Episode 82 : 06/12/2019

Modern marketing: The secrets to a successful blog

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David Armstrong

President & Co-Founder
Monument Wealth Management

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This is the latest in a series of episodes where we take you “in the trenches” with financial advisors that are using modern media strategies to build their business.

Consistent client communications can be a challenge, but doing so can help bolster the relationship an advisor can have with their clients. What if that communication could potentially increase the visibility of your firm to potential new clients at the same time? A blog may be the answer.

David Armstrong of Monument Wealth Management joins the podcast to discuss the ways in which his blog, titled Off the Wall, helped people learn more about his business before an initial meeting. Plus, he shares his top tips for writing your own blog, including the importance of sounding authentic in your writing.

In this episode:

  • Business benefits of writing a blog
  • Tools that are available to help manage your blog
  • Is there a proper cadence for how much you should write?
  • Best practices that David discovered in his writing

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David Armstrong – In today’s world, people will not walk into a firm looking to learn more about them.  If they walk in my front door, they already know everything about me, and they’re ready to talk about nuts and bolts. The digital diary of my blogging efforts and my social media efforts are helpful to somebody because they can go in and do all of the research on my firm.  They can get an idea of what my culture is like.  They get a general idea of my personality and what it’s like to actually sit down with me through that written blogging medium.  That’s very helpful for when they initially come in.  I think the biggest impact I’ve had is that digital diary and that ability for people to learn about me before they even walk in the door.

Ben Jones – Welcome to Better Conversations. Better Outcomes. presented by BMO Global Asset Management. I’m Ben Jones.

Emily Larsen – And I’m Emily Larson. On this show, we explore the world of wealth advising from every angle, providing actionable ideas designed to improve outcomes for advisors and their clients.

Disclosure – The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of BMO Global Asset Management, its affiliates or subsidiaries.

Ben Jones – Over the course of this podcast, we often cover timely and relevant topics for wealth managers.  Many of these topics have later developments after those episodes have aired.  In addition, we get a lot of notes and suggestions around topics from listeners with really valuable planning insights that are just not comprehensive enough to make an entire episode out of them.  So, starting today, we’re going to have an intermittent segment we’re affectionately calling News You Can Use.  We’re going to do our best to keep these short and sweet, and we hope that you enjoy them.  Let us know what you think by reaching out to us at betterconversations@bmo.com.  Now today’s topic is pension lump sums.  We have a companion conversation guide which you can find out on our website to help you with these conversations around lump sums, whether it’s with a plan sponsor, or a participant.  So, Emily, how are you?

Emily Larsen – I’m well, how are you?  I’m still growing out my hair, although I’m not sure the listeners care.

Ben Jones – No.

Emily Larsen – Or notice.

Ben Jones – You definitely can’t notice.

Emily Larsen – And for a topic Ben loves, let’s talk about pension lump sums.

Ben Jones – Okay.  I do love this topic, and it is a bit of a nerdy topic.  But it is a great planning opportunity for advisors in working with their clients that are either at or approaching retirement.  Particularly the IRS announced recently that employers can offer lump sum payments to pay out defined benefit plans up front, in other words, erase that liability by giving a lump sum to the participant.  There is a lot to consider on this for both plan sponsors and participants.  And for the purpose of today’s planning note, we’ll make sure that we only talk about the participants.  So, if you are working with participants, and they do get offered a lump sum from their employer to buy out their pension obligation, this can sound pretty attractive to your participants.  However, there’s some really important planning items that you need to consider.  The first is, realistically, how long do you expect to live?  This needs to be a real gut check conversation with your clients, because everybody expects to live forever, but that’s not true, as we heard from Genivity earlier this year.  That everybody has very different longevity expectations based upon their genetic code, their lifestyle, etc.  And so, if somebody expects to live a long time, or a short time; for example, say they have already been diagnosed with a terminal illness, these are things that need to be discussed.  And while they’re kind of un-fun things to discuss, they’re really important in the decision of should you take a lump sum, or should you not.  The second is, should you spend this lump sum in order to delay Social Security to get an increased Social Security match.  We did cover Social Security last year, and we talked about some of the delay tactics that increase Social Security payments over ones retirement lifetime.  And so, if this lump sum would be able to help you delay that, you can do the quick math to decide does that help your retirement situation.  Third is you need to consider other sources of retirement income, do you have a spouse’s plan, or do you have another retirement plan that you can draw on that you might not need that annuity from your pension plan as much as you have some backup sources of income.  And then the other thing is this idea of personal objectives.  Like, what is adequate for retirement is different for everyone.  And you might have clients that really want to live on a lot less than their pension might pay out.  And if that’s the case, then those investments might be able to put into something quite less risky.  As a result, they might be able to hit some of their adequate income needs and have that lump sum without maybe drawing down principal, and so that’s something to consider.  And then the last is do you realistically think that you can invest those dollars, that lump sum you get, better and get a better rate of return than that pension annuity will pay out over time.  And so, I think that has to be a real honest conversation as well.  And I think this is an area where advisors need to really be objective, because it’s going to be really tempting for some advisors to say I can help you, and it will do better, let’s take that lump sum.  But, this is an opportunity where there is a little bit of a conflict of interest there, because then the advisor would get paid on those assets as well.  And so, you need to be really objective in this.  Can we realistically do better than the pension plan would pay out, because that annuity is really valuable because longevity is the real issue here that you’re trying to solve for.

