Monday morning briefing: Emerging markets equities poised for a comeback?

Why the 40 in 60/40 needs to change for investors. A look back at the decade in VC. The importance of data ethics. And is too much choice bad for advisors? These stories and much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canadian inflation rate was 2.2% in November: Canadian inflation accelerates to 2.2%, core highest in a decade

The BoE holds Bank Rate steady at 0.75%: Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold

Why the 40 in 60/40 needs to change: Hey 60/40 investors: You need a new ‘40’

Three trends for investors and financial advisors: 3 trends investors and financial advisors should heed in 2020 

Why corporate debt could be problematic for the global economy: China corporate debt flagged as ‘biggest threat’ to global economy

Chart of the week – Emerging markets poised for a comeback?

Let’s take a look at emerging markets stocks over the past five years. Emerging markets have underperformed developed markets over the past five years, particularly over the last couple of years as trade tensions intensified. As emerging markets countries are often export-heavy economies, the slowdown in the global economy has hurt performance. However, the partial trade agreement between the U.S. and China on December 13 has sparked a surge in performance among emerging markets equities. If trade tensions ease further and global economic growth ticks higher, will emerging markets equities gain traction and outperform developed markets? It may be time. Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the hedge fund industry in NovemberState of the industry: November 2019

Risk-on sentiment among fund managers is back: Why fund managers are cranking up the risk

A look back at the decade that was in VC: VC’s decade in data: How the 2010s reshaped a market

Money market funds attracting a substantial amount of inflows: Investors favor money markets over stock and bond funds: Morningstar

Retail investors will gain more exposure to private markets: SEC votes to give retail investors more access to private markets

News and notes (Canada)

29 liquid alternative funds were launched in 2019: Fund managers have jumped into liquid alts, DBRS reports

Sun Life takes majority interest in InfraRed Capital Partners: Sun Life to expand infrastructure expertise with investment in InfraRed

What may be in store for Canadian alternative investments: A 2020 vision for Canadian alternative investments

A look at the changes to the Basic Personal Amount: New basic personal amount for 2020

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Be prepared for a bigger adoption of mobile wallets: Why banks should care about mobile wallets (even if consumers don’t)

A look at some trends in cybersecurity for the year ahead: 10 cyber security trends to look out for in 2020

The importance of data ethics: Data ethics – what is it good for?

Why demand for regtech is expected to grow: Capital markets regtech in review

PayPal enters the Chinese payments market: PayPal completes GoPay acquisition, allowing payments platform to enter China

Why too much choice may be bad for advisors: Advisers are drowning in fintech choices

High-net-worth topics

UBS makes changes to its ultra-high-net-worth unit: UBS Group to revamp unit for ultra-high net worth clients

High-net-worth individuals are increasing their exposure to real estate, cash: Here’s where the wealthiest investors are finding opportunities

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Contributions to TFSA accounts grew in 2019 (BMO): Annual TFSA contributions up 10% on average: survey

74% of investors want financial advice from a human (IIROC): Investors prefer human advice: survey

The percentage of women directors on boards rose in 2019 (MSCI): Slow gains for female board membership: report

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing – May 27, 2019

Socially responsible investing by hedge funds on the rise. Using branches to help with a bank’s digital strategy. Institutional investors prepared for a market downturn. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The Japanese economy expanded 0.5% in the first quarter of 2019: Japan’s Q1 GDP: The details are worrisome

Will we see an interest rate cut by the Fed?: David Rosenberg says U.S. will cut rates by end of summer

Assets in passive and active U.S. equity funds at US$4.3 trillion each: Passive fund assets draw even with active incumbents in U.S.

U.S. ETF that pays investors will put pressure on fund fees: Fund fees face added pressure with first U.S. fund that pays investors

There were US$45.94 billion of net inflows into global ETFs in April: Global ETF assets reached US$5.57 trillion last month

News and notes (U.S.)

Asian, emerging markets and event driven hedge funds attracting assets: Event driven, Asia, emerging markets hedge funds are big asset winners in April and YTD

Socially responsible investing by hedge funds on the rise: Hedge funds start to figure out socially responsible investing

Appaloosa LP to convert to a family office: David Tepper’s hedge fund days are coming to a close (one day)

PE exits declined in the first quarter of 2019: Exit activity nosedives for PE firms in 1Q

Investors concerned about the return potential from private markets: Private equity loses luster

Possible changes expected to the tax treatment of carried interest profits: Mnuchin says no plan to change carried interest tax treatment

Vanguard launches first actively managed ESG fund: Vanguard’s first actively managed ESG fund now open for investment

