All Posts by Crystal Lee Butler

LinkedIn Tips and Checklists

I developed my series, A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It, to help financial advisors learn about how LinkedIn marketing works so they can use the platform to effectively grow their business.

I started with an Introduction to LinkedIn for Financial Advisors, followed by the ins and outs of How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile, and then concluded with an in-depth guide on How to Fully Utilize Your LinkedIn Profile in Your Marketing Strategy.

Because I suspect you may be curious to know more about some of the information I covered in this series, I’m including some additional resources below, where I took an even deeper dive into specific LinkedIn-related topics.

  • How Advisors Can Submit Custom Content to Gain New Readers
    Learn how to use LinkedIn as a tool to help you identify and connect with journalists and editors of specific publications and online media outlets.
  • How to Share Financial Content with Your Readers 
    Each social network has a different rhythm. You can share on Twitter multiple times throughout the day, whereas you will annoy LinkedIn connections if you post more than once a day.
  • Tips to Select Featured Images for Your Financial Content
    Because your featured image will show up when you share your content on social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you should superimpose or overlay the title and add your logo or brand colors. 
  • 7 Reasons LinkedIn Is More Than a Digital Resume
    LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service that was launched in 2003. The main reason a person joins LinkedIn is for professional networking. If you are looking for a place to network with other professionals and cut out all of the “fluff” that other social networking sites bring, LinkedIn is an excellent choice.
  • The 411 on LinkedIn ProFinder
    LinkedIn Profinder is a professional services marketplace where people can search for independent professionals in specific service categories. 

Now that you have everything you need to use LinkedIn effectively to market your business, you may be wondering where to get started or how to incorporate LinkedIn marketing strategies into your already busy schedule. You can download our LinkedIn Profile Optimization Guide and 15-minute weekly LinkedIn check-in checklist.

Everyone is telling you that you need to be active on social media. You have Facebook, Twitter and even a LinkedIn profile. But, how do you know if you’re getting the most out of your efforts? That’s where Crystal Marketing Solutions comes in. We have proven methods for helping you create an effective and active profile that draws readers to your content.  Let us help you get started with your next-level LinkedIn strategy by scheduling an introductory meeting today.

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here. 

1 How to Fully Utilize Your LinkedIn Profile

My series, A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It helps financial advisors discover how LinkedIn marketing works so they can effectively use its best practices and strategies to grow their business.

In a recent article, I covered the ins and outs of how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for search engines, to raise your visibility and grow your network. But optimizing your profile is just the beginning. LinkedIn provides a wealth of opportunities to enhance your marketing efforts as a financial advisor. Here is how to take full advantage of everything the platform has to offer.  

Grow with Groups

Join the LinkedIn local and professional groups relevant to you and your financial advisory practice. 

LinkedIn groups are hubs within LinkedIn where you can meet other professionals with similar interests, affiliations, or a shared locale. Groups are a great way to join in conversations and become known in new circles outside of your network of current and past colleagues. While you don’t want to use groups to blatantly promote yourself, being an active member of a group is a powerful way to share content, stand out, and become known for your expertise. 

When you join a group, introduce yourself and briefly share what you do and how you help clients. If the group seems like a good fit for you, make a commitment to pop in often to stay on top of the discussions and comment when you have something valuable to add in support of your fellow group members.

As with anything, you get out what you put in when it comes to LinkedIn groups. Every person reading your comments could be a potential referral source or client.

Make Connections

Your LinkedIn profile is only as effective as your network. Many people make the mistake of keeping their LinkedIn connections limited to people they know personally, such as current and past co-workers, trusted professional colleagues, and friends. To fully utilize LinkedIn in your marketing strategy, you have to intentionally and strategically grow your connections. 

It used to be the case that people closely guarded their LinkedIn connections, most likely concerned that connecting with someone they didn’t know could reflect poorly on their reputation. However, carefully expanding your network beyond people you know personally and growing your connections is a best practice. You can always remove a connection if they turn out to be someone with whom you would rather not associate.

The larger your LinkedIn network, the more potential you have to engage with someone within your network that might become a valuable referral source or client. More contacts mean more visibility for you and your business. Look for new LinkedIn contacts who can expand your reach and enhance your experience on the platform. You can begin to discover people you would like to connect with by taking advantage of the search feature. Enter key terms such as “business networking” or “estate attorney” to find and connect with the right people. 

By thinking through the kinds of professionals you want to connect with on LinkedIn and getting creative with your search, you will find lists of people, groups, and events that can further your LinkedIn marketing efforts. Use as many different keywords and phrases you can think of and conduct searches on a regular basis. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to growing a thriving network of connections on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Publishing

In the past, only top influencers could use the LinkedIn publishing platform. But it has been open to everyone for a while, so you can and should be publishing your content directly on LinkedIn. 

When you post content on LinkedIn Publisher consistently, it helps you gain visibility, boosts your authority as a financial professional, and supports your lead generation efforts. 

You also gain a higher reach on the platform. The posts are indexed in Google search results. Depending on engagement, your post may reach second and third level connections. Your article will also show up in the feed of people who follow the hashtags you use, and then they can follow your content without even connecting.  

