8 social media tips during these challenging times

We are living in unprecedented times. And investors need guidance from their advisors more than ever before. The value of advice is clear – and a great path to adding more value is through your social media accounts.

Here are eight tips for using social media to inform and help your clients:

1. Limit your opinions about COVID-19

Leave the health policies and science to the experts. Your thoughts on this pandemic might end up being wrong – and could make your clients more anxious in the process.

2. Focus on long-term trends

Rather than focusing too much on short-term market events, try to steer your clients’ attention to their longer-term financial goals, such as retirement and education savings.

3. Use LinkedIn as intended

LinkedIn was created to help advance peoples’ careers. During the COVID-19 pandemic – which has become an era of high unemployment – you might want to share interesting tips and articles about job hunting in the current work-from-home reality.

4. Share with a strategy

Here at ext., we recommend resharing content that has been written by your centres of influence. This is a win-win because you are sharing trustworthy content (we do, however, recommend you review anything you share regardless). And if your clients engage with this content, you can make an introduction, which will strengthen your network and reputation.

5. Connect, connect, connect

Now is the time to connect with as many of your clients and peers as possible on social media. While this should be part of every advisor’s growth strategy, now is a good time to offer to help clients and prospect any way you can.

6. Focus your efforts

If you have been struggling to find success on a social media platform, this is a good time to decide if it is even worth the effort. For example, if Facebook is a dud for your business development while LinkedIn is showing potential, consider doubling down on your LinkedIn networking efforts.

7. Vet your sources

As a corollary to #4 above, be sure you are sharing content from trusted sources. By only sharing high-quality content, you will become a trusted source for informed content.

8. Offer to answer financial questions

There are many investors out there who aren’t getting the advice they need or the attention they deserve. Use this to your advantage by offering to answer questions via direct message or inviting these individuals to leave comments to your post. You can also offer to set up calls or answer questions over email.

A final thought. Periods of great adversity also tend to be times of great opportunity – and we are here to help you succeed.

Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or for any of your marketing questions.

Monday morning briefing – September 23, 2019

A bitcoin yield fund for the high-net-worth. Private equity and venture capital outperforming public equities. Why international co-operation is needed to combat cybercrime. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The Fed reduced its central interest rate: Fed lowers interest rate by a quarter-point, and is open to the idea of more easing

Canadian inflation rate was 1.9% in August: Canadian inflation slows to 1.9% on lower gas, vegetable prices

The BoE held its Bank Rate steady at 0.75%: Bank of England holds rates, warns another Brexit delay could hurt economic growth

The BoJ kept its key interest rate at -0.10%: BOJ keeps policy steady, signals chance of easing in October

A look at how liquidity affects an ETF’s trading costs: Why liquidity matters in ETF cost minimization

Does the value of benchmark data justify the cost?: Fund managers seek more insight from benchmark data

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge fund net exposure at highest level since 2018: Goldman: Hedge fund exposure to stock market at 15-month high

A conversation with Josh Harris on private marketsApollo’s Josh Harris talks private markets at delivering alpha

PE and VC outperforming public equities: Private equity outperforms and captures institutional flows

Private equity net cash flow was over US$150 billion in 2018: Eight years in the black for private equity cash flows

Vanguard to launch Digital Advisor: Vanguard preparing to offer digital-only robo-advisor

Rockefeller Capital eyes Silicon Valley: Rockefeller Capital buys wealth firm for Silicon Valley rich

The Fed took action in money markets for first time in a decade: Fed intervenes in money markets for first time in 10 years

 Looking for more customized target-date funds: Interest rising in active/passive hybrid strategies for TDFs

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: September 17 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Horizons launches the Horizons Growth TRI ETF Portfolio: Horizons ETFs expands lineup of portfolio ETFs

CI Investments launches ESG funds: CI introduces debut ESG funds

Combining mutual funds and ETFs could be beneficial: Mutual funds and ETFs in harmony

Canada ranks “below average” in fund costs, according to Morningstar: Canada rates poorly in Morningstar survey of mutual fund costs

Foreign investors moving out of Canadian securities: Foreign investors continue to divest Canadian securities

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Five fintech trends to watch in 2020: Five trends shaping fintech into 2020