News and notes (Canada)

Allianz Group invests $100 million in Wealthsimple: Allianz makes ‘landmark’ investment in Wealthsimple

Purpose launches options ETF: Purpose launches new options ETF

Canadian mutual funds experienced $1.0 billion of outflows in April: ETF sales trump mutual funds in April

Canadian debt levels continue to rise: CMHC says Canadian debt levels hit record highs at end of last year

Canadian executives expect strong revenue growth this year: Economic optimism underpins strong M&A market

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Using branches to help with a bank’s digital strategy: Don’t abandon branches to favor digital banking channels

Outages causing problems for open banking: Open banking revolution on hold as banks fail to prioritise fixing outages

Banks spending heavily in digital transformation to ward off the threat from fintech firms:Banks waking up to fintech threat throw billions into digital

How artificial intelligence can help banks: How AI will supercharge bank and credit union innovation

 The top 20 countries in AI readiness: UK near top of AI index

Attracting the Gen Z client: Are you focused on the right customer?

Trade AI Engine will provide a better experience for trade processing: Standard Chartered rolls out Trade AI Engine

Revolut launches group feature for its vault account: Revolut launches Group Vaults as an alternative to joint accounts

HSBC opens artificial intelligence lab: HSBC opens global data lab in Toronto

High-net-worth topics

What wealthy clients want from an advisor: How advisors can stand out to wealthy clients

A look at philanthropy from the CEO of the Center for Effective Philanthropy: What Wall Street gets wrong about giving

Cash holdings on the rise for the ultra-wealthy: A group of superrich investors, spooked by China and potential ‘black swans,’ raises cash to levels not seen in years

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Institutional investors prepared for a market downturn (Wilshire): Institutional investors think they’re ready for the next downturn

Approximately 50% of investment managers are using alternative data (IHS Markit): Half of investment managers use alternative data: report

Investment professionals bullish on U.S. equity markets (SPDR): Investors still confident in mid-2019, but risk tolerance dips

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

The marketing of Marketing: 5 tips to gain credibility and respect

If you’re of a particular vintage (or just enjoy old-time comedy), you know about Rodney Dangerfield. His act revolved around getting no respect, which is sometimes the case when it comes to marketing within the financial services sector.

While there are always people who understand the marketing function, some of your colleagues may be a little fuzzy about what the marketing function does, while others may question the effectiveness of a company’s marketing efforts.

Build the perceptions you want. Among the many things marketing professionals do well, one of the most important is our ability to champion a certain point of view and influence others to do likewise. Here are five ways you can increase your marketing department’s profile and earn the respect your team deserves:

1. Hit the road with wholesalers or get on calls with your inside sales team

When possible, you should also try to attend portfolio manager presentations or roadshow events. Visibility can lead to credibility, especially if you take the insights that you’ve gathered and apply them to your marketing efforts. The better you understand the needs and challenges of other departments (and the themes/messaging being used), the more effective your marketing materials will be.

2. Consider writing an internal blog that explains key marketing concepts, preferably using real-life company examples

Also, if there’s an opportunity at an event like a town hall meeting to showcase the essential role of marketing, go for it! This will help position your department as subject matter experts when it comes to marketing (and its value to your firm).

3. Make sure your team is knowledgeable about investing and your company’s products

It makes your team more credible if they “speak the language.” Team members could enroll in related industry courses to augment their industry knowledge.

4. If you’re part of the leadership team, have a strong presence at the cross-functional executive table

Be sure you are brought in on product launches and other initiatives as early as possible, be clear on how marketing is crucial to your company’s success, as well as standing firm regarding your share of the budget and resources for important initiatives.

5. Convey the benefits of marketing to other business lines

For instance, good marketing helps your sales team tell focused, compelling stories.  It can also help your product team better articulate the strengths of the products they support. Similarly, your marketing team can help portfolio managers build more engaging presentations that effectively highlight their unique investment discipline. Use metrics wherever applicable to support your case.

The bottom line is that you want other departments to recognize and appreciate the value of marketing.

Make your marketing voice heard loud and clear at your company. For more ideas, contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Why (and how) you should take a stand with your content

Taking a stand with your content may sound like a scary prospect for financial services professionals. Let’s be honest, presenting your best (and polished) self is the norm and revealing how you really feel, imperfections and all, seems like it may damage your reputation.

It won’t. The financial services industry is going through the same massive changes that all industries are grappling with and making a real connection is now expected from your clients and prospects.

Be authentic

People immediately see through inauthentic content, so be the real you. Inauthentic sounds scripted and it sounds like it’s been repeated many times before.