The content you publish on LinkedIn should be timely and relevant, but don’t hesitate to repurpose existing content from your blog.

LinkedIn App

Marketing effectively on LinkedIn means marketing consistently. Once you create a strong profile, grow your network, and get active, make the commitment to stay active. This is the only way you will build momentum. One of the best ways to ensure you stay active is to download the LinkedIn app to stay connected more easily on the go. You can always turn off the notifications so it doesn’t become a distraction.

By using the LinkedIn app, you can spend your downtime while standing in line at the home improvement store to engage with fewer silly Facebook memes and more valuable business-oriented content. While there’s nothing wrong with a few minutes here and there of escapism, you’re better served using your screen time towards your LinkedIn marketing efforts. 

LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator can be useful for financial advisors who want to get more out of LinkedIn. In my professional opinion, I believe those paid upgrades are only helpful if you are truly going to take advantage of the features and commit to at least 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn. Otherwise, it’s not worth the money or time. 

To decide if it would be worth your time, here are a few features of LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator:

  • A 90-day list of who has viewed your profile and the keywords that led them there
  • A ranking among your industry peers
  • List of the top 100 most viewed people among your connections and colleagues
  • Keyword suggestion feature to help you build your profile
  • Open profile where any member on LinkedIn can reach out to you
  • Send direct messages to anyone on LinkedIn via InMail
  • Customer support
  • Sophisticated search, tagging, lead tracking (Sales Navigator)
  • CRM integration (Sales Navigator)

If you are new to using LinkedIn as a marketing tool, start out with the basic features in your free account. Once you get into the swing of it, if you find yourself limited in what you can do for free, you may want to consider upgrading to a premium account. 

LinkedIn Profinder

If you’re familiar with LinkedIn Profinder, you might be wondering if it’s something you should use for your marketing. LinkedIn Profinder is a professional services marketplace where people can search for independent professionals in specific service categories. 

Profinder can be beneficial because it allows potential clients to set criteria to conduct a search and discover your profile. Once you have optimized your profile, Profinder is one of the best ways to leverage it and many advisors find the leads they get from Profinder worth the minimal monthly cost. 

Check out my detailed article here about the wonderful benefits of LinkedIn Profinder.


LinkedIn offers a valuable variety of features, functionality, and upgrades to effectively market your financial advisory services and grow your business. 

In an upcoming post, I will cover some final tips and advice about using LinkedIn.

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Are you positioning yourself for success online as a financial advisor? LinkedIn is the place to do it. 

As the world’s largest business-oriented social network for working professionals, it’s where your colleagues, associates, and prospective clients are spending their time online. It’s also where you’re likely showing up first in searches as the people you meet Google you. You should always strive to make the best possible first impression with your LinkedIn profile.

My series A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It helps financial advisors understand how LinkedIn marketing works so you can properly use its  best practices and strategies to connect with prospects, gain more clients, and grow your business.

Getting Found on LinkedIn

Think of your profile in terms of how it will show up in search engines outside of LinkedIn and within LinkedIn’s search. 

Search for anyone’s name online and chances are their LinkedIn profile will be one of the first search results shown by Google. More than likely, your prospective clients and anyone looking to collaborate with you will research you in advance. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s prominence in search engines to stand out online.

More specifically, to get the most out of LinkedIn as a marketing tool, optimize your LinkedIn profile to show up prominently and stand out within the platform.

To ensure you are getting the best search engine optimization (SEO) results from your LinkedIn profile, I recommend you do the following:

Fill Out Your LinkedIn Profile Completely

Fill out your LinkedIn profile thoroughly and completely. Take advantage of every inch of digital real estate and feature.

Make a strong first impression with a friendly professional headshot as your profile photo and an attention-grabbing header image that reflects your role as a financial advisor. Those images will show up in Google under your name and will set you apart when someone lands on your profile within LinkedIn.

Your headline should be more than your job title. Include relevant keywords and a compelling statement that lets people know who you are, what you do, and who you serve. This headline will show up under your name throughout your LinkedIn activity, so it needs to stand out and make people take notice.

The summary section is your opportunity to tell your professional story and illustrate your expertise. It should capture readers’ attention within the first few lines so they’re interested enough to click and read more about you. Make it succinct, skimmable, and impactful from start to finish. 

Your current experience and job title headline should also incorporate keywords, highlight your services, and showcase your accomplishments.

Thoughtfully complete each section, including media links, education, skills, projects, volunteer experience, and more. Include keywords whenever possible, think in terms of who is reading your profile, and prioritize what you want to be known for and how you want to be seen.  

Claim your LinkedIn custom URL and make it something easy to remember. All LinkedIn members can have one custom profile URL at a time. Ideally, it should be your first and last name. If you have a common name, include your middle initial or some variation of your name and professional brand. Alternatively, you could use your name and “financial advisor” or include professional designations, such as CFP®  or MBA. 

Expand Your Network by Making Connections

Your LinkedIn profile is only as powerful as your LinkedIn network. The more you expand your network, the more visibility and exposure you will gain. The larger your network, the more potential you have to engage with someone within your network who might become a valuable referral source or client.

Expand your network by becoming more active and therefore attracting attention and inbound connection requests. The more active and engaged you are on LinkedIn, the more likely you will show up high in search results and the more likely people will see your profile and content.

