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Investment firms aren’t known for being tech savvy. Of course top portfolio managers and stock traders use sophisticated computer modeling and tracking systems. But the financial industry overall has been slow to adopt the latest Internet technologies like podcasting and vodcasting. One brokerage firm only recently allowed advisors to communicate with clients via email.

Times are changing though. The investment industry no longer shuns new technology. It simply takes them longer than most to figure out how to effectively use it.

Financial companies make it a practice to follow behind others to see how certain systems and technologies work—or fail. The thinking being that they want others to take the risks.

Thankfully, the world has courageous early adopters who embrace new technologies—and are willingly to share their lessons learned with the rest of us.

Consider blogging.

In their book “Naked Conversations,” IT rebels Robert Scoble and Shel Israel provide a roadmap for companies to implement blogging. The book cites convincing case examples from Scoble’s groundbreaking work at Microsoft and Israel’s experience as a communications innovator. It provides a guide for corporations that want to embark and learn the rules of blogging.

After reading “Naked Conversations” I couldn’t help but wonder whether blogging could effectively fit into the financial industry. Could I convince clients to use blogging as another communications tool that would build more effective relationships at a fraction of the cost? It certainly would be challenging.

Consider that the traditional press release still represents the financial industry’s most widely used communications tool. This traditional one-way communication method is anything but conversational and customer focused.

But the concept of blogging, the ability to reach and converse with your target audience effectively and efficiently sounds compelling, right?

I’m drawn to the conversational and two-way nature of blogging. It’s a great way for customers or potential clients to hear from the company in an authentic and interesting way. The company now has personality.

The idea of corporate blogging is making its way into the mainstream. In addition to Scoble and Israel’s writings, numerous studies and articles have been written about the potential impact that blogging could have on corporations.

A Public Relations Journal study claims that the new world of public relations requires PR professionals to embrace the digital age—or else. According to the study, this means developing digital strategies that complement and further enhance the client relationship. It means using the Internet and the many sources available to advance relationships, such as blogging.

A study by Edelman Public Relations says blogging empowers employees to communicate in ways similar to the rise of labor unions witnessed in the 20th century. The study discusses the importance of establishing blogging guidelines. Scoble and Israel and organizations such as the BBC also raise this point.

So, after reading “Naked Conversations” and the many upbeat articles about blogging, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the blogosphere simply has too many rules and guidelines. Before reading the book, I thought that blogging was supposed to be a forum for those who wanted to voice their opinions and express themselves however they saw fit. I used to view blogging more as an open source-esque type of communication. The book illustrates the less than appealing reaction that the blogging community can take when a company unknowingly veers off the blogging rule path and attempts to take a different approach. The blogosphere becomes a bully towards those who break the blogging rules. That part I don’t appreciate.

But bully blogging aside, I believe that blogging could be effective in the financial industry. As Scoble and Israel point out, the entire culture, particularly the legal team, needs to be on board.

Investment professionals who operate in a blogging friendly culture and who are creative, interesting, and can write well could find blogging as a way to build stronger client relationships and gain new customers.

There are certain topics financial blogs must avoid for legal reason, such as recommending specific stocks. Instead, the focus could be on specific life events that people face and the financial difficulties that result.

I believe that the women’s market represents an ideal target audience for blogging. I could see blog postings talking about the financial considerations that divorced women should understand, or the financial impact of having a child. An advisor who blogged about these issues could position themselves well with clients and prospects and with peers in the financial community.

A number of financial blogging communities already exist, such as “No Limits Ladies.” This social community discusses financial literacy in a fun and interesting way with other investors. I see no reason why investment professionals can’t take part and help to transform and improve the world of financial blogs.

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