People immediately see through inauthentic content, so be the real you.

Authentic content, on the other hand, shows that you have something most people feel is now missing in the financial services industry … a heart. Your opinion on an issue, expressed in your voice, is unique and people with appreciate it.

Be client focused

Whatever you decide to focus your content efforts on, make sure your current (or ideal) audience is interested as well. So take a stand on an issue that matters to your clients and prospects.

To start, find out what inspires or concerns them. How? Ask. You can ask for feedback online, in person or, if you have a list of people who have signed up, through email. Review the responses and see if any of the issues that matter to your audience matter to you as well.

Be interesting

Don’t underestimate the power of being interesting. When it comes to content, being boring may even be worse than being wrong. We all make mistakes … but once you’re boring, you’re always boring.

By taking a stand your voice will inevitably shine through. When you focus on an issue that gets your heart racing and stirs up emotions, you’ll have fun. Your audience will feel the same way.

When you focus on an issue that gets your heart racing and stirs up emotions, you’ll have fun. Your audience will feel the same way.

Be motivated

We know this for a fact: producing content over the long haul is a real test of your will power. On those days when you feel like you’ve run out of ideas, you’ll be thankful you can produce content that interests you.

If you care about your content, you’ll stay committed to it; week in and week out.

Some issues that matter

Don’t know where to start? Here are just a handful of financial and social issues that matter to many savers and investors:

  • Socially responsible investing
  • Low fees
  • Fiduciary responsibility
  • Retiring well
  • Gender equality
  • Animal rights
  • Environmental protection

Do any of them align with your beliefs? If so, start brainstorming and see if you’re interested in producing content that explores these issues.

The world’s most successful financial services firms choose us for their content initiatives. Contact us to find out why: 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Ask for the easy yes

Email signature best practices


But can you make a PowerPoint?

But can you make a PowerPoint? We’re asked this question all the time.

It’s no surprise. “Financial services marketing and investment commentaries” covers a broad range of possibilities. To find out more about investment commentaries, click here. To find out more about financial services marketing, read on.

Services at Ext. Marketing Inc.

Yes, we make PowerPoint presentations – and we can do much, much more for you. Here are just some of the ways that we can help you and your firm achieve your marketing goals while alleviating many of your concerns and challenges around resourcing:

  • Copy and design for PowerPoint presentations
  • Copy and design for newsletters
  • Digital newsletters and eBlasts
  • Copy and design for brochures, infographics, sales tools and fund sheets
  • Copy and design for websites and microsites
  • Strategize and execute custom content campaigns
  • Write blog posts for content marketing and other usages
  • Help you brand and get the word out about a new product or services
  • Conduct marketing materials audits
  • Copy for executive speeches
  • Copy for press releases
  • Lead brainstorming sessions
  • Enhance your social media activity and presence
  • Script, storyboard, shoot and edit videos
  • We even offer print production and translation services!

You get the picture – we’re a full-service marketing and communications partner for financial services firms.

If you have a marketing challenge, we can help you work through it. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

4 ways to create an amazing editorial calendar

Creating content over the long haul takes dedication. To guarantee you stick to your plan, the best tool at your disposal is a well-organized editorial calendar.

A good editorial calendar will:

  • Cut down on the time and effort involved in creating content
  • Act as an internal to-do list that everyone can rely on
  • Help you frame the content required for campaigns.

Here are four tips to help you create a solid editorial calendar:

1. Create a communications goal

In many ways, creating an editorial calendar is just like any other project. Put together a work-back schedule with S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goals and give key stakeholders an early heads up.

Outline what you want to achieve with your content. Is it higher engagement? Increased sales? To build a positive reputation around education? Your answer will drive your creative, so make sure you’ve got buy-in from the whole team.

2. Focus on bench strength

Content marketing is an ongoing commitment. To keep readers engaged and interested, you’ve got to publish through good times and bad. The best way to ensure you stick to your schedule is to create a reliable team of all-stars who can make things happen.

Consider looking outside your usual marketing communications team — including accessing individuals from your executive, sales, operations and finance teams for fresh ideas.

3. Time to brainstorm

You know your goals and you’ve put together your content team. Now what are you going to write about? We’ve found it helpful to build a database filled with as many content topics/ideas as possible.

If your plan is to post one article per week, try to leave your brainstorming session with at least a dozen ideas. Keep any extra ideas you don’t plan to use in the near term — they might get you out of a pinch one day.

If you’re looking for some guidance about leading effective brainstorming sessions, click here to read our post on the subject.