When you engage with posts shared by other LinkedIn users within your network, you will show up more often in the timelines of your connections as well as the timeline of the person who shared the content. And when you share original or curated content, you are also increasing the likelihood that you will show up more frequently and prominently on LinkedIn. 

The most direct way to expand your LinkedIn network is to send out personalized connection requests. When you send requests to people you know or you’ve met, remind them how you know each other and include a quick personalized note stating why you would like to stay connected.

If you would like to connect with someone you don’t know, such as a local professional who offers a service that is complementary to yours – an attorney, accountant, or real estate broker, for example – let them know why you are messaging them and want to connect. Perhaps your offices are nearby, you have some connections in common, or you’ve noticed and appreciated an article they published.

Making connections is essential to optimizing your profile.


Your LinkedIn profile is far more than a digital resume. To get the best results out of your LinkedIn marketing efforts as a financial advisor, start by optimizing your profile for search engines and for building your network. 

In my next article, I will cover how to fully utilize your LinkedIn profile in your marketing efforts.

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here. 

Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisors. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.

An Introduction to LinkedIn for Financial Advisors

If you are a financial advisor and you are not using LinkedIn actively, you are missing a prime opportunity to grow your business. Although the social media platform has been around since 2002, it has gained renewed respect in recent years as more professionals are recognizing its value. 

Seize the opportunity to leverage LinkedIn to grow your network, raise your visibility, and generate high-quality leads. I have created a series that aims to serve as A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It. 

In this series, I will answer questions such as:

  • What is LinkedIn?
  • Why is LinkedIn important for financial advisors?
  • How should financial advisors optimize their LinkedIn profile?
  • How can financial advisors fully utilize LinkedIn for marketing?
  • What can financial advisors do to get the most out of LinkedIn?

Over the next few weeks, you will find the answers to those questions and more to help you use LinkedIn to connect with prospects, gain more clients, and grow your business.

What is LinkedIn?

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, and other popular platforms that are more for personal-use and entertainment-focused, LinkedIn is geared specifically toward business professionals. When people are on LinkedIn, they aren’t there to look at cat videos. They are there to focus on business, their career, and professional development. This makes LinkedIn the ideal platform to grow your network and share your expertise.

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that enables you to easily connect with people you know and would like to know. It’s like attending a virtual business mixer with more than 630 million attendees and everyone is wearing a nametag with their title and company in clear view. 

Why LinkedIn Is Important for Financial Advisors

Many financial advisors underestimate the importance of LinkedIn, perhaps thinking it is just a platform for job seekers. On the contrary, LinkedIn is far more than a digital resume; it provides a wealth of opportunities at your fingertips, and your participation on the network can open doors that you didn’t even know existed. 

LinkedIn keeps you connected with existing colleagues and associates and provides instant access to new potential collaborators, prospects, and referral partners.

Most importantly, your ideal clients are likely already on LinkedIn. Over half of all Americans with a college degree use the platform and 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper-management roles. Of all the social networks, LinkedIn’s users are comprised of the most affluent demographics, with approximately 40 million users fitting the mass affluent category, with an annual household income of over $75,000, and an estimated $100,000 to $1,000,000, in liquid financial assets. 

Getting Started on LinkedIn

With a well-crafted LinkedIn profile, you can illustrate your expertise, highlight your achievements, and demonstrate your credibility as a well-informed, skilled, and trustworthy financial professional.  

Remember, first impressions are key, so be sure to include a friendly professional profile photo. Customize your headline, using industry-specific keywords that will make it easy for people to find you and know what you do at a glance as soon as they see your profile. Avoid using a generic title and make your headline stand out by including what you specialize in and who you serve. 

Keep in mind that the summary section is one of the first places a potential connection will look. A well-written summary will address who you are, who you help, and how you help them. You’ll also want to add some personality to the summary section by letting readers know what drives you, why you’re passionate about providing financial advisory services, and anything else that sets you apart from the competition.   

Next, fill out your work experience and education sections. Include accomplishments, quantified results you’ve achieved, awards, and recognition. You will also want to take the time to fill in your volunteer experience, skills, and relevant media. 

The more complete your LinkedIn profile, the better. You can highlight the best of your background and showcase different possible commonalities with connections as you use LinkedIn to build relationships.       

Finally, by regularly sharing original and curated content related to personal finances, financial planning, and wealth management, you can use LinkedIn to position yourself as an expert and build your authority in the marketplace.

Having a strong, professional, active LinkedIn presence will help you grow your network, as more active profiles gain greater visibility and people will be more open to connecting with you when you reach out to them.


If you are going to use social media to grow your business as a financial advisor, LinkedIn is the place to spend your time and concentrate your efforts. 

In an upcoming article, I will cover everything you need to know about optimizing your LinkedIn profile as a financial advisor so you can get the most out of your LinkedIn marketing efforts. 

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here.

The Best Content to Drive Engagement

One of the most important components to successful marketing is finding accurate and engaging content to share with your readers. This goes beyond sharing your thoughts on the market and what is going on in your firm, but sharing articles of interest with your clients and prospects that spark engagement and start a conversation.

