Imagine sitting down at your desk and opening your email app. 

More than 100 unread emails are sitting before you, waiting to be opened. Some are from unsubscribed newsletters, some are from wholesalers, some are from marketing agencies looking to improve the SEO of your website, and some are from Nigerian princes with chests full of diamonds your long-forgotten uncle left you in his last will and testament.

They say content is king, but with spammy emails like many of these, is that even true anymore?

Content for the sake of content is not a strategy; it’s just annoying. For it to stand out, the content has to be meaningful.

The best approach for building a relevant communication strategy is to think of content as a service. The best advisors understand why a specific communication needs to be sent, who it benefits, and what they expect people to do once those people receive it. 

To be the king of the content strategy, it behooves us to start with why successful advisors spend so much time getting their content right in the first place. The best advisors think about how content serves clients and prospects: education, notification, or socialization.

Communication furthers the story advisors want to tell their clients. Sending photos of a client event reminds clients about how much fun they had. Topical industry whitepapers demonstrate thought leadership and expertise.

But most advisors already know all of this.

The big questions I get asked by the advisors I coach are (1) how do I build a communication strategy, and (2) how much is too much?

Here are the answers. 

There are six steps in building the best communication strategy possible:

  1. Reactive vs. Proactive.

Think of all communications as either one of these two things: proactive or reactive. Reactive communications only happen when someone else initiates them. A client calls in–the advisor calls back. An email comes in–an email goes out. The markets dive–the advisor sends a “Don’t Panic” whitepaper. These communications are essential, but by no means are they the only communications advisors should be doing. 

Proactive communication doesn’t wait for something to happen first. These types of emails have a frequency that they will go out anyway. Think about the weekly commentaries, the monthly letters, the monthly video scripts, the quarterly newsletters, the bi-annual phone calls, and the annual review reminders.

  1. Multichannel.

Wouldn’t it be a simpler world if everyone preferred getting emails? The fact of the matter is people have different preferences, and how they choose to absorb their information varies. Advisors are often stuck not knowing how they should be reaching out and tend to stick to the easiest and cheapest methods. It’s no surprise they often have limited results.

The best communication strategies are built to be multichannel. That means the design incorporates various communication channels (video, email, snail mail, calls, face-to-face, and social media) as the ways to send out content. The more channels clients are engaged with, the more surround-sound the strategy has.

  1. Social vs. Educational.

Every type of communication in existence falls into one of two categories. Content is either social or educational. Sure, there is a gray area in the middle, and some content can lean more to one side than the other, but this is the spectrum advisors generally operate in.

The best communication strategies are built using both social content and educational content. From birthday cards to market commentaries, from weekly quotes and recipes to estate planning tips and tax planning, it’s the mix of content that keeps the whole strategy fresh.

  1. Relevance.

What good is a robust communication plan if it’s not relevant to your book of business? An advisor building a client-centric social media campaign but doesn’t have a single client who owns a computer is not communicating effectively.

Similarly, if clients are always asking about the fluctuating state of the markets and the advisor never sends a market update, would it be fair to say a competing advisor who sends this information might appeal more to those clients?  

  1. Timely vs. Evergreen.

Timely content is just that: it’s timely. It’s a flash in the pan when people are paying attention. Market commentaries are a great example of this. These are relevant right when the market changes happen, but try sending a market commentary from three years ago. 

Evergreen content would be the opposite of timely; it’s content that is great forever. Think about how an evergreen tree’s leaves are always green. This is content that will be valuable anytime someone reads it. 

All of the above might seem like it is too much. The excellent news is clients would argue the opposite. One of the top reasons clients leave their advisors is advisors often do not reach out enough. 

Communications are essential components of any marketing strategy, and keeping them going out regularly cannot be overstated enough. With a weekly commentary (52 contacts per year), a monthly letter (12 contacts), a quarterly newsletter (4), ongoing client events, calls, and meetings, a fair amount of annual communications is about 76 each year. Every book of business is different, so be sure to dial this up or down based on your own clients’ preferences.

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This article is Part 4 of The Modern Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing series. 

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