Finding Your Voice Online

Written by Marie Swift

When I established Impact Communications in 1998, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do and who I would do it for. My personal mission statement then – and now is to “find my voice and to help others find theirs.” It took awhile, but I eventually did find my voice and have been helping others – both in the personal realm and in the financial world – find theirs. It is gratifying work.

“Others” in the definition of my business endeavors means independent financial advisors and the companies that support independent financial advisors. “Others” in the definition of my personal life means anyone who is in my personal orbit who seems to be struggling with purpose, passion and energy.

 “Voice” is all about being authentic – but hinges on being authentic best self (or in the case of a business, your authentic best brand). When Marion Asnes and I deliver our CEO TED Talk at Bob Veres’ Insider’s Forum in September, we will focus on “Secrets of Branding in the Robo Age” – I hope you will be there to engage in the conversation, before and after our talk and throughout the entire conference.

BRAND AND VOICE GO TOGETHER

Let’s look at how “brand” and “voice” go together, like peanut butter and jelly, like ice cream and cherry pie, like salsa and chips – well, you get the point and I’m now getting hungry.

If you are an Inside Information subscriber, you have probably read Bob Veres’ excellent article on what I’ll dub as “the branding imperative” – there has never been a more urgent time for financial advisors to get clear on who they are, the value they bring and to establish a strong brand. Without a strong brand, your business will surely languish in the digital age.

It is also important to be a business leader, both online and off. I wrote about the “social media imperative” for Financial-Planning.com and I hope you’ll take the time to go read that piece now: Why Financial Advisors Can't Ignore Social Media.

Here are a few more things to think about before we get together at the Bob Veres’ Insider’s Forum – call it homework or food for thought, but do give this some mental attention and, hey, maybe even write it down so you can share it with Marion and me when you see us in Chandler, Arizona:

  1. As you think about YOUR brand, how would you sum up the “emotional heart” of your brand? This is your “brand essence.” Sometimes it can even be your company tagline. Consider, for instance, L’Oreal’s tagline: “Because I’m Worth It.”  These few words sum up the emotional heart of that brand.
     
  2. If YOUR brand were a person, what would they be like? Strong and masculine with a long, red majestic beard? Calm and regal with hair smooth and a string of pearls? Fun and colorful with a little twinkle in both eyes? Conservative family steward persona with a focus on passing values and valuables down to the next generation? These are the types images you will want to use in your marketing materials. This is your brand personality.
     
  3. How does YOUR brand make other people look and feel? Calm and reassured? Happy and alive? Thoughtful and inspired? Concerned and anxious?  Strong brands have a consistent purpose and good execution at every client touchpoint. A touchpoint could be your website, your Facebook business page, your office lobby, your local advertising, your seminar materials and themes, the words you use in television or radio interviews, etc. 
     
  4. Who is the keeper of YOUR brand? Smaller firms will want to appoint a “brand guardian” – this is the person who will continually hold a vibrant and detailed picture of the brand in their heads,. The brand guardian will approve every creative piece and oversee execution to ensure the brand is true and consistent.  As the firm grows, having “brand standards” written down becomes more important. There may be a team of brand guardians, typically the marketing team, who ensure the integrity of the brand.

CONTENT MARKETING MUST STAY TRUE TO YOUR BRAND VOICE

Blogging is an important element of content marketing. But, in my opinion, too few advisors actually embrace it because they haven’t found their “voice.” Sometimes a motivated advisor will hire a ghostwriter to create articles and blog posts – and this can be good as long as the writer understands the brand essence and the advisor’s mission. But finding a good ghostwriter can be harder than it seems, and when you do find one, you may find the cost to be more than you care to spend.

Here’s a possible solution:

Over the past year, I have been collaborating with a content marketing company that specializes in working with busy executives in the financial services. This firm helps advisors tell their story online in their own voice. To me, they have found a serious pain point for advisors and have a great solution that is reasonably priced.

The system gives you a smart mobile app, which allows you to review and approve your content anytime and anywhere. You always stay in charge of your message. Think of this solution as your new “easy button” for content marketing.

It’s uncanny how their VoiceScience™ has captured  my voice and others I’ve referred. They build relevant and relatable content for blogs, newsletters, and social media that can engage your target market and establishe you as a thought leader in financial services.  All you have to do is spend about 15 minutes per week reviewing and approving the content, and they take care of the rest.  They write, publish, promote and measure your content while you focus on what you do best, helping your clients grow their portfolios.

Click here to download a free e-Book on Five Online Marketing Tricks Every Financial Advisor Should Know.

Click here to register for a free webinar on How to Use LinkedIn Pulse (long-form content) to attract new customers, establish a thought-leadership position and profit from a strong online LinkedIn presence without stepping outside of compliance guidelines.

See you all in Chandler, Arizona for the Bob Veres’ Insider’s Forum!

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