Tuesday 27 June 2017

6 shortcuts that will save you time without sacrificing quality

For financial advisers, there are so many benefits to putting together and emailing out a regular, quality newsletter.

It gives you the opportunity to connect with clients and provide them with valuable information, while letting you promote all the ways you can help them. And yet, many advisers are put off from producing a regular newsletter, because they feel they lack the time or relevant skills.

We’ll show you some simple tactics to help you build a client newsletter the easy way.

1. Plan ahead

It’s always easier to put a newsletter together when you’re working to a plan and ahead of schedule instead of doing a last minute dash.

So before you even get started, spend some time exploring what the point of your newsletter is in the first place:

  • Who are your clients?
  • What kind of content will they be interested in?
  • How will your newsletter add value?

Once you have worked this out, map out your content plan. Start by picking some key topics that talk directly to your clients’ concerns; for example:

  • self-managed super funds (SMSFs)
  • investment options.

Next, for each topic, break it down into article ideas:

  • self-managed super funds 
    • Is an SMSF right for me?
    • What to be aware of when starting an SMSF
    • Reporting guidelines for SMSFs
  • Investment options
    • How to choose the best options for you
    • How to start investing in shares
    • Understanding futures trading

Once you’ve done this you can put together a simple calendar that shows what you will be covering and when. This is known as a content calendar - you can find plenty of templates online to help you.

Commit to reviewing your content plan regularly so you’re always aware of what’s coming up.

The good news is that, once you start producing newsletter content, you can use it in multiple ways. That includes posting it to your website blog and sending it out via social media to a wider audience. So you get more reach for your investment and reduce your time in your other marketing endeavours.

2. Curate don’t create

Researching and writing a range of well thought-out articles takes considerable time and effort. But by curating content (which is simply sharing other people’s content) much of the hard work will already be done for you.

There are a lot of great financial articles being produced which your clients wouldn’t usually see. Delivering these to their inbox can show that you have your finger on the pulse and their best interests at heart.

But to really add value, why not introduce each article with your own opinion? Briefly explain why you’ve included the piece, how its content might affect your client and whether you agree with any points of view expressed. Writing a digest in this way is one of the most effective types of newsletter article, according to FastCompany.

Just make sure you adhere to copyright laws and credit the original author rather than trying to pass it off as your own work. You should also always link to the original source rather than reproducing any articles.

3. Share the load

If you do intend to write original articles, don’t try to do it all yourself. Too many financial advisers – particularly practice owners – feel that only they should be the producing content on behalf of the firm.

If you’re falling into that trap, it’s time to let go and have other staff members contribute too.

After all, if you intend to write, say, four articles a month, you’ll need to give up hours and hours of your time. But if you have four people writing one article a month, it requires far less of an investment in time (and if you have eight people writing think of how much easier it would be still).

Not everyone in your firm will write well. Others won’t be so confident writing or won’t want to devote time to writing every month. But with the right processes you may be able to overcome both of these obstacles and gain from their varying perspectives and ideas.

That’s why you should...

4. Put processes in place

When you start producing newsletters you effectively become a publisher. And all good publishers have effective publishing processes. These don’t just ensure the quality of work, but also help save time by eliminating double handling, reducing the workload and making sure the steps needed to put together a newsletter are repeatable and learnable.

For instance, ask yourself what type of format do you expect files in? What will the editing process be and who will be responsible for it? Who will load your articles or stories into a content management system or email template and make sure they’re accurate? By following the same process every time you will shave hours from your workload.

5. Sort out your software

There are a lot of newsletter tools that will make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to writing, curating and also getting your newsletter out.

For instance, Campaign Monitor and MailChimp both let you send emails, manage your mailing lists and build newsletters using a template. They also let you see the analytics about who’s opening your emails and who to follow up with.

Grammarly can aid your editing process by letting you easily perform an in-depth analysis of your writing - one that goes beyond a standard spell checker to make sure that what you’re saying is expressed well and grammatically correct.

Curation apps such as Feedly and Scoop.it let you follow topics and find the latest articles, so that you’ll never run out of curated content or ideas for your own writing. You can also search for topics on Twitter using hashtags.

And project management tools such as Asana, Trello and Basecamp allow your team to collaborate on putting together a newsletter so that everyone knows where production is at and what needs to be done.

6. Outsource

Finally, if you don’t have time to put together your own article, there’s always the option of outsourcing. Whether that’s outsourcing the writing or putting together a whole newsletter, or even helping you then spread the word about your content via social media, there’s someone who should be able to help.

After all, investing money in having someone else do it for you won’t just mean you have a professional doing it for you, it will also free you up for your core work.

And remember...

Putting together a good newsletter will always take time. But by using these tips, you should find that you’re counting that time in hours, rather than days.

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