Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you could be doing to market your business using content and inbound marketing strategies?
I don’t blame you. There are a lot of options for financial advisors who want to get in on the content marketing game. But it’s tough to know where to start when you:
- Hear about all the things you could (or worse, should) be doing to market your advisory firm.
- Have endless questions about what to do, how to do it, and why even bother with it in the first place.
Which is why I’m continuing the Content Marketing Q & A series for financial pros who want simple, straightforward answers to real questions. you to move forward where you currently feel uncertain.
My goal? Give you the information you need to move forward with confidence in your inbound marketing strategies.
Small Business Questions Around Content Marketing, Answered
This is a mailbag-style series, meaning these questions come from YOU: advisors, small business owners, and readers of this site.
In Post #2, I’m taking on questions about the best way to distribute content — or what happens after you do the work of writing your articles, blogs, and content.
Question: What tools do you use to make it easier to distribute content?
I find that repurposing content for various mediums (email, blog, LinkedIn, Facebook) takes longer for me than actually creating the content! It would be great to have it hit all mediums, well-formatted, and easily after creation.
— Andrew Mohrmann, CFP® and founder of Modern Dollar Planning
Answer: You’re doing this content marketing thing right if you’re spending more time repurposing content than you are creating it! I advise sticking to the 80/20 rule when it comes to working with your marketing materials (whatever they may be):
- Spend 20% of your time creating something
- Spend 80% of your time distributing, promoting, and repurposing it
Your question indicates that you’re already using your content in a strategic way.
I agree that having, say, your recent blog post going straight to your social networks and to your email list as soon as you hit publish would be great. But doing so will take away some (and/or a lot) of its effectiveness.
Are there ways to automate this? Yes. There are countless systems and platforms that will allow you to automatically send generic, formulaic emails anytime you publish new content.
Specifically, MailChimp will allow you to turn RSS feeds into emails that go out to your list. And if you’re on WordPress, you can use plugins to automatically share your blog posts.
I say this to directly answer the question you asked. (Nothing is more annoying than asking one thing and getting an answer to a different question!)
But I also want to be honest with you: I do not recommend leaning on tools like this to get the job done.
It’s supposed to take some time to properly distribute content across multiple different channels — and that’s exactly because those channels are different! Take the time to make sure your content is well optimized wherever you send it.
That might mean handcrafting a different post for every social platform. What performs well on LinkedIn may not work for Twitter. What does well on Twitter might fall flat on Facebook.
You should optimize every post for the platform it appears on. You should also consider your audience. Are you speaking to a different group on LinkedIn than you are on Facebook? Then you need a different tone of voice.
(Think of your business’s “voice” as its personality. This should remain consistent no matter what platform you speak from. But “tone” is more like your business’s mood or current state, and that can change depending on the situation and on the setting.)
Email is even more important because it’s more intimate.
You can’t reach everyone via social media or through your website. You rely on your audience to walk over and show up at your doorstep in order for them to see what you’ve produced.
Email is different. Having access to someone’s inbox means they’ve given you permission to show up on their doorstep anytime you like. In my opinion, that means the person on the receiving end of your content deserves something personal and personable.
Simply sending an email with the blog post title in the subject line a 3-sentence excerpt from the post with a link to it on your website is not compelling.
What kind of letter would you rather receive in your physical mailbox? A mass-produced letter from an insurance company that uses form fields to fill in a snippet of personal information here and there to fake a genuine connection? Or a personal note that’s actually relevant to you and was signed in pen by the owner of the company?
I know what I prefer, in my mailbox and in my inbox.. and it’s not something that was sent by an automated program with no humanity or indication that the sender behind the screen actually cared about the value I received from the email.
So what I do suggest is continuing to spend far more time distributing and promoting your content than you spend on creating it.
Still don’t want to mess with it? Just don’t have the time to dedicate to that kind of careful crafting of individual posts and emails to promote what you wrote? I happen to know someone who can help 😉
All this being said (and all shameless plugs aside), it doesn’t mean your distribution efforts can’t be made easier and more efficient. Instead of automation, I’d look at systemization.
