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6 Steps to Take ASAP After Your Content Goes Viral

Your firm just received a big shoutout in a major publication, and traffic to your site is spiking. How do you make the most of it? Take these six steps if you go viral when you least expect it.

“My article/post/video/project went viral! …now what?”

I have seen some variation of this question over and over again since I’ve been working in the financial advisory space.

It’s the marketing lottery: you randomly put out a piece of content here or there. Maybe a fired-up tweet. An inspired post. A well thought out article that the editor for MarketWatch agreed to publish.

And then, BOOM. It’s a huge press hit and it feels like the Internet—or at least a relevant part of it—is going crazy for this piece of content that you created. This is your 15 minutes of Internet fame. You’re in the spotlight. Your firm is the news. Everyone is talking (or tweeting) your name.

And just as soon as it happens, it’s gone. The crickets return and you’re left wondering, “Wait—where did everybody go?”

That’s the normal progression, anyway, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually leverage a massive press hit, if you’re proactive instead of reactive.

This Is Why You Need (Ongoing) Content

A steady drumbeat of content will make an enormous difference when you receive a big spike of attention from a press feature or other flow of concentrated attention to your brand.

Without a steady stream of consistent, high-quality content on your site (or on third-party sites, social media, and so on—whatever other channels you use), “going viral” in this sense is just going to be your 15 minutes of fame.

You’ll see an uptick in traffic. You might get a few more inquiries about your services. But that will die down. And it will nosedive fast, because news cycles move quickly. Editors, reporters, influencers and audiences will be quick to move on to the next thing.

And there is always a next thing waiting to nab the spotlight and leave you behind.

This is why you need content marketing. A huge feature or amazing press coverage becomes more “sticky” if you have a strong foundation of content to support it, and a system already in place to:

  1. Capture visitors from increases in web traffic; and
  2. Nurture those contacts over time and stay top of mind for them after their initial curiosity dies down.

But What If Your Huge Press Hit Already Happened?

That’s all well and good if you’re reading this before you received your huge press hit. But what if you’ve come here seeking advice because you’re in the middle of a massive traffic influx thanks to a great feature?

I hate to burst your bubble, but unless you had that content marketing strategy and machine in place, you might be out of luck this time around. Reactivity is not a great tactic when it comes to content marketing and organic PR.

Here’s the to-do item you need to put on your list immediately: Make a quick inbound marketing strategy and then implement it in a way that you can stick with. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, and it doesn’t mean you need to blog once a week or do anything you feel is unsustainable.

What you do need is a steady stream of messaging that publishes to your chosen channels if you want to best leverage future press hits.

How to Make the Most of Your Next Round of PR

Here’s a quick project you can take on this weekend so that you’re prepared for the next round of publicity you may receive: Create a highly optimized landing page that’s intended to convert brand-new site visitors.

These are exactly the people you get from major press coverage: people who have never heard of you before and are seeking more information. They’re coming in because they’re intrigued, but they want to learn more. Meet that need and give them a single, concise explanation of who you help and how you add value via a useful landing page full of compelling copy.

Create that page now! Then, whenever you work with a writer or reporter or member of the press, give them the link to that page (it could be www.YourFirmName.com/Welcome or something similar). If you’re providing quotes for a major story or high-profile publication, make a specific ask that they include the link to your page.

You want to point any potential traffic to a very specific page that gives everything a first-time, new-to-your-brand visitor needs to stay engaged (rather than just bouncing off if they follow a generic link back to your main site).

6 Emergency Measures to Take If You Go Viral Without a Plan

Still, I think most people start asking, “How do I make the most of this press?” after they receive it. If that’s you right now, implement these emergency measures:

  1. Get an opt-in form on your site now. Prioritize an exit intent pop-up, which will help prevent some of that bounce rate attrition. A slide in might work well for visitors who were more engaged, but didn’t reach out to you directly on their own—at least you’ll snag their contact info.
  2. Share your press hit on every channel you can access. Blast it on social media, through email campaigns, in groups you are part of and so on. (Bonus: try using Snip.ly when you share the link!)
  3. Get other people to share your press hit. Can you share this in forums, groups or communities? Who in your contacts or network would benefit from sharing this with their audience? Give them the link and make the ask. Leverage your existing relationships.
  4. Identify other relevant outlets. Reach out to publications or websites where this topic would be relevant and contact their editors with something like, “Just worked on this with [big name journalist who gave you this press hit], here’s the link. I’d love to share more on this topic because I think it’s something your audience would appreciate being made aware of. Can I write an article for you?” or “Would you like to do an interview on this?” or “What’s the best way that I could share my advice with your audience?”
  5. Say thanks to the original source. Send an email to the editor, writer or influencer who initially gave you the press boost and say thanks. Also, offer to help him or her or other reporters they know anytime because you’re passionate about [whatever you got featured on] and really believe in helping people.
  6. Spin your own content off your viral hit. You could summarize the piece and post it to LinkedIn or other social networks (and maybe even boost that post you create with a little bit of ad money). Beyond that, you might want to figure out a way to leverage paid social advertisements around the content that went viral—or find other creative ways to share it broadly.

