Bill Hortz's picture

[Financial advisors’ greatest value proposition and sincerest gift that they offer their clients is in providing genuine advice, guidance, and leadership. Being strategic about how you communicate and reinforce these offerings will be recognized and builds credibility with your audience.

Credibility has been defined as “the quality of being believable or worthy of trust” or “the quality or power of inspiring belief” and its practical study dates back to Aristotle’s theory of Rhetoric using the term Ethos as the exploration of the source's credibility. We discovered some further insights on the power and nature of credibility through James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner from their social research and seminal book "Credibility – How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It":

Credibility is the foundation of leadership but people choose to follow a leader not because of a leader’s authority but because a leader lives up to the expectations constituents hold… “Doing what you say you will do” is the behavioral definition of personal credibility... Leaders bring a value-added competence and are not the genius in all things...To gain and sustain leadership credibility, leaders build consensus and commitment around shared values which are the foundation for building productive working relationships... Shared values can only be sustained through reinforcements built into everyday firm systems and programs… To sustain credibility, credible leaders stay in touch. 

A few of the book’s bottom-line points include: 

Uncertainty is the new normal and makes building and sustaining credibility even more imperative. 

Credible leaders make a positive difference in individual’s lives.

In order to build this needed credibility, regular communication has been a proven way to connect with and keep prospects and clients engaged. Unfortunately, many busy advisor firms employ a manual, disjointed, and time-consuming process that can lead to inconsistent implementation and poor returns for the effort. 

To get a better understanding of how to rethink and implement a more strategic and efficient firm strategy around content as an engagement tool, we reached out to Institute member Scott Rogerson, CEO of UpContent – a powerful content curation platform. In a hyper-competitive marketplace, it is essential to transform a time-consuming manual process into a strategic engagement approach to cut through the noise and demonstrate your credibility and value to your target audience.]


Hortz: How would you define credibility and why is it crucial for advisor success?

Rogerson: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “credibility” is defined as “the quality or power of inspiring belief.”  When you think of someone credible, you probably envision someone you trust, someone who has your best interests at heart. Credibility is how you stand out in a sea of mediocrity. You do not have to be the smartest, but you need to be the most trustworthy. 

The need for credibility is especially important for financial advisors because you are helping and advising on one of the most sensitive, important, and private parts of people’s lives: their money. When it comes to helping people with their finances, there has to be mutual trust, and without that, you are not going to be very effective as a financial advisor. 

If you think about the antecedent for credibility, words such as “deception, falsity, and hypocrisy” come to mind. And when you are in any position of advising or guiding someone, you are not going to get far with your clients if they think you are not sincere.

Hortz: What are the common traits that people consider when assessing the credibility of others?

Rogerson: Knowledgeable, educated, resourceful, experienced, and can demonstrate proof of these traits through their actions. These are the first few thoughts that pop into my mind when assessing the credibility of someone, and they all require some sort of third-party influence. 

Hortz: How can a content curation strategy help build credibility for advisors?

Rogerson: Content curation is a great way to build credibility by utilizing third-party content to back up, prove, or validate whatever advice you are sharing with your audience. When you share third-party content, you are showing you are involved with your industry and what other experts are saying, and you can share your opinion, thoughts, and advice along with a valuable piece of content.

When you are only sharing content you have created with no external sources, there is no way to validate your thoughts or opinions, and they remain just that: thoughts and opinions. When you add third-party content to your content mix, your thoughts and opinions turn into credible and valuable advice, because it has been backed up with a reliable source.

Hortz: How does your software specifically support advisors in implementing and maintaining a content curation strategy?

Rogerson: The skill set of being a financial advisor is not the same as being a marketing guru. How are advisors supposed to know how to find and pick the best content to help build trust with your audience? Technology in the form of content curation software helps address this challenge.

Using content curation software like UpContent automates the parts of content curation that should be automated, such as the sourcing, organizing, and sharing, so you can focus on choosing from a curated collection of articles fitting the topics and queries you want to share with your audience.

Our proprietary AI crawler scans the internet twice daily to bring you the latest content matching your search parameters into organized Collections. From there, you can easily decide which articles you want to share and which articles you do not need. There is no need to hire a content curator or even additional staff. You are already a subject matter expert as a financial advisor. You would be able to determine the best content for your audience. You just need a tool to help you find the best of the best content to choose from and efficiently distribute to the right clients.

Hortz: How exactly does your technology help analyze and determine the best articles and most valuable insights for individual clients? 

Rogerson: UpContent uses an AI-powered proprietary crawler that grows smarter the longer you use it to find third-party articles. You can build granular Topics that are as vague or detailed as you need, and we use this information to match keywords and phrases from more than 200,000 publishers.

Hortz: How are you using AI to help you build an advisor’s credibility?

Rogerson: In the age of generative AI, people are becoming more skeptical of the content they are reading, so building your credibility is essential. We built a filter, Smart Sort, which uses engagement data from your audience to determine which articles are more likely to get engagement, and then sorts your curated articles from most likely to get engagement to least likely.

The filter will personalize your curated feed based on predictive performance, which is formulated based on the past performance of other curated articles you have shared from UpContent. Smart Sort helps you get a better understanding of the kind of content your audience is interested in so you know what the best content is for them. 

When you share content and engage with your audience, it helps build your relationship with them, and creates an authenticity to what you are sharing. Then, as you share content that you or your company create, your prospects and clients will already have a baseline of trust that you built and want to read what you have to say.

Hortz: Why do you feel that firms should stop trying to track all click-throughs and social media activities?

Rogerson: When it comes to tracking marketing efforts from social media strategies, there is no direct way to track click-to-sales on every piece of content your advisors or company shares. Sure, when it comes to ads and boosted posts, those are much easier to track and make sense to track as you have dedicated ad spending you want to ensure is being used effectively. But when it comes to thought leadership, curated content, and individual content, trying to track every effort will take more time and money than what each post is bringing in.

Instead, looking at the bigger picture, much in the same way you have conversations about branding, will help you see the overall effectiveness of your social media strategy.

If you are making the effort to share credible, valuable, high-quality content, then your clients will notice. The ROI comes in deeper trust, and staying top of mind so when they need your services, you are the only person that comes to mind.

Hortz: What advice or recommendations can you offer advisors about how best to build their credibility?

Rogerson: My main advice on advisors building their credibility would be three-fold:

Continuously expand your knowledge in your field by staying updated on industry trends, attending workshops, conferences, and webinars, and pursuing relevant certifications. 

Demonstrating your expertise will help clients trust your advice. Consistently deliver high-quality information and advice through curated content and created content. Ensure that your recommendations are well-reasoned and based on thorough research and analysis.

Consistently share your expertise by writing articles, blog posts, or conducting webinars and podcasts. This will showcase your knowledge and position you as a thought leader in your field.


The Institute for Innovation Development is an educational and business development catalyst for growth-oriented financial advisors and financial services firms determined to lead their businesses in an operating environment of accelerating business and cultural change. We operate as a business innovation platform and educational resource with FinTech and financial services firm members to openly share their unique perspectives and activities. The goal is to build awareness and stimulate open thought leadership discussions on new or evolving industry approaches and thinking to facilitate next-generation growth, differentiation, and unique community engagement strategies. The institute was launched with the support and foresight of our founding sponsors — Ultimus Fund Solutions, NASDAQ, FLX Networks, TIFIN, Advisorpedia, Pershing, Fidelity, Voya Financial, and Charter Financial Publishing (publisher of Financial Advisor and Private Wealth magazines). 


Sign Up for Your Free Innovation Newsletter