How to navigate through customers’ fear of open banking: Open banking scares customers, but they want what APIs can deliver

A look at Canadians’ comfort with AI: How Canadians feel about AI in financial services

We’re in the early innings of AI’s impact on the financial services industry: The beginning of the road for AI in finance, the best is yet to come

Building a branch as an advice centre: Transforming branches into advice centers: The long road ahead

How technology is impacting capital markets: Buyers’ brief: Fintech drives capital markets

Why international co-operation is needed to combat cybercrime: Cyber-crime best tackled by international co-operation

Arab Bank launches custody and brokerage services for digital assets: Leading Swiss private bank launches full suite of digital asset services

High-net-worth topics

Family offices incorporating ESG principles: Wealthy families pour fortunes into $31 trillion ESG opportunity

A bitcoin yield fund for the high-net-worth: Wealth manager launches world-first bitcoin yield fund

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

38% of fund managers expect a recession over the next year (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): Recession fears among fund managers rise to highest level in a decade

Immigration wage gap impacting Canada’s economy (RBC): Immigrant wage gap costing Canada $50 billion a year in GDP: RBC study

Millennials are starting to save early (E*Trade): Young investors are doin’ it for the ‘Gram

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

Hedge funds need great websites to connect with investors

We’re well into a promising new era of hedge fund marketing that began when the SEC ended an 80-year-old ban in 2013 that prevented private funds from broadly advertising their services.

Hedge funds used to be limited in how they promoted themselves online. But if you’re running a hedge fund or in the process of launching one, you now have the internet at your disposal to better communicate your message and connect with investors.

If you think your current digital strategy and your hedge fund’s website design could use some work, or if you’re on the fence about having a website at all, here are some important points to consider.

Build credibility and trust

If you’re focused on institutional investors, allocators or other well-informed groups, they’re no doubt researching funds online before meeting with you. In fact, 61% of B2B customers start their analysis with a general web search and 56% start directly on specific company websites.1

Having a professional website is your opportunity to immediately express who and what is behind your fund and, in turn, build a level of trust that’s essential with sophisticated audiences.

Be noticed and stay above the fray

If your peers have tapped into the power of search engine optimization (“SEO”), then you need a well-constructed site that can be found too.

This can mean the difference between being noticed or buried by a host of other competing fund messages. Case in point, 75% of users don’t bother clicking the second page of search results, so staying above the fray with a compelling, searchable site is critical.2

Enhance your brand and sales efforts

Hedge fund branding remains a pivotal part of the industry. Aside from pitches, a great website may be the most important way to tell your story. A well-designed website will help you distinguish your value proposition, team expertise and the strength of your investment process. It will set you up for better conversations with investors and help you explain the benefits of your fund.

Simply be there for investors

Simply being accessible and making it easy to contact you with questions and concerns is important. Having a website that highlights key team members and their contact information provides transparency and legitimacy.

If you’re looking to distinguish your hedge fund, build trust or capture more attention with a strong website, we can help. Contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or


1 Demandbase, Demand Gen Report’s 7th Annual B2B Buyer’s Survey, 2017

2 ImFORZA, 8 SEO Stats That Are Hard to Ignore

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

Hedge funds: remember to follow these newsletter tips

In the age of Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, sending an enewsletter to your investors might seem like an anachronism.

However, don’t write off the enewsletter just yet. Studies show that email can be more effective than social media at reaching actual customers – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.1 So why are enewsletters still so relevant?

Their lifespan

A social media post can hit thousands of investors in a second, but may also end up lasting that long before being drowned out by other new content. By its nature, email is stored by its recipient and can be referenced later and/or repeatedly.

The total package

Rather than single-issue postings, an email or enewsletter allows you to combine several relevant topics into a single deliverable.

Making it personal

Targeted emails can focus on the needs and interests of specific groups of investors and, depending on the size of your client pool, can be further individualized as well.

So, if your firm isn’t putting out a regular enewsletter, or wants to reposition its existing one, it’s a good time to take another look at what could be one of the most important communication and branding and marketing tools for hedge funds. Here are some important tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning and executing your next enewsletter deployment:

Define what you are, and what you’re not

There is an incredible volume of investment-related enewsletters out there. Some are sales drivers, some charge for subscriptions, some offer investors portfolio building advice. Remain cognizant of who your investors are and build your enewsletter content around that, rather than what others in the business are doing. This will help differentiate your e-newsletter from the myriad other emails your investors might be receiving.