Emily Larsen – Sure, and there’s no one size fits all answer.  It’s going to be a unique response between client and client with one specific advisor.

Ben Jones – Yeah, absolutely.

Emily Larsen – Thanks for that update, Ben.

Ben Jones – Thanks.  I’m happy to talk about nerdy retirement topics anytime you’d like.

Emily Larsen – I knew that already, thank you.

Emily LarsenToday, we’re heading back into the trenches.  That is, the modern marketing trenches of course.  Over the last year, we’ve been covering modern marketing strategies with advisors that are using them successfully.  We’ve covered YouTube and video, podcasts and books.  We’ve also had a lot of listeners write in and ask, what about blogs?

Ben Jones – I’ve been reading the Off The Wall financial blog by Monument Wealth Management for a while, and it’s a great case study of an advisor written blog.  So I asked David Armstrong, the author, if he would join us on the show today and share some of his learnings.

David Armstrong – My name is David Armstrong.  I am the president and co-founder of Monument Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia.

Emily Larsen – David’s going to talk to us about how he started writing his blog, the costs and tools involved, how it’s helped his business, and why he doesn’t publish weekly anymore.  But first, I want you to hear the story of how he started Monument Wealth Management, because wanting to use digital media was one of the reasons he founded the firm.

David Armstrong – We started conceiving Monument well in advance of it actually becoming an entity, so I would say in early 2007, I had gotten together with my other co-founder, Dean Catino, and we were at a large wire house firm, and we really started to have a desire to start expanding into doing more financial planning, and doing more direct communication with our clients through the digital medium.  And those things are very difficult to do at larger firms.  So, we started researching and doing our due diligence in the independent space, and by May of 2008, he and I left the large firm to start Monument.  So during that, let’s say year and a half of conceptualizing and getting the company going, we obviously came to the decision that we had to look at what is going to be the name of this great firm that we’re about to start.  And we didn’t like the idea of using our last names or any combination of our last names.  We really wanted to pick a name that would endure beyond the founding partners, and well out into the future.  And D.C. is a town that’s full of monuments.  Monuments are interesting because they’re purpose built.  They are built to represent something, and they are built to stand the test of time, and we thought, well, jeez, isn’t that what we’re trying to do here with our clients.  Aren’t we trying to build something that is purpose built, and that will endure the test of time and really stand for something.  And we though that that name really resonated with us, and ultimately settled on that.

Ben Jones – Communicating directly with clients was a driving factor that led David and his co-founder down the path of starting Monument Wealth Management.  Similarly, you may be thinking of starting a blog as a means to communicate directly with your prospects and clients.  So I asked David how and why he started the blog.

