When it comes to writing about the financial services your company provides, it can be really easy to overwhelm your target market with facts and data that they don’t understand. In fact, making such information easily accessible to those you plan to serve is a bit of an art form.
On the one hand, you don’t want to produce fluffy content that your potential clients and your audience could find just anywhere. On the other hand, you don’t want to speak to your audience at a level beyond their understanding. Remember, the reason people are seeking your company out is so that they can receive help with their accounting and financial needs from experts.
Know Your Audience
The most important thing, no matter what type of content you’re producing, is to know your audience. What are your target readers’ likes? What are their dislikes?
Are you targeting large corporations, small businesses, or individuals? What is your ideal client’s big problem, and how do you solve that problem with your services?
Content for a blog targeting individual first or second-time investors will be very different from a financial services firm targeting small businesses with no accounting departments.
Take Some Time And Research Your Potential Audience
After you’ve narrowed down your target audience, take time to figure out what kinds of questions your audience has for your company. What level of education do members typically have when it comes to financial literacy.
For example, if you used the term ‘annuity’ in your content, would you need to take a sentence to define it? Would your potential client know what “deferred acquisition cost” refers to?
Create At Least One Reader Persona Profile
Once you’ve done your background research, create a reader persona that highlights all the things you’ve learned about the characteristics your ideal client possesses. This is who you are writing for when creating your content.
Remember that this profile is a living document – if you discover something new about your target reader, include it! This will help you to remember the tone, style, and level you should be using in your written work.
Numbers Are Important, But Too Many At Once Can Overwhelm Readers
The key to doing so successfully is to remember the rule of the paragraph: each paragraph should contain one and only one concept.
Keep things easy for readers: Only talk about one kind of figure in each paragraph, especially if you have multiple numbers you are talking about.
Better yet, if you need to convey a lot of numerical and financial information to readers, see if you can create a graph, chart, or infographic to display it.
Use Visual Aids Strategically
Make sure that any infographic, chart, or graph you use is clearly labeled and easy to read. These visual tools can be wonderful additions to your content, but they can also fall flat if they’re not relevant enough or if they are too busy.
Use The Simplest Terms Possible When Conveying Complex Information
Here is where knowing your audience really is key for individuals writing about financial services for their target market. Once you’ve done your research and created your reader personal profile, you’ll have an idea of the terms that your target reader is – and isn’t – familiar with.
There’s no reason to explain the difference between a stock and a bond to someone who has been investing for years, so you can skip that blog post. However, you may find that some of the more complex aspects of reverse convertibles do need to be explained to your audience.
This also means you should avoid technical jargon when writing for your audience. While you and your colleagues may understand the ins and outs of contract-style terminology, it doesn’t mean that your audience will follow you.
Make Use Of Storytelling Techniques
Rather than list out a bunch of numbers and random facts, make use of storytelling to appeal to your audience. Talk about how you helped Ned to reach his retirement goals. Write about how you helped Techies, Inc. to save on their corporate tax obligation. Show how you helped Maggie to afford college for her son, Daniel.
Help Readers Solve Problems And Learn How To Do Things
Often, customers come to financial services companies because they have a financial problem they need solved or they would like to make better money management decisions. Talk about how you managed to help Company X figure out how to better manage their employee benefits program.
Help your audience learn how to use petty cash and teach them why that is important for their small business. Explain how depreciation of computing equipment works. Give step-by-step tutorials on how small businesses can set up Quicken to help their accountants help them manage their finances.
Convey One Idea At A Time
Don’t try to cover too many topics in one post. This is especially important if you’re talking to an audience of financial novices. For example, don’t cover both setting Quicken up and sharing Quicken files in one article. That’s likely to overwhelm an audience needing an approach involving more hand-holding.
Keep Legal Involved In Compliance From The Beginning
When creating financial services posts, it’s important to ensure that your posts are compliant. To do this, you need to make sure that the legal department at your firm is involved from the start of the brainstorming process.
Nothing is worse than putting a lot of energy into creating great content that won’t see the light of day because it doesn’t meet industry standards or pass legal screening.
Lastly, Let Your Voice Come Through In Your Content
One mistake I see from financial services companies is the tendency to refrain from using a conversational tone and diminish the company’s voice. This can make content dry from the audience’s perspective.
While it’s important to maintain compliance, it’s also important to allow your potential clients to get a welcoming and warm sense from your posts. With this in mind, imagine that when you are writing content, you are speaking to a reader sitting across from you in a meeting.
MARKETING TRENDS IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR
Ronda Bowen is VP of Editorial Services at Creative Mindscape. She also provides editorial consulting services to a variety of businesses and individuals, runs a handful of blogs (including WiningWife®), and serves as Fundraising Director for JB Dondolo, Inc. In her downtime, she’s a distance runner, a foodie, a wine and coffee aficionado, seamstress and crafter, and board game enthusiast. Learn more about Ronda’s various projects on her website.