“Investment Writing Spotlight,” my critiques of financial blog posts, disappeared when Facebook eliminated its Discussion tab. However, its lessons live on in this list of recommendations that I made on some of my volunteers’ blog posts.
1. Identify your topic, and possibly your audience in your title
Your title can attract or repel your audience. Catchy titles perform better when they also at least hint at your topic. If you’re writing about the challenges of a narrow audience—for example, municipal pension administrators in the state of Illinois—it’s good to work that into your title. If that makes your title too long, then put it in your introduction.
2. Focus on “you” the client, not “we” the firm
People love to read about themselves, as I’ve said many times before. So, use “you” in your blog posts and write from the client’s perspective on your topic. Make sure you identify the benefit of the topic to your client.
Focusing on the client also means challenging some of your assumptions. Explain some of the vocabulary and relationships that are clear to you. They may mystify your clients.
3. Make your content easy to skim
Everybody’s busy, so make it easier for readers to capture your main points by using, as appropriate
- Headings that make points rather than just noting topics
- Topic sentences that convey each paragraph’s main point
- Short paragraphs
- Bullet points
4. Edit yourself
Strong topic sentences are a great framework, but you may still be able to strengthen your paragraphs by
- Deleting or minimizing information that doesn’t support your topic sentence
- Deleting excess words
- Shortening sentences or varying sentence length
Thank you, blogger volunteers!
The folks who volunteered their blog posts for my critique were extremely gracious, so I’d like to thank them with links to their blogs and Twitter accounts.
- Brian Plain, oakparkplanner.com, @oakarkplanner
- Chuck Rylant, chuckrylant.com, @chuckrylant
- Eric McClain, wesban.com, @ewesban
- John Feketekuty, Campion Wealth Management
- John Lowell, johnhlowell.blogspot.com, @johnhlowell
- Jonathan Smith, jonathansmith.com, @jonathanwsmith
- Nathan Gehring, livingfinanciallyaware.blogspot.com, @nathangehring