David Armstrong – It kind of goes back to my early days in the industry where I felt a need to be communicating with my clients in an efficient and an effective manner through the digital medium, things that I thought, my convictions, my philosophies, and my perspective on what was happening in the market on a weekly basis.  And I started sending out e-mails to my clients, which very quickly reminded me that when I send e-mails out to more than one people, it’s considered marketing and not individual communication and it needed to be cleared by compliance.  That is almost the genesis of why Monument started in the first place when we came out of the big firms was it became very difficult to communicate with my clients in that fashion.  But, I had gotten such great response, from my clients, on the communication and the clarity of my thoughts as it related to what was happening in the market that the demand for that communication was out-stripping my patience for dealing with a large firms’ compliance department.  But your specific question about the genesis of the idea of the blog started out as nothing more than just a desire to send out a blast e-mail to all of my clients saying, hey, here’s what I think is going on right now, here is what’s important, and here is the noise that I think you need to filter out that you’re probably getting through your television set.

Ben Jones – What has changed from kind of that original idea of getting the blog out there to how it is today?

David Armstrong – Yeah, that’s a great question, because the efforts and the blog has really matured over time, and I think that is a function of the availability of information to everybody — I mean, information is so ubiquitous right now that people don’t need me to send them an e-mail every Monday morning on how well the major indexes did the week before.  They already know that by the time they’re getting my blog.  So, if you were to see me through the microphone, you’d see me using my air quotes “in the old days” which is really not much more than five or seven years ago.  In the old days, people relied upon my blog to give them an overview of what actually happened with economic data and market data on a weekly basis.  And now, since the old days, the desire for information has really shifted away from that, and I saw that happening because one of the great things about, your term, the modern marketing era, or I say the digital marketing era — same thing — is that everything is measurable.  And you can look and see, okay, how many people opened up my e-mail that I sent out with the blog attachment.  How many people actually clicked-thru on the website?  How long — what was the average time that somebody spent on that page reading my blog.  It’s very, very measurable, unlike if I had taken the same written words on my blog, printed them out onto a piece of paper, put them in an envelope, and direct mailed them to clients.  I would have no way of effectively measuring that.  As a matter of fact, I would have no way at all of measuring that, unless somebody called in and said I read your letter that you sent me in the old school mail.  So, what I started to notice after a while was that the interest in what I was writing about started to wane.  That prompted me to start to write about different topics, and I started getting away from becoming a market re-capper, and a disseminator of economic information that, quite frankly, I think people just started to find very boring, and started becoming much more opinionated and pointed in not only my language, but my convictions and my philosophy on the blog.  I have been warned that I can tend to sound a little preachy at times on the blog, but for every time somebody calls me preachy, I get an equal and opposite compliment of, I love the way you write.  It’s just so clear it makes me chuckle and it all makes sense.

Emily Larsen – For those of you out there thinking about how you would get started, we asked David what tools and technical capabilities are required to start a blog.

David Armstrong – And this is actually an interesting trip down memory lane for me too because, as I stated before, it started out as an e-mail, so I would just sit down and I would say, okay, I’m writing an e-mail to my mom about what happened in the markets last week, but I’m sending it out to a bunch of people.  It started with that.  But, as technology started to change, and it became much easier to manage my own company’s website internally — in other words, I didn’t have to outsource it to a third party web master or somebody that was coding my website, and WordPress came along as a tool to — I think actually WordPress may have started out as a blogging tool, but it’s turned into more of a website management with a blogging feature.  As soon as we discovered that we could run our own website with this blogging engine called WordPress, my marketing manager and I and my business partner, Dean, we sat down and said, you know, maybe what we should be doing is instead of sending out these e-mails to people, we should be putting them into a blog so they actually become a permanent record of our thoughts and convictions at that time in the industry.  Because, if I’m sending out e-mails to people, nobody else can really see them, and I can’t really say, jeez, here’s a public documentation of my opinion at the time.  So, why don’t we change the e-mail into a blog?  It’s searchable, it’s readable.  We can index it; we can segregate it by years.  People can go in and search for certain terms, we can have tags.  And what would be really nice about that is, from a new business development perspective, and more specifically trying to educate a prospective new client on our philosophies and convictions, I can say to somebody if you wanted to know what I was telling my clients in 2015 and ’16, you can go back and look at my blogs, and it’s all right there as a matter of permanent record.  And what I call that is the Monument Digital Diary.  So anybody can go back and say, okay, great Dave, what were you telling people back when the market wasn’t doing so well?  Jeez, what were you saying over December of 2018?  What were you saying in the summer of 2012?  What were you telling people?  What was your conviction?  What were you saying was going on?  You can say jeez go back and read it.  People who don’t blog, and they’re sitting in front of a prospective new client and a client asks that question, which by the way is a fantastic question for anybody to ask advisors, tell me what you were telling your clients over the period of X, Y, Z.  I think a majority of clients who aren’t blogging don’t have the ability to show somebody what it was that they were saying to their client.

