We live in a society that places a lot of emphasis on money. Money makes the world go round. Cash rules everything around me. Buy low, sell high. Coffee is for closers. It’s all about the Benjamins. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash. Even Andy Warhol famously said “Making money is art”. Far too often, this focus on money causes those in the financial industry to forget an extremely important fact:
Effective Financial Content Isn’t About Money.
That’s right. Repeat it aloud. Effective financial content isn’t about money. Again, with gusto: Effective financial content isn’t about money!
Have I lost my mind? Maybe—but not about this. While money is perhaps the most important resource to individuals in western society, it’s also completely meaningless on its own (or, at least, it hasn’t since the gold standard was ditched about a century ago). Money doesn’t have intrinsic value—but it is incredibly valuable because of what it affords us.
In other words, people don’t really want money; they want what money can buy them: Food. Shelter. Comforts. Status. Legacy.
Effective Financial Writing Is About Fulfilling Needs.
Money is a fairly unique topic. Everybody wants the same thing, but for vastly different purposes. This common need is often tempting to make one break their message into vague concepts to reach literally every demographic with one piece of content.
There’s an old adage that perfectly sums up the problem with this approach: The man who chases two rabbits catches none. Content is only effective if the reader can connect to it on some personal level—the more universal the subject, the less personal it becomes.
Good content is always written with the personal in mind, targeting a very specific cross-section of your demographic. In big agencies, they often go so far as to invent personas—imaginary people with wants, needs, families, occupations, social lives, and even names. Their creative teams can then speak directly to this one individual, which helps them to make their writing as personal as possible.
Of course, you don’t need to write a whole biography of an imaginary person—you likely deal with quite a few real ones every day. Pick one who you feel best represents the demographic you’d like the piece to reach, and speak to them. And if you aren’t sure about their hopes and dreams, you could always ask…
Add a soupcon of your brand voice
Brand positioning is a separate, massive topic that could fill an entire textbook. (In fact, I am looking at several such textbooks on my bookshelf as I type.) The Coles Notes version: Your brand could paint you as a friendly, helpful neighbour who has your back when times are tough, or as a hyper-efficient investment machine whose sole purpose is to make you as much money as possible—but regardless of how you position yourself, a consistency of voice is essential.
Just remember: Your brand voice should colour your content, not dictate it. You can be a friendly neighbour who helps high-income clients to multiply their wealth and secure their legacy, just as you can be a hyper-efficient investment machine who makes the most of your retirement portfolio to help you retire comfortably.
A Brief Aside about Writing to Professionals
Now, I should stop to clarify: When I say “Finance isn’t about money”, I’m talking about client-facing financial writing. If you’re writing to brokers or traders, then the goal is efficient accumulation, not sports cars and retirement plans. This is actually the whole purpose of this post: Many who make the mistake of focusing on numbers are themselves professionals. As such, they tend to naturally gravitate towards the professional language
With Financial Writing, Human is Efficient.
Having a head for numbers is a great thing for financial professionals, but it can often be not-so-great when writing for clients. After all, content is only effective if it can engage its audience. To make sure that your writing has the optimal impact on your clients and customers, it can be well-worth the investment to bring in a professional.
As Precision Impact’s head jargon translator, I can take any message—no matter how dry, complicated, or technical—and break it down into language that will not only reach them, but actively engage them as well. To learn more, contact us today.
He is also unable to make a 'Penseur' pose without looking at least a bit ridiculous, as evidenced by his profile photo.
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