I recently had a client ask me the question below. I realized that this is a problem that most advisors face, so I wanted to share my answer with all of you.


Where can I find the best content to drive engagement? I’m not looking to provide market commentary. It would be great if I could customize it with our brand but not have to rewrite any of the content.


There are a few options. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks.

Content Services

Before I go into detail about a few of the more popular choices, I need to explain that with each of these options you do not own the content. You pay a fee to have the ability to use the content. Some may let you add your biography or branding to the content, but you are limited on what you can do with it. Thousands of advisors are paying for the same content and also sharing it on their platforms.

FMG Suite

FMG Suite is a custom-crafted marketing system that has a mix of content, tools and support. They do some things better than others, but one thing that they do very well is provide a content library that is compliance-ready and appropriate for every audience. Topics range from retirement to investing and come in different formats such as videos, articles and multimedia.

The major disadvantage to FMG Suite is that their packages are set up so that you are required to pay for the website tool no matter what you use. They do not offer an option to purchase just access to their library. Packages start at $69/month.

Marketing Pro

Marketing Pro was recently bought by FMG suite, but they still offer several services separately. One of them is its Marketing Library. The Marketing Library contains various types of content, all written by financial copywriters. They have everything from shareable social media posts and market updates to various guides and articles. They also offer an email tool within the system, but it is not as flexible as other independent options. Prices start at $40/month, plus an “initiation” fee.

Broadridge / Advisor Solutions

Broadridge offers several comprehensive package options, but they also offer individual services. Some of these services include email and social marketing, print marketing and newsletters, and eNewsletters. They have a wide variety of content pieces covering various topics available in different formats. Their content is written by in-house financial subject-matter experts. Prices start at $129/month.

Bob Veres’ Client Letters

This service provides 4-6 professionally-written articles that you can send to clients every month. At the end of each quarter, and at the end of each year you get a review of the performance of the different asset classes, plus commentary. Prices start at $298/year.

Crystal Marketing Solutions Content

Custom Content

My firm, Crystal Marketing Solutions, also offers articles and an email newsletter crafted specifically for my clients. The content is ghostwritten by my staff and used only for CMS clients. We have provided topics from estate planning to IRAs to investing. Here is an example of one of our client’s email newsletters containing CMS created content.

Flexible Email Options

All CMS clients use either MailChimp or Constant Contact as their email service provider. This allows us to have the greatest flexibility when setting up emails. We set up A/B testing, track the statistics, and work to enhance the newsletter depending on the activity of your mailing list. This helps to improve your open and click-through rates and drive and engage your audience.

Your Own Newsletter

You always have the option to use those same (or similar) tools and create your own newsletter. A simple way to accomplish this without all of the bells and whistles is to have an RSS feed set up that sends emails to your subscriber list each time you post a new blog. This helps you to stay top-of-mind for your readers.

If you are interested in having CMS work with you to help you curate content from a service or even have us create some custom content for you, please reach out and let me know how we can help.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

Tips for Taking Your Own Headshots

I recently published an article, Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Marketing Photos. I talked about taking photos for your marketing materials. A number of advisors asked me if someone could take their own headshots.

You can take your own headshots, but you need to be prepared and aware to get the most professional photos you can. I always recommend hiring a professional if at all possible, but if you are going to take your own photos there are things you need to consider.

Look your best

I mentioned it in my previous article but I have to say it again: The details matter. Make sure you have put thought into what you are going to wear and how it will translate in a picture – makeup, jewelry, and haircut. Every little detail will forever be captured in your photo, so make sure it is right.


Think about what will be behind you in your photo. You don’t want it to be too busy or cluttered. If you are taking the photos indoors, take it in front of a solid-colored wall. Consider the lighting. It is always best to use as much natural light as you can find. A large window near you, but not directly behind you, is ideal. Avoid taking your photos under the typical overhead fluorescent lights that are found in offices. They will give you stark highlights and harsh shadows.

You can take your photos outside — just make sure that you are fully aware of what is going on behind you that may possibly show in the background. You also want to make sure that you are not in direct sunlight. Not only will it make you squint; it can also make you look washed out. Finding a spot with great indirect light or taking the photo on an overcast day is best.

Photo resolution

Your photo must be in high resolution. This will give you the most versatility when trying to use your picture in different ways. Typically photos are printed at 300 dpi. When used on a screen, having high-resolution photos will ensure that they can be used in a variety of situations — such as on a blog, in a profile picture, in your e-newsletter and on your website — without having to worry about them looking fuzzy or pixilated.

DPI (dots per inch) refers to the printing of an image. When it comes to taking pictures with your cell phone (see below), think in terms of megapixels (MP). Check your phone’s megapixel count by looking at the user’s manual or doing a simple search online to be sure. A higher megapixel count will give you crisper images. Anything higher than 8MP should be fine. Front-facing cameras will have a lower megapixel count than a camera on the back of the phone. Change the settings to high resolution. While the photos will take up more storage space, they will be higher quality. Don’t use the on-camera zoom. This will result in a fuzzy picture. Always take the picture with some white space around the subject and then do your cropping while you are editing.

Is a cell phone picture good enough?

