By Marcus Roth, Lone Beacon’s Senior Director of Data, Automation & Content.
The top financial advisors in the US face a common issue. They are interested in making content promoting their advisory services, but they don’t know where to begin. They feel overwhelmed by the amount of content already on the internet and the broad spectrum of topics they could cover in a blog, ad, or video. The purpose of this article is to empower independent financial advisors to launch and complete new content initiatives that communicate engaging subject matter with confidence and efficiency.
Enter the Ring
First, let’s cover an easy roadblock you may have. You might be saying to yourself, “there’s already plenty of information on YouTube or in books and magazines, and I don’t want to copy what’s already been done.” If this is you, my simplest advice is to throw this mentality out the window.
Think about incredibly popular topics you enjoy and realize how similar the topic is and how often movies in one genre are basically just slight reiterations of material people already know. Think of how much material has been written on World War II, how many YouTube videos there are, how many History channel series and full-length documentaries, and yet unrelentingly these sources are able to produce new content on the same topic year in and year out.
It’s the same for financial and retirement content.
People have different preferences which mean that small variations in the way the information is conveyed can mean a lot to how well it is received by the individual. Talking about common topics but using unique analogies and axioms from your unique voice have the chance to come across uniquely to a viewer in a way that they have never thought of before, and in a way that proves that you are separate from the pack. All it takes is a single sentence to go from being part of the crowd to an original, insightful piece of content.
If the scriptwriters and producers of “The Hangover 2” can get away with reshooting a nearly identical version of “The Hangover” then you can certainly get away with producing a 10-minute video moderately like another financial advisor on YouTube they’ve likely never heard of or seen. So, in short, the first step is to simply get in the ring.
Enter the Matrix
You’ve got the will but what about the way? For this, I have one singular content planning exercise to share that should help you brainstorm 60 plus content topics all within 5 minutes. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but this isn’t an exaggeration. It’s called the content matrix, and I’ve attached an example of one below.
Oh, and feel free to use these! If you’re nervous about copying my work, re-read section one again!
The exercise is simple. On a sheet of paper or spreadsheet, write down a broad category of content you could envision yourself talking about in a 5-minute period. For example, you could put long-term care planning, I Bonds, cryptocurrency, or some other topic, big or small, on one axis. Then take a new list with other ideas, target audiences (such as retirees, pension holders, accredited investors, etc.), and financial products, and add it to the top column of the sheet. This will create a table or matrix. Then, like you’re playing a game of battleship, put your finger anywhere on the matrix and combine the corresponding Y-axis and X-axis ideas.
For example, here are content ideas: Tax Planning with a pension, taxes and tax breaks for college planning, cryptocurrency and tax planning, Medicare and market volatility. The ideas could go on. Even if something is not an exact match for a topic you’d like to talk about, it can be the seed to an idea or a title that can lay the groundwork for an interesting piece of content.
Just like any brainstorm, there are going to be some winners and losers so feel free to create the content you think makes most sense first. In the time it took you to brainstorm a list of 10 items to talk about, you got the initial ideas for 10 times 10 pieces of content… 100 pieces just like that!
Another way to grow your content topic list is to think of different styles of content types you can also add to the matrix. Such as “top five”, “fact versus fiction”, or “the three biggest mistakes you see doing X”. You might come up with some topics that are not useful such as “Top five + fact or fiction”, but that’s okay just skip it and move on to the next option. Remember you only need to have enough material to produce relevant and engaging content on a matrix subject for roughly 500 – 1000 words or 5 – 15 minutes of video or audio. So, even if an idea seems thin, it is still worth exploring and is better than being stuck with no idea on how to start.
About the Author: Marcus Roth is Lone Beacon’s Senior Director of Data, Automation & Content. Marcus has a unique experience in B2B and B2C start-up companies ranging from enterprise-level market research of Artificial Intelligence to self-defense eCommerce products. His experience in AI market research brought him, and his research, to INTERPOL, The United Nations and Harvard University.