Writers tailor their processes to their needs. Leslie J. Lammers, CFA, of Riverstone Advisors, shared her process with me after reading my post, “A case against writing outlines.” Lammers has used this process to write almost 100 quarterly letters.
My approach to writing investment commentary
By Leslie J. Lammers, CFA
Here is my process: do the research, hone in on your central points, put butt in chair, attach fingers to key board, go to the zone.
To write a letter that communicates, you have to have a view and have conviction in that view. If your view is not clear to you, do more research. Read as widely as you can across the financial world.
If you are writing quarterly, start collecting articles at the beginning of the last month of the quarter. Sign up to receive pieces from various sources. Read Bob Johnson on Morningstar, read Cramer, sign up for Cam Hui on his own site, find some people you like on Seeking Alpha, sign up for Economy.com to read Mark Zandi and others on that site. The Bank Credit Analyst is also excellent.
Find some comments you believe in and build your view from there if you don’t already know what it is.
When you sit down to write, picture your average client and write to them as though they are sitting across the desk from you.
Art helps clients grasp the concept and retain it. You can easily find a graphic artist on ifreelance.com or other websites. Here is an example of one we had done.
If proper English usage is not your strong suit, pay an editor. If you have a college near you, you can find someone who edits student papers. Or use a freelancer website to find an editor.
You must write with conviction. Adopt an attitude of “sometimes wrong—never in doubt.”
If you’re looking for great investment or wealth management commentary, you may find some in “Who are the fixed-income commentary winners–and why?”, “Wealth manager blogs that my readers like,” or “Market commentary with wit and wisdom.” These lists were compiled with suggestions from my readers.
Given Lammers’ emphasis on writing with conviction, you may also enjoy “Are financial predictions too risky for investment commentary writers?”