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

Monday morning briefing – November 26. 2018

The names you need to know in fintech. Activist investors in Europe keying in on the U.K. industrials sector. Why states around the world should consider issuing cryptocurrencies supported by their central bank. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news 

International Economic Data Snapshot – includes aggregated data of the worldwide economy: Snapshot: International economic data

Canada’s inflation rate rises again:Canada inflation ticks up, central bank seen keeping rates steady

Japan’s economy contracts in the third quarter: Japan GDP: Natural disasters hit economic growth

Could there be changes to the BoC’s mandate to keep prices stable?: Bank of Canada plans thorough review of inflation targeting

Protecting your portfolio against the next recession: The next recession is coming: Here’s how to protect your portfolio

A look at the currency market: How currency differs from other asset classes

Canadian ETF assets fell in October: Canadian ETF assets lower in October

The number of distinct indexes rose by 12% in 2018: Number of indexes on the rise, led by fixed income: report

Sir Ronald Cohen on the importance and outlook for impact investing: Impact investing: A multitrillion-dollar market in the making

Businesses should focus on the new, “circular economy”: ING Portfolio focuses on financing for sustainable economy


On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Fully transitioning to digital is much more than just a mobile app: Are you really ‘doing digital’?

Customer centricity vital for the banks of the future: It pays to be personalised

How to manage your cloud infrastructure: Managing cloud infrastructure post-migration – a CTO guide

The names you need to know in fintech: Fintech finance’s power players

Technology could help private bankers become more productive: Making private bankers more productive

Open banking not well known or understood by end consumers: Open banking slow burn means just 22% of consumers have heard of the concept

Starling Bank launches Client Money Accounts, helping professional practices that hold money on behalf of their clients: Starling Bank launches CASS-compliant accounts helping firms manage third-party funds

Regtech will be an important component for the future success of financial institutions: Saxo Bank on why regtech is key to scalability in financial services

How to be innovative in the insurance industry: How to become an innovator in insurtech

Capital One purchases WikiBuy: Capital One buys online shopping comparison startup

Many firms don’t believe that they are resilient enough to combat cyberattacks: Cyber security implementation: firms want it, but less do it, finds survey

BitSpread launches BitSpread Financial Solutions, designed for investing in blockchain assets: BitSpread launches new financial solutions division

Why states around the world should consider issuing cryptocurrencies supported by their central bank: IMF: Nations need to consider a central bank backed cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies may not be banned in India: A ray of hope for cryptocurrencies as India readies draft regulations


News and notes (U.S.)

The Barclay CTA Index fell in October: Barclay CTA Index loses 1.29 per cent in October

Hedge fund assets fell to $3.06 trillion in September: Hedge funds redemptions surge to $39.1 billion in September, highest in more than 5 years

Management expenses no longer a tax break for hedge fund investors: Hedge fund investors lose key tax break for management expenses

Activist investors in Europe keying in on the U.K. industrials sector: Industrials are No1 target sector for activist investors in Europe

Secondaries still generating a lot of interest: Why secondaries fundraising is surging

Morgan Stanley launches new advisory platform, WealthDesk: Morgan Stanley unveils new advisory platform

AllianceBernstein to purchase Autonomous Research: AllianceBernstein announces offer to acquire Autonomous Research 

Further trade tensions between the U.S. and China could hurt the stock market: Expect more stock market losses if US-China trade war worsens 

Long-term funds experienced $29.1 billion of outflows in October: Morningstar: Passive equity funds gain, actives lose big

An interview with Abigail Johnson and Kathleen Murphy of Fidelity: The most powerful woman in fund management gives a rare interview


High-net-worth topics

High-net-worth investors expect further equity market declines: The equity party’s ending, say wealthy investors

How Tiger 21 helps the ultra-rich: Tiger 21 philosophy: Learn from your (very wealthy) peers

Life insurance can help reduce estate taxes, but not eliminate taxes entirely: Can HNW clients still use life insurance as a tax and financial tool?


Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Canadian investors have trouble understanding the concept of risk and return (Natixis): Investors may have an unrealistic understanding of risk and return: survey

Over the next 25 years, $68 trillion of wealth will be passed on to younger generations (Cerulli): Generational wealth transfer to hit $68 trillion over 25 years: Cerulli

Correlating share value with ESG ratings (MSCI): Are ESG ratings the new credit rating for stock prices?


