When you get right down to it, finance bloggers and professional financial advisors are doing the same thing: advising laypeople on how to handle their money.
A partnership between bloggers and financial advisors seems pretty natural. But as of right now, pros and bloggers aren’t interacting as often as they could.
I recently spoke to Certified Financial Planner Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents, and Certified Financial Planner Roger Wohlner of The Chicago Financial Planner to find out the best ways for bloggers and pros to benefit from each other, and what kinds of blog content are most helpful to financial planners in the trenches.
FinCon: Do you find your clients come into your office a little more educated or savvy because they have been reading finance blogs?
Roger Wohlner: Since my client base tends to be older, they are not necessarily reading financial blogs. However, I find that my own blog can be a good tool for bringing in new clients. Potential clients will come upon the blog when looking for general advice, and end up making an appointment with me.
Jeff Rose: Most of my clients come to work with me because they have no interest in finance themselves, so they would rather rely on a professional to help them out. So, like Roger’s clients, many of mine are not going to be reading finance sites on their own.
However, I feel like finance blogs do provide a great resource for potential clients. Finance bloggers are really good about sharing personal stories, and I find that a lot of people learn better by seeing other people’s experiences. For a lot of aspects of financial planning, unless an individual has lived through something himself, it can be tough to understand the situation. Reading about others’ financial mistakes, triumphs, and difficulties can help readers make savvier decisions.
FinCon: For CFPs and other pros who are not reading or writing financial blogs, what advice would you give them about utilizing the financial blogosphere to better help their clients?
RW: I see blogs primarily as a source of information and education. That means that I’m less likely to steer a client (or advise a non-blog-savvy professional colleague) toward a specific blog—but I would send a particular post along to someone who I think could use the information. That’s why when I blog, I want to present the information in the most instructive and useful way possible, and I avoid anything that sounds like a sales pitch.
That’s also what I prize in blog posts written by others. Is it something informative that will help answer questions?
If a fellow financial planner was looking to dip a toe into the blogosphere, I would advise them to network with bloggers in the same way they would network with any other business relationship. Send an email to a blogger whose work you admire. Comment on blog posts you find intriguing. Become a part of the blogging community.
JR: I think one way CFPs can utilize the financial blogosphere is to find bloggers that share experiences that may be similar to what their clients are going through. For example, if you have a client who is struggling to get out of debt, why not turn them on to Enemy of Debt or Debt Movement to give them motivation and the inspiration they need to get out of their debt hole?
FinCon: Is there anything that finance bloggers can do to help foster a relationship with professional financial planners?
RW: Before reaching out to a pro, a blogger ought to be a great source of information on many topics. Show that you know your stuff and that you do your research.
JR: If I had to put myself in an amateur finance blogger’s shoes, I would love the opportunity to have a professional, especially a CFP, guest post on my site. The financial planner could get some great exposure and the potential to build their audience and hopefully get new clients by sharing their expertise in an online venue.
FinCon Brings Bloggers and Pros Together
One of the big benefits of the annual Financial Blogger Conference is that it gives bloggers and media-savvy financial pros the opportunity to connect and learn from each other. In this changing technological and media landscape, it’s important for us to work together to make sure readers and clients have the best information available to them.