my sneakers' financial writing lesson

Financial writing lesson from my sneakers

Don’t try to cram your right foot into your left sneaker. It doesn’t work. However, on the plus side, my absentminded action made me flash on a lesson for financial writers.

The financial writing lesson? Don’t try to force things where they don’t belong. Sure, I could have painfully squeezed my right foot into my beat-up left sneaker. But, I shouldn’t do it. Similarly, a financial writer shouldn’t put content into the wrong format.

Imagine that you have some breezy comments about what’s going on in the stock market today. Should you give them a formal design treatment in a PDF document that will take a week to produce because of the difficulty of getting into your designer’s schedule? No, put the comments on your blog after making sure that they fall within your firm’s compliance guidelines.

On the flip side, a meaty 3,000-word research-driven piece may get plenty of social media shares, but it may not actually get read on your blog, as I discussed in “What’s too long for a blog post?” Also, when you publish online you can’t control how your piece will look when people read it. Attentions spans drop off quickly on mobile devices. You may get the best of both worlds if your blog publishes teaser copy for your piece or breaks it up into multiple posts. You can still distribute a nicely formatted PDF for readers who prefer them.