Create a process or a checklist that you can follow for each piece of content. Here’s what I do to leverage the content I write and publish here:
- Brainstorm topics and jot down notes. Outline the ideas that feel like they have legs and add in a few sentences to each section.
- If any solid snippets come out of brainstorming, use as social media content. Share quick thoughts on Twitter and longer (admittedly more rambling) ones on LinkedIn. Use Hootsuite to schedule to send.
- Write out the blog post. Put into WordPress and schedule to publish. I publish a new blog post every other Monday.
- Head to MailChimp and create a new campaign. I’ll write a note about any extra thoughts I have around the post, or about something relevant or interesting that I want to talk about with my audience. Near the bottom of the post, I’ll include a link or two to the most recent posts published and make an invitation not only to read the post, but to email me back and give feedback, ask questions, or let me know how I can add more value.
- Once the post publishes, I create various different social media updates to send on Twitter and LinkedIn. Again, these are scheduled through Hootsuite. This first round of updates specifically promotes the post and will include a link to it.
- I’ll create a second round of social media posts with the intention of repurposing my blog post content. For this, I copy and paste lines and paragraphs from the post and share them where appropriate (snappier content goes to Twitter; longer and more detailed content goes to LinkedIn). These updates and tweets usually do not include a link back to the post — they’re designed to stand alone.
- I also repurpose the content by copying and pasting the published post into LinkedIn Pulse. I include a line that says This post was originally published on KaliHawlk.com, and link to the original on my site.
- And of course, I respond to the emails that come in from the campaign I sent out! These conversations often spark new ideas, thoughts, or questions that either go onto the potential list of blog post topics or turn into social media posts.
Note that I don’t run through this process once every two weeks. I’ll usually write out 2 or more blog posts at a time, in one day. Then I’ll set up my emails for each in MailChimp.
And I batch content on Hootsuite. I have a recurring task in my task manager, Asana, to schedule social media content for the week. I do that every Monday and schedule content that gets published over the next week to week and a half.
This system allows me to quickly work through all these tasks, and batching everything means I spend a block of time doing it — but my efforts are contained to that block of time, and then they’re done.
They don’t interfere or interrupt other tasks and activities throughout the week or month, which adds to my productivity (because I’m not task-switching or faced with writing a blog post every week).
Feel free to steal this process, or create your own. Either way, try to batch tasks and get your process down to specific steps. Then use a task manager to help you track everything and stay ahead.
And remember: you’re already doing this thing right if you’re spending more time distributing and promoting than you are creating!
Question: I write a blog every two weeks and then post the same blog on LinkedIn and on Investopedia.
Is it better to not post on those sites and instead pass around a link so it drives more traffic to my website? I also email it out to my contact list of over 160 people.
— Paul Sydlansky, CFP® and founder of Lake Road Advisors
Answer: KEEP REPUBLISHING! This is a great way to get your content in front of a wider audience than you could reach through your website alone.
We all have access to LinkedIn. That means there’s no excuse not to take advantage of Pulse (the platform you publish to when you click that “write an article” button once you log in).
When you republish your content, here’s what I suggest doing as part of the process:
- Add a link back to your original post and/or your website. With my republished content, I place this at the very top of every single post: This post was originally published on KaliHawlk.com.
- Make sure your post includes whatever CTA you’d have around this content on your website. In each of my republish posts, I include a CTA to the guide I give away to readers of the blog: Want to experiment with your content marketing, but not sure where to start? Get this free guide to learn 18 strategies you can use to market your business right now (even if you have no time, don’t know what you’re doing, or can’t afford to hire someone to do it for you).
- Include 1-2 links back to other pages on your own website. Most of the time, I link to other relevant posts when it makes sense.
- If you end each post on your website with a specific footer or CTA, include it on your republished post, too. I take my opt-in form and simply paste the copy as the last paragraph of my republished post, including a link on some anchor text, like this: Never miss a post when you join our community of fellow small business owners. Get exclusive insights and ideas on doing more straight to your inbox — and I’ll also send over a strategy guide that will teach you how to get in action to market your business.