4. Stay flexible

Even if you’ve built out your editorial calendar for three months, six months or a year, you still have to expect the unexpected.

Let’s say something dramatic happens in the markets, but your scheduled content that week is on health and wellness. Gather the troops: it’s time to produce something fresh. Find an expert to give you a few talking points and give your readers something timely. Write about what’s happening in the news, and save the health and wellness post for another day.

We hope you find these four tips useful as you prepare your next editorial calendar.

Can you benefit from a solid editorial calendar? Contact us today at, or 416.925.1700 or 844.243.1830 to discuss your editorial needs.

Read more:

Five easy ways to create better newsletters

Presenting a few helpful PowerPoint tips

Let’s explore the value of custom content

To connect with your existing clients – and to reinforce your brand, communicate your value as an investment management firm and create new opportunities – it’s high time that you craft tailored content specifically for them. We’re talking about custom content.

A lot of your custom content will focus on answers to your clients’ questions – that’s what makes it useful. Producing content like this sets your firm apart as a helpful, authoritative resource. Even better, custom content has a direct impact on fund sales and conversion rates. Let’s explore.

Your clients are looking for content

A study from AOL & Neilson captured how people spend their time on the web. It breaks down like this:

  • 53% reading published content
  • 23% on social media
  • 7% checking email

But here’s the stat we really want to share: 23% of all social media messages included links to published content. How much does that add-up to? Well, people share 27 million pieces of content every day on social media.

People share 27 million pieces of content each day on social media.

Content levels

Your firm is probably sharing content in one form or another. So, where does custom content fit into your broader content initiatives? This is how we break down content:

  • Curated, published content from reputable sources. For us financial services marketers, large North American news outlets, such as The Globe and Mail or The Wall Street Journal, are prime sources.
  • Firm-based content. This often includes product information, campaigns (e.g., RRSPs and RESPs) and portfolio manager perspectives.
  • Custom content. This is all about sharing your insights and expertise to a specific target audience (e.g., through infographics, videos, articles and blog posts).

When you put these three types of content together, you dramatically increase your chances of engaging your clients.

Custom content builds relationships

Why bother spending the extra time and money producing custom content? Because it provides a solid return on investment. Consider the following four data points when putting together your pitch for custom content:

  • 68% of consumers like custom content because it’s tailored to their interests (Source: The Content Council)
  • 55% of consumers said they would be more apt to buy another product from a company that provides them with custom content (Source: The Content Council)
  • 70% of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than traditional advertising (Source: NewsCred)
  • Clients invest and refer 2 times more often when they report feeling engaged by their advisor (Source: Vanguard)

Developing custom content

Knowing about custom content is one thing, producing it is another. Here are six ideas for launching a new custom content initiative at your firm:

  • Blogs – e.g., write a series of posts helping millennials save and invest better
  • Articles – e.g., create an advertorial highlighting the relevance of a new investment solution
  • Videos – e.g., produce videos that show how investing can make life better
  • Infographics – e.g., find an engaging way to share stats around retirement savings
  • Whitepapers – e.g., write a whitepaper explaining the shifting role of the advisor
  • Newsletters – e.g., craft print and digital newsletters focused on investor education

An interesting thing about these ideas is that they all cross-pollinate. That is, you can put videos in blogs, infographics in whitepapers, blogs in newsletters, and more. This exponentially improves your odds of engaging your clients.

Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or to develop custom content and give your clients what they want.

Working with millennials

Hook ‘em with a strong call to action

Last week we shared some simple – and extremely effective – ways to improve your web copy.

Today’s post about calls to action is equally important, not just for your web copy but for all of your results-focused writing.

Here are three ideas to help you write better calls to action:

1. Abandon “want more” and “learn more”

These are the easiest ways to start calls to action. And while there is nothing wrong with them, there are better alternatives. Choose verbs that have strong, clear actions. For example:

  • Choose
  • Protect your
  • Boost
  • Find a
  • Explore
  • Build
  • Create
  • Lead
  • Discover
  • Click
  • Craft
  • Achieve
  • Reach
  • Overcome
  • Sign up
  • Download

There are plenty more but you get the point.

2. You can – and should – have more than one call to action

Direct your readers to blog posts, brochures, calculators and whatever else you can. Calls to action are one of the greatest ways to continue and expand the conversation, as well as add more value.

In a brochure, consider having a call to action on every page. On a website, you can write in-line calls to action or include them as sidebars and call outs.

3. Use them to answer potential questions

Generally, calls to action answer just one question, “What do I do next?”

But they can answer any number of questions. What questions/objections could your readers have? You can also use your calls to action to answer questions and overcome objections.