With today’s technology and cellphones, yes. Depending on the phone, the quality of the pictures will vary. Test it out and see if you are happy with the results. Use the HDR mode. HDR combines several exposures to create a single picture with more detail and better tone and color than non-HDR mode. See if your phone can lock its focus. Sometimes phones will try to adjust the focus as the camera moves, and this can cause images to become unfocused and fuzzy.

Make sure you have a way to hold the phone perfectly steady. You can purchase a small tripod or a simple stand for your phone. This will help reduce camera shake.

What kind of camera should you use?

I can’t answer this one. There are thousands of choices for cameras in a range of prices. It comes down to the different features of the camera, especially the lenses. You pay a professional for not only their top-of-the-line equipment, but also their experience and expertise. If you are taking your headshots, use the best camera available. Experiment with different cameras you have and see which one gives you the picture with which you are most satisfied.

Give yourself options

Don’t be afraid to mix things up. Try different poses, move your hands into different positions, and try different facial expressions. You never know what you are going to like until you try it. The bonus to taking your own headshots is that you are not on someone else’s timeline. Take advantage of that and try a bunch of different things. Try are a big smile, a smirk, and a slightly serious face. Each one of these expressions will give the photo a different feel.

One great and simple tip is to change the position in which you hold your head. Tilt it at a slight angle and be sure to hold your chin up. It may feel a little awkward at first, but it produces a more flattering photo.

The logistics

Now that you have the details all worked out, you need to figure out how you are going to take these photos. It is best if you enlist the help of a friend. It is much easier for a person to be able to see what is captured within the frame rather than you guessing what is going on while the timer is going off.

If you don’t have anyone who can help, you can always use a tripod and the self-timer function on your camera. Just be sure that you practice. The camera needs to be steady and set at eye level. This will also be when you find out if there are any problems with your background or lighting, so you can adjust if you need to. The big bonus to using the self-timer is you can take all the time you need without feeling uncomfortable in front of anyone.


Once you have a few photo options that you like, the process doesn’t stop. You will need to do at least some standard editing. Think about contrast, sharpness, and brightness. Each one of these adjustments will ensure that your headshot looks crisp. Stay away from most automatic enhancements and filters, as they tend to overcorrect and will make your photos look very unnatural and unprofessional.

With these tips, you should be well on your way to DIY-ing your professional headshots. No one will be any the wiser.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

Getting the Most From Marketing Photos

The series The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing helps financial advisors understand how content marketing all works so they can establish themselves as a financial expert by properly utilizing financial content marketing strategies.

In part five, Keyword Phrase, of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing I went into detail about one of the essential elements in creating content…

Now it’s time to go beyond text and look closely at why you should never skip adding a featured image.

Why Adding a Featured Image Matters

You might be wondering if you need to include images with your content or if text alone will be sufficient. The answer is you should always include at least one featured image with every article for both visual appeal and functional purposes.

Images not only bring your words to life by illustrating meaning, but they also serve to optimize your content for search engines and help your content stand out on social media platforms where you share it.

Search engine algorithms — the criteria used to reward or penalize content based on specific characteristics — are constantly changing. But in recent years, it has become clear that Google and other top search engines increasingly favor images, reportedly because images enhance the user experience.

In other words, people like pictures and search engines aim to return the results that people want. As the importance of visual search continues to expand, image inclusion and image SEO has become more essential than ever.

What is a Featured Image

A featured image is a photo or graphic that will show up in the preview of your post on social media sites such as Facebook and often as a thumbnail on your blog list. Its purpose is to represent the content of the post at a glance and serve as a preview, providing the audience with a sneak peek to determine whether or not they want to read the content.

The featured image adds visual interest to your article and helps set expectations for both content and tone by piquing a reader’s interest. Even more than an article’s subject matter or headline, the featured image has the potential to persuade or dissuade readers from actually opening and reading your content.

How to Choose the Best Featured Image for Your Financial Content

Your featured image should always be relevant and you should never use an image that is irrelevant yet eye-catching just to grab your reader’s attention. If a reader opens an article because of an interesting photo only to find content that has nothing to do with the image, they will click away quickly, which will hurt your SEO and your reputation.

It’s best to use original images whenever possible. You can certainly take your own photos. Most phones today have a quality camera, and you can easily capture a picture yourself of something associated with your article to use.

If taking your own photos is not a good option for you, you can use stock photos as well. One thing you must realize is that most stock images require a license to use, and if you use images without a license you are violating copyright laws and could be fined.

The best thing to do is to use a stock photo service For a nominal fee, you will then have the rights to a wide variety of images for social media posts and much more. Just make sure you understand the terms and restrictions of your license. There are many stock photo options that I have used and would recommend.

Stock Photo Resources for Financial Advisor Website Content:

Because your featured image will be what shows up when you share your content on social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, it can be beneficial to superimpose or overlay the title and add your logo or brand colors. Putting the title of the post itself on the image is a great strategy because it increases the clickability of the image itself. This can easily be done with a free tool like Canva.

Keep in mind, your featured image could also be a graphic or illustration rather than a photograph. You can hire a designer to create unique and original branded graphics, or for a DIY option, use a tool such as Canva or PicMonkey to create your own designs.

