Back to Basics: Your Writing Is a Means to Someone’s End
As a financial writer, author, blogger or expert, you need to know your audience so you can deliver excellent content that’s relevant to them, when and where they need it. Creating content in hopes it will resonate with someone, somewhere, is futile. It’s time to go back to basics.
Who’s Your Audience?
Financial advice is not one-size-fits-all, yet we often find articles that lean heavily toward both extremes of the financial knowledge spectrum. To avoid this, create personas for your writing.
Before you write, have someone in mind. Make up a name. What is that person like, where do they work and live, what do they do for fun? How can you make your content strike a chord with that persona?
Is that retirement story you’re working on aimed at a 27-year-old who just hasn’t made the time to set up a 401(k)? Or is it for a 40-something single parent who is balancing work, a home budget and kids’ activities? Their financial goals will vary as well as the degree of knowledge they may possess to make decisions that meet those goals.
You have the ability to tailor the delivery of information to make the reader feel like it was custom-made.
What’s the Purpose of Your Story? Why Would People Read It?
In a world where immediacy reigns and messages come in micro packages, the pressure is on to create content that’s worth someone’s time. How will you stand out from the crowd?
Are you writing to satisfy an information gap or provide a new angle on an old topic? Break down the complex. Interpret regulations. Identify trends that affect that brown leather wallet. You can be the liaison between a world of confusing finance terminology and the people who just want to know, “What does it mean for me?”
Where Will They Find This Information, and When?
Whether you have your own site or you’re a freelance writer, identify traffic patterns. Are people finding your articles on social media? Are they posted to the right platforms to get the most engagement?
Is the site something visitors read with a cup of coffee in the morning or when they’re lying in bed at night, catching up on their tablet?
Contact data experts, run reports and learn how to make sense of them. When you dig deep to find patterns or nuances in the consumption of your work, you increase the likelihood for comments, shares and meaningful discussion.
How Will They Act on the Information You Provide?
Since your focus is the financial industry, you likely have access to tools, analysis and modeling that can supplement your guidance. Give examples. Provide takeaways. Include easy-to-understand graphs or charts. Make a bulleted list of what they should do next.
When you make it easy for readers to see the value you offer, you can increase readership, build a following and earn credibility.
Going back to basics can help you avoid broad-brushing the financial knowledge spectrum. When you view your writing as the means to a reader’s end, you help that person make informed decisions that lead to better financial health.
Victoria Araj leads the Quicken Loans Zing Blog and has held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her nine years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan. Visit QuickenLoans.com/Blog for more information.