Emily Larsen – David’s schedule has evolved from a weekly market update blog to a more sporadic publishing that’s really driven by writing when he has something to share.  Something that’s on his mind — like opinions, commentary, or company philosophy.  He explains what happened when he stopped publishing every Monday.

David Armstrong – It used to be weekly.  I used to write on a religious basis Sundays and Monday mornings to get something out by close of business on Monday.  Again, just looking at the metrics, I found that when I did a little bit of testing on this, that my click-thru, my readership, and my time on the page went way up when I published a little bit less.  And so I don’t know if it’s just when it was weekly, did people get weekly Dave Armstrong blog fatigue, or if it just became one of those things like it always came out every single Monday and so people were like, I’ve got other things to do.  So now, when I publish on a less frequent basis, and on a more sporadic schedule, the readership, the click-thrus, and the time on pages have all gone up a lot.

Ben Jones – This is a great example of that old adage, what got you here, won’t get you to where you want to be.  Not being afraid to test something new, review the data, then be agile enough to adapt to what it tells you.  Next, I asked David how he gets inspiration for his blog post ideas, and how he decides what to publish on the blog, and what ideas need to be left behind.

David Armstrong – So, I keep a list.  I have this running Word document of ideas, and I’ll tend to write the title of it, and then a sentence or two of what I want to talk about, and then close the Word document.  And then, if I feel like I need to write something, and nothing has touched a nerve or come up as immediate spur of the moment idea to sit down and just start typing, I’ll go to that list and I’ll say, oh, that’s a great topic for me to write about right now, and I’ll pull something out of the menu that I have been creating of ideas for myself.  Sometimes my writing will be a therapy session with myself too, because I may have had a difficult conversation with a client, or I may have come across something in the news that really bothered me, and I’ll sit down and be like, well, I’m going to solve this by putting my thoughts out on the Internet on this sort of client behavior, or this sort of activity I’m seeing in the marketplace, or this sort of behavior by other financial advisors.  And I’ll just sit down and I’ll just hammer out a four paragraph one and a half page Word document.  And then I’ll read it the next day and be like, alright, that felt really good writing it, but I’m not publishing that.  So sometimes I’ll write, and it’ll just be more of like a way of cooling off, than it will be something that I actually intend to publish.

Ben Jones – Now, do you allow comments or ratings on any of your blog posts?  I’m just curious if you do that.  I know some do and some don’t.

David Armstrong – Yeah, so I feel like I’m kind of a wimp with this.  I don’t.  Okay, here’s some history on that.  One, it started off as being a compliance issue way back where people are like, hey, I don’t want you enabling comments on your blogs because it could be misconstrued as a client testimonial.  If somebody writes, hey Dave, great blog, and you’re right on and you’re absolutely right about this and I think you’re a genius and — you know, it could be construed as a client endorsement.  And so great, great point.  Compliance was right about that.  And then there was a while where I was allowed to turn the comments on, and here’s what happened.  And this is just my personality, but I’ll bet you a lot of people share this same reaction to things.  I could have — this is like the old thing where they say losses hurt twice as much as gains.  Well one negative comment can erase 100 great comments, to me personally.  And so, I just decided that I was going to write, and didn’t care what anybody else had to say about it.  And so I turned the comments off because I didn’t want — there was always somebody who was out there trolling me, and all it did was upset me and impact my passion for writing.  And I just decided to turn them off because I didn’t need that sort of negatively in my life.  Let me relay a quick story to you.  Somebody whose opinion I respect greatly, who is actually not a client, called me up on the phone one day about one of my blogs and said I really want to talk to you about what you wrote because I thought it came off terrible.  I thought it was a horrible misrepresentation of your intellect.  I thought it was completely off base, and I don’t think that it was painting the kind of picture that you want people having about your firm, and I was like, oh my gosh, you know.  And so the blog was about my aversion to using private equity and hedge funds and other things that have a lot of fees associated with them, and I had my little opinion in there, like I do in my blog.  My convictions are pretty high on some of those things, and it was flowing through in my language in the blog.  And what it turned out was it was offensive to him because he was an investor in those investments, and my opinion was a direct confrontation to his — the decisions that he had made about his portfolio.  And so at first I thought, oh my gosh, I’ve made this horrible mistake.  I’ve misread — and I went back and I read what I wrote.  I’m like, no, no, wait.  What I’m saying is absolutely right, somebody else just disagreed with me.  And that doesn’t make what I said wrong.  That was a moment in my life where I was like, you know what, I’m just going to keep saying what I’m saying, and I don’t have to resonate with everybody, I just need to resonate with somebody.