At the very least, you now have something useful to use when you pitch new stories you hope go viral as well. Whether you’re submitting a speaker submission, podcast guest spot, a guest column or some other big feature, you could include the link to your viral hit as an example of your take on the topic or as proof of how you’re an expert on this subject.

But the bottom line? Don’t just rely on emergency measures. Get a comprehensive marketing strategy in place to make sure you’re proactive about this kind of opportunity moving forward, rather than being forced to be reactive.

Editor’s note: A version of this blog post appeared here

KaliHawlk
 Kali Roberge is the founder of Creative Advisor Marketing, an inbound marketing firm that helps financial advisers grow their businesses by creating compelling content to attract prospects and convert leads. She started CAM to give financial pros the right tools to build trust and connections with their audiences, and loves helping advisers find authentic ways to communicate in a way that resonates with the right people.


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Your Marketing is Not Setting You Apart; It’s Making You Blend In

“Differentiation,” the action or process of differentiating, is a term that gets thrown around ad nauseam in business and marketing. It’s used so often that I worry we’ve begun to file it away as yet another buzz word that people say to sound smart, but that has little meaning.

I fervently hope that this is not the case, as I believe differentiation lies at the very heart of what separates successful marketing from mediocrity. That may sound harsh, but in an environment in which we are all exposed to an unprecedented volume of advertising and promotional content, it’s more difficult than ever to stand out.

It’s one of the most frustrating things about marketing today, especially for small business owners. You have something important to say, and something even more important to give to your clients, but you can’t get a word in edgewise. You can and should be perturbed! But you also can’t just give up on marketing for the very same reasons—you provide a critical service and are committed to doing the right thing and people should know about it.

So what do you do? To begin, let’s set aside the term differentiation—it’s too industrial and jargonized for our purposes. What it really means is finding answers to the question of “Why you?” Why should your prospective clients choose to work with you, instead of: a) investing on their own; b) getting free portfolio support from their 401(k) provider; or c) working with another planner?

Writing out your answers to this question will help you realize that a good portion of how you’re currently representing yourself and your business on your website, in your marketing materials and on social media isn’t helping you stand out—it’s actually making you blend in. The most common example of this in the profession is the ubiquitous list of “services provided” on nearly every financial planner’s website.

Yes, it’s important for current and prospective clients to understand what you do, but if it’s not far less prominent than who you really are or why you do what you do, you’re not only doing your business a disservice, you’re also benefiting your competitors. Stop showing people why you’re the same and start focusing on why you’re different!

There is a bit of an art to this, and it does take courage, but I believe every financial planner can at least take the following steps necessary to reveal their true selves to the world.

1.) Take a Stand. Doug Kessler, one of my favorite marketers, gave a presentation at Content Marketing World in 2015 that has really stuck with me. The title was, “How to Practice Insane Honesty in Your Marketing,” and the premise was that volunteering weaknesses in your products and services can actually bring in more customers than focusing only on the positives.

For most financial planners, going all in on that type of strategy would be an incredible leap. Starting with one small component of the concept, however, is inherently doable. For example, one of the pros Doug shared about “insane honesty” is that it alienates less likely customers or clients. Traditional marketing tenets state that we should never alienate anyone, and that our job is to make everyone feel good about our products and services.

I’m with Doug on this one, though—you can certainly attempt to position yourself and your business as being all things to all people, but that tends to backfire. In reality, you often end up casting such a wide net and staying so close to the middle of the road that you start to blend in with everyone else. In his presentation, he used the example of Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam which, without waiting for the media or consumers to do it, went ahead and labeled itself as the “Worst Hotel in the World.”

As an extreme budget motel with small, dingy rooms and massively outdated appliances, the company knew it was never going to woo travelers seeking a nice family vacation or those who routinely stay at the Ritz-Carlton. So, Hans Brinker chose to alienate those people entirely through its marketing and advertising efforts.

While the ads undoubtedly turned away more discerning clientele, it resonated deeply with the company’s target market: young, extremely budget-conscious travelers looking for an all-night party in Amsterdam. Each advertisement reads like it was created expressly for these types of travelers, and the response was incredible—Hans Brinker quickly became one of Amsterdam’s most popular hotels (with its target crowd, of course).

