May 2015: Blogs

We examine the accessibility, quality and variety of content provided by applicable blogs in our coverage group. We awarded four A grades to firms providing strong blogs that promote thought leaders, offer ample filtering options and present topical, eye-catching posts, along with eight Bs to firms with strong, but not leading blogs. One C was awarded to a blog with a dated design and relatively no search or filtering options. Specifically, this report looks at the following criteria:

  • Accessibility and promotion on advisor site
  • Features and design
  • Quality of content and messaging focus

A growing number of asset managers have been using blogs to build their brand. At the time of our last report, 55% of coverage group firms offered blogs, while our latest report found that 73% of coverage group firms offer blogs. A total of 18 blogs exist across 14 coverage group firms. Five firms are new to this report, having all released blogs within the last 18 months. Around 33% of the blogs in our analysis have thought leaders as noted contributors, and two firms offer blogs that are entirely dedicated to showcasing insight from a specific thought leader.

Hosting an external blog is common to 92% of firms in our report, while three firms offer blogs whose content appear both internally on the advisor site and externally. Only one firm offers a blog that is entirely internal. Seven firms promote blog posts via their respective advisor site homepage. In general, most firms offer a single blog, with 21% of firms in our report offering multiple blogs with different focuses. Content across blogs and advisor sites is duplicated by four firms, in these cases the blog will appear as commentary.

We noted a significant discrepancy in the design and features each blog offered, however many parallels exist. For example, the majority of asset management firms offer blogs that address a wide scope of topics. Typical issues relevant to advisors and investors are covered, including current economic conditions, public policy, international investing and different asset classes. Every firm in our report provides a blog that addresses economic events in the U.S. and abroad. Half of firms reference products in blogs, while around 90% of blogs discuss investing strategies. Social sharing of posts is encouraged by most, with 10 firms providing links to share posts to both LinkedIn and Twitter, and eight firms offering Facebook sharing links.

We discovered the following additional key findings in our analysis:

  • There was an18% increase in firms offering blogs since our last review in 2013.
  • One-third of firms promote thought leadership insights on blogs.
  • 46% of firms position products in blog posts.
  • 27% of blogs offer practice management tips.
  • 83% of blogs feature responsive design.