Ben Jones – Yeah, that’s an important concept to keep in mind when you’re creating content.  I’m curious, for those folks who are out here listening to his conversation, given the number of posts that you’ve written and how long you’ve been doing this, are there any key learnings or best practices that you’d recommend to anyone out there thinking about writing a blog.

David Armstrong – Yeah, I’ve got a couple.  One — and this is going to be a fairly common piece of advice.  It doesn’t make it any less true which is if you have an interest in starting to blog, my first piece of advice is just sit down and do it.  And less is more.  So, I don’t know the exact statistic here, but I think Seth Godin has been writing a daily blog for something like eight or nine straight years.  He’s never missed a day, and that’s because some of his blogs are about 35 words in total length.  They’re awesome blogs, they’re very succinct and they make a point very quickly, and that’s it.  And I love reading them, no matter how long they are.  So, that leads me to my second point, which is after you decide to sit down and just write something, I think you’d be much better off starting off with something that’s maybe three paragraphs, one point, make your point, write about it, and then just publish it.  Chances are you’ll get a lot of compliments on it; you’ll get a lot of compliments on beginning your journey in blogging.  I think you’ll get a lot of compliments in actually what you say, and it’ll make you feel good and give you some encouragement and increase your passion for continuing to do it.  I think the exact opposite of that would be a big mistake, whereas if you sit down and you try to write a 750 or a 1,000 word blog, it could take you two or three weeks, and then you’re not sure about things, and you’re back there editing it.  I just think you’re better off saying, hey, I’m going to write 150 words, I’m going to publish it, and I’m going to finish this in three hours, and that’s it.  Here was something else I learned early on too that may be helpful for people listening is that, I would sit down and think to myself how much time did I just spend writing an e-mail answering a question for a client.  Chances are it’s a 450 word answer to something, it’s pretty detailed, it has to do with a topic.  Well, if I have time to sit down and write a 450 or a 500 word response to an e-mail to client, don’t I have time to sit down and write 500 words about the same thing to everybody.   B

Emily Larsen – I don’t need to resonate with everyone.  This is a valuable and common thread we’ve heard repeated in our exploration of modern marketing.  Creating content is about finding people you resonate with, not trying to resonate with every person.  So what type of budget is required?  How much time and money should you put into creating a blog?

David Armstrong – I think the most expensive thing is time.  When I started out in the early days, I hired a freelance editor that I would send the blog to to proofread it, so that could be an expense.  There’s obviously the expense of hosting and maintaining a website, although I don’t think that that is an astronomical expense.  It could be, depending on how much you do and don’t outsource the maintenance of the website and the blog.  We have had a lot of success employing interns for things like graphic design, so a lot of the really great graphics that we’re using as blog titles or social media pictures are created by interns here that are just looking to build a portfolio for when they ultimately go out into the job search.  They can say here are some things I’ve worked on for businesses in the past.  So, if you want to go that route, that’s relatively inexpensive.  If you want to go with the route of retaining an actual graphic designer to do some of your graphics, that’s obviously a little bit more money.  But those things all strung together, I can’t think of many more expenses that get incurred through the blogging effort.

Ben Jones – What impacts to your business have resulted from you putting these blog posts out there, or the blog out there?

