This is a guest post from Susan Weiner, CFA, and author of the new book Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.
Questions are a great source of ideas for financial advisors’ tweets, blog posts, articles, and even white papers that inspire people to read. I recommend that you keep a paper or electronic notepad handy to record questions asked by your clients. However, sometimes you need a fresh source of inspiration. It’s time to turn the tables by asking questions yourself.
1. Ask questions that people can answer with one word
A webinar presenter — I think it was social media strategist Amy Porterfield — suggested boosting Facebook engagement by posing questions that ask for a one-word answer. Because you request little from your audience, it’s easy for them to respond. Inspired by this idea, I asked on Facebook and in LinkedIn groups for my readers to share one word that defined ideal investment commentary. The volume of replies astonished me, and at one point my question was the “Manager’s Choice” on the CFA Institute’s LinkedIn group. It was nice visibility for me. I believe it happened because group members enjoyed the opportunity to express themselves on a topic about which they felt passionately.
2. Run an online survey
My readers’ enthusiastic reply to my one-word question about investment commentary inspired me to create an electronic survey about the characteristics of good investment commentary. Readers’ answers eventually led to “Ideal quarterly investment letters: Meaningful, specific, and short.” When you develop a multi-question poll that includes open-ended questions, it lets your readers develop original content for you. A meaty blog post can result. However, beware that analyzing the non-quantitative survey results can be time-consuming. When you write about what your readers say, you give them a voice. This helps you to build a sense of community with them.
3. Run a multiple-choice poll
“I voted ‘yes’ on your poll.” I can’t tell you how many times my newsletter readers have mentioned my polls when I meet them one-on-one. Like the one-word-answer technique, multiple-choice polls don’t require much effort for people to answer, which boosts participation. Lately, I’ve enabled readers to add their own responses to the polls, rather than choosing from those I’ve listed. I’ve received some good insights from allowing them this freedom. If you publish the poll results only in your e-newsletter, you give readers an incentive to subscribe. That’s always a plus.
4. Start discussions on social media
Posing a question on LinkedIn or other social media is a great way to collect content. I especially like doing this on LinkedIn because all of the answers are collected in one place. Also, one person’s response often sparks another. When a social media question inspires a lively conversation, that says that the topic is worthy of a blog post. It’s likely to be shared widely. “Career strategies for wealth managers without a book of business” is essentially a compilation of answers that LinkedIn members posted in response to a question. I quoted only LinkedIn Group members who gave me their permission since I posted my question on a members-only group. If you post on a public group, then technically you don’t need to ask permission. However, I think it’s the right thing to do, unless you explicitly warn people in your original post that you are looking for quotes.
5. Ask “What do you want to read?” at every opportunity
You can ask clients, prospects, referral sources, and social media connections “What do you want to read?” They’ll be flattered you asked for their opinion.
What do you want to read?
Of course, I’d like to learn more about YOUR interests. Please leave a comment suggesting topics for future blog posts. By the way, for another perspective on using surveys and questions, read “3 Ways to Create Highly Valuable Blog Content” on the Social Media Examiner blog.