Entries by Susan Weiner, CFA

Word repetition—good or bad?

“Can I repeat this word throughout my report, or is it better to mix things up?” That’s a question I hear sometimes. Many people think that repetition is bad. I like the following quote from Roger Rosenblatt in Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing: Read Hemingway’s short stories, where he […]

Writing for financial experts

How should you tailor your financial writing for experts like institutional investors or financial professionals? I have many gut feelings about what you should do. But this time I’m drawing on other people’s research. Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) performs great research about how people read on the web. NNG’s Hoa Loranger and Kate Meyer discuss […]

Catch e-newsletter non-openers with this technique

Do you feel disappointed when some of your e-newsletter subscribers fail to open your newsletters? It happens to everybody. The average “open” rate for financial e-newsletters is about 18%, according to Constant Contact. I’ve learned a technique that has boosted my open rates significantly in two tests. First, I increased the open rate on one […]

Quit underlining headings in your documents!

Underlining headings in your written documents used to be common. That’s no longer true, especially because underlined text now leads people to expect hyperlinks. Underlining headings dates back to the days of typewriters. As Practical Typography says, Underlining is another dreary typewriter habit. Typewriters had no bold or italic styling. So the only way to […]

Mix up your style with this writing exercise

Could tweaking your style make your articles, blog posts, and white papers more effective? Try the writing exercise I describe below. The results may surprise you. In Stylish Academic Writing, author Helen Sword proposes a writing exercise in which you first evaluate something you’ve written in terms of the chart below.   In other words: […]

Be specific about your advantages, or lose prospects

It’s hard to stand out among financial firms offering similar services and products. That’s why I agree that you should be specific about your advantages, as suggested by Marie Perruchet in One Perfect Pitch: How to Sell Your Idea, Your Product, Your Business—or Yourself. Learn and share your differentiators. Perruchet says: A key differentiator should be […]

Writing tip: being too precise can bloat your writing

Don’t write in a way that’s too precise. It’ll make your prose unnecessarily long. Example of being too precise My husband reminded me of this when proofreading my December e-newsletter. I had written “As the end of 2016 nears.” He changed it to “As 2016 ends.” Good call, dear hubby! I’d been concerned that December […]

Financial call transcripts: are they good for marketing?

In my last staff job for an investment manager, I ran a weekly conference call with portfolio managers and other investment experts. Relationship managers and other portfolio managers dialed in to hear our experts’ views on the market and specific asset classes. My experience with those calls prejudiced me against using financial call transcripts for […]