For example, if you are writing about the cost of retirement, you reader may ask, “How did they come up with that number?” Answer your reader with a call to action that points to a retirement savings calculator. It could look like this: How much will you need in retirement? Check out our retirement calculator today and discover how much you’ll need.

The best way to find out what you need is to put yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you have more resources to help them or more answers that they may be looking for, use a call to action to help them take the next step.

Contact us today and start crafting better calls to action. You can reach us at 416.925.1700 or You can also connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Web design languages for complete beginners

Thinking about updating your website and wondering how it’s done? Well, if your energies are focused on your clients, not website construction, we’re going to briefly explain how three web design languages – HTML, CSS and JavaScript – are used to build a website.

Knowing this isn’t going to help you build a website. But it will help you understand what the people you pay to build your website are doing.


HyperText Markup Language (HTML) controls the underlying structure (or “semantics”) of your website. Among many other things, your web designer uses HTML to:

  • Label headings and paragraph copy
  • Create links to other webpages
  • Label images
  • Structure a page’s content
  • Create lists, tables and forms

Also, well-written HTML code is more fundamental than ever as accessibility – e.g., designing a website that is easily understood by the screen readers that visually impaired users rely on – becomes more important.

When you see tags such as <body>, <p> and <section>, you’re looking at HTML that is structuring the content on your website.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) language controls how your website looks. From font size to background colour, your web designer uses CSS to make design decisions. Well-written CSS is essential because it will help you redesign your site quickly without running into problems that are hard to solve.

Have you changed your brand colours recently and they aren’t reflected on your website? A web designer can fix that using CSS without having to completely rebuild your website.

Code that looks like this:

h1 {
font-color: gray

is CSS and it’s telling web browsers how to display your website.


Compared to HTML and CSS, JavaScript is much more complex. JavaScript controls how your website behaves and how visitors interact with it. A classic example of what JavaScript can do is to create a form that alerts visitors, before they submit the form, that they have filled out a section incorrectly.

There’s a dark side to JavaScript: pop ups. As a result of unwanted pop ups, some people have turned off JavaScript in their browsers. Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about any bells and whistles.

Something like “function displayPanel () { …” gives you a clue that the code is JavaScript.

Although there’s much more to the story, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are among the core languages of practically every website you visit … including your own.

Create a website that your clients and prospects will love. Contact us at 416.925.1700 or and we’ll help you do it.

Advisor communications series: Create an amazing editorial calendar

Blogging takes dedication. It takes planning too. And there is no better tool than a well-organized editorial calendar to help you stick to your plan.

An editorial calendar will cut down on the time and effort involved in creating content, act as an internal to-do list that everyone can rely on, and help you frame the content required for campaigns.

If you want a robust editorial calendar that will keep you blogging effortlessly all year long, consider these ideas:

Begin with a goal

Creating an editorial calendar is just like any other project. To do it right, you should create a work-back schedule with S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goals and give people an early heads up.

With blogging, it helps to outline what you want to achieve. Higher engagement, more sales and building a positive reputation around your brand are often top considerations. Your answer will drive your creative, so make sure you’ve got buy-in from the whole team.

Build a team

To keep readers engaged and interested, you’ve got to publish through good times and bad. To do that, you need commitment. The best way to ensure you stick to your schedule is to create a reliable team of high performers who can make things happen from a content perspective.


So far, you’ve found your goals and you’ve put together your writing team. Now what are you going to write about?

If your goal is to plan enough blog posts for an entire quarter, and you plan to post once a week, try to leave that brainstorming session with at least a dozen ideas for blog content.

Keep any extra ideas you don’t plan to use in the upcoming quarter … they might get you out of a pinch one day. We’ve found it helpful to build a database filled with as many blog topic ideas as possible.

If you’re looking for some guidance about leading effective brainstorming sessions, click here to read our post on the subject.

Be flexible

Even if you’ve built out your editorial calendar for three months, six months or a year, you still have to expect the unexpected.

Let’s say something dramatic happens in the markets, but your scheduled post is about an investing book you want to recommend. Well, it’s time to write a different post. Write about what’s happening in the news instead, and save the book review for another day.

With a little dedication and an editorial calendar, your blog will always have fresh content.

Contact us today at or 416.925.1700 to discuss your editorial needs.

Are your creative pipes backed up? Here are five ways to unblock them

Writers working on anything from ad copy to executive speeches can get their creative pipes backed up. Project managers creating a robust brief can get backed up, too.