Tips for Optimizing Your Featured Image for Search Engines

Use the right file name

Google should be able to tell what your image is by what you name it, so it’s important not to use the default string of characters or untitled.jpg. Also, include a keyword phrase in your file name. For example, a good file name would be common-credit-score-mistakes.jpg.

Use Alt Tags

Alt tags are the words that are associated with the image. If the image cannot be displayed, the alt tag provides alternative information for the image when a user cannot view it. It also helps significantly with SEO so be sure to include at least one of your keywords in the alt tags as well. There are YouTube videos and articles out there that show you how to do this.

Use the correct resolution and size.

Lower-resolution images at 72 DPI (dots per inch) are appropriate for digital mediums such as websites and are usually the cheaper option as well.


As you can see, adding a featured image is an essential part of creating an effective financial advisor website content. The right featured image will attract your intended audience’s attention, enhance their reading experience, and boost your SEO. Always take the time to select an eye-catching image and optimize it for search engines.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

Creating a Cohesive Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing to promote your financial services business or if you are looking for help to take your marketing efforts to the next level, The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing covered everything you need to know from start to finish.

By now you know content marketing is a powerful way to connect with potential clients for your financial advisory firm. Creating and sharing useful content raises awareness about your business and educates prospects about financial topics and smart money management practices. Because you’re a financial professional who helps your clients implement ways to make their money work for them, content marketing showcases your expertise. It lets prospects know you understand their financial concerns and challenges. At the same time, it also sets you apart as relatable and approachable, before you even meet the people who are considering hiring you. And finally, content marketing is the key to getting discovered online because it boosts your search-engine optimization (SEO), driving organic traffic to your website.

How to Create a Financial Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing doesn’t work without a strategy. Map out a plan for creating, publishing, managing, and monitoring the content itself. Plus, you’ll need to prioritize growing your audience and distributing your content to put it to work for you.

Be clear about your intended audience, ideal client, and what they would want or need from you to catch their attention and gain their trust.

Overall, your goal isn’t to impress your colleagues and competitors, but to turn strangers into readers, interested prospects, and ultimately referral partners or clients.

Having a content marketing strategy in place will make you more confident about your expertise and what you are doing to establish your authority and promote your financial services online.

Tying the Content Marketing Pieces Together

Now that you know exactly what content marketing entails, you have everything you need to get started. To access in-depth information on each element of an effective financial content marketing plan, you can reference the appropriate section of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing:

Your content marketing strategy should always start with your ideal client in mind. Begin by describing members of your target audience – who they are, what their concerns are, and what they want or need from you.

Equally important is to consider the purpose your content will fill. Are you looking to raise awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, nurture relationships, or all of the above? Ask yourself these questions throughout your strategic content planning.

Next, think about who your competitors are. This would include other financial professionals as well as anyone who teaches your potential clients that they can DIY their retirement planning. How can you fill gaps in the existing content that is vying for their attention and turn their eyes your way?

Then, consider what you specifically bring to the table. Are you especially equipped to help a certain segment of your target market? Has your background prepared you to help Gen-Xers who are juggling toddlers and aging parents? You don’t have to work exclusively with this type of client, but you might be able to create content that draws them in organically.

Think about what your existing clients are talking about already. What are the common questions you answer in your daily conversations? What challenges do you hear people discussing that you can address?

Work through your existing content and determine how it can be used in your ongoing content strategy. Do you have slides from workshops you’ve presented? Were you interviewed for a podcast? Have you written blog posts? Now go back and figure out how this content can be used in the future and how you can build upon it.

Once you have a good idea of what the content will be, who it will serve, and what you want it to accomplish, it’s time to begin planning out the logistics. You’ll need to determine who will produce and manage your content. And you’ll need to create a schedule for how often you will publish your content and on what platforms you will distribute it.

Finally, put some metrics in place for measuring results and a process for auditing and adapting your content marketing efforts as you go.

You don’t need to have everything figured out and set up perfectly before you begin, but recognize everything a successful content marketing plan requires. This way, you can get started right away and improve your efforts along the way.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

1 How Advisors Can Submit Custom Content to Gain New Readers

Now that I’ve covered how powerful content marketing can be when you share articles with your own audience via your website, social media, and email list, I want to discuss the mechanics and benefits of submitting custom content to relevant publications.

In part nine, How to Share Financial Content With Your Readers, of The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors, I went into detail about the logistics of effectively sharing your content with readers using the channels you control.

Now it is time to talk about how to submit custom content to publications to expand your reach and gain more readers.

When developing and executing a financial content marketing plan, submitting custom content to publications is an important opportunity that should not be left unexplored. To reach people who have never heard of you or your website, who aren’t connected with you on social media, and are not subscribed to your email list, you can work to get your name and content into publications your target audience is already reading.

Appearing in respected online media and publications will open doors to connect with potential clients and offer worthwhile networking opportunities. It will help build your authority and credibility as a go-to expert in your field and raise awareness about your firm.

Publishing on relevant high-authority sites will also give you the opportunity to link back to your company’s website, boosting your SEO and potentially generating valuable leads.

So now that you are thinking about getting published, what are your next steps?

Many financial advisors may not even know where to begin. The simplest answer is to consider what sources you use to get your information. Think about various online publications like LinkedIn Publisher, Investopedia Advisor Insights, and local outlets.

