt, were tempted to quit (as I was for a while myself). Michael Kitces, though, went one stage further — he did quit.
Michael was a guest of Matt Halloran for the 100th episode of the Top Advisor Marketing Podcast. A few months after starting his blog in 2008, he told Matt, he was pretty despondent.
“I felt no one was reading it,” he said. “I installed Google Analytics and I proved no one was reading it! So I shut it down. I just didn’t get this whole blogging thing.”
But then, two years later, Michael had what he calls a “lightbulb moment” — the realisation that just as important as the content itself was the distribution of it. Social media, he realised, is the perfect distribution channel, the key to getting content out there.
So he re-started his blog, Nerd’s Eye View, but this time resolving to focus on distributing his content via social media as much as on producing it. Gradually it all started taking off, and readership has roughly doubled every year for eight years.
The blog’s popularity has enabled Michael to build several successful businesses, as well as providing him with a steady stream of engagements around the world, and new clients for the advice business he works for, Pinnacle Advisory Group, near Washington DC.
There’s a really important lesson here for advice firms, and indeed any firm that’s serous about producing and sharing content with a view to growing the business. This is not a quick fix, and you should walk away from any marketing professional who tries to suggest otherwise.
As Michael says in the podcast, it’s like investing. You need to commit to it for the long term. Like investors, business owners are often very good at focusing on short-term objectives, less so at seeing the bigger picture.
But if you want to build a successful advice business in the internet age, and particularly if you intend one day to persuade someone to buy it, content marketing is something you have to be doing.
There will be times, especially early on, when you can’t see any results. But, as Michael and those other financial thought leaders I mentioned have proved, the compound returns of content marketing can be astonishing. The two most important provisos are that you have to persevere, and you have to invest time and resource in social media management as well as the actual content.
Do listen to the podcast. You’ll find it very useful. In the meantime, I’ve put together this SlideShare of what I think are the main takeaways.
Adviser 2.0 is produced by Regis Media, a boutique provider of content and social media management to financial advice firms around the world. For more information, visit our website and YouTube channel, or email Sam Willet or Christina Waider.