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

Uh oh! You’ve got an idea problem.

As a marketer, there’s one thing you don’t want: an idea problem.

A shortage of ideas is brutal, especially when you’re in the idea and creativity business. But what happens if you do run out of ideas?

There are three things you can do: rebuild, reorganize or outsource immediately.

“A shortage of ideas is brutal, especially when you’re in the idea and creativity business.”


Rebuilding is not fun. There’s no guarantee that it’ll work. And you’re going to lose intellectual capital. Also, if you don’t handle the rebuild well you may damage your relationships and reputation in the industry. Word spreads fast in financial services.


  • Build the team of your dreams
  • Effectively restructure roles and responsibilities


  • The team of your dreams may be a pipe dream
  • Assembling the right team may take a long time to implement


This will also take time. Years, really, as you reorganize teams, reorganize relationships and change the way you do everything, from taking vacations to having meetings.

If you take this approach, you need to make creativity the core of everything you do. Do whatever it takes to get the ideas flowing, like brainstorming sessions in the lobby before people get to their desks. If you commit to creativity, the ideas will come.

“If you commit to creativity, the ideas will come.”


  • Keep your talent
  • Test and adapt your team to the new/evolving approach


  • People may not like their new roles
  • If you work at a larger firm, you may face a lot of bureaucracy while making changes

Outsource immediately

We think that bringing in an outside team is the best approach. An overworked team can be refreshed when they work with an marketing agency that’s firing on all cylinders.

And as a third party, the agency may uncover the root cause of the team’s issues, and get them revved up again. This approach can be a good ideas catalyst and, more importantly, the beginning of a truly great partnership.


  • It’s quick and cost effective
  • You can gain insights into what’s happening industry wide


  • Some team members may wonder why you’ve brought in outside help (that’s an easy concern to address – let your agency and team meet and work with one another)

“An overworked team can be refreshed when they work with an agency that’s firing on all cylinders.”

Read this article for more reasons to work with a financial marketing agency.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your marketing and investment commentary challenges at 1.844.243.1830 or

6 best practices for creating better whitepapers

In the digital age – where marketing tools like social media and video get so much attention – we think an oft-overlooked marketing document is ripe for a comeback.

White papers have been used for many years as a form of financial content marketing. Generally speaking, white papers are designed to convey certain facts and arguments that build a case for the products or services being offered by the company that has produced the white paper.

Let’s take a look at white papers, and some best practices to help you get these valuable pieces done right.

1. Set the right tone

Your white papers should be written in conversational tone … and in the third person.

There are fewer and fewer situations that require a very formal tone. As our conversations get more casual, our writing follows. Exercising restraint is important, however, as white papers are fairly “academic,” and are often read by people who are well-versed in the topic.

2. Solve the right problem

Writing a financial white paper may be one of the most challenging marketing exercises, so make sure the problem you are solving is one that your audience truly wants solved.

Make sure the problem you are solving is one that your audience truly wants solved.

To make sure your topic engages your readers, do a little research into their needs. Survey your sales team, research online and, if you have the relationships and resources, talk to your clients directly. Remember to focus your whitepaper on your topic, and not on your product. Product-focused materials are usually considered “brochureware.”

3. Use third-party facts

Back up your points and arguments with some facts – and make sure these facts aren’t all from your in-house team.

This is where we come across one of the most significant limitations of white papers: they tend to take more time to produce than other materials. If possible, you should include some independent research to support your findings. This will enhance the credibility of your work.

4. Let your designers run wild

White paper doesn’t mean “blank paper” or “boring paper.” Luckily for you, not everyone knows this, so white paper design is a way to stand out from the crowd.

White paper doesn’t mean “blank paper” or “boring paper.” Luckily for you, not everyone knows this, so design is a way to stand out from the crowd.

Make your white paper look professional and easy to read, use a larger font, don’t crowd the copy, and experiment with design elements and themes that break up the whitespace.

5. Incorporate graphs, charts and infographics

Amid your facts and findings, well-crafted visual aids will help keep your reader’s attention.

Every data point can be backed up with an engaging chart or graph. We think white papers are begging for infographics. Since you’ll have so much data to work with, it should be fairly simple to create some easy-to-read infographics that will surely engage your audience.