Luckily, there are many ways to flush out those pipes and get the creativity flowing once again. Here are five ways to do just that:

Get some exercise

No, we’re not talking about jogging or lifting weights. We’re talking about writing exercises.

These are our three favourites: photo-prompt writing (find an image online, write what you see and then write the story behind the photo); freewriting (write about something and just keep going); and the short-story challenge (write a short story in 100 words).

By giving yourself less time to write, you may sharpen your focus and stoke the fire you need to get your task done.


That empty screen may be the result of your surroundings. If things are getting drab, find another desk to work at. Go to a different area in your department or, better yet, go to a different floor and start working at the first empty workstation you find.

Bump up your deadline

This may sound counterintuitive, but a little extra pressure can actually help. By giving yourself less time to write, you may sharpen your focus and stoke the fire you need to get your task done.

Embrace your inner contrarian

Write everything down that works against your position in the piece you’re working on. It’s natural to be uncomfortable with this technique. It is, however, an exceptionally productive exercise because you’ll uncover potential objections and questions. But remember: the outcome of this exercise is for your eyes only.

Out of ideas? Ask.

Email top clients. Ask your social network. Organize an impromptu meeting with your team (five minutes maximum). Sometimes getting out of your own head for a while will clarify your thoughts. This is also a great way to ensure you’ll end up with copy that people want to read.

We hope that the next time you feel backed up, you can try one of these tips and free that creativity flow.

For more creative ideas – and solutions to your most pressing marketing and communications issues – please contact us at or 416.925.1700.

Blogging essentials for financial services professionals

Getting a company’s blog up and running is an exciting challenge – it’s one of the greatest opportunities to engage with clients and prospects.

Here are 10 things to always keep in mind during the early days of your company’s blog.

Get the right writers on board

People with a lot of customer contact are great sources for helpful blog topics. Out of that group, find the strongest writer – that may not be who you expected – and let them solve problems with well-written posts. That said, the more writers you have writing, the more content you have being generated.

Customers come first, not your company

People may not be that interested in the day-to-day of your business. Ask yourself: What advice can we provide? How are people using our products? The best posts generally solve customer problems.

Don’t worry too much about SEO

As Google changes its algorithms to be more “social,” keywords are becoming less and less important than whether or not the content is being shared. Keep this in mind when creating your editorial calendar.

Market your blog

Businesses tend to shy away from promoting something that may not be perfect, especially if someone thinks it might hurt the business. That said, if you don’t promote your blog, no one will know about it and you’ll be wasting valuable resources. Avoid the soft-launch approach. Be proud of your blog!

Always include a call to action

Hopefully your company is blogging to increase business, not just to be trendy. With a call to action, you’re driving your readers to engage with your company. A call to action can be as simple as including a link to another page on your website or a request to contact you with any questions (via phone or email).

Expect weak results in the short term

Many famous bloggers have called blogging a marathon, not a sprint. So stay dedicated and positive when you’re starting out. As you build up content, you’ll see more success.

Consider a blogging consultant

Think about partnering with a corporate blogging consultant who understands the needs of your business, and who will help you build a blogging strategy around your resources, brand and long-term goals.

Post frequently

Every blog post is another opportunity to engage a client or prospect. If you post once a week, you’ll get about 50 opportunities to share your message. If you post every business day, you’re in the mid-200s. Your company’s sweet spot is likely somewhere in the middle.

Decide how much you want to know

Are you interested in the terms “page views,” “bounce rates” and “pages per visit?” Do “keywords,” “unique visitors” and “loyalty” sound like things you want to spend time thinking about? Be honest.

Stay positive

There’s no place for snarky remarks, attacks or cheap shots in business blogging. Online readers can cut and paste – or take screen shots – and post them to social networks.

It’s time to start blogging, so keep these 10 tips in mind and enjoy yourself!

Contact us today if you want help getting your company’s blog started or if you’re looking for content ideas. You can reach us at 416.925.1700 or

26 MORE blog and newsletter content ideas for advisors to use

The potentially unlimited number of ideas for a blog or newsletter can stop you from even starting such a beneficial project. We can help you focus on topics that resonate with clients. How? We’ve put together a list of 26 MORE blog and newsletter ideas, giving you a whole year’s worth of content!

Find the first 26 ideas here.

27. Services overview
What financial planning (and other) services do you provide? Let your clients and prospects know.

28 to 39. Monthly market review
Stuff happens all the time, so help put things in perspective.

40. Estate planning 101
People don’t like talking about the end. But they have to, so help make it easier for them.

41. The downside of robo-advisors
Robo-advisors are on the rise but they are certainly not for everyone.

42. Financial plans vs. financial products
Novice investors could use some clarification because they often confuse and conflate the two.