You will need to research and locate each outlet’s submission guidelines and follow them when sending your content. You’ll also need to try to find the name of the person responsible for receiving outside submissions. Locate their individual contact information if possible, or their title if a specific name isn’t available, and direct your submission there. Create a database of who and how to send your submissions and keep it for ongoing use.

Possible Media Outlets for Financial Content

When coming up with a list of publications to submit your content to, don’t be afraid to go big. Think outside the box and consider who your target market really is. You should be considering publications that the types of clients you want to do business with are subscribing to and already reading.

Submit a guest blog post to top business or lifestyle sites, such as:

  • Business Insider
  • Forbes
  • Huffington Post
  • Inc
  • AARP
  • DailyWorth

Submit content to local media, such as:

  • Local news outlets
  • Local business journal
  • Professional associations
  • Trade magazines
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Business and social clubs
  • Hyperlocal publications targeted to affluent neighborhoods in your area

Keep in mind, submitting content is free and it also carries more weight than buying advertising in the same publications. While people often skip over ads, they are reading the publication for its content and already consider it a trusted resource. Publishing there will automatically elevate your reputation by brand association.

How to Pitch Financial Content Ideas

You don’t need a publicist or PR agency to get started with getting your content into publications. Before you reach out to media outlets, get clear on what you want to be known for first.

Then, brainstorm specific financial content that you can best cover and identify the subjects you’re most passionate about discussing. Next, consider whether or not there is widespread interest in the topic and think about the special perspective, insights, or angle you can offer. If a topic comes up in the news that’s relevant, consider how you can put your spin on it or what value you can add.

Get creative, keep an open mind, and work to build relationships with editors by becoming a helpful resource for them. Engaging with editors ahead of time on Twitter or LinkedIn can help you stand out when you show up in their inbox with an idea.

Here are some good points of contact when you’re looking to submit content for publication:

  • Local or regional financial publications: editor
  • Daily community newspaper: contact the city editor or the editor in charge of the section, which is likely the business editor
  • Weekly newspaper: editor
  • Magazine: editor or managing editor

There are several options when it comes to submitting content. I will try to cover the most important points of the two most popular options – online and email.

Submitting Content Online

Sometimes you have the ability to upload the article directly to a website over a secure submission platform. If this is an option, use it! Submitting your content directly to a platform simplifies the process and it is already set up to reach the right people.

Some online publishing platforms require registration along with a username and password every time you publish. I recommend using the same username and password with each publication. This makes things a little easier. I would also create a template in Word or Google Docs so when you’re ready to publish everything will be in one place.

One word of caution: avoid bulk article submission sites. While these sites were once a trusted method of getting your content distributed online, they were overused and now your content may be marked as “spam” by the search engines if it’s found there.

Submitting Content via Email

If the outlet doesn’t specify a method or gives you options, I suggest emailing your content. You need to address it to the appropriate editor or department to save the editorial staff valuable time and to make sure it doesn’t get discarded while trying to reach the right person. Again, I would also create a template in Word or Google Docs so when you’re ready to publish everything will be in one place.

There are a few guidelines when writing and sending your email.

  • Subject Line
    The subject line should read: “Article Submission: Post Title” This will grab the editor’s attention but also make it clear what the email is.
  • Body
    The body of an emailed article submission should have the content pasted into the email and/or you can also link to your article in a service like Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. If you attached the file, they may delete it because it takes too much time to download and could contain a virus. You can use much of the same email text for each submission, but be sure to send each one separately and personalize it enough to let the editor know you’ve taken the time to understand their publication. Do not mass mail one email to several outlets!
  • Media Files
    Again, do not attach files. Instead, send your contact person a link to your media through a service.
  • Timing
    Submit the article in the morning on a Monday or Tuesday. Choose an atypical time to keep from getting lost at the top of the hour, such as 9:17 a.m.


  • HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – This tool will help you connect with journalists who are actively looking for financial experts to quote, interview, and even author articles. You can sign up to be notified of relevant source requests throughout the day.
  • LinkedIn – This tool will help you identify and connect with journalists and editors of specific publications and online media outlets.
  • The Business Journals – This resource lists the top business journal publications in major metropolitan areas around the country. Here, you can get ideas for content that is directed at your target audience and find information to connect with business journalists and editors.


Submitting content to online publications will provide ongoing opportunities to expand your reach to new audiences and potential clients. Don’t discount small local publications or niche publications if they are what your target audience is reading. But don’t count out more popular media outlets because your content can create opportunities to reach a wider audience. Always aim to be a resource for editors by respecting their guidelines and time and you will set yourself apart from the competition.

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.

How to Share Financial Content with Your Readers

You know how to write great content of all types, but what do you do with it? In the not-so-distant past, financial professionals needed to rely on printed materials, such as brochures and booklets sent through the U.S. mail, to get information in the hands of potential clients. Now you can deliver your best tips, advice, and insights with a few simple clicks.

In part eight, Why Your Financial Advisor Content Strategy Needs a Schedule & How to Create One, of The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors, I went into detail about how to optimize your content for search engines so people can find your website organically online.

