Content calendar

Financial services firms know that consistently creating content is a highly effective way to build their brands, gain new audiences and improve their competitive positioning. But while some firms never seem to run out of ideas or subject-matter experts (SMEs) with new insight, others struggle to fill a content calendar. But if you’re a financial advisor — or a marketing professional who works with financial advisors — you likely have access to a regular supply of content ideas, you just need to know where to look. 

First, let’s establish what kinds of topics we’re looking for. Relevant content topics lie in the intersection between what you want to say and what your audience wants (or needs) to know. That means although you might be tempted to write glowingly about a new product or your great services, you should save those points for sales materials or a case study. Instead, focus on topics that will allow you to inform, educate or even amuse your target audience while also supporting your firm’s positioning, highlighting your capabilities and expertise. When in doubt, ask yourself three questions about a proposed topic.  

  1. Is this topic of interest to readers? What’s interesting to you might not engage your audience. Put yourself in their shoes to gauge whether they will want to read about the topic. 
  2. Will exploring this topic provide value? That can mean it addresses a concern, gives actionable ideas, answers a question, or provides peace of mind.  
  3. Does this content support our key messages? Consider whether the topic is one you want to be known for, and whether it aligns with your marketing goals and overall brand.  

With that definition – and those questions – as your filter, you can cast a wide net for ideas, while still ensuring that you weed out what doesn’t serve your clients or your content objectives. 

Topics can come from multiple places and take a variety of forms:  

 Your Own Expertise 

Ask yourself what you and your firm are uniquely qualified to provide insight about. What issues do you spend most of your time addressing with your clients? What are some unique issues that have come up recently? Consider various angles on your area of expertise, including how it might benefit readers at different stages of life, in different professions or geographies. That’s because some topics might lend themselves not just to a single article, but to a series that explores the different needs of various subsegments of your client base. For example, you might write about the topic of retirement savings for an audience of newly minted young attorneys just entering the workforce, who might have a lot of debt as well as a lot of earnings potential. You could also explore the distinct sets of issues facing law partners nearing retirement age who may be expecting a capital account or defined benefit plan distribution and considering buying a second home in a different state. Similarly, the financial implications of divorce might warrant one piece for the primarily breadwinner and one for the spouse that stayed home with kids. Each time a client raises a unique planning issue, that’s an opportunity to write about an interesting problem (without using names, of course) and a potential solution.  

 News and Events 

When you read or watch the news, or listen to a podcast, think about how you could shed more light on the current issue or provide context. This is especially helpful when the news is about potential regulatory or tax changes. Even if the rules are still being hammered out, it’s valuable to help people understand how it might impact them and offer ideas for how they might start to prepare for what may be coming. You don’t need to predict the future. You just need to share what clients should be thinking about. 

 Timely or evergreen? Yes. 

Another way to leverage news is to use current events as a timely hook for a more evergreen topic. For example, the potential for coming tax reform is an opportunity to revisit topics like estate planning, the value of trusts and a charitable giving strategy. Even a shift in seasons, or a holiday can be an opportunity to add a hot-off-the-presses feel to an enduring issue. (Read more about how to connect evergreen topics to recent news.) 

Industry Events 

Whether you’re attending in person, or participating only virtually, industry conferences offer opportunities to learn new nuggets or new ways of thinking about an old one. Pay attention not only to the presentations, but also to the questions people ask. Chances are that your readership would benefit from your thoughts on the issues raised. You could write up a summary of all the take-aways or take a deep dive into one idea and share the multiple perspectives you heard, as well as your own. 

Clients and competitors 

Your own audience of clients as well as your competitors can be a source of inspiration. Monitor what your peers write about and share your own perspective on the topic, whether you agree or disagree, or take it in a different direction. You could also periodically ask clients what topics they might like to read more about.