Keep the number of individual topics to no less than three, but at most seven (three to five is a good range to start with).

It’s not (just) about you

You can build credibility by linking your investors to external articles, papers or other sources of information that might be relevant to them. It tells the reader that you are carefully screening and curating content and are plugged into objective third-party insights.

Rely on professionals

The best financial enewsletters have a design that is straightforward, but still compelling and visually on-brand. If you don’t have internal financial services marketing resource for that, consider outsourcing production (from content to design) to a financial services marketing firm or a content marketing agency.

Make it passenger friendly

Approximately 55% of emails are opened from a mobile device.2 Ensure both your design and content is optimized for mobile phone browsers, particularly those on a commute. This means more vertical/scrollable design and shorter, digestible content (avoiding linking readers to pdf files, for instance).

Want to talk to a professional about putting together your enewsletter? Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or and we’ll help you explore your content options.


1 Nora Aufreiter, Julien Boudet, Vivian Weng, “Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails,” McKinsey & Company, January 2014.

2 Jess Nelson, “Majority Of Emails Read On Mobile Devices,” Email Marketing Daily, July 21, 2017.

Welcome to the era of video

We’ve entered a new era in financial services marketing and communications – the era of video.

Across all industries, including financial services, audiences are turning to video for education and research. In fact, the numbers are staggering and don’t show signs that they will slow any time soon. HubSpot recently revealed 72% of people would rather use video versus text to learn about a product or service, while 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018 (Source).

“This is good news for financial services firms,” says Catherine Reale, Head of Canada at Asset TV, “as video is a highly efficient way to communicate – it’s scalable, cost-effective and helps you manage regulatory issues regarding total spend per advisor. But more than all of that: it catches your audience’s attention.”

Let’s explore some of the key reasons why video is presenting financial services firms with great opportunities in 2018 and beyond.

“72% of people would rather use video versus text to learn about a product or service and 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018.” (Source)

Extend your reach

Changing media patterns – especially the “cutting the cord” phenomenon – are undeniable. People are shifting away from traditional media, such as television and radio, to more digital channels, such as watching video on their computers and phones. These are massive secular trends that are unfolding quickly across the globe.

A similar shift is seen in the rapid adoption of mobile. People are becoming more and more comfortable with banking, shopping and playing games on their phones. As such, video is booming on mobile as well – social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined (Source). By switching some of your resources to video that can be shared on social media and increase your financial services social media marketing presence, you’re capitalizing on a major trend that will increasingly work in your favour.

“Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.” (Source)

Engage your audience

Video is an engagement tool like none other. Why? Because it helps people remember your message. The data around this is quite dramatic. People retain 95% of a message when they view it on a video compared to 10% when they read it in text (Source).

If you want to leave your audience with a specific message, a video is clearly the best way to do it.

According to a financial publication out of the U.K., companies using video say that the top benefits to video include: positions company as innovative, increased levels of satisfaction, faster service, better customer intimacy and reduced work. (Source)

“Video has demonstrably helped us communicate with – and grow – our audience,” says Tammy Cash, Executive Vice President, Head of Marketing, Horizons ETFs. “It’s engaging, dynamic, it’s what our audience is responding to, and it helps us speak to them more often.”

Video isn’t “too good to be true” – it does take work to get a video right. Video, however, is what your audience wants. So, give them what they want.

“Video has demonstrably helped us communicate with – and grow – our audience. It’s engaging, dynamic, it’s what our audience is responding to, and it helps us speak to them more often.” Tammy Cash, Executive Vice President, Head of Marketing, Horizons ETFs Inc.

Manage regulatory issues

Financial firms are limited in how much they can spend on their relationships with advisors. These rules exist for good reason. But keeping advisors and institutional investors well informed about your firm’s solutions helps ensure they are making the right recommendations to their clients. Simply put, video helps them do their job more effectively.

“Video helps firms get their message in front of advisors and institutional investors,” says Reale. “Your portfolio managers can use the same video to talk to all advisors, no matter where they’re located – saving their time and your company’s money.” You can even add graphics and statistics to make your video a more educational experience. You can also choose to make your video a Q&A and address the audience directly. The choices are endless.

