Interview with Influencer Michael Kitces: Financial Planning Nerd
We chat with Michael Kitces, self-confessed financial planning nerd and social influencer. Michael also happens to be an all round nice guy, so we're delighted to be sharing his story.
Michael is obsessed with learning everything he possibly can about financial planning, from strategies to improve your financial situation in all stages of life, to ideas on how to better run a business. He makes complicated stuff easy to understand.
Michael Kitces is a Partner and the Director of Wealth Management for Pinnacle Advisory Group, co-founder of the XY Planning Network, and publisher of the financial planning industry blog Nerd’s Eye View.
How often do you share content on social media?
Several times a day.
What kind of content do you share?
Content relevant to my target audience of financial advisors, including a mixture of the expert content I've written and published, and curated content from industry publications and relevant outside sources.
Which is your favourite social network? Why?
Twitter, for its ability to create instantaneous conversation and engagement.
What’s been the key to your success in growing an audience?
A relentless focus on what's relevant to my target audience, and both producing and curating content that's relevant to them.
How did you find your voice on social media? Was it instantaneous or did it take time?
My voice on social media evolved over time. I started by modelling myself based on those I followed on social media whose presence connected with me, and then drew out the elements that I thought I could authentically use in my own context.
Why do you believe people follow you?
Relevant expertise they can trust.
What’s your approach to balancing content creation with curation? Do you follow the 80/20 rule or any other marketing principles?
In the early years, I roughly followed the 80/20 rule. As the depth of my content has grown over the years, now the mixture is closer to 60/20/20, where the first 60% is third-party curated, the next 20% is curated content from MY archives, and the last 20% is our latest new content. So it's still 80/20 of curated/created, but of the curated about 1/4th of it is curating MY old content.
Do you publish an email newsletter? If so, what’s the idea behind the newsletter, how much content do you include and how often do you send it?
Our email newsletter is the anchor of our platform, and drives far more activity than all social media platforms combined. We distribute an executive summary of every new article we produce via email, with a link back to the blog for those who want to read in full.
Do you use any tools to grow, track and analyse your followers on social media?
Primarily use the tools native to the platforms. So, FB analytics for FB, Twitter analytics for Twitter, etc.
Ultimately, our primary focus is engagement on our website, though, so our core engine for measurement is still Google Analytics, to track traffic activity, social media sources, and on-site engagement & conversion metrics.
Any books or blogs that have influenced your approach to social media?
Erik Qualman's Socialnomics was extremely influential for me in my early years building my platform.
Name your favourite brand on social media and explain why.
In our industry, my favorite is Josh Brown, @ReformedBroker. He finds an incredible balance of witty humour and quality curation.
What does a typical day in your week look like? How do you structure your days?
Mondays are internal team days, focused on managing the team and our projects for the week.
Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays are travel for speaking engagements, meeting with clients, and consulting. Days where none of that is scheduled (as I limit total capacity) are writing days.
Friday mornings we produce a weekly content round-up called "Weekend Reading for Financial Planners" (our most popular column), and Friday afternoons are wrap-up meetings with the team to ensure we got through what we needed to.
How do you unwind?
Unfortunately, I'm so immersed into a business I love, it's hard to even find time to unwind. I've taken to getting a standing desk, and now a treadmill desk, to ensure I get exercise. I'm typing all the responses to this interview while walking 1.5mph!
Do you use any apps or products to make your life easier?
Lots. I'm a big adherent of using technology tools to ease/expedite anything I can. I'll spend $100 on something that saves me a minute a day, because the cumulative impact in a year is tremendous
Popular (paid) tools these days in social media include Buffer and MeetEdgar and CoSchedule
Which people, places or ideas have had the most influence on your personal development and why?
Simon Sinek's "Start With Why", Michael Gerber's "E-Myth", Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail", and Greg McKeown's "Essentialism" have all been very impactful on my view of building business, and refining my own personal focus.
These days, I live a philosophy of trying to spend as close to 100% of my time as possible doing tasks that are my highest and best use that only I can uniquely do, and let go of and delegate everything else. It's a constant challenge. :)
What keeps you going when things get tough?
An awareness of the positive impact I'm having on my chosen profession, an internal drive to see things through, a system of accountability I've created for myself (as now my readers EXPECT the content, and I don't want to let them down!), and creating financial buffers for myself and my business to ensure that I'm confident I can weather a storm.
What’s is the first website you visit after turning on your computer?
Google Analytics to check out the morning traffic data. I'm a data junkie. :)
Michael Kitces is a Partner and the Director of Wealth Management for Pinnacle Advisory Group, a private wealth management firm located in Columbia, Maryland, that oversees more than $1.8 billion of client assets.
He is the publisher of the financial planning industry blog Nerd’s Eye View.
He's also the co-founder of the XY Planning Network, New Planner Recruiting, and FA Bean Counters.