Aspiring freelance financial writers seeking advice contact me occasionally. If you’re one of them, here’s some advice.
“Freelance financial writer” is made up of three words, each of which contains clues to the freelance financial writer’s success. I discuss them below in order of importance.
“Writer”: Polish your wordsmithing
Do whatever you can to improve your writing, including
- Taking writing classes—If you can’t find business writing classes, take any kind of writing class led by a good teacher. Strong writing skills work across disciplines, as I said in “Writing resources for equity research analysts.”
- Writing as much as possible
- Reading about writing—William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is one of my favorites. For copywriting, there are excellent blogs, such as Copyblogger. You’ll find more suggestions, “10 blogs I can’t live without–Writer’s edition.“
- Analyzing what’s good and bad about what others write. I do this in my “Investment Writing Spotlight” columns, which you’ll find on the Discussions tab of the Investment Writing Facebook page.
“Financial”: Learn about the business
I took many great classes through the Boston Security Analysts Society on my way to earning my CFA (chartered financial analyst) credential. Your local society of the CFA Institute, other professional societies, or colleges may offer relevant classes in person or online.
Industry experience helps, too. I took my first job in financial services back in the 1980s.
“Freelance”: Learn how to survive
You may be a great writer with a strong command of finance. But if you can’t run a business, you’re lost.
Here are some online resources for learning more about freelancing:
- International Freelancers Academy
- Media Bistro
- Renegade Writer
- Steve Slaunwhite
- Urban Muse
- Word Count
- Writing White Papers
“Freelance financial writing”
Here are some relevant posts from my blog. While they’re aimed at CFA charterholders, they’re relevant to others who understand investments.
- Advice from a hiring manager for CFAs who want to freelance
- Top 10 tips for CFA charterholders who want to freelance
- Top five types of freelance writing for CFA charterholders
If you have more suggestions for aspiring writers, please leave a comment.
If you’re in New York City, you can pick up more writing tips from me at my New York Society of Security Analysts presentation on “How to Write Investment Commentary People Will Read” or the annual writers conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.