Take a page out of the Hans Brinker book by taking a stand and telling your current and prospective clients what you truly believe in, why that matters to you and what you intend to do about it. Yes, you could certainly lose clients and alienate others through this approach, but were those clients your ideal clients in the first place? Were the others ever going to be your clients if they don’t identify with your values?

In today’s hyper-aware and distrustful world, talking about how great you are no longer signals confidence; it can actually signal weakness. Taking a stand based on your most important core values and using that stand as a filter for who you want as clients and who you don’t might sound heretical, but in practice, may be what sets you apart from your competitors.

2.) Your Clients Understand What Sets You Apart—Use Their Words. Take a moment to review the “Who We Are” or “About Us” sections of your website. If you’ve spent a lot of time and effort here, and you think that the content adequately represents you and your business, congratulations! For most planners, however, this isn’t the case. These sections are often treated as throwaways and populated with copy from old marketing brochures listing services offered and benefits provided. At best, this hurts the business from a search optimization perspective, and at worst, it completely turns off interested prospective clients from pursuing further inquiries.

When executed well, these sections can be a powerful and relatively low-effort way for you to tell your story and position for the clients who you want to work with. The best part? You don’t need to be a writer or marketing genius to put this content together. Your best resource—your top clients—are sitting right across from you.

First, identify what you mean by “top clients.” Your ideal clients aren’t those with the most assets; they are the clients you most enjoy working with. Want more clients like them? Ask them outright what they like most about working with you and your staff, why they chose you and/or plan to stay with you down the road. I can almost guarantee you’ll hear things that you never considered yourself, spoken or written in a way that will resonate with other clients who are looking for the very same things.

Yes, you have to be careful with testimonials, so don’t use this content for that purpose. Instead, gather the information and use the main themes, terms and phrases to populate your “Who We Are” or “About Us” sections, and start driving people to these areas with your social media or email marketing efforts.

3.) Find (Or Re-Discover) Your “Thing.” As a financial planner, there are many things you do every day to prepare for client meetings, conduct the meetings themselves and to craft and manage financial plans—and you likely do many of them well. Of the many things you do well, which one is your “thing?” Many of the skills and services that make you a good financial planner are the very same skills that other advisers and planners would list as their strengths. So the question then becomes, what makes you great?

Again, if this were an easy question, there would be no need for marketers or a burgeoning marketing industry. I can’t tell you the answer, as it’s a question that requires deep personal introspection on your part, but I can tell you that I’ve been surprised by how often someone’s “thing” exists outside of the day-to-day work of their profession.

For example, the greatest business leaders are rarely lauded for their tactical skill in any given area. Instead, we are in awe of their authenticity, empathy, emotional intelligence or the ability to make and stand by bold decisions in the face of significant opposition. It’s the same for marketers in many ways—the excellent public speakers, humorists and collaborators are positioned above even the strongest tacticians.

Don’t limit yourself to just your skills as a financial planner. Ask yourself: What makes me a person that people not only want to work with, but be around? What cause or issue am I so passionate about that I volunteer my time outside of work to local programs and organizations? If you asked my friends what they like most about me, what would they say? What makes me happiest, whether in or outside of work?

These types of questions may spark an answer, and the useful thing about a “thing” is you’ll know it when you hear it. Finding your “thing” should be a wonderful moment, regardless of whether you’re re-discovering it or finding it for the first time. It should make you feel powerful, energized and awaken or re-awaken that confidence that says, “Oh this? Yeah, this is my thing.”

I’ll leave you with a quote from Debbie Millman, author of Brand Thinking and How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer, who said, “A brand is simply a set of beliefs. And if you don’t create a set of beliefs around your products or services, well, you stand for nothing—you have no values and no vision.” So get out there, take a stand and tell the world not just what you do, but who you are, and why it’s time for them to pay attention.

Dan_Martin_Headshot

Dan Martin is the Director of Marketing for the Financial Planning Association, the principal professional organization for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®) professionals, educators, financial services professionals and students who seek advancement in a growing, dynamic profession. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @DanW_Martin and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/danmartinmarketing.


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Niche Marketing and Social Media for Financial Advisers

Forbes conducted a social media usage survey within the financial planning industry in 2017 and found that 85 percent of advisers use social media to grow their business and connect with prospects. Of this percentage, the majority said that using digital media shortened the buying cycle.

Like its counterparts in the digital realm, social media stands as a strong arm of the inbound marketing umbrella. However, much of it is still misunderstood, largely due to the variety of platforms and their general target markets. Depending on your particular niche, you may do much better on Facebook than Twitter, or perhaps even Pinterest or Reddit.

Here is a quick check-up guide to help you determine where you should be on social media, what times you should post based on that platform, and, as a bonus, some tools to help you manage your social media presence.

