I wish I could erase the first blog I ever wrote. I cringe every time I think of it. The structure, topic and grammar was terrible, and the SEO health of the piece was absolutely dire.
If you’ve been engaged in finance content marketing for a while, you’ll likely relate. After several years, you start to get a knack for it. It becomes second nature.
Many IFAs, wealth managers and finance companies manage their content in-house. Sometimes it makes sense to outsource it to a finance marketing agency like ourselves. Whatever your situation, it helps to have a firm grasp on the techniques and tools you or your team can use to drive your finance content marketing to the next level.
Here, I’ve listed 6 tips I’ve learned from my years in finance content marketing, and blogging for IFAs and wealth managers. Read on to develop your learning on how to be more concise, focused, engaging and results-driven in your content creation:
#1 Engage in Fat-Trimming
Not a nice image, I admit. However, the more unnecessary words are culled from your content, the better. Your writing should be nice and lean, enabling your readers to zip through it quickly and effortlessly to get to the value you’re offering.
Also, make use of methods to sharpen your writing. For instance:
- Avoid linking verbs (e.g. “Phil was walking his dog”). Rather, “Phil walked his dog” sounds more forceful and carries more movement, engaging your readers.
- Minimise prepositional phrases like “the decision of the client was final.” Make it “the client’s decision was final.” It makes your sentences easier to follow by being shorter.
- Change the noun to a verb where the noun in question ends in “tion”. For example, “they will cooperate to produce a new ebook” sounds better than, “they will cooperate in the production of a new ebook.”
- Simplify very phrases. For instance, you would write “the analysis is suggestive to the fact that X passive funds are still a viable investment option.” However, it would be better to say “The analysis suggests that X passive funds are still a viable investment option.”
#2 Cover One Idea With One Sentence
One clear idea should be easy to cover with one clear sentence. It can be tempting to draw out an idea over several sentences, in an attempt to make something sound more clever and complicated.
Avoid this. It confuses readers. A good writer should actually be concerned with making complex things more simple to understand, not the other way round. This is especially true in finance content marketing, where readers just want to get answers to their funding and financial dilemmas as soon as possible. They don’t want to wrestle unnecessarily with the language you’re using.
A good app to use is the Hemmingway App. This will help you determine whether your sentences are clear and bold.
#3 Avoid Isolated Sentences
A compelling sentence needs to account for the sentences surrounding it. This means avoiding use of the same word in consecutive sentences, or covering similar ideas in two separate statements.
To engage your readers means using varied language and cutting redundant information. If this is an area where you struggle in your finance content marketing, a useful tool you may want to try is Power Thesaurus.
#4 Avoid The Common Cliches In Finance Content Marketing
Would I have commited a cliche by beginning this section with a cliche? Yes, and that’s why I avoided it!
Cliches are the bane of your content’s originality. They are used with such prevalence that they lose their effectiveness and true meaning. Do you know, for instance, where the phrase “hungry as a horse” comes from? Neither did I, until I looked it up.
These kinds of phrases actually hurt your finance content marketing, because they do not activate the prefrontal cortex of your readers. This is the part of the brain responsible for experiencing emotion.
If you’re unsure whether you’re using a cliche, consider whether you’ve heard the phrase before. Avoid using phrases like “game changer” and “no brainer”, and try to express yourself in a fresh manner.
#5 Engage The Senses
A great writer has the ability to make their readers see, feel or experience their stories. They can paint compelling pictures using just their words.
An interesting study was performed at Emory University in 2012, where the brain activity of study participants was monitored as texture metaphors were read out to them.
When the listeners heard phrases like ” he had leathery hands,” their sensory cortex lit up. This is the area of the brain responsible for experiencing and perceiving texture via touch. Note that this area didn’t light up when they heard the phrase “his strong hands.”
Finance content marketing definitely suffers by and large in this area, of appealing to the senses via storytelling. This is great for you, however, as it gives you a fantastic opportunity to make your content stand out from all the other bland stuff out there.
#6 Take A Break
If like me you suffer from perfectionism, then you will especially struggle with this one. Even non-perfectionists can be tempted to re-read drafts over and over again, desperately trying to make sure the whole thing is grade-A standard before hitting the “publish button”.
If I could give one final piece of parting advice to write effective finance content marketing, it is this. Learn to walk away from it for a while. Come back when you can bring a fresh pair of eyes onto it. You’ll see things you never could have noticed had you stayed put the day before, going over it repeatedly.
I like the Rule of 12 approach, where you walk away from your work for 12 hours after finishing your final draft. When you do come back after this period, you can make some great final edits. You’ll then be far more happy and confident when you do finally push out your finance content marketing to the world.
Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at MarketingAdviser, an agency specialising in marketing for financial services – and especially for financial advisers. Along with our sister company, CreativeAdviser, we also provide bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients.
Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: email@example.com