Getting published is a proven method for boosting your senior-market advisory business. But publishing—whether you’re writing articles or books—isn’t a silver bullet for growth. There’s a real risk that your writing will go unnoticed even if it’s well-written and informative. Open any newspaper, whether it’s a big city daily or a rural weekly, and you’ll probably find a column contributed by a financial advisor. Walk into any bookstore—assuming you can still find one—and you’ll find multiple financial advice books aimed at older readers. Add in the numerous websites that focus on personal finance and you can understand why your articles and books might be overlooked.
So how can you improve the odds that senior readers will notice your articles or books? And how can you promote your writing so it ultimately benefits your business? Consider these strategies:
Write for the right publications
Magazines and newspapers compile stats on their readers’ demographics: income, wealth, location, etc. Those data guide editorial decisions and help solicit advertisers whose products and services will interest the readers. You can request that demographic information and if the readers don’t match your targeted senior market, don’t waste your time writing for the publication. Focus instead on the publications that your prospects and clients read. If you work exclusively with clients about to retire or who are already retired, why bother with a magazine where the publisher wants you to write budgeting tips for young singles and couples?
It’s an obvious point, but readers are more likely to notice and respond to your writing if the subject matter addresses their concerns. If you’re writing for a publication with older readers, columns on long-term care insurance, retirement plan distributions, estate planning and so on would be a good fit.
Integrate your publications into your marketing plan
Charlie Farrell, J.D., LL.M., with Northstar Investment Advisors, LLC in Denver, published Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security with Penguin Group in January 2010. The book received good reviews, including favorable comments from the Wall Street Journal. It sold well and Penguin followed up the hardcover edition with a paperback and Kindle version.
Despite the book’s success, though, Farrell stresses that it is only one part of his firm’s marketing plan. He and his colleagues continue to network, seek referrals, generate publicity and utilize other methods to build the business. “You generally are doing four or five [marketing] things at the same time and you try to do things you’re good at,” he says. “What I happen to be good at is writing. So that was where I chose to focus a part of my efforts but certainly not all my efforts.”
The same logic applies to writing columns and articles: Don’t expect your published work to carry the full marketing load. They can help bring in prospects and support your other initiatives, but publishing is often a slow way to develop new business.