When it comes to the content for your financial firm, one of the key questions to answer is: “Who will make it?” The right person (or people) will need to have a unique set of skills, qualities and experience to do this well.
After all, not everyone can produce great financial marketing content! First of all, writing well for an audience is a rare skill. This is one reason why leading journalists are sought after. Secondly, the subject matter is often complex. Even the best writers will struggle without at least a basic understanding of pensions, investments and financial planning.
So, what skills should you look for in a financial content marketer? Why do we, at Clients+, believe that we possess them – allowing us to offer great articles, videos and guides to financial advisers, planners and wealth managers? Find out below.
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#1 Writing proficiency
Many financial planners attest that they have considerable knowledge about their field – but struggle to communicate it well via a blog, article or even by email. Writing well is a valuable skill that needs to be refined over years of practice, and a good financial content marketer will exhibit this clearly.
For instance, when considering a content writer for your financial firm, look at the sentences. Are they nice and short, allowing the reader to breathe? Or, does he/she write as someone might talk – stringing many sentences together (perhaps to the point where the original message is lost)? Also, look at the range of vocabulary. Is it limited in range, or do they show a strong command of both the English language and your specific subject matter? Do they have good use of grammar?
#2 Problem solving
What’s the difference between an academic writer and a content creator? There are many differences, of course. Yet a significant one is that the former often seeks to address theoretical questions, to expand the field of knowledge. The latter, however, seeks to address the “pain points” of customers and prospects.
In simple terms, a good financial content marketer is skilled at identifying the issues and questions that the business’s audience is wrestling with. From there, he/she writes valuable content which helps bring clarity, insight and peace of mind to the reader. The end result is often greater trust in the brand and an increased willingness by the prospect to reach out to the business.
When it comes to writing for financial planning and advice businesses, the subject matter is often very important – affecting people’s lives in a big way. Choices about pensions, investments and inheritance tax, for instance, could even affect multiple generations.
As such, it is very important that your content creator engages in vigorous research, basing their claims on solid evidence and trusted sources. Any references to secondary research (e.g. by a think tank) should be credited and even linked to, within the article – allowing readers to check for themselves. Moreover, writers should know to not push any research too far, trying to make it say what it does not.
#4 Design & flow
Have you ever tried to read a blog post on another website and found yourself confronted with a solid wall of text? No paragraphs. No sub-headings. No bullet points. No tables or imagery. This kind of layout is hugely intimating to a reader, with the likely result that most will not bother past the first few sentences.
A good financial content marketer, therefore, will be skilled at crafting the content in an attractive, easy-to-consume manner. Videos, for instance, should not be too long. Here at Clients+, most of our animated explainer videos are less than 2 minutes in length. Any longer, and people start to lose focus – even if the music and imagery are great!
Articles, moreover, should also have a length limit. At Clients+, we find that 1,000-1,500 words are often enough to cover a subject in good detail, without overwhelming the reader with too much text. These articles should also be neatly, appropriately “broken up” with sub-headings and other layout tactics, to allow readers to catch their breath and digest the point that was just made.
Human beings have loved stories since the birth of language. They capture our imaginations and allow us to relate to the protagonists. They give reassurances that we are not alone in our experiences, but that others have encountered and overcome similar obstacles. This gives us confidence that we can, too.
Financial services is certainly a highly technical, often abstract field. The likes of investments, pensions and estate planning may not appear to lend themselves to storytelling as a content device. Some may even think that using stories in finance content is somehow “improper”. Yet storytelling can be a very powerful way to communicate and engage with readers.
An obvious case in point is client testimonials. Yet you are not restricted just to recollections and reviews from your clients. Illustrative stories can also be a way to communicate an important point (e.g. planning for the future). A skilled writer will not only know how often to include stories within his/her content, and where in the text. They will also know how to tell the story. After all, few people want to listen to a story that sounds like a police report. They want to experience a journey – a sense that they are being carried with the protagonist through their experience, as if the story was their own.