Some things to look for during your search for a video partner

Not all videos are created equally – nor are all video partners. There’s a steep learning curve, which is why you might want to consider working with a partner that specializes in financial services video. A partner like Asset TV will help you create videos that stand out with cutting edge and compelling content. Here’s how they help:

  • Strictly video. A partner that is focused purely on video will help ensure you’re benefiting from industry best practices.
  • Vetted audience. Ideally, your video partner will have access to a controlled, opt-in audience of retail advisors and institutional investors. This ensures your message is getting in front of the right people – meaning your clients and prospects.
  • National distribution. Flying around the country to meet with advisors and institutional investors is a massive drain on resources and, more importantly, results in some important markets being underserved. A video partner with national distribution helps solve this problem, as your message can be heard from any place with an internet connection. Today, that’s everywhere.


The financial services industry is evolving quickly – and your company’s marketing and branding efforts as well as your content strategy needs to keep pace. “In an environment of increased regulation, fee compression and product proliferation,” says Reale, “getting your message in front of the right people and then keeping their attention takes engaging content that you create frequently. Asset TV can help.”

Some things to look for in a video partner

Financial services providers looking to leverage the best video has to offer should expect the following from their video production and distribution partners – and Asset TV delivers:

  • An understanding of how to get (and keep) viewers’ attention
  • The ability to create cutting-edge, compelling content that meets Continuing Professional Development and Continuing Education standards
  • Access to an expansive audience from the investment community
  • Metrics to show that this audience is actually spending time on their platform viewing your video content


Video’s appeal is already massive and continues to grow. Whether you’re new to video or an experienced pro, working with a video partner can help you improve the quality of your content, manage your marketing costs and capture your audience’s attention.

Think video is right for you? Want to find out more? Contact Catherine by email at or call 416.523.7694.

Hedge fund managers: you can use social media more effectively

Along with a great pitchbook, website and newsletter, financial services social media marketing is the cornerstone of a hedge fund’s digital marketing strategy. Simply put, social media is key to engaging clients and prospects.

Ext. tends to focus on three social platforms – LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram – as these sites often form the core of any hedge fund’s social strategy.

LinkedIn – your networking machine

We love LinkedIn. Digitally, there’s no better way connect with clients, prospects, peers and industry leaders. Think about these two stats: 61 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 40 million of them are in decision-making positions (LinkedIn).

So, set up your executive team’s personal profiles, share your own content, and never forget to “like” and comment on other people’s content. You should also set up a corporate LinkedIn page where you’ll share your firm’s news. People who are interested in your firm will follow your company.

Who’s your audience? Check out our tips on creating great client personas.

Twitter – your digital research hub

Even today, as other social networks eclipse Twitter with more active users, there may be no better way to learn what people are thinking and saying than with Twitter search. While most marketers recommend actively engaging people on Twitter, we disagree (for now). Hedge fund managers need to focus on their investment and research activities over long periods of time, and Twitter’s real-time nature makes it far too difficult to stay active and at the top of people’s streams.

For hedge fund managers, Twitter is better used as a place to research companies and their customers. Give it a shot: Twitter Search.

Instagram – adding value to people’s distraction

It seems strange. How can a platform that’s all about sharing images help hedge fund managers? It can because you want to be where your audience is.

And we know where they are: Instagram. Approximately 35% of U.S. adults use Instagram, up from 28% last year, and 60% of these individuals visit the platform every day (Pew). Go to any conference and watch what happens when people get bored. While people used to check their emails, today they swipe through Instagram to look at pictures. Get in there are start adding value.

If you want to raise more assets, a digital marketing strategy – and social media – will help position you as a thought-leader and get your message to a broader audience.

Contact us 1.844.243.1830 or and let us help you create a social strategy that’s right for your firm.

From FOMO to tweetstorm, how to handle newer words in your firm’s content

The English language is constantly evolving – and that’s a wonderful thing.

It also means that new words are constantly entering the lexicon, which can confuse readers unless these words are introduced properly.

So, should you add that new word to your writer’s vocabulary? The answer depends on who you’re writing for.