David Armstrong – The best impact that I’ve seen in my business — because most financial advisors are looking to grow their business.  So, I’m just going to make the assumption that anybody listening is interested in growing their business.  So, as I’m meeting with new prospective clients, one of the things that’s really impactful is, again, I go back to that term I use, the digital diary.  And, in today’s world, people will not walk into a firm looking to learn more about them, and the analogy I’ll use there is I don’t think anybody walks into the car dealership showroom and says I’m interested in learning about your cars.  They come in armed with invoice pricing, makes, models, options, three quotes from different competing dealerships.  The consumer out there is very well educated through ubiquitous information on the Internet.  And so the digital diary of my blogging efforts, and my social media efforts, are helpful to somebody because they can go in and do all of the research on my firm, they can get an idea of what my culture is like, and it’s very helpful for when they initially come in.  So, I think the biggest impact I’ve had is that digital diary, and that ability for people to learn about me before they even walk in the door.

Ben Jones – When people come in the door, do they mention the blog as one of the reasons that they found you?  Or how do you measure that kind of —

David Armstrong – Yeah, so, if they don’t mention it, I will prompt it.  I will say, by chance have you had an opportunity to go through my website and see the bios, read the blog, or look at any of the videos.  To a person, everybody says yes.  It’s habit now for people to go to websites and read up on something before they take the next step and engage with somebody face-to-face.

Ben Jones – So it builds a lot of credibility for Monument’s brand.

David Armstrong – Right.  Nobody wants to talk to me until they’re ready to really get to the nuts and bolts, you know?  Nobody wants to — there are no such things as cold calls coming in anymore looking for more information, people are getting that already.

Ben Jones – Now, how do you think about calculating kind of the ROI on this effort?  You mentioned time is the most valuable thing, so how do you think about — you know, it’s not always straight-forward with modern marketing, how you calculate that with content.  So, I’m just curious, how would you calculate it?

David Armstrong – Right.  So, I’ll just do some backwards math.  I’m just going to make up some numbers.  If I end up with a new client next month that has $5M — I’m just going to use 1% because I can do this math in my head.  And they’re going to pay 1% in fees, that’s $50,000 a year.  And I look at my total marketing budget and say, jeez, I spent $35,000 last year.  I say, well, what’s the probability that my digital marketing efforts had something to do with that $5M client saying yes.  And the reality of that — I think the answer to that is always very, very high.  Nobody comes in here and says I want to hire you and I haven’t read your website, I haven’t read your bios; I haven’t read any of your blogs.  I just know I want to hire you, so here’s $5M.  It just doesn’t happen like that.  They come in and they say, I’ve read all your stuff, I’ve looked at your bios, and I’m convinced that I am in the right place, let’s talk about doing business.  And if they say yes I look at it and I say well just that one client has covered 150% of my annual marketing budget.  Therefore, next year, maybe I should be spending more.  Because if $35,000 resulted in one $5M client coming in, would $50,000 mean that two more would come in?  Maybe, maybe not.  But I don’t think I’m very far off base with that.  Nor do I think it’s worth my time and effort and energy to go in and try to analyze it any more closely than that.  If people stop coming in to Monument and saying, yeah, I don’t read your blog, I don’t do anything, I’d probably look at it and say, maybe this isn’t worth my time.  But right now everybody comes in and says, yeah, I’ve read your stuff, I understand it, I like your conviction.  I like the way you think about things.  I think you’re right and I want to talk.

Ben Jones – Now, I’m just curious, what’s your most popular post or two for the audience out there that might want to check it out.

David Armstrong – Yeah, so, I know the exact most popular blog, because it is the most popular blog of the trailing 12 months.  I should even go out and look to see if it’s further than that.  But by far our most popular blog is titled We’ve Stopped Trying.  And I don’t know if it’s the title that resonated with people, I don’t know if it was just the language that I used in it.  Just I was very forthright about it, there was a lot of passion in it.  But man, that thing has just — it’s got metrics that are through the roof rather — relative to everything else.  That is our most popular blog.  And I think if anybody wants to look at a blog and say, jeez, I really want to read something that — I listened to Dave on this podcast, and I hear what he’s saying about the power of having conviction and opinion over just regurgitating market data, go read that blog, because that’s all it is is opinion and my thinking and my perspective on the business and what I think about people’s good and bad behavior in the industry and how that drove us strategically.  It has nothing to do with the market, and it’s by far the most popular blog we have.

