The Digital Reality for Financial Advisors

The Digital Reality for Financial Advisors

This post was authored by Marie Swift and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

Today’s most progressive Financial Advisors and Advisory Firms are embracing the PESO Model as a way to bridge traditional marketing methods and digital / mobile realities. This integrated, modern model includes Paid placements, Earned media attention, Sharing through social media and Owning online properties that you build and control. Using the PESO Model covers all the bases: helping you enhance your brand, build share-of-mind, and derive new business. When all four elements are properly attuned and working together, a new space emerges for the firm.


Look at graphic above and make a mental note: The sweet spot is in the middle – that’s where “authority” occurs and new business seems to come magically to the firm. Also notice how the circles are arrayed. Earned is at the top because it is the hardest and most important element to consistently attain. On the left and right are (a) Shared and (b) Owned – (a) your social media strategy, which is where if you post engaging content people will share it with others in their social circles, is closely related to (b) your website and blog, which as your primary online presence should serve as a platform for not just positioning your firm but for demonstrating thought leadership and subject matter expertise. At the bottom of the array is the Paid category; while this element should not be ignored and can be helpful in driving business success, anything that is purchased and totally controlled is still seen as less credible than placements that are earned, such as being quoted in the New York Times or having a piece you wrote published in the local newspaper.

Here’s how the PESO Model might shape your marketing plans:


  • Research and purchase select advertisements / sponsorships where target market is reading / attending
  • Get out ahead of conference appearances / sponsorships to make the most of the investment being made
  • Leverage paid assets accrued on website, social media, etc.


  • Increase market visibility through positive media coverage
  • Focus on strategic PR (e.g., media coffees and press conferences, news releases, strategic pitches) but also jump on organic opportunities and press requests that come through networks such as the Garrett Planning Network and associations such as NAPFA and the FPA.
  • Leverage earned assets accrued on website, social media, etc.


  • Build share of mind through social media strategy
  • Review existing social accounts (make sure all are consistently branded and on message)
  • Develop a Social Media Policy and Editorial Calendar
  • Cross-link and promote social media accounts on website, in e-signatures, etc.


  • Generate meaningful content that positions key executives as thought leaders and subject matter experts
  • Review and continually enhance primary assets (e.g., website, conference booth materials, brochures, e-books and special reports, white papers, motion graphic videos, live action videos, animated white board videos, infographics, etc.)
  • Leverage all owned assets accrued on website, social media; place as appropriate in third-party media outlets, etc.

Paid Media

Paid media does not necessarily need to be fancy commercials and creative print ads. Consider instead: social media advertising, sponsored content or display ads on other relevant websites, hosted or sponsored events, Google Adwords, and email marketing. A smart strategy would be to create a “must have” Special Report or e-Book, which you could offer on your site for free in return for name and email address. Your offer could include the weekly or monthly delivery of financial tips and insights, along with occasional invitations to special events you are hosting or supporting.

Earned Media

Earned media is what you know as either publicity or media relations. It’s having a newspaper or trade publication write about you. It’s appearing on the local television station to share professional insights on personal financial matters. It’s having a credible news outlet publish your thoughts on saving, budgeting, investing, college funding and retirement realities. It’s writing a book and having a traditional publisher select it for distribution and promotion via their platform. In the age where anyone can publish and promote their own content online, it is more important than ever to be seen as a vetted resource for credible news-and-info outlets. While anyone can write and self-publish a book, respected brand-name book publishers are deemed as having higher standards. While blogging or publishing content on your own web platform is helpful for demonstrating expertise and also enhances search engine page rankings due to the consistent use of relevant key words that result in higher discoverability online, studies show that being interviewed by and included in a professional journalist’s story or having your articles published in a respected magazine or newspaper is typically seen by the general public as three-to-five times more credible than publishing that same content on your own.

Shared Media

Shared media, also known as social media, is an evolving art. You know you are mastering the art of social media when people start sharing and liking and commenting on your posts; this type of “engagement” shows that you are providing highly relevant content that people find interesting enough to share with their own social circles. When sharing occurs, firms experience a new form of “earned” visibility. At some point in the future, we may even see organizations use it as their main source of communications internally and externally. The great thing about the PESO Model is that, if you embrace all the segments, you will have a ton of good content to share on your own social media accounts. If you are attuned to your audience and their needs, and align that mindset with the idea of attracting ideal clients, you will find a good balance between promotional, educational and business-casual communications.

Owned Media

Owned media is the content you create and/or control. It is something you own. It lives on your website or blog. You control the visuals, the messaging and platform. It is your primary presence on the worldwide web. A smart thing to do is to place “lead magnets” on your owned properties – for instance, a pop-up box or sidebar area that invites visitors to sign up for your monthly newsletter or weekly e-tips. It is also wise to include videos (could be cartoon type “explainer” videos or educational videos with you speaking to the camera), memes (a humorous or inspirational image with corresponding text that is copied and spread by Internet users) and infographics (a visual image such as a chart or diagram that helps simplify a complicated subject or turn an otherwise boring subject into a captivating experience) on your primary marketing hub; studies show that people share video links twelve times more often (and images two times more often) than they do simple text and links alone.

Embracing the PESO Model can help you attract new business, generate referrals and retain your best clients. Pay attention to all four elements and you’ll see the magic occur over time.