And, perhaps most important: make sure to use canonical links! These help search engines understand your republished content is duplicate content, and the original exists on your own site.
I republish all my posts to LinkedIn using this process.
Keep republishing to Investopedia, too, using the same structure whenever you can. Keep in mind you have more control over LinkedIn. You may need to tweak things a bit if another platform’s rules are different. (For example, you may be able to republish your original content, but you’re only allowed to provide 1-2 links back to your site.)
Take advantage of every opportunity to republish and syndicate your content. This gets you in front of more people than you could reach on your own.
I think you’re smart to send out the email to your list, too. As I mentioned above, people may or may not show up to consume your content on your blog or even on another website. That requires them to get somewhere.
An audience has to make an effort to get to your blog or any other site. They need to remember it’s there, know how to find it, and understand where to go once they’re on the right site.
Of course, this is pretty easy and we pull up the sites we want to visit every day without much trouble. But compared to the process of reading an email, there are a lot more steps involved. It does take more effort.
When you send an email to someone, they don’t need to go anywhere because they’re already in their inbox. They don’t need to remember they might want to check your site for new updates, and they don’t need to navigate around until they find the newest post.
It’s just there for them — which is why having access to someone’s inbox is so powerful! It’s a much better way of getting your content read than simply publishing it to your site, or even pushing it out to social media and other publications.
Just make sure you’re also following the advice outlined above: make that email personal and personable. Don’t just send someone a link. Send them a note and think of this as a conversation.
Think about how you communicate with friends and family when you find a great article. You might send it via email, but you probably don’t just drop the link in the body of it. You probably don’t write up a synopsis of the article and put the title of it as your email subject line.
So don’t do this when you email your list, either.
What you might do instead, when you have something you want a friend to read, is email them the article — with a message like:
“Hey! I just read this article and I thought it was really interesting. It ties back to what we were talking about last week about the importance of listening. I wanted to share with you because I know you mentioned you want to work on your active listening skills. This might help!”
Obviously, you probably didn’t talk to all 160 people on your email list last week. But just like you’d send a personal note to your friend along with the link, you want to send something more personal to your list.
Here’s an example. This is the exact email that I sent out recently when I wanted to share some of my latest blog posts:
Ever wondered why I’m all about content?
In my opinion, content marketing is a better way to do business. It’s a win-win situation for both your and the clients you want to reach:
- You get to share your story in a way that resonates with people you want to work with — and in a way that promotes your business
- You add value to the lives of people who read your content, even if they don’t become a client
To me, that’s really cool: you get to serve an audience of people while marketing yourself and your business.
You get to entertain, educate, or inspire a group of people through the story and the message you share — while simultaneously expanding your reach, establishing your authority, and increasing your influence.
Buuuuut.. what if you don’t have an audience that reads your stuff? How do you get yourself heard in a world where it seems like everyone blogs, tweets, records, and broadcasts?
I have two pieces with the answers to both questions for you today:
- 4 Benefits You Enjoy When You Have No Audience
- Be Heard in a Noisy World with Niche Marketing
Let me know what you think (or if you still have questions after reading).
And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to talk more about how content marketing could make a difference in your business, by helping you build relationships, create connections — and most importantly in our industry, establish trust.
Now, whether or not you would find this a valuable email if it landed in your inbox is up for debate. But what should be clear is that this is a conversational, friendly, and personal email that I wrote myself.
Keep sending out your blog posts to your list (and republishing them to reach a wider audience!). Just be considerate of the person on the other end of the screen.
If you’re sending an email that you wouldn’t want to receive yourself, it’s time to take a step back and change up the strategy.
Have Content Marketing Questions? Get Answers!
I invite you to send me the questions you have around:
- Inbound marketing
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Project management
- Freelancing or entrepreneurship
- Strategy and creative development
…or whatever it is that’s on your mind as an advisor or business owner who wants to start growing influence and gaining clients.
I’ll answer your question directly in an upcoming mailbag so you can stop feeling stuck and start taking action.