Ben Jones – I’d encourage you to take a couple of minutes and read Dave’s post called We’ve Stopped Trying.  You can find a link to it in our show notes page at bmogam.combetterconversations.  Now, one of the reasons I’d encourage you to take a look at this post is that Dave and Dean actually list the type of client that won’t like working with them.  And, they also list the attributes of ones that do like working with them.  It’s bold, yet specific and demonstrates their intent around the type of clients that they wish to serve.  Check it out.

Emily Larsen – And now, for some closing thoughts from David.

Ben Jones – And given all of your experience on this, would you go back and do it all again?  Like, has the juice been worth the squeeze?

David Armstrong – It has been.  Well, here’s a great example of that.  You and I would not have digitally met if I wasn’t a blogger, and here we just spent an hour talking about my blog.  So —

Ben Jones – That’s an accurate and a good example.

David Armstrong – Yeah, I would do it all over again.  As a matter of fact, I should probably be doing more of it.

Ben Jones – For someone out there listening today who’s been noodling on this idea of starting a blog or other digital or modern marketing, what advice would you give someone listening?

David Armstrong – The advice that I would give to anybody listening today is to just sit down and write something.  Make it as if you’re sitting down and writing an e-mail to your mom.

Ben Jones – If you were to summarize our entire conversation today in one or two sentences, what would you say?

David Armstrong – I would say a summary of our conversation today would be looking at the digital medium as a way to express your personality, your convictions, and your philosophy to an infinite number of people that transcends borders globally.

Ben Jones – If there’s people out there that want to follow your work and your thoughts and opinions on your blog and whatnot, how can they find more about you and Monument’s work?

David Armstrong – Sure.  So, of course we have our blog, which can be found on our website which is MonumentWealthManagement.com.  There’s a way to subscribe to the blog and get an e-mail every time I sporadically post something, and be surprised on any given day, you may get a blog from me.  We have social media channels as well.  Monument Wealth Management has Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds, Instagram feeds, and YouTube channel feeds.  They’re all searchable just under Monument Wealth Management.

Ben Jones – And we’ll put links to those in the show notes so people can easily access them.  David, before I let you go today, anything else that you’d like to share with folks listening today.

David Armstrong – I just think that one of the things I learned about blogging is that there’s nothing more valuable than an authentic voice, so don’t try to replicate a research report when you blog.  Just sit down and type your mind.

Ben Jones – Hey David, I really appreciate you taking an hour out of your day to join us today and discuss this.  Look forward to maybe circling back with you at a later date if that’s alright.

David Armstrong – Please do.  I’m always happy to help.  I’m really passionate about making our entire industry a better place for both advisors to work in and clients to be a part of.

Ben Jones – Thank you for listening to Better Conversations. Better Outcomes.  This podcast is presented by BMO Global Asset Management.  To access the resources discussed in today’s show, please visit us at www.bmogam.com/betterconversations.

Emily Larsen – We love feedback, and would love to hear what you thought about today’s episode.  You can send an e-mail to betterconversations@bmo.com.

Ben Jones – And we really respond.

Emily Larsen – We do.

Ben Jones – If you thought of someone during today’s episode, we would be flattered if you’d take a moment and share this podcast with them.  You can listen and subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, or whatever your favorite podcast provider is.  And, of course, we would very greatly appreciate if you’d take a moment to rate or review us on that app.  This show and resources are supported by a very talented team of dedicated professionals at BMO, including Pat Bordak, Gayle Gipson, Matt Perry, Derek Devereaux.  The show is edited and produced by Jonah Geil-Neufeld and Annie Fassler of Puddle Creative.  And these are the real people that make this show happen, so thank you. Until next time, I’m Ben Jones.

Emily Larsen – And I’m Emily Larson.  From all of us at BMO Global Asset Management hoping you have a productive and wonderful week.

Disclosure – The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of BMO Global Asset Management, its affiliates, or subsidiaries.  This is not intended to serve as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any company, industry, strategy, or security.  This presentation may contain forward looking statements.  Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements as actual results could vary.  This presentation is for general information purposes only and does not constitute investment, legal, or tax advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment product or service.  Individual investors are to consult with an investment, legal, and/or tax professional about their personal situation.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  BMO Asset Management Corp. is the investment advisor to the BMO Funds.  BMO Investment Distributors, LLC is the distributor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  BMO Asset Management Corp. and BMO Investment Distributors are affiliated companies.  Further information can be found at www.bmo.com.


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