Interview with Stephanie Sammons - Part II

By Amy McIIwain, President, Financial Social Media on Monday, October 25th, 2010

What top lessons would you give an advisor who is thinking of getting started blogging?

1. A blog needs to reflect your personality to be successful. It is important to convey your personality in in your blogging efforts. People want to know the person behind the article. Jeff Rose gives a great example. When you are watching the Olympics you get the personal stories behind the scenes. These types of things are very powerful in getting people to form opinions about you. If your blog is full of ghost-written financial articles you won’t have as much success.   You have to be willing to differentiate yourself through personality and unique content.

2. Make sure you are ready to make a commitment. Marketing is a commitment. You need to be able to post to your blog on a consistent basis, no less than once a month. Ideally, once a week. The frequency of posting is directly related to your online visibility. In addition, you’ll have to put time into promoting your blog through guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and integrating your blog into your social media efforts.

3. Be willing to invest in your blog and your brand. Your reputation is at stake. Be willing to invest in a decent design and a copywriter / editor who can read the articles and make corrections. Poorly written articles can damage your reputation as quickly as you can build it.

4. In order to be successful you need to focus on niche markets (such as retirees) and also focus locally – where you live and work. You have a much better chance for your content to be discovered by leveraging your local presence and concentrating on a few niches. Do things to elevate yourself locally by getting to know other local bloggers and mentioning you geographical location in your posts, for example.   A broad-based, generic blog most likely will not help you get face-to-face meetings in your local community. Getting face to face should be your ultimate goal with all of your social media efforts!

Are any advisors doing this well?  Are there any examples you can share?

Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner in Illinois was one of the early adopters. I believe his blog, Good Financial Cents, does everything right by providing well-written articles, images and video, and infusing his personality into much of his content. He has had success bringing in new clients through blogging. He has also had success with referrals. For example, clients have shared or commented on his blog posts which creates a “warm” introduction. It’s kind of like the “Oprah effect” – people feel they already know him, and he seems quite approachable due to what they’ve been able to learn about him through his blog.

Brad Pine, is newer to blogging. He developed an IRA rollover e-book and gives this away free on his blog. Brad has promoted the e-book and had success with it including capturing hundreds of leads and meetings with several prospects. You need to have some kind of “signature piece” that can serve as a hook in order to capture leads on your blog. A free download full of valuable insights currently works very well!

Who would you recommend that I interview next for the blog?

You should speak with Pat Allen from RocktheBoat Marketing and Kristin Harad, CFP, from

Stephanie Sammons is the CEO and founder of Wired Advisor. Stephanie spent a total of 15 years in the financial services industry at two of the largest global wirehouse firms (including 10 yrs at Merrill Lynch) and served as a Financial Advisor, Branch Manager, and Regional Sales Manager.  Stephanie is a CFP and also served as a financial advisor to high net worth clients during her entire 15 years of service.

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