6. Leverage your hard work

Remember that, once it’s created, your white paper can be leveraged for other uses. Breaking up key points and figures into individual newsletter or blog articles allows you to continue to engage your audience with your findings and to stretch out this valuable content over weeks and months.

Do you want to create more insightful and engaging white papers? Let us help. Contact us today at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or

Feedback on passing along feedback to your writers

The dance takes place every day in marketing departments throughout the financial services industry. Drafts of marketing materials are circulated to key stakeholders for comments. Updates are made, more reviews take place and then, at some point, the cycle concludes and the pieces are signed off.

How smoothly the review process runs hinges largely on how feedback is gathered and disseminated to your writers.

Full disclosure: This post takes a writer’s angle on feedback, so the perspective will be skewed for sure. If you’re a marketing manager or in another role where you pass along feedback to writers, please be sure to send along your challenges and experiences and we’ll be happy to share.

Feedback comes in many forms

First off, reviewers of marketing materials work in different parts of the company: from product, sales and marketing to legal, compliance, investments and more. So it’s not surprising that everyone has a different way to provide feedback. We’ve seen it all over the years:

  • Tracked changes or blackline edits
  • Comment boxes in the document
  • Edits appearing in different colours
  • Copy revisions made using the “text highlight” feature
  • Handwritten changes of varying legibility
  • List of comments via email, a phone call, fax or in person
  • Sticky notes plastered onto hard copies
  • Insert your favourite method here

Needless to say, the review and feedback process can easily derail if it’s not managed effectively.

Compiling vs. consolidating

One way to provide feedback is to compile it. In this case, a marketing manager circulates drafts and then sends all edited documents to the writer.

Some marketing managers will take it a step further and compile all the feedback into one document. That’s closer to what a writer needs, and it can position the marketing manager as the true “point person” on the project. We believe that the most efficient way to move feedback to the writer is through consolidation, not compilation. Why? Sometimes reviewers provide conflicting comments.

The most efficient way to move feedback to the writer is through consolidation.

For example, someone might write, “This sentence would be great in the intro. Move it there.” Another reviewer might say, “This sentence belongs in the close. Move it there.” What’s a writer to do? The marketing manager can weigh in and decide how to direct the writer.

One more example to consider

Sometimes reviewers pose questions. There may even be a running debate as different points of view are aired. It may not productive for the writer to sift through these unanswered questions in order to figure out next steps. This is where the marketing manager can step in, meet with or call the reviewers involved, and resolve any outstanding issues before the consolidated feedback goes to the writer.

It takes and strong team and a locked-down process to produce the strongest, most compelling marketing materials possible in an efficient manner. And this is a great opportunity for marketing managers to shine. How efficient is the review/feedback cycle in your company?

Want more insights on how to master the feedback process? Contact us at 416.925.1700 or

9 reasons to work with a content partner

There are is one overarching challenge all marketers face when trying to deliver engaging, sharable content: finding the time and creative talent to produce it all.

But for financial services marketers like us, there’s another big challenge: finding people with the technical knowledge to produce accurate content for this unique sector.

Faced with these two challenges, it makes sense to work with a content partner. Here are 9 reasons why:

1. Control your operating costs

With marketing budgets shrinking across the industry, finding opportunities to manage costs is a big win for marketing VPs and managers. And using an outsourced partner to deliver this type of content can be very cost effective.

2. Improve your focus

If your marketing team has many projects on the go, the room for error expands. Having a partner that is solely focused on your content production reduces the chance of error.

3. Access expertise

A financial services content partner brings senior thinking to the table. These insights are often informed by running many projects across the industry.

4. Access new capabilities

Content partners have access to products and services that your in-house team may not, by choice or because of budgetary restraints.

5. Structured process

A content partner has a structured process specific to the content marketing world, meaning a focus on the fast and efficient delivery of your content.

6. Quicker turnaround times

Given their expertise and resources, content partners can get your work done faster. In this era of increasing content requirements, the ability to produce timely content is essential.

7. Frees up your resources

Your internal team would likely contribute more to your company’s success if they focus on strategic initiatives or on an important client. This allows your content partner to assume more of your ongoing needs, while also helping to strategizing future content initiatives.