43. Managing emotions
Many retirements have been compromised by panic and reactive selling and buying, so help people conserve their wealth.

44. Making insurance part of your long-term plan
Not everyone knows that protecting their assets and their loved ones is an essential part of their wealth plan.

45. Preparing for portfolio reviews
Make sure your meetings are as productive as possible by letting your clients know what to bring and what to expect.

46. How to choose an advisor
Briefly describe the key traits, skills and experience that prospects should look for.

47. Why do-it-yourself isn’t for everyone
Make sure you give a fair and balanced summary.

48. The benefits of dollar-cost averaging
Though fundamental to long-term investment success, dollar-cost averaging is not well understood.

49. Mutual funds vs ETFs
Let your voice be heard in this growing debate.

50. Long-term investing
Explain the benefits of long-term investing in a short case study.

51. Diversification
This is another fundamental of investing success that may not be completely understood.

52. Your business beliefs in action, Part 2
Finish the year where you started – by demonstrating your core beliefs as a successful advisor.

There you have it: 52 blog and newsletter content ideas. A year’s worth of content to share with your clients.

As we mentioned in our previous post, it helps to create an editorial calendar so you know what’s coming up and when you’ll need to brainstorm more ideas.

Now all you have to do is write!

If you want help creating content, contact us at 416.925.1700 or

26 blog and newsletter content ideas for advisors to use

We’ve heard from some advisors that writing a blog or newsletter is overwhelming. That’s understandable, as a seemingly unlimited number of ideas can make it difficult to start. To make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of 26 blog post and newsletter ideas.

1. Your business beliefs in action
Tell a brief story about how you helped a client, and how that aligns with your beliefs.

2. Annual market review
Summarize what happened in the markets, and how your clients were affected.

3. Charitable support
Highlight a charity you support, and explain why they are worthy of help.

4. Your history
Go beyond your bio and tell clients a little bit more about yourself.

5. Meet the team
Give your team a voice! You could write one long post, or give each team member a post all to themselves.

6. Retirement expenses
Provide a realistic outlook about expenses that your clients may face in retirement.

7. Start saving early
Write a post for your clients’ children, telling them the importance of financial discipline.

8. Books that inspired you
Many books have been written about saving and investing. Which ones inspired you? Which ones would you like your clients to read?

9. This year’s reading list
Reading is essential if you’re going to stay ahead of the game. Every January, let your clients know what’s on your reading list.

10. The hobby post
If you have a hobby that lends itself to being a metaphor for what you do at work, explain how.

11. Professional development update
What have you been learning lately? If it’s sharable, share!

12. Explain financial regulations
Building trust involves straightforward explanations about complicated matters. Do your best to keep your clients up to date.

13. The crystal ball post
Write about current trends and what you see happening next. Be sure to avoid market-specific comments.

14 to 16. Client success stories
Names can be withheld, of course. These three can become static testimonials on your website.

17 to 19. Investing heroes
Write brief bios for your investing heroes, highlighting how they left a lasting impression on you. Start with three so you can see what it’s like to write an engaging series of posts that are related to one another.

20. Asset allocation
Explain what it is and your take on it.

21. Active vs. passive
Every investor is talking about this, so add your voice to the conversation.

22. In the news
If something big happens in the world of financial services, from market swings to changes at a very visible company, explain to your clients what’s going on.

23. Why work with an advisor?
This is a good prospecting tool. You could reuse it as a one-pager for meetings with potential clients.

24. RRSPs vs. mortgages
If you’re working in a city where house prices are rising, this will be highly relevant to your younger clients.

25. Tax-reduction strategies
Tax questions are always on investors’ minds, so why not show them that you have some answers?

26. How are investors charged for their advisor’s services?
Transparency regarding your compensation is a good discussion to have.

That makes 26 blog and newsletter content ideas to share with your clients. Stay tuned because we’re thinking about expanding the list to 52 next week!

To keep you on track, create an editorial calendar so you know what’s next and when you’ll need to come up with more ideas.

If you want help creating content, contact us at 416.925.1700 or

An unexpected prescription for advisors with writer’s block

So, you’ve committed to writing a blog or a newsletter and things have been going well. Then one day you feel like you’ve run out of ideas.

You’ve contracted a case of writer’s block and the symptoms are unmistakable: a blank page, the urge to do something – anything – else, insecurity.

Have no fear. Writer’s block is no big deal if you’ve got the right prescription, and here are three things that you can do immediately:

Check in with your Twitter feed

This is highly counterintuitive because social media is rarely mentioned as a way to be more productive. But there are a millions of writing ideas dropping through your Twitter feed right now. Reach out and grab one.

