The financial services sector is known for producing content that many would find dry – white papers, jargon-filled research reports and technical analysis and projections.
So, if you want to put that expertise on display through financial services content marketing, you may find yourself stymied. If the material is dry, and has a short shelf-life, you may have a hard time reaching new audiences.
The truth is that finance is not boring. Fortunes are made and lost every day. Big bets are placed. The well-being of millions hinges on some of the smallest developments in financial markets.
One trick to doing financial services content marketing in a way that captures some of that impact on humanity is to use anecdotes. There is always a person behind the numbers. It might be an analyst who has poured over financial filings to find that edge that no one else knows about. It might be the family who is being hit hard by the new tax law.
Find that person, and write at least a paragraph or two about them, and you have just managed to put some flesh and blood into the piece, and made it much more accessible to those that might benefit from reading the rest of the material.
Here is another trick for anyone trying to do effective financial services content marketing, taken from the master of financial journalism himself: Michael Lewis.
(If you haven’t read his stuff, such as “Liar’s Poker,” or “The Big Short,” you should – you are in for a treat.)
Here is an outtake from his 2009 Vanity Fair piece on the financial collapse in Iceland:
Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy—its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance—resulted from a stunning collective madness.
With a dramatic teaser like that, who wouldn’t want to keep reading? The trick here? There are a couple.
One, he deftly writes through the numbers. He does not give the exchange rate for the currency – he says “the krona is kaput.” No need to say more, at least not right away. Then he gives a quick sense of the massive debt load by saying it’s 850 percent of GDP. You don’t need an MBA to know that sounds bad.
Two, he then tells you what this is doing to actual people. They are hoarding food and cash. And, wow, they are blowing up their cars for the insurance money.
All of this color does much to support the kicker at the end of the statement: That this was the result of a stunning collective madness. Given the dramatic picture he has painted so far, yes, you can believe that is true.
When you are trying to put a financial services content marketing strategy into place, you might not be aiming to write for Vanity Fair. But even the editor of your industry’s trade publication, or even the recipients of your email marketing, will thank you for your efforts to make the writing more human.