Bob Veres recently summarized how he views his role as a journalist for financial advisors. We thought we would share it with you, because it also encapsulates our approach to advancing the advisory profession.
I’ve been asked from time to time why I don’t put more news on my website and drive more traffic there. People respond to breaking news items, and since I’ve been checking out Twitter recently, I’m pretty much onto whatever happens the minute it does. A few phone calls, and I’ve got the hot breaking story.
Looking back, I can see that my answers have kind of assumed that people understood my philosophy of adding value with my writing, which is surprisingly similar to how you add value with your professional advice.
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Years ago, I was asked to give a keynote presentation at an annual meeting of the American Society of Business Editors and Writers. They were looking for the perspective of a trade journalist, somebody who could convey what professional financial planners were thinking – insights which, apparently, the mainstream press people on the TV networks, Money and Kiplinger’s etc. were not privy to.
My speech, I was later told, shocked the people in the room. The first thing I said was that in the new age of the Internet, as the Internet becomes the primary delivery vehicle for news, the journalists in the room were all going to have to learn to do something that I was then doing routinely: interact directly with their readers. That is, when a story was published, there would be instant feedback, including dissent, including people calling them on whatever they got wrong, including helping them see how their story actually fit into a bigger picture. They would learn that collectively – and sometimes individually – the audience knew more than they did.
Famous financial writers and broadcasters came up to me afterwards and said they weren’t comfortable with that prediction. They preferred a one-way communications medium, from them to us, over this two-way circuit that I was proposing. I told them that in the financial planning profession, advisors were making the same adjustment, from a professional telling a layperson what to do to a more collaborative feedback loop between the advisor’s expertise and the client’s much greater understanding of his/her own situation and preferences. It makes for a much stronger and more valuable relationship – and isn’t that always our goal?
By Bob Veres, Advisor Perspective