The difference between young adults and tweetstorms

The terms “young adult” and “live blog” were just added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, but you wouldn’t bat an eye at seeing them in print today. In fact, by the time a new term makes it into the dictionary, it’s generally already in common use.

On the other hand, just because you can find something in the dictionary, doesn’t mean it belongs in your writing.

Whether you’re writing a formal whitepaper or an informal blog post, you can feel pretty comfortable about using the term “young adult” at this point.

But what about “tweetstorm,” “crowdsourcing” or “FOMO”? Even if you’re sure your audience will understand these newer terms, most formal types of communication aren’t quite ready for them.

If you’re aiming for a friendly, conversational tone, go ahead and use newer terms to liven up your writing. Just be sure that the term is relevant and that you always define it in first use if you’re audience won’t understand it. (You may need to point out that FOMO means “fear of missing out.”)

Go ahead and use newer terms to liven up your writing. Just be sure that the term is relevant and that you always define it in first use if you’re audience won’t understand it.

New words in formal prose

Even in a more formal context, new words enter the lexicon. We’re seeing terms like “blockchain” and “regtech” increasingly showing up in whitepapers and brochures. These aren’t terms most people were familiar with a few years ago, but now they’ve entered the mainstream.

That means avoiding them in your writing could be a challenge. And if you’re in the financial services industry, it wouldn’t make much sense. Do, however, take the time to define these types of newer terms unless you’re sure your audience will know what they mean.

Remember that people outside of your industry may need more time to pick up industry-specific terminology.

Looking for writing help? Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Editorial calendars: our content lifeline

We deliver ongoing content – e.g., blog posts, emails and newsletters – for many of our clients.

As a result, we manage a number of editorial calendars at the same time. And we love them.

Editorial calendars are our lifeline for content – they provide direction and insight day after day, week after week, month after month.

Here are a few stories about content calendars and how they’ve helped us.

Fresh content for a “new” campaign

One of our longstanding clients was launching a campaign targeted at people who are new to the country. Since we had already created and maintained a calendar that included months of content for this client, we needed to ensure that their new campaign aligned with the client’s editorial strategy.

An editorial calendar came in handy for a couple of reasons. First, we found out we had already scheduled some social media posts that would be perfect for the new campaign – with a few tweaks, of course. This fully integrated view saved time and money, and allowed us to pivot nimbly to accommodate new key messages. Otherwise, the potential of these posts may have been totally overlooked.

Second, when we added the new campaign, we could see how the pre-planned content would need to be designed to reflect holidays, industry events, etc. That way, we could ensure our client’s messages were deployed at optimal times.

And we were able to quickly assess the consequences of shifting existing messages, ensuring that the new campaign was seamlessly incorporated, with minimal risk to our client’s existing messages and objectives.

Years in, and still growing

Another ext. client has been building an industry-leading content hub. You can visit this hub and find insights into almost every single financial issue you could face. It’s remarkable, really. And, after years of producing content for this hub, we’re still going strong.

On one hand, the editorial calendar – with keywords, themes, titles and summaries – ensures we don’t repeat ourselves. We’re able to avoid any redundancies in content – except where we intentionally want to reinforce a particular theme or concept.

On the other hand, it helps us identify if and when we’ve neglected keywords, themes, etc., ensuring we stay focused on our audience’s needs. With a well-maintained calendar, these strategic gaps are easy to identify. Our client appreciates when we’re able to call out a neglected area, and give it some attention.

Finally, an editorial calendar is powerful tool to help us secure buy-in from our client on topics ahead of time, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Shoes for the shoemaker’s children

We’ve been running this blog since 2012. There’s a lot of brainstorming and inspiration that comes from the work we do. But of course, finding fresh content week after week can be challenging when you’re focused on your clients. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword that many firms face.

An editorial calendar gives us focus. It allows us to quickly switch gears from our client work to content that helps us win and maintain clients. We know more than anyone that it’s important to produce engaging and informative content our clients are interested in. We spend very little time struggling with a blank screen at ext.

What else can we say? Get working on your editorial calendar today, especially if you don’t have one.

Let us help you with your content needs. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

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

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

When you get good press, keep the momentum going

If you’re in financial services media relations or corporate communications, you know it’s challenging to earn positive press. Compared to the U.S., we don’t have many trade outlets to pitch.