Now it is time to learn about the importance and logistics of sharing your content with your readers in the most effective ways.

To promote your financial services using content marketing, start by harnessing the power of your own website, social media, and email marketing tools.

Financial Advisor Website Content

First, publish content on your own website. Every article you write and create should be posted on your blog.

Your website is the hub for all your online marketing. Think of it as a destination where readers can find the best content for topics relevant to financial planning. The trick is to create a value-packed resource that becomes magnetic, pulling potential clients to your company whenever they need help from a financial professional.

Posting content on your website builds your authority, boosts your site’s ranking in the search engines, generates traffic, and drives leads. You have control of the content on your website, so it can become a powerful marketing tool for you, especially as you gather data and insight about your readers.

Google Analytics will tell you which blog post topics are most popular and how people are using your site, which provides guidance on what your potential clients want from you and how to improve your content marketing.

How Often to Update Website Content

Post new content on your website once a month at the very least, but ideally once a week. As a small financial services firm, posting new content on your website more than once per week is probably overkill. You’re better off maintaining a consistent schedule than burning out with an overly aggressive publishing schedule.

Although posting original content up to once per week may be difficult, you can always repurpose existing content or utilize outside resources. Hire a marketing firm or ghostwriter to create high-quality content for you if you prefer not to spend your time writing. 

Time Saving Tip

You can always batch content and schedule it ahead of time. If you think writing and posting a weekly blog post will bog you down, set aside one day per month to write a series of posts. Then load them to WordPress or your content management system as drafts and set them to publish automatically on a particular date and time.

Financial Advisor Social Media Content

Every time you publish an article, it should be shared with your social media accounts. You worked hard to pull this information together, so let the content work for you to gain visibility and grow your credibility and audience online. Once content has been posted to your website, you can easily share links to it on your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

Social media is a great place for financial advisers to draw attention and generate buzz. When your friends, followers, connections, and clients engage with your content by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it, even more people will see it. The more people engage with your content on social media, the more the various social network algorithms will serve the content up to a wider audience.

Even though your posts probably won’t go viral, you can still take advantage of the viral nature of social media as clicks, shares, and likes gain you more exposure.

Something you might not realize is you can share the same content on your social media many times without overwhelming or annoying followers. Most people are not paying close enough attention to notice when you’re sharing it more than once; the majority of your audience will miss it the first time. Plus, you probably have different followers on different networks.

If you have a new article, don’t shy away from sharing that content repeatedly throughout the week on each platform. If it is an evergreen topic (one that is always relevant), you can put it in the rotation to share in the future. You can also switch up your images, overlaying different quotes pulled from the article.

How Often to Update Social Media Content

Post to social media platforms daily. Each social network has a different rhythm. You can share on Twitter multiple times throughout the day, whereas you will annoy LinkedIn connections if you post more than once a day. Become familiar with best practices by observing and you will get into the right flow with when to share your content.

Content can be varied. You can choose to curate relevant content from industry publications and share it two-three times per week, mixed in with your own original content. You should also continuously circulate your older evergreen content along with more timely fresh content.

Time Saving Tip

You can use free or low-cost social media tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, to plan, schedule, and automate your content sharing in advance. 

Once you’ve shared new evergreen content, also add it to a social media automation tool such as Edgar to automatically recirculate it and share it repeatedly in the future. For example, if you share new wealth building tips every Wednesday, you can add your new wealth-building article to the queue and it will be automatically shared on Wednesdays several more times throughout the year.

Financial Advisor Email Marketing

The next step in delivering your content to your readers is to share it via email in a newsletter or update.  Obtain permission from each of your subscribers before emailing them, otherwise, your email could be reported as spam. Email programs like Constant Contact and MailChimp make it easy for even the least technically inclined users to create professional looking newsletters and mailings.

Share links to your blog articles in a newsletter. This is a huge value add to your audience. It gives you the avenue to get your content in their hands without having to wait for them to find it on their own through your website or social media. It also helps keep you “top of mind” when they start thinking about financial services and has the potential to establish you as their go-to expert.

As a financial advisor, you have to comply with regulatory rules.  Not only are you required to keep your message above board, but you must archive all posts in case problems or issues arise with a client. All such activity and associated content must be kept on hand for three years.

How Often to Send Email Marketing Content

I recommend sending an email newsletter with your blog content once a week, twice a month, or at least once per month. You might think sending a weekly newsletter is too much but if the information you’re sharing is truly helpful or timely, your readers will welcome it.

A quarterly mailing works well for mailed print newsletters, but that is not frequent enough for an email newsletter. When people have forgotten who you are, they’re less likely to open an email from you and more likely to mark it as spam.

Regardless of how often you publish, establish a regular email marketing schedule and stick to it.

Time Saving Tip

An email newsletter does not have to be a big production with a wide variety of content. Simply share a blog article with a short personal note introducing it. You also don’t have to share your most timely or recent content. Some firms load and schedule up to a year’s worth of email newsletters at a time.


Marketing is about creating and sharing content. Take advantage of the technology and free to low-cost tools available for sharing content with your readers. From turning your website into a magnetic content hub that generates traffic and leads to sharing with your social media audience to sending email newsletters, put your content to work for you.  

Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.

 Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.