#FinCon16 Preview: How blogging has changed the financial services industry

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If you still think blogging is just a hobby, think again. Over the past decade, blogging has become a widely-adopted marketing tool for financial services companies to communicate with their target audiences.

Next week, my colleague Tony Catinella and I are jetting off to San Diego for FinCon, the world’s largest financial content expo, to check out the latest trends in financial blogging. Now in its sixth year, FinCon brings together hundreds of professional bloggers, financial services professionals and media members.

To learn more about what we will see at FinCon16, we spoke with financial journalist Miranda Marquit ahead of the conference.

Miranda, whose latest projects include the Money Tree Investing Podcast and Adulting.tv, has been involved in the FinCon community since its beginnings as a 200-person gathering. For the third year in a row, Miranda will participate in a panel discussion about the state of freelancing in personal finance.

During the conference, follow Tony and me on Twitter to catch what we’re learning at #FinCon16.

How did you get involved in the FinCon community?

Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit

Marquit: Back in the day, before there was a FinCon, there were a few of us who were writing about personal finance online. After two or three years, founder of PT Money Phil Taylor thought it would be fun to get together in person. He asked, “If I have a conference, would you go and encourage others to attend?” I said, “Yes, of course!”

At the time, I was freelancing for several members of the personal finance community and thought it would be great to meet these people I’ve worked with in person. Phil has done an amazing job of growing the community.

What piqued my interest was the personal connection. Even with all the technology we have, there’s something about looking someone in the eye and shaking their hand or giving them a hug. My business partner Tom Drake and I didn’t decide we were going to work together until we met in-person at FinCon.

Now in its sixth year, how have you seen FinCon evolve over the years?

Marquit: Originally, FinCon offered information on how to start your blog and how to write about money. Now, there are so many learning tracks. The community has grown and the focus has shifted to how to view blogging as part of your business.

Another interesting shift in focus is how to be more authoritative as a blogger, and being a true expert in this space.

How have you seen financial blogging impact the financial services industry?

Marquit: I think the financial services industry has become more focused on consumers’ needs and wants due to the rise of blogging. Financial blogging has helped push that forward because what the independent financial media (blogging) is all about is helping consumers find the right tools for their financial needs.

What are you most looking forward to at FinCon16 in San Diego?

Marquit: I’m most looking forward to renewing those business ties and personal ties. You kind of lose track of it and get run down. FinCon is a great way to reenergize for the coming year.

What do you hope the financial blogging and media community takes away from FinCon this year?

Marquit: I hope they realize that we’re doing a great thing here, and a great service for consumers. They come away feeling that we are a good community and we do have strength in numbers and can continue to make a positive difference.

For more on what to expect at FinCon16, check out our Q&A with Michael Kitces.