A personal message – where are we at?

Iona Bain

Hello Young Money fans!

I want to give you guys an update on where we’re at in Young Money world because it has been an exciting few months. And I want to tell you about a major new project I’m working on that is incredibly hard work but that will allow me to continue something I love so much…blogging in a real, authentic, knowledgeable and independent way.

And hopefully that’s good for YOU as you seek to learn more about the complicated but amazing world of personal finance, and will benefit so many more people who have yet to join us in the Young Money mission.

It has been so satisfying to see many more readers come to the blog in recent months. Unique visitors in the first quarter of this year were twice the number seen in the same period in 2016.

And unique visitors more than TRIPLED in the second quarter compared to average visitors up to 2017. We’re now getting thousands and thousands of unique visitors per month, if not every week, and for a blog that does zero advertising and relies purely on word of mouth, that is fantastic news.

It shows that independent bloggers can cultivate and grow their readership in an organic and ethical way. This means the Young Money Blog doesn’t have to turn into a glorified advertising platform. So we can continue to cover what’s in YOUR best interests.

I have also been taking lots of time to update the blog’s legacy content so that people are not misled by out-of-date information. And where I have been able to update our most popular and useful blogs, I have done so (and will continue to do so!)

But the blog’s ethos is about quality, not quantity. That means we don’t want to attract a huge readership just for its own sake (or so we can start ruthlessly monetising you). We don’t publish click bait, wanky hot takes, anodyne “guest posts” or rehashed press releases. Nor do we publish posts every day because “we have to”. We have a huge back catalogue of blogs on an almost bewildering variety of topics, from cheap hair buns to tracker funds. So we try to leave no stone un-turned!

We’re not trying to ape MoneySavingExpert or other monolith “advice” websites. Our blog is an alternative to the mainstream financial media, where you might just find the road less travelled.

But first and foremost, our content is journalistic. And that means our writing is never derivative or perfunctory. And so it reflects exactly the kind of readers we have (and want) – switched-on, intelligent and confident. We might make mistakes of course (we try not to!) but you can trust that we’re always looking out for you.

In order to maintain the blog’s integrity, I have subsidised YMB with journalism, broadcast media work and event appearances. I am particularly busy as a freelance journalist writing for national titles and websites, and my recent work has ranged from investigations into ticket touting and pension fees to my rolling coverage of the extraordinary General Election result from Kensington in June, with my tweets reaching an audience of half a million.

But recently I have also set up an agency focused on high-quality corporate journalism. What does this mean?

Well, I’m basically providing content, ideas and other services to companies who genuinely care about their customers.  I offer educative information that’s eye-catching, down-to-earth and (most importantly) helpful. It might take the form of a topical blog, a podcast, a video, a newsletter, a report, some consultancy work or a straightforward article.

However the info is communicated, it’s got to be in people’s interests. And it’s got to follow all the principles of quality writing (the kind you read on the blog every week).

I have spent the last few weeks and months setting up the Young Money Agency with my dad, the retired financial journalist Simon Bain. We have been talking to various companies about whether we can work together to provide better info for their customers (and employees). And the response we have received has been hugely encouraging.

When I was a struggling musician back in 2011, I never dreamt that I would get to a point where I might have to turn away work. Yet the response we’re getting to YMA is so positive that this may be a real possibility! We shall cross that bridge if it comes, and scale up YMA if need be. In the meantime, we have a small but effective team that’s smashing it out of the park.

As anyone who is setting up a business will tell you, it’s not easy! But I am hopeful that this will be the bedrock of a mini Young Money empire (haha!) that can do more bold and innovative things in future.

So what am I saying? Well, the Young Money Blog may not always be red-hot with articles, vlogs and podcasts as we try to get YMA on a secure footing. But rest assured that I will keep blogging whenever I can. And when I do blog, it will always come from the heart.

I will continue to do media appearances in a similar vein to my recent guest spot on BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox Live. And I am speaking at numerous events in the coming weeks and months, including the prestigious Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association annual conference.

But bear with us as we go through a thrilling but tough transition process in Young Money world. Once YMA is fully up and running, I hope to be doing so much more with the blog, from a special series on buying your own home to lots more multi-media.

So watch this space because the best is yet to come!

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