So, when you do score some good press, pat yourself on the back – and then get back to work because your job is only partly done.

Be it a magazine or newspaper feature, TV interview, web profile or something else, you want to leverage the positive press as much as possible. The focus could be on a product, portfolio manager, senior executive or your company in general – it’s all good. You have an opportunity to help your Sales team start a productive conversation (with a prospect or existing client), retain assets or close a deal.

You have an opportunity to help your Sales team start a productive conversation (with a prospect or existing client), retain assets or close a deal.

3 ways to leverage good press

1. Article reprints

This is the most traditional way to push your story out to a broader audience. With article in tow, your Sales team can distribute the positive piece to clients who may be interested in a particular product, portfolio manager, asset class or sector. Every publication is different but, in general, you’ll need to contact the outlet to purchase article reprint rights. You can usually buy digital rights at the same time, allowing you to share the article electronically and post it on your internal/external websites.

Two caveats to consider. First, be selective because buying reprint rights can be costly. Make sure your Sales team and other colleagues can really use this article to their advantage. Second, the rights are typically time-bound (e.g., for six months or a year), so have a plan in place to make prompt use of the article.

2. Linking

A cheaper way is to link to the article (or video/audio clip) in email messages, e-newsletters or from a website teaser that you create. Just be mindful that the piece will be housed on the media outlet’s website, so you’ll be relying on them to keep the content posted for a certain period of time. Also, since some sites impose paywalls that may impede access to content for some of your target audience, linking is not always an effective route to take, despite the cost efficiency.

3. Social media

Tweet out article content and key quotes (if any) in a steady, methodical drip, while linking to the article, video or audio clip. If you have a corporate LinkedIn account, you can post the content there (or even do it from your personal account if you wish). You could also share it on other social media platforms to maximize exposure and keep the positive buzz circulating through cyberspace.

For more insights on how your company can benefit from leveraging good press, please contact us at 416.925.1700 or


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

Advisor communications series: The end of writer’s block

You’ve been writing your blog and newsletter, and things have been going well. Then it hits you. You feel like you’ve run out of ideas.

Everyone who writes knows what writer’s block is all about: a blank page, the need to do anything else, and a growing sense of insecurity. Writer’s block comes out of nowhere … and you can’t predict when it will go away.

Here are a few handy ways to make writer’s block a thing of the past.

Carry an idea journal

If you’re going to be a reliable source of content, use an idea journal to store 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 article while walking to a client meeting.

Check in with your Twitter feed

This is highly counterintuitive because social media is rarely mentioned as a way to be more productive. There are, however, 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 private list of your competitors and see what they’re writing about. Now build off or analyze the ideas behind 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. Just make sure you have an original take.

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 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 they work for you.

Try these strategies and banish writer’s block for good.

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

How responsive brands win customer loyalty

Not that long ago, we heard the story behind Federal Express’s much-talked-about 1994 rebranding. Many of you may have heard this one before, but it was new to us.

Through a series of focus groups, the design firm behind Federal Express’s rebranding became aware that everyone called the company FedEx, even using the term as a verb. Few people ever had the need to utter the words “Federal Express.”

This was obvious to the customers using Federal Express’s services, but it was something the company hadn’t thought much about.

There’s a lot more to this story, and you can read all about it in this Fast Company article. But what we learned was that, as a result of customer feedback, Federal Express became FedEx and launched a brand new look around this new name. A look that is often cited as one of the most successful and creative ever designed.

What works

The FedEx story is an extreme example of how brands can benefit from responding to customer feedback.

Most of us are more concerned with responding to negative reviews on social media or online review sites. Regardless of the platform, brands that respond to feedback are being rewarded with improved customer sentiment and increased business.

It isn’t always easy to decide how to respond. We find it helps to think about how you would deal with a customer who took the time to give you feedback in person.

With positive feedback, your response would likely be simple. You would say thanks and let the customer know you appreciate their feedback. Negative feedback is clearly less fun to deal with, but it still calls for a quick and thoughtful response.

Survey data from Bazaarvoice shows what happens when a brand responds to feedback in a thoughtful way. It makes customers feel that your brand cares about consumers (41%), has great customer service (35%), is trustworthy (22%) and sells high-quality products (14%). (Source: Infographic: How consumers reward responsive brands.)