8. Get time-consuming projects off your plate

Content, sales and practice management campaigns take a lot of time, which can distract your team from their day-to-day responsibilities.

9. Extend your team

A content partner is just a great way to beef up your team without adding headcount.

Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or and make us an extension of your team.

The importance of continuing education

Financial services marketers are talented and creative problem solvers. They have to be. And since the financial services landscape – from client needs to regulatory demands – is constantly changing, financial services marketers should always be building their knowledge through continuing education. Here are four reasons why:

1. People still trust experts

Regardless of how social media may be changing this perception, people still lean on subject matter experts to complete the task at hand correctly. By continuously upgrading your education, you will ensure you remain an invaluable asset on your team.

2. Helps you stay ahead of the curve

Knowing your industry inside and out – and being on top of the ever-changing landscape – will help you form more insightful opinions about what industry trends may be coming.

This forward-thinking mentality is a great way to build trust.

3. Your network will grow

People want to connect with experts. So don’t be shy when you complete a course or achieve a certificate.

Update your LinkedIn profile, let people in your office know and start sharing your newfound knowledge with others.

4. Generating content will be easier

The more you know, the more topics you’ll have to write about.

In an age where content is king (or very important at the least), anyone looking to build their profile should be generating content in one form or another.

For marketing and investment commentary support, contact us today at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

3 reasons to create a reference guide for your next sales tool

Sales tools are a great way to get information about a new product or campaign into your sales people’s hands so they can begin using them with clients.

But don’t send your sales tool out without a little support. Even the best sales tool will lose its impact if busy sales people aren’t fully aware of the key messages.

Also, language used during a sales presentation can differ from person-to-person, and the tool may end up not being used as effectively as it should be. Enter the reference guide, which can take the form of Q&As, detailed diagrams with callout boxes, or even basic microsites.

A reference guide:

1. Helps control the message

A reference guide speaks in clear voice from management, sales, product marketing, etc. about the tool’s most important messages.

Furthermore, the “internal use only” nature of reference guides provides a forum for direct and clear instruction regarding a product’s features and benefits.

The “internal use only” nature of reference guides provides a forum for direct and clear instruction regarding a product’s features and benefits.

2. Serves as a reminder on “how to”

The reference guide should go through the set-up of the sales tool and explain how to navigate it properly. For example: What needs to be highlighted? What is the goal? The reference guide should contain details that the sales team needs to know when they start using it.

3. Reduces training time for employees

Although getting everyone together and discussing a new sales tool is effective, having a reference tool can cut down on training time, meetings and emails. All the details required about the tool and how to use it should be included in the guide.

All the details required about the tool and how to use it should be included in the guide.

A reference guide can also build confidence in new employees, as they don’t have to memorize everything and will have a resource that can act as a refresher as time goes on.

For more information about creating effective reference guides, contact us today at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Strengthening the writer-editor relationship

When to use passive voice

Idea-generating tips for financial services pros

With new product launches, ongoing regulatory updates and an ever-growing demand for increased communications, financial services professionals have had a lot on the go recently. No surprise that it is hard for people to find the time to come up with great new ideas.

Here are five easy ways for you to generate more great ideas:

1. Keep pen and paper handy at all times

The idea toolkit is simple: all you need is an open mind, a pen and some paper. We know that mobile devices are just as good as pen and paper but, from our experience, these “old school” tools help us to log our ideas, and also help to spark more ideas once we get writing.

Whatever your approach, make sure you are able to record your ideas at all times and in any location.

2. Move your body, clear your head

The irony of great of ideas is that they often pop up when you’re not trying to find great ideas. If you’re in a jam and stuck for ideas, get moving. Exercising – like simply going for a walk – can provide well-needed creative fuel.

3. Cast a wide net

Get everybody participating in idea generation. The best ideas often come from unexpected sources. Try setting up quick meetings, hosting one-off brainstorming sessions and sending unexpected emails to anybody willing to participate.

4. See the trends

If you’re looking for great ideas for your business, you’ll want to keep an eye on trends. Business success often depends on determining what people want today and what they’ll want tomorrow – and then delivering on these preferences.

To get there, you’ll need to be on the leading edge. You can start by listening to what your clients and prospects are saying on social media.

5. Test the water

Just because you think it’s a good idea, that doesn’t mean it is. Put your ideas to the test by getting your colleagues to review them. Be prepared for some honest – and occasionally painful – feedback!

