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How To Create a Compliance-Friendly Blog

Blogging Basics & Strategies for Financial Advisors 0 Comments

For many advisors, the idea of blogging may be as intimidating as the idea of choosing the best investment mix is to their clients. In fact, blogging may simply sound like a time-consuming and high-tech way to get in trouble with compliance!

In reality, most advisors have been blogging for years; they just don’t know it. A blog consists of pieces of copy called posts. Each post is simply a short article that you’ve authored and placed on your website. Like any article, It must go through compliance before distribution to the public. If you have been writing your own correspondence for use with clients in the past, blogging won’t be any different.

There are many compelling reasons for advisors to consider starting a blog:

  1. Blogging may improve your website’s search engine optimization, helping prospects locate you. By incorporating keywords that your ideal prospects would be searching for, your blog post and website will rank higher.

  2. Blogging allows you to connect with clients on timely topics. It’s a great way to keep in touch, answer frequently asked questions, and educate clients and prospects.

  3. Regular posts can help to establish your expertise as a thought leader in your specific niche.

  4. Your posts give you higher “referability” by providing clients with valuable content that they may share with friends and family.

  5. It can be fulfilling to express yourself and share your knowledge with your network.

If you see the value in blogging but are still worried about compliance, fear not! Just follow these tips on writing your blog with compliance in mind, and you will have minimal required changes once they review your post.

  • Don’t get specific. It’s impossible to know the unique situation of each person who reads your post, so you couldn’t know which investments would be appropriate for them. Stick to describing a product or the situation in which a certain investments may be appropriate to consider.

  • Do get personal. Many advisors are hesitant to share too much personal information because they believe clients won’t find it interesting or relevant. However, relating a personal story to an everyday financial issue that many people face is a great way to explain a concept or service. Especially in a context as dry as financial advice can sometimes be, weaving a story is critical to make the issue human and help clients understand by connecting to something they understand personally.

  • Bring out the Buffers. You likely already know that compliance won’t allow promissory language such as “I create a financial plan that achieves your goals,” but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid explaining the benefits you offer your clients. Add a few “buffer words” to your statements, such as “I create a financial plan designed to lead you on a path toward your goals.” Other buffer words that help to keep your words from sounding too promissory are: “My goal is to. . .,” “I am committed to. . .,” “I aim/seek/strive to…,” “I help clients pursue. . .,” “I create strategies. . .” If you’re unclear about it, reach out to your compliance officer to determine which wording will be acceptable.

  • Sorry, No Comment. Because you can’t control what a visitor might say in a comment, broker-dealers typically require you to disable the reader’s ability to leave a comment. Instead, invite readers to connect with you directly and continue the conversation one-on-one by email.

  • Disclose, disclose, disclose. Your broker-dealer may require you to use disclosures on your blog just as you do on your website. For example, if you mention certain services or specific advisors, you may need to include a disclosure at the end.

  • Play by your rules. This may seem obvious, but many advisors forget that different broker-dealers have different rules about what they do or don’t allow. Just because you hear a fellow advisor with another broker-dealer say something isn’t allowed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s true for your home office. Review the rules before you start writing. You’ll get better at sticking to them as you practice, and in time you may not need to refer to the rules to know whether what you’re writing will be approved or not!

Blogging has many advantages, and writing posts tends to get easier with more experience. Still not comfortable with the idea of blogging? Try the FMG Suite blog writing service! Our platform is integrated with compliance and our writers are experienced in the industry. Ask your FMG Suite sales associate for details today!

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