There are ways to refine what you’re looking at on Twitter. First, create a locked list of your competitors. If you haven’t created one yet, make one today and see what they are writing about. Now build off or critique the ideas regarding something they’ve shared.

Second, turn to specific people who have great ideas and see what they’ve done recently. Now write your take on an idea of theirs.

Carry your idea journal

If you’re going to be a reliable source of content, an idea journal stores your ideas before you forget them. After work today, go out and buy a notebook. It can be a stylish Moleskin or a tried-and-true Hilroy. Just make sure it has space to write down your ideas when they pop into your head, no matter how odd they may seem at the time.

We get our best ideas when we’re nowhere near a computer. We got the idea for this post while walking to a client meeting.

Seek the opinion of your clients

Asking your clients for topics they’d like you to cover acts as a good touch point, plus their feedback will hopefully provide many ideas for future posts.

There are a few ways you can ask: face to face or by personal email, SurveyMonkey, blog post or social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. Pick one or two and see if it works for you.

We’ll be writing more about advisor communications in the coming months. Until then, give these three strategies a try – they may be the cure for writer’s block that you’ve been seeking.

If you’re looking for content ideas or tips to become a more effective writer, contact us at 416.925.1700 or

A last-minute blog post about last-minute blog posts

I’m sitting here at my desk and my eyes are darting between the clock and the blank page in front of me. I’ve got a meeting to go to in 15 minutes, and I need to write a post for our blog right now.

But there’s a big problem: I don’t know what to write about.

We should have seen this coming. We’ve written about running out of ideas before, and we’ve also written about how to avoid it from happening again; for example, here, here and here.

What’s the simple solution? How can we avoid this stress?

First, create an editorial calendar. We’ve done that – so far so good. Next, sustain the editorial calendar. We slipped on that, which is why you’re reading a post like this today.

Not all is lost. There is a very straightforward way to get out of this situation.

After we post this we’re going to follow a simple process for staying on top of content deliverables. We will:

  • Set up a content brainstorm
  • Invite a core group of our best “idea” people
  • Open it up to the broader team (where, truthfully, many of our best ideas come from)
  • Assign the topics to people who want to write them
  • Schedule our posts in the editorial calendar
  • Book another content meeting long before we are out of posts, so that we never run out of ideas again

That’s it. Hopefully, we won’t have to write a confessional post like this again.

If you need help with your marketing strategy or execution please contact us at 416.925.1700 or

Ready to blog? How to get started the right way

Starting a blog is a great way to reach out to your clients and prospects, and the folks at Ext. Marketing Inc. are asked all the time for tips on the appropriate first steps for getting started.

We tell people that starting a blog can be broken down into the following three steps:

1. Choose your web hosting domain and platform
Most people know about GoDaddy, but there are many different online companies that sell urls and provide web hosting. With a little research, you can find one that fits your blogging needs and your budget.

You should also decide what blogging platform best suits your needs. Many people choose WordPress because it’s user friendly and cost effective.

Tip: Ask around. One of your coworkers or friends may have already started a blog. See if they’re happy with their blogging platform and find out how much it’s costing them.

2. Build an editorial calendar
Once you have your url and platform set up, you should create an editorial calendar that outlines the theme(s) of your blog, the topics you want to cover in your articles and the frequency with which you plan to post your articles.

This exercise will help you avoid those last-minute rushes for blog content. It will also ensure you post articles in regular intervals. People tend to follow blogs more closely when they have an idea about when new content is going to be posted.

Regularly posting new content keeps your site fresh and your readers interested, as well as increasing the chances that your blog will pop up in relevant Google searches.

Tip: Go back to your past presentations, white papers, etc. as sources of content – or inspiration – when putting together your editorial calendar.

3. Choose your team
You’ll want to discuss your blog with as many people as possible in your office (unless you’re a lone wolf). Creating content for your blog is easier when there are others contributing to it as well.

Don’t worry if some of your contributors are new to writing. Just have someone with writing/editing experience review all articles for grammar and to provide valuable feedback before they are posted.

Tip: Get outside help. Speak to your centres of influence to see if anyone is interested in providing occasional articles. They get to raise their profile and you can actually build stronger relationships through this type of content sharing.

Please remember that blogs don’t usually result in an immediate uptick in sales and it takes a while to build a following. Your best approach is to ensure everything you write is informative, timely and actionable.

Ready to get started? Contact us today at 416.925.1700 or to learn more.