For more creative ideas – and solutions to your most pressing marketing issues – contact us at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Five techniques for more effective self-editing

Smart way to cut down on meetings

How to lead a brainstorming session

One of the biggest misconceptions about creativity is that it can’t be constrained – that creativity must go wherever it wants.

That sounds good, but it’s not necessarily true, especially when your goal is to produce something of practical value. If you are launching a new product or solution – with corresponding microsite, brochures, presentations, emails, etc. – remember that structure can actually help ideas flourish.

If you’re a project manager running a brainstorming session, here are a few ways to make the best ideas see the light of day.

1. Split up time

Try not to schedule gruelling, three-hour meetings with a “no one’s leaving until we hash this out” mentality. People will run out of steam and your team’s ideas may stray too far, or just stop.

Try scheduling three shorter meetings instead. Thirty minutes, if run well, is a good length.

  1. Your first meeting can act as a brief introduction that closes with some high-level idea generation. The outcome should be a few strong options for the team to reflect on after the meeting ends.
  2. In the second 30-minute meeting, the team can generate more ideas based on the strongest options from the first meeting.
  3. In the third meeting, the team can refine, and then choose, the best ideas to keep.

2. Help people generate great ideas

It’s easy to tell when you’ve run a great brainstorming session. If the table is messy, if people are exhilarated and if the walls are filled with ideas, you’ve done your job well. Here are a few things you can do to help make this happen:

  • Inspire people to say their wildest ideas, especially during the earlier sessions. These ideas can serve as fuel for later sessions.
  • Don’t judge anything that is said. People need to feel safe to speak up without being judged. If someone is too negative or judgmental, ask them to keep their comments positive and maybe think twice about inviting them to your next brainstorm session.
  • Record everything and keep all the ideas from your brainstorming sessions. Bring sketch pads and sticky notes, and get ready to write. To keep things moving fast, forget about spelling and neatness.

If the table is messy, if people are exhilarated and if the walls are filled with ideas, you have done your job well.

3. Invite people from outside the creative team

If you’re looking for a truly big idea, invite people from different teams and departments. Think about bringing in someone from production, sales, research or IT. Outsiders bring fresh perspectives, so they may provide that “something different” you’re looking for.

Contact us at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or for more brainstorming and idea-generating tips.

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.

Advisor communications series: Blogging fundamentals

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: blogging is one of the greatest opportunities to engage with your clients and prospects.

To help you get started, or to help you stay on the right track, we’ve put together a list of blogging fundamentals.

Get the right writers on board

The best writer may not be who you think it is. And people with a lot of customer contact are often the best sources for blog topics. When putting your content team together, it helps to think outside the box.

Customers come first

Ask yourself: What advice can we provide? How are people using our products? The best posts often solve your clients’ problems.

Always look on the bright side of life

Given the changes that are happening in the financial services industry, it can be tempting to get critical. But 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.

SEO is not your primary concern

Google is always changing its algorithms to be more social. That is, shareability is becoming fundamental to online success while keywords are becoming less important. Keep this in mind when creating your editorial calendar.

Find more readers

People often shy away from promoting things that aren’t perfect … especially if they think it might hurt the business. That won’t work with blogging. You need to promote your blog to get new readers. Social media and email are good promotion tools to consider.

Write a strong call to action

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, a request to contact you with any questions or an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.

Blogging is long term

Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s like climbing up a mountain, not skiing down it. You need to stay dedicated, even when you’re struggling. And, as you build up content, you’ll see more successes.

Consistency matters

Every blog post is another opportunity to engage a client or prospect. If you post once a month, you’ll get 12 opportunities to share your message every year. If you post every week, you’re in the 50s. It won’t take long to find your company’s sweet spot.

Limit analysis, for now

Page views, bounce rates and pages-per-visit are all good to know. But they aren’t necessary. The same is true for keywords, unique visitors and loyalty. Be honest with yourself: if you think learning about all of this will sully your blogging adventure, don’t bother with it until you’re ready.

Get blogging advice

If you’re tight on time or resources, think about working with a blogging consultant who understands the needs of your business. A blogging pro will help you build a strategy around your resources, goals and brand.

Do you want more blogging ideas? Contact us today at 416.925.1700 or

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.