What’s considered a thoughtful response? Brands that fared best offered to refund, upgrade or exchange a product. Customers who saw that response were 90% more likely to purchase from that brand.

Brands that responded by suggesting an additional step, like calling customer service, were only slightly less well received, with 89% of people being more likely to purchase from that brand.

And what doesn’t work

Again, let’s think about a costumer who offers negative feedback in person. You might not agree with their feedback, and you might use it to start a conversation. But you wouldn’t ignore them or, worse, belittle them in any way.

Doing so on social media is no more acceptable, and could set you up for an online backlash.

Don’t delete negative feedback from your website or social media channels in an effort to make your brand look good. First of all, it’s just not the right thing to do. Second of all, it’s far too easy for a customer to take screenshots of a deleted conversation and share them widely.

Obvious trolling is a separate issue. It can be smart to ignore or even delete troll-like comments to provide the best experience for your real customers.

But even with trolls, don’t take a defensive approach by insulting these commenters or calling them out. It’s not worth the time, and it will only leave your real customers with a negative impression of your brand.

Looking for more ways to build a loyal customer base? Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Lessons from courtside

At a Raptors game a while back, we were struck by the energy of the crowd. It was very different than what we’d experienced at hockey and baseball games. Basketball just has a different “feel” than other sports. It seems younger, hipper and hotter. The NBA is doing something right.

Hang out with your core market

The first rule of marketing is to know your audience. But the NBA also knows where to find that audience and how to engage them. The league says its core market is 18- to 34-year olds.

Where would you find this particular group? On social media, which is also where you’ll find the NBA. Various teams’ Twitter feeds are full of pop culture references to hot hip hop artists and TV shows. You’ll find plenty of Vines of dunks, drives and behind-the-scenes silliness.

The end result is a league – and star players – that fans can relate to.

Your core market may be very different, but you can still find out where they’re hanging out and meet them there.

Let your fans (i.e., clients) sell your brand

Most professional sports leagues are proprietary when it comes to live footage. Not the NBA. They let their fans share game pictures and video over social media without jumping through any hoops (pun intended). This is a subtle yet effective way to sell a brand.

Another winning idea: celebrity team ambassadors. The Raptors have Drake, the Nets have Jay Z and the Lakers have Jack Nicholson. These aren’t celebrities paid to endorse a team. They’re genuine fans … who happen to have huge followings of their own.

You might not think your brand has fans, but it has loyal clients who are happy to spread the word about what you do and why they love working with you. Let them.

There is no off-season

Letting your clients sell your brand doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any work. The NBA’s marketing people don’t get an off-season, because they can’t let fans forget about the game for four or five months.

While your clients are promoting your brand, you will be too. Use a consistent voice, keep your message short and simple, and have a sense of humour. Above all, don’t be afraid to take a few risks!

Sometimes the outcome won’t be what you want. But quite often, the payoff for taking smaller, more calculated risks can be big.

Follow us on Twitter for more marketing ideas. And let us know what you think about this blog post.

11 quick reminders for creating your next newsletter

Newsletters will always be fashionable in our books. They’re simply one of the best ways to get the right content in front of the right people. If you’re interested in finding ways to improve your newsletters, check out this post.

Here are 11 quick reminders to make sure your newsletters are as engaging as possible:

1. Write great headlines

Today, everyone’s attention is being pulled in different directions. A strong headline is probably the best way to grab a reader’s attention. Try writing out 25 different headlines before you make a final decision.

2. Focus your content

A newsletter filled with scattered content themes may feel sloppy. We think staying focused on one overarching topic per newsletter is often the best way to do it.

3. Think carefully about your images

Stock photos may be okay, given that they can add some flavour to a newsletter. But a bold image – one that inspires, challenges or intrigues – can take a newsletter to the next level.

4. Write timely content

The most popular newsletters have articles that tackle a current event. Although current content often means tighter deadlines, we think it’s worth it.

5. Build a strong list

Your email (or mailing) list doesn’t have to be big. Just get the right info in front of the right people.

6. Don’t stop researching

More data at hand means that when clients ask for more information, you can keep the conversation going and continue to add value.

7. Test your content

Send out different versions of your newsletter. For example, use different headlines, calls to action and images, and see which ones get more responses. Of course, your results will be more meaningful if you have a larger list but it can’t hurt to experiment!