Before You Pick a Platform

We’re really big on niche marketing at the CWA Network, so much so that our founder John Enright did a full personality test to best determine what profession he should seek clients within—so that’s exactly what I suggest you do for your business over all—know your demographic inside and out. Unless you have a foundation set in your business plan (your ideal client profile, mission statement, etc.) then it doesn’t matter where you post your content if it isn’t geared towards the right people. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many advisers don’t “niche themselves” and cast an incredibly broad net.

Is Facebook for Me?

If your business plan is heavier on the 401k/retirement side of things, Facebook is your goldmine. Aging boomers spend a decent chunk of time on Facebook. The best part of Facebook advertising (should you go the paid route) is that it’s much cheaper than advertising on Google Ads. The amount of targeting options available is incredible. For example, you could set up an advertisement that targets 45 to 65-year-olds who live within 30 miles of your office and have interests that are directly related to retirement.

Best times to post on Facebook: Saturdays and Sundays around 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., times that all have higher engagement according to a study done by CoSchedule.

Is Twitter for Me?

One of the best strategies for advisers on Twitter is simply to curate content. Sure, you could engage with potential clients (and profiles they may follow), but Twitter is a fickle and fast beast. If you don’t have the time of day to actively engage in ongoing conversation, the content curation route may be best for you. Of course, feel free to post your own content but gathering up articles and links of interest to your demographic is a solid strategy.

Best times to post on Twitter: Wednesdays at noon, but this could vary depending on your niche.

Is Pinterest for Me?

If your demographic is over 80 percent women, then you’ll want to spend some time on Pinterest. Creating content that is geared specifically towards personal finance and budgeting will go a long way. Just be careful to utilize a keyword strategy so that your content doesn’t fall into the incredibly broad “penny pinching” and “thrifty” categories.

Best times to post on Pinterest: Pinterest varies wildly from its counterparts because it’s an image-based platform like Instagram. However, there is a consensus that “pinning” is usually done on Saturdays between 8 and 11 p.m., but 2 a.m. and 4 p.m. any day is also considered fine. Avoid work hours.

Is LinkedIn for Me?

If your client profile has a heavy professional element to it (and it most likely will), targeting business pages where they hang out is a good strategy to have. Creating a Company Showcase page for your practice is the first step as a passive and constant place to show your content, but actively seeking out groups related to your demographic is highly recommended.

Best times to post on LinkedIn: Midweek (Tuesday through Thursday) from 5 to 6 p.m.

Is Google+ for Me?

It’s very unlikely that you’ll find your traffic on Google+ because it’s viewed as one of the less active (community-wise) platforms. CoSchedule found that 90 percent of users on Google+ are lurkers and won’t interact with your page. However, from a SEO perspective (see my last Practice Management Blog post), having a Google+ local business page is incredibly important. Firstly, it helps validate that you are, in fact, a real business. But it also will help prospects find you on the map, contact you easily from their mobile devices and give you that very important validation that being on a Google listing brings.

Is YouTube for Me?

We believe that advisers need to first educate their clients and not worry so much about selling to them. Our job is to help them buy. That said, if you fancy yourself in front of the camera and want a more personal face-time approach to finding and interacting with your clients and prospects, then having regular content uploaded to YouTube is a great idea. Bonus; Like Google+, having a YouTube channel helps with SEO.

Best times to upload a new video: This one is up to you, depending on the content you’re sharing. If it’s more educational in tone, uploading on Mondays generally gets better viewership. If you’re trying to get a call to action completed, try for Thursdays. Industry tip: the same rule applies for sending out emails to your list.

Tools You Can Use

Content scheduling tools can help free up your time to do your client work and analytics tools can help you find out if your efforts are worthwhile. Here are a few:

Content scheduling and engagement
Hootsuite
Buffer
Feedtable
Sprout Social
Social Pilot
CoSchedule
Feedly

Analytics

Buzzsumo
Simply Measured
Keyhole
Reputology
Brandwatch
Google Analytics

An Important Note on Compliance

You know there are rules for traditional marketing. Rules also apply to digital marketing ventures. If you need to know more, make sure to review what FINRA and the SEC says, or check in with your compliance officer before any design or piece of content goes to the cutting room floor.

Kristina Rocci

Kristina Rocci is the web content manager for the CWA Network, a Rochester, N.Y.-based financial adviser coaching business that has developed a turnkey practice management business plan for the high net wealth, 401K and Mass Affluent/Gen XY markets. She originally hails from the fin-tech world in Toronto with 7 years of digital marketing under her belt. You can learn all about how the CWA Network can help adviser and planners alike at www.cwanetwork.com.