How Investopedia is getting serious about personal finance coverage
Caleb Silver is vice president of content at Investopedia.com with 20 years of experience in broadcast news, digital video programming, documentaries, live events and branded content.
He joined the website in January.
In 2014, he formed Frog Pond Productions, a New York-based production and consulting company that produces and sells television and digital content for cable and broadcast networks, and consults with major media companies and investment firms.
Prior to that he was the director of business news for CNN and worked for the network for ten years in a variety of executive and management roles. He was the executive producer for CNNMoney.com, where he helped launch the CNNMoney Video Network.
He was also a senior producer on “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer.
Silver began his business journalism career at Bloomberg News in 1997, where he worked as a senior television producer for eight years. He is a graduate of NYU’s Carter Journalism Institute and Colgate University.
Silver spoke by email with Talking Biz News about Investopedia’s new content and its recently redesigned website. What follows is an edited transcript.
You’ve been at Investopedia now for four months. What’s been the biggest change in the editorial content since then?
We are leaning more heavily into the news than ever before, with an emphasis on covering relevant issues for users of every level. From timely content, the recently launched Advisor Insights network and the Investopedia Anxiety index, Investopedia is creating more and more tools to help people make smarter financial decisions.
We have also added several columnists to the site, including Pulitzer Prize winning author David Cay Johnston, and others, who offer great analysis, point of view and terrific writing.
How big is the editorial staff now, and what are they covering on a daily basis?
We have six staff editors who cover investing, finance, ETFs and mutual funds, financial advisers, personal finance and retirement, and video.
How do you determine the content each day?
We are very fortunate to be backed by a team of data scientists that allow us to determine the volume of the most heavily searched topics in investing and finance across the internet that we combine with the expertise of our editors who know their beats up and down. We also use good old-fashioned editorial instincts to enterprise news, feature and service stories across our key sections.
What’s behind the website redesign this week?
We were well overdue for a homepage redesign, which is what we unveiled this week. A full website overhaul is in the works, but we started with the redesign of the homepage so that we could surface more of our topical content, increase the story count “above the fold,” and reveal our Advisor Insights platform, which allows our millions of users to connect with and ask questions of financial advisors.
We are really excited about Advisor Insights, which is one of our top priorities, and wanted to surface it to our homepage visitors.
Who do you see as Investopedia’s competitors?
We are uniquely positioned to be able to cover our particular areas of focus by bringing our visitors up to date on the topics they care about most while offering them resources and the ability to connect with financial advisors.
There are a lot of great sites that offer investors the ability to connect with advisors, and a lot of great sites and blogs that have insightful news and commentary, but we want to be a site that offers all of those things in one package.
Is it a goal for the site to break news?
Breaking news is not our intention or priority, although I will be delighted if we ever do it. That said, the sites and publishers I admire the most are the ones who make me smarter about the news and help me put it into perspective.
That is our goal, but if you want to pass me a tip, I’ll take it!
What percent of the content is written by staff vs. content from advisors?
Most of our writers are contributors with deep industry knowledge. We have also been adding staff writers, columnists and content producers over the past several months. We launched Advisor Insights less than three months ago and already have over 1,000 well written and extremely thoughtful answers and articles by our current network of around 150 advisors.
Advisors are the true experts in the field. and if we can partner with them to help market and build their practice through exposure on our site while creating great content for our users it is a true win-win.
I’m seeing 11 different topics that are a focus of coverage. Are there any others you’d like to add?
For now, the topic areas you see in our navigation are the ones we want to be great at covering. We can always add more later but we think it’s critical to be able to provide strong, in-depth insights in the topics we cover. We want to be strategic about execution, and then listen to our users to determine where we should expand next.
What’s your goal for the content side in the next 12 months?
We want to drive more engagement for our 20 million users and build an even bigger user base by creating indispensable content that informs, educates and helps visitors make smarter investing and financial decisions.
If we can leverage our terrific foundation of educational content by tying it to developments in the news that impact the decisions people make with their money or careers, we will be on the right path.
How has traffic to the site changed since the beginning of the year?
Traffic has increased about 10 percent to 20 percent since January, and a lot of that has come from the more topical content we have been producing. What has been particularly exciting for us however is our 40 percent year-over-year growth in direct traffic – which we anticipate will only grow faster with our new homepage.
We also have over 4 million newsletter subscribers and 500,000 Facebook followers, which have contributed to over 100 percent year-over-year growth in our combined traffic from email and social. Exciting times ahead for Investopedia indeed!