8. Share it

Social media is one of the best ways to get your newsletters in front of new eyes. Get on LinkedIn and Twitter to share the content that you worked hard to produce.

9. Create a clear unsubscribe link

If you’re sending your newsletter via email, make sure you have a clear unsubscribe link. Now that CASL has come to Canada, big ($1 million+) fines are in store for people and companies who are found guilty of spamming. So make sure it’s incredibly easy for readers to get off your list.

10. Think about less content

Your newsletter, like all content initiatives, must be sustainable. If it’s taking up too much time, send less copy rather than skipping an edition.

11. Seek feedback

Ask what your readers thought about your newsletter in every edition you send out. The feedback you receive is a key resource for crafting future content.

To learn more about creating stronger newsletters, or for any of your other marketing questions, please 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

What can a salad teach us about marketing?

Several very pioneering – and possibly hungry – researchers tested the idea that an aesthetically pleasing salad would influence a diner’s expectation of the quality of the salad, the eventual enjoyment of the salad and, ultimately, the price someone would pay for that salad.

Imagine three salads: a simple tossed salad, a second arranged to look like a Kandinsky painting and a third arranged in an extremely neat manner, as if built by a chef with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

As the researchers confirmed for us, we do in fact eat with our eyes first.

As the researchers confirmed for us, we do in fact eat with our eyes first. The Kandinsky-esque salad apparently tasted better, was thought to be more complex and more liked, and would command a higher price.

What does your marketing salad look like?
Gone are the days of wordy brochures filled with product jargon.

The rise of infographics, digital and social marketing, and integrated microsites has helped show a customer your company’s value proposition or product details in a more thoughtful way.

Gone are the days of wordy brochures filled with product jargon.

Last year we stressed the importance of having your summer interns conduct an audit of your marketing materials – this year we urge you to do the same, but then take those old but impactful materials and give them the “fine art” treatment.

Do you have a company factsheet that touts sales or investment growth over time? Throw in the latest numbers and make it an infographic!

Is an old product gaining new traction in the market? It might be time to build a microsite so your wholesalers can spread the message easily – and follow up immediately.

And remember, if Kandinsky is too weird, then a Warhol is cool, too!

Contact us at 416.925.1700 or to discuss how we can work together to make your next salad – that is, your next project – more enticing and more successful.

Walking backwards – a marketing lesson

What can walking backwards for 25 years teach us about marketing? Apparently, quite a lot.

Mani Manithan has spent the past 25 years walking backwards. It began as a form of protest. But as the years have passed he now finds walking normally to be a challenge and uncomfortable.

Face forward

Does Mani’s problem sound familiar? Trying something new – or something long-forgotten – isn’t always that easy for people in the financial services industry. As a result, it’s possible for sales and marketing groups to avoid the new and become set in their ways.

Maybe that comfort in the status quo is where the old adage if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it came from?

However, we financial services marketers operate in a rapidly changing business environment where it can become absolutely necessary to relearn how to “walk normally” just like Mani needs to. Don’t take a backwards approach – keep pushing ahead!

We financial services marketers operate in a rapidly changing business environment where it can become absolutely necessary to relearn how to “walk normally.”

Stop before you walk

So you’ve turned around to the possibility of change. But it’s important to avoid changing just for the sake of change.

Ask why are we going to walk down this path of change?

Think about the current focus on the customer-centric, advice-based marketing model for instance. It was born out of the proliferation of investment products. Those companies that weren’t prepared to change course – away from a pure product push toward a more client-oriented approach – may have found their messages falling flat.

Today, we face other great challenges and are, in turn, presented with tremendous opportunities. One example is the great shift in communications and how people receive messages from companies. Social media, mobile and more engaging digital options should be on every financial services marketer’s mind … and their to-do list.

Find a strong footing

There are a number of new ways to get your message out – microsites, infographics, digital flipbooks, videos/animated vignettes and all of the possible tie-ins with social media. Each offers a unique way to convey a message and value proposition – to tell your story – to new and existing clients.

If your clients and prospects want this type of communication, give it to them.

Let’s walk together! If you have any marketing strategy or communications questions, contact us at 416.925.1700 or