The content creation process
Shortly after completing my rotation and joining the group permanently, I was aligned to the Advisor’s Alpha research team, which focuses on investor behavior and the value of financial advice. When I began working on my first whitepaper, I collaborated with members of my team and partnered with leaders and practitioners in Vanguard’s client-facing divisions. Our goals were to create differentiated content that would shape the industry conversation and to outline best practices that would give institutional clients the best chance of achieving their mission (i.e. charity, education, retirement).
Creating thought leadership, no matter the topic, often happens in phases. We started off by doing deep dive research, poring through academic studies, industry intelligence, and previously published whitepapers. I really enjoyed the “get smart” phase because it allowed me to get a feel for the broader conversation happening in the industry around institutional advice. Then, we began outlining our approach, performing analysis, and drafting the paper. The writing phase was challenging but rewarding as we iterated through a number of versions and honed in on our structure, language, and visualization. Though it was a long